Summer isn’t far off. And yet those months will feel like forever to Kayla and Jackson. They already ask their mom Jennifer every day how much longer they have to wait until Easter Seals camp starts!
Kayla and Jackson are veteran campers now. But their mom still remembers how they felt on that first day of camp five years ago. Jennifer says, “They were scared! I was scared but excited for them too. I knew they’d have a great time—but they’d never been away from home for so long before.”
After ten days at camp, both Jackson and Kayla cried when they saw their mom at pickup. And then they didn’t stop talking—and laughing and smiling—for the entire two and a half hour drive home! Their faces shone with pure joy as they shared story after story of the new friends they’d made and the activities they’d tried. Jennifer says, “It was incredible to hear. They truly had the best time ever. They know they are different, but now they know they are not alone.”
It costs $250 a day for a child to attend Easter Seals camp. Most parents just can’t afford that expense, particularly with the extra costs of caring for a child with a disability.
Easter Seals Ontario helps cover the majority of camp costs for parents—so more kids like Jackson and Kayla can attend.
Camp also gives dedicated parents like Jennifer and her husband Marek a much deserved break! Each year, they look forward to camp time almost as much as their kids. Jennifer spends quality time with Marek and enjoys having quiet time to herself.
It’s hard work caring for two kids with disabilities. Jackson and Kayla were born with an inherited birth defect called Morquio Syndrome. A form of dwarfism affects their muscles and bones, as well as their mobility. Jackson uses a wheelchair to get around, while Kayla can still walk for shorter distances and uses a scooter at school.
Before their Easter Seals camp experience, Jackson and Kayla didn’t have many friends. They were shy and kept pretty much to themselves. But now? They’ve made many dear friends they keep in touch with throughout the year. Their self-esteem has increased dramatically and they’re more involved in school activities.
Both Kayla and Jackson are so grateful to generous Easter Seals supporters. Kayla says, “Thank you! Meeting my friends, having those experiences and making these memories means so much to me.” Jackson says, “There’s not a lot of kids like us at home. At camp, you see you’re not the only one. You make lifelong friends when you go there. Thank you!”
For 80 years now, Easter Seals fully accessible camps have been giving kids the chance to truly be kids. With donor support, we help kids with disabilities experience what other more able-bodied kids can experience almost every day.
There’s not much kids can’t do at Easter Seals camp! From water sports like swimming, kayaking and river rafting to ball sports like wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey, from arts and crafts and stand-up comedy to hanging out in a fully-accessible tree house or completing a daring high-ropes challenge course. They can do it all at camp!
More than anything, these kids make life-long friends and learn that although they may be different, they’re certainly not alone.
Jackson and Kayla can hardly sleep with their excitement for their fifth year at Easter Seals camp. Other children are anxiously awaiting their very first year… scared to leave home, unsure if they’ll make new friends or enjoy any of the activities.
Please, make your special gift right now to help give them the very best camp experience possible. Help those young faces light up with pure joy on the ride home as they tell their parents all about the wonderful friends they made and activities they tried at camp.
Help them make memories that last a lifetime. Thank you for helping kids BE KIDS!