Why overnight camp is so important

And how Amici Camping Charity and Canoe Heads for Kids is helping to send more kids there

“Nowadays, summer camp is more important than before,” says Robyn Short, Manager of Fund Development and Communications at Amici Camping Charity. “It’s a life-changing experience that all kids should be able to access.” 

    Amici aims to send as many kids to overnight camp as possible, especially those who wouldn’t normally be able to go. We can’t think of a worthier and more admirable goal.

    What’s unique about Amici Camping Charity

    Established in 1966, Amici provides financial support to help send kids from low-income households, ages 7 to 17, to overnight camps across Ontario. It partners with 45 OCA-accredited camps to enable hundreds of families to send their kids to camp. Each of these camps provides a one-to-one match for donations that send kids to camp. “This means the donations go twice as far,” says Short. “In fact, in combination with the camps we work with, nearly 100% of the cost of going to overnight camp for each child in Amici’s program is covered.”

    Amici supports kids who might not otherwise be able to go to overnight camp, such as those from low-income families, those with special needs, and new Canadian campers. “We want to help provide a place where these kids can feel safe and feel like they belong,” says Short. “We want to give them the life-changing experiences that so many other kids receive.”

    The hallmark of Amici is supporting campers year after year. “The multi-year camp experience is critical in our view,” says Short. “It’s where the magic happens.”

    Why overnight camp is so important

    Overnight camp has always been vital to children’s growth. This is especially true nowadays, when kids are spending more time on screens than ever. “Camp gets kids off screens and into nature,” says Short. “It really inspires an appreciation for the great outdoors at a time when it’s on the decline. We don’t want kids to miss out on this.”

    Camp can also set kids up for success. Campers learn important skills they can use throughout their life. Among other things, at summer camp they develop independence, confidence, teamwork, collaboration, empathy, and various social, technical, and outdoors and sporting skills.

    “We also believe overnight camp teaches optimism, creativity, and that it provides the basis for strong mental health throughout the teenage years and into adulthood,” says Short. “Kids also learn how to be modern, mindful, and inclusive leaders at camp. And, of course, camp provides kids with fun, laughter, and friendship.”

    Amici’s Canoe Heads for Kids annual event

    Amici continually strives to raise money to send as many kids to overnight camp as possible. Its flagship fundraising event is Canoe Heads for Kids. Canoe Heads, which Amici runs each year (and has been for the last 17 years), is an urban canoe trip held along Toronto's waterfront. The event welcomes camp enthusiasts, many of whom are camp alumni themselves, to participate in a 15 km portage and paddle in downtown Toronto.

    This year will be Amici’s first ever hybrid version of Canoe Heads. “The last two years we weren’t able to do it in person,” says Short. “So we encouraged people to do their canoe trip remotely, on their own, or complete 15 camp activities instead of 15 km. We had so much fun the last couple of years, we wanted to leave that option open this year.” So this year you can participate in-person or virtually!

    This year Canoe Heads takes place on Saturday, May 28. “Our goal is to raise $250,000,” says Short. “If we reach our goal this year, we’ll have raised $2,000,000 since the inception of the event.” 

    Normally, Amici welcomes about 150 participants to Canoe Heads. Given the importance of Amici’s mission, and the incredible value overnight camp can bring to a child’s life, we strongly encourage you to participate. The presenting sponsor for the event this year is Canadian Tire – Leaside. 

    To learn more about Amici Camp Charity, click here: Amici Camping Charity: Home (amicicharity.org)

    To make a donation, click here: Donate to Amici - Amici General Donation Form (akaraisin.com)

    To learn about and register for Canoe Heads for Kids, click here: Home - Amici's Canoe Heads for Kids 2022 (akaraisin.com)

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