For nearly two decades North Hastings Children’s Services Experience Summer Camp has been a staple of many youth’s summers, which is why they have re-worked it this year to ensure it can continue.

Youth and Family Support Manager Sarah Phoenix explains the e-camp will run in one week sessions for six weeks between July and August for kids aged five to 12. “It’s not going to be a lot of screen time and it will not be like school,” she says. Phoenix adds that you can play games like hide-and-seek or tag on Zoom, it just takes some “out-of-the-box thinking” to make it work. She adds that after each one-week session, prizes and certificates will be handed out to the campers.

Once the activities are sent to the virtual campers, the camp councillors that Children’s Services brought in will guide them through it. Phoenix says they received a grant from the federal government that covered 100-percent of the cost to hire four High School aged camp councillors and 2 peer mentors who are in or just graduated from College. “We’ll guide them through the process,” she says. “We’re still going to have fun, it will just be in the safety of their homes.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the normally busy NHCS building has been quiet, which is why Phoenix says she’s excited for the virtual camp to start so the team at Children’s Services can begin working with them again. “We’re looking forward to engaging them in this fun exciting way,” she says.

“Sign up is super easy,” Phoenix says. You can do it through their website or on Facebook. It’s free to do this year and your application will get sent to a team member after submitting it. While Experience Summer Camp is free this year, Phoenix asks – if possible – for those signing up to donate. If you would like to donate, you’re being asked to email office@nhcs.ca.

Written by Mathew Reisler