Camp Easter Seal goes virtual

Camp Easter Seal is keeping campers connected — even when they can’t do so in person.

For more than 65 years, CES has provided accessible camping opportunities to individuals in Saskatchewan experiencing a disability. In a normal summer, Saskatchewan’s only barrier-free overnight camp sees some 650 youth and adults from across the province visit the facility outside Watrous, where the CES team creates a fun, safe and welcoming environment for campers.

“Many times, this is a camper’s one outing of the whole year that they look forward to. There’s people who have never swum before or ridden a horse, and at Camp Easter Seal, they can do that,” said Christine Epp, manager of Camp Easter Seal

Virtual programming

As a result of COVID-19, CES redeveloped its programming in 2020. That’s when it launched Camp Connected as temporary virtual replacement. The same programming will be available this year in lieu of in-person camping.

“We needed to pivot our program due to the pandemic. This type of virtual programming is relevant to our goal of maintaining connection with campers all while keeping campers safe,” explained Epp. 

In 2021, CES will provide 10 weeks of programming with
different themes — everything from “Sports of All Sorts” to “Under the Sea.” Each week will feature a live campfire and opportunities to learn new skills, meet friends and feel connected to a community.  Camp Connected will also serve as a platform for caregivers to learn more about CES and its programming.

“All the things that make camp fun will be made available
through our sessions on a secure website portal. Campers will experience independent activities, guest speakers and there will also be interaction on their behalf as well — show and tells as an example,” Epp elaborated.

Accessible to the community

Through support from funders, donors and the community, CES can offer these programs to campers free of charge.

“Many of our caregivers may already be facing financial barriers and this is one way for us to maintain relevant to our community,” Epp said. “We really couldn’t do it without the generous support of our funders, donors and community.”

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