March 1st marks the time of year Easter Seals Canada launches a nationwide month-long campaign to amplify the courageous stories of Canadian kids and young adults with disabilities, living lives to their full potential - and the role summer camp plays along such a journey. The price tag associated with this access is extremely high - disability is expensive! The campaign's objective is to generate a clear understanding of just what it takes for kids to fully access their lives and asks Canadians to play a role in making it happen by visiting www.eastersealsmonth.ca and make a donation.
"If you've ever been a camper or staff member at camp, you know the universal impact a camping experience holds. For many of us, it shapes who we become in life - our camp friends tend to be our lifelong friends. For kids living with disabilities it is the same, but much, much more!" said Dave Starrett, President and CEO of Easter Seals Canada.
"Fully-accessible cabins, facilities, programming and camp activities are expensive. It takes a lot of specialized equipment and skilled staff to make it happen. But it's worth every penny when you see the look on a child's face after conquering a high ropes course, or feeling the freedom of sailing across the lake, or laughing uncontrollably with new friends around a burning campfire," continued Dave.
It can cost up to $2,500 to send just one child living with disability to an Easter Seals camp. It's a lot - but how do you put a price tag on the kind of experience that generates memories and friendships that are everlasting, ultimately changing lives. Camp is not only a game-changer - it's a life-changer!
Easter Seals Canada's National Ambassador, Brandon Liston has been watching lives change around him every summer for years. "I know I have a disability; I know that some things I cannot do. But Camp really helps focus on the ability and see the ability in a disability. It has honestly shaped who I am today," said Brandon. Watch his moving message here.
Summer camp has been changing lives forever! Whether you are an able-bodied camper, a camper living with a disability or participated as a staff member - camp can be life-changing!
Easter Seals operates 14 summer camps across Canada.
These fully accessible properties allow kids with disabilities to have experiences they would never otherwise have - the opportunity to participate fully in the out-of-doors for the first time, with a camp full of kids who have had largely, a shared life experience - hard to match! Just imagine for a second what it would take for a youngster in a wheelchair to go on a canoe ride. Or swing high off the ground on a ropes course. Or swim in a lake. Or toast marshmallows over an open fire. Or participate in a camp-wide scavenger hunt. Or sleep away from home in a bunk surrounded with a group of new friends who understand how they feel on any given day.
This is the gift of camp.
In addition to featured campaign at www.eastersealsmonth.ca, Easter Seals' annual Paper Egg Campaign takes place in retailers across Canada. National sponsors Booster Juice and Red Apple Stores Inc. along with dozens of other provincial sponsors provide paper eggs for individuals to purchase for $2. Since 2007 Red Apple Stores Inc. has been the top national fundraising sponsor, raising more than $1.16 million with Booster Juice stores across the country raising more than $200,000 in just 6 years.
Easter Seals is dedicated to fully enhancing the quality of life, self-esteem and self-determination of Canadians living with disabilities. As Canada's largest local provider of programs, services, issues-leadership and development for the disability community, Easter Seals is dedicated to helping Canadians with disabilities participate fully in society, living lives to their full potential. Easter Seals provincial organizations offer transformative programs and services at the local level, the best known of which are Easter Seals camp programs.
Other services include year-round active living opportunities, as well as the provision of specialized mobility and access equipment such as mobility aids, assistive technology, adaptive computers, augmentative communication devices and adaptations to homes and vehicles for wheelchair accessibility. Normally these assistive aids are cost prohibitive for most people and families. With help from its donors and sponsors, Easter Seals works to ensure that everyone with a disability has access to the equipment and services needed to make the most of their abilities.
For more information:
www.easterseals.ca - @EasterSeals - www.facebook.com/eastersealscanada - www.instagram.com/eastersealscanada