By Spencer McBride, The Guard –
Summer Camps are remarkable for the way they help our youth. They provide unparalleled opportunities for growth, socialization, and physical activity, with enough adventure thrown into it to make them an important milestone of growing up and a part of our cultural imagination. With support from generous Canadians, and contributions from foundations like True North Youth Foundation, Support Our Troops is able to make the dream of summer camp a reality for kids all over the country, with the National Youth Camp Program. Applications for a grant this year are open as of 15 March 2019, meaning Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members now have the opportunity to apply to send their kids for a week of summer fun when they need it the most!
Support Our Troops works to give back to the CAF community in many ways, from health cost support, to physical rehabilitation, to organizing events. The Youth Camp helps military families in a different way, providing funding for children in military families to attend a week-long, accredited summer camp of their choice. The National Youth Camp Program focuses on supporting children with unique and often daunting lifestyle challenges including:
- Special needs children and/or siblings of special needs children;
- Children and dependents of ill and injured CAF members;
- Children of deceased CAF members;
- Children and dependents of CAF members who are:
- currently deployed,
- on prolonged course or training program,
- scheduled for deployment, or serving away from their families.
Children and families can also be nominated for grants to attend camp by military leadership in their community.
2019 is the sixth year of the National Youth Camp Program for children and families of the CAF community. The program has grown steadily since its launch in 2012, when 30 grants were awarded. In both 2017 and 2018, the program sent almost 600 children to camp, but was not able to grant all applications. Supporting the program means giving more military children the opportunity to find relief from the stress and anxiety of military life in the camaraderie of their peers, and bringing a renewed energy and support network to young lives.
The National Youth Camp Program will let children experience a care-free environment to learn, grow, create and play. Camps offer children the chance to feel like they belong, building confidence and helping children feel in control of their lives. You can apply to admissions to the program on their site, or find out more by contacting them directly. You can also help the program by donating, and in doing so bring fun and long-lasting new friendships into the lives of children in military families.
Every child deserves the chance to go to camp.
Photo courtesy of CFMWS
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