It’s 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, planning, implementing and coordinating tons 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 Child Activity Workers incorporate activities, and plan theme-weeks like Space Week, after receiving feedback from the children attending the camp and create activities around what the children are interested in.
“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.
“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 entertained and engaged. There are older youth aged up to 17 years, but they usually go on the trips and don’t regularly attend the day camp.
The camp runs from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday to Friday with a lunch break between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm; and there is never a shortage of children. There may be fewer one day, but there are youth each day ready to have fun, learn, and open up.
“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’ home. 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 their families enter and 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.
With mid-August upon us, summer day camp will continue until the children go back to school. 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 as their family experiences homelessness.
If you would like to help the children who are staying in shelter start the school year off on a successful note – the Fill Up the Bus event is on Wednesday, August 21st. There will be a big yellow school bus, courtesy of Murphy Bus Lines, collecting school supply donations in the Mission Store parking lot (797 York St.) from 12 pm – 5 pm with refreshments provided by Sobey’s (Adelaide St. and Fanshawe Park Rd. location) and Party Girls Co. For a full list of priority school supply donations for Fill Up the Bus, please visit: https://missionservices.ca/events/fill-up-the-bus-back-to-school-campaign/
Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel, Communications & PR Coordinator