Benjamin “Ben” Mandigo has been awarded the 2021 Ron & Mickey Johnstone Youth Leadership Award from the Ontario Camps Association for his contributions to Camp E-aster Seals. At Easter Seals Ontario, we are all proud of the exceptional work Ben has completed towards Camp E-aster Seals and grateful for his dedication not only to the program but to the campers themselves.
Ben has a very long and special relationship with Easter Seals camps, as they have been a part of his summers from the time he was born. His mother was an Easter Seals Camp Director when Ben was born, and Ben spent the first two summers of his life as an honourary camper at Camp Merrywood.
In 2019, Ben returned to Merrywood, this time as a full-fledged summer staff. Within his first few days, Ben quickly understood his mother’s fond memories and passion for providing summer camp experiences to children and youth with physical disabilities. At the end of his first summer, Ben was awarded the Kevin & Christy Kelly Spirit of Camp Merrywood Leadership Award, in recognition of his outstanding leadership and exceptional commitment to enhancing the experience of Easter Seals campers.
When staff applications for 2020 opened, Ben eagerly applied for a new leadership position and spent the early months of 2020 preparing himself for his new role. When the decision was made by Easter Seals Ontario to suspend their overnight summer camp operations for 2020, Ben reached out, offering his skills and support in making a virtual camp experience possible for Easter Seals campers. What Ben suggested exceeded all expectations. His ideas were innovative, transformative, and industry-leading. At the core of his ambitions was the desire to provide the camp experience, in the fullest way possible, in a virtual capacity.
Learn more about Camp E-aster Seals here.