Like most children and teenagers, Robert’s back-to-school has looked a little out of the ordinary this fall. The start of grade nine usually brings with it a new school, new faces, and new experiences. But this year, all of these things are happening online instead of in-person. Luckily for the 14-year-old, this is not an overly unfamiliar experience! For seven weeks this summer, Robert met new people and shared new camp experiences in the virtual world of Camp E-aster Seals.
Robert and his family have accessed Easter Seals Ontario’s services over the years; primarily for assistance with mobility equipment funding, but never the camping programs. While his mom, Stephanie, says that they had heard about camp and were encouraged to go, Robert was hesitant to try it out. But through the launch of Camp E-aster Seals, a virtual camp experience, Robert was finally able to experience camp for the first time this summer.
From day one of the first week, Robert was fully invested and engaged in the virtual camp experience. When asked to name a highlight from Camp E-aster Seals, Robert paused and took a long time to think. His mom stepped in to help him out – “To name one highlight is hard. There wasn’t an aspect [of virtual camp] that he didn’t enjoy.” She explained that watching the morning Flagpole video and singing along to O Canada became a part of his morning routine. Throughout the day, he participated in camp programs and even got his younger sister involved. Together they did crafts and other camp activities. Robert was an eager participant in all live events, specifically weekly karate sessions, banquets and campfires. For a participant who had never been to an Easter Seals camp previously, Robert was quick to learn the names of other campers and was always keen to chat with them during live events.
For parents who had been trying to entertain and engage their kids for several months already, Camp E-aster Seals provided a nice reprieve. Stephanie pointed out that the virtual camp program helped to fill her kids’ days with active, engaging programming. “It was so organized, so well laid out for me. I didn’t have to think. As parents we appreciated it,” she said.
When asked about participating in Easter Seals camps in the future, Robert indicated that he now wants to try overnight camp. However, with the uncertainty around COVID-19 and summer 2021, he is quite content to continue with virtual camp programming until he finally gets the chance for an in-person experience!
Camp E-aster Seals was only made possible through the generous support of our donors. You can help more kids like Robert experience the magic of camp by donating today.
Learn more about Camp E-aster Seals.