Thank you for having me here this evening – it is an honour to be a recipient of such an incredible donation.
Although you probably think you know what a difference this money will make to our organization, you probably don’t REALLY know. The gratitude I feel is difficult to put into words.
We run a very traditional day camp – we do crafts, play games, break out in song (a lot!), run around, make music, have spontaneous dance parties, decorate cookies and the list continues. All of this is done in a very nurturing, welcoming, diverse and loving environment. 20-25% of our campers have special needs of varying degrees. Some need just a bit of extra support while others need full one-on-one support from a trained counsellor who is there to ensure they are as successful as possible during their time at camp. Success at camp is measured in many different ways – sometimes it’s achieving a goal like jumping off the diving board or putting one foot in the water while other times it can be as simple as a camper asking for his parents 10 times during the day instead of the typical 100 times! All successes are important and one is not better or more important than the other.
As with many other groups who work with children with special needs in our area, we have been dealing with cuts to grants, autism services and our families are dealing with losing many of their financial supports. More than ever, we are delighted to be able to offer the things we do – supporting kids at no extra cost to families. It is an extremely expensive program to run but we feel it is an integral part of the work we do, not only for the kids using support but for typical kids as well. It is incredible to see how much all the kids learn from each other.
We typically have 5 inclusion counsellors per week at Rainbow but this year, after many funding cuts across the board, we were looking at having only 2. The almost $14,000 from 100 Women Who Care will pay for 3 inclusion counsellors for the entire summer. The word INCREDIBLE comes to mind.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. The impact that these funds have on our camp are immeasurable – the ripple effects can and will be felt for years.