It has been a busy summer at Rotholme Family Shelter. Dellah and Sierra, the Child Activity Workers for Rotholme’s Summer Day Camp have been hard at work. They have been planning, implementing and coordinating lots of fun activities, trips, and experiences for the children staying in the emergency shelter over the summer.
“They’re really active kids,” Dellah notes, “We have kids who are artistic, kids who are sporty – it’s a good balance.”
“The kids are always excited and looking forward to something,” Dellah comments.
It would be hard not to be excited about fun and engaging trips to the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium, as well as to the Children’s Museum and the Clay Art Centre. There have also been trips to the splash pad and pools to cool down in the heat. Trips have been possible through the support of generous donors.
“The kids like the water the most, after the trips of course” Sierra shares about what the children are engaging in the most at camp. It’s been such a hot and humid summer, it is not difficult to understand why!
An encouraging aspect to the summer camp has been how engaged and open to trying new activities and experiences the children have been.
With children in age (on average) from six years old to twelve years old, there are a lot of different tastes and demographics to keep engaged. There are older youth aged up to seventeen years old, but they usually go on the trips and don’t regularly attend the day camp.
“My favourite part has been building trust with the kids. Some have really opened up and confided in us – and there was one kid who was standoff-ish at first, but now doesn’t want to leave!” Dellah explains.
“It goes beyond camp,” Sierra begins, “They really want to be here and they want to hang out with us even at lunch.”
Camp in a shelter is a little different considering the camp happens in these childrens’ living spaces. If they don’t want to participate in an activity they can just go back upstairs to their room with their parents – but many stay and participate each day.
Children also come and go from the shelter as new families enter and other families exit emergency shelter at Rotholme. But Dellah and Sierra are always welcoming and are happy to see new faces. While it is sad to say goodbye to children leaving, it is also good news to see that family move out into their own home.
This camp would not be possible without the incredible donors and partners who have provided these children with summer memories they would not otherwise have had — especially as their family experiences homelessness and stays in emergency shelter at Rotholme.
Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel, Communications & PR Coordinator