For many kids in Montreal, summer is synonymous with day camp but not every family can afford the expense. This summer, two organizations will fund camp for recent refugee immigrants and local underprivileged kids.
Laurus Summer Camp, which runs out of The Sacred Heart School in downtown Montreal, has allocated $50,000 to a bursary fund for 20 Syrian refugee children between the ages of 3 and 15 to attend camp this summer.
“They’re in a difficult situation,” said Philip A. Cutler, one of the co-founders of the camp. “They might not know anyone and we want to make their first year here as comfortable as possible.”
Laurus has been in operation since 2009 and prides itself on promoting a healthy lifestyle for body and mind, said Cutler. Along with the regular array of activities like hockey, baseball, soccer, football, and arts & crafts, the camp offers music, dance and drama activities, academics and cooking classes.
Campers have the opportunity to pick a subject that interests them and have a specialist work with them for roughly an hour each day. Every week, guest speakers talk to campers about different career paths. In the past, these have included former astronaut and Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, and CFL linebacker Jesse Briggs.
Cutler said they will hire counsellors who speak Arabic in hopes of seamlessly integrating the campers into the regular program. Selection will be on a first come, first served basis. In order to register, parents must contact the camp directly. The Laurus summer session runs from June 27 until Aug. 26. The camp is located at 3635 Atwater Ave. For more information, visit laurussummercamp.com.
SportLife Camp, nestled in the heart of McGill’s Macdonald campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, will also be offering a four-week day camp experience for 10 underprivileged children between the ages of 5 and 15.
Over the next five years, SportLife has pledged to provide $10,000 annually. The camp has previously partnered with not-for-profit organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of West Island to give children the same opportunity.
SportLife offers a multitude of physical activities like ice and ball hockey, soccer, football and basketball with each week dedicated to a different sport. Throughout the course of the week, kids experience what it’s like to be a professional athlete by taking part in practices and games, reviewing their plays on tape and even giving player “interviews.”
The camp puts a strong emphasis on the importance of good sportsmanship, team building, skill development, and healthy competition, but having fun is always the main goal, said owner and director Evan Horner.
The SportLife camp session runs from June 27 to Aug. 19 and is located at 21111 Lakeshore Rd. For more information, visit sport-life.ca.