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Easter Seals Camps make a difference

Join the Woman2Warrior fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Swangard Stadium

Mohini Takhar Easter Seals Camp

At Easter Seals campsites, anything is possible, says Mohini Takhar.

BY MOHINI TAKHAR

“Camp is the best place on earth” is the famous phrase of Easter Seals BC/Yukon. Easter Seals provides accessible camps for children and more recently opened them up for young adults as well. These camps are extraordinary as they are designed for people with disabilities. They are located in Squamish, Winfield and Shawnigan. I have been going to Squamish for the past four years.

One word to sum up my experience is “magical.” And yes, I am talking about the version with fairy dust and wishes. You can be your own superhero if you want. At Easter Seals campsites, anything is possible.

At these campsites, children are able to face their fears and try things they have never done before. There is this activity called The Big Swing, but it essentially is ziplining. The first time I tried ziplining, I was probably thrilled but also terrified! The strangest thing is that it was the best feeling I’ve ever felt. That’s what this camp gives you. It will give you the opportunity to surprise yourself in wonderful ways. That’s the great thing about the camp. You can let go and be yourself, probably in ways you didn’t even know about. You kind of discover yourself and find the things you love.

Being yourself. It’s a bigger and more complicated topic for people with disabilities. My 24-year-old friend Emily Anderson says, “Camp gives me a sense of belonging, a place where I can just be me and not worry about not fitting into either the abled-bodied or disabled worlds.” Anderson uses a mixture of a crutch and a wheelchair to get around. She says, “When I was little, I didn’t want to go to camp, but by the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave.” Once you go to one of these camps, you’re in it forever.

Easter Seals Camps are magical

Children and young adults are able to face their fears and try things they have never done before at Easter Seals camps.

Easter Seals makes summer camp possible for people who need minimal and maximum support. Those who require minimal support wouldn’t need a support worker to assist them at camp as there are more than enough camp counsellors to help. This makes it possible for children with disabilities to experience summer camp like anyone else would.

The impact Easter Seals has on children and now adults is astonishing. Children have been going since they were six years old. Regardless if you’re in a wheelchair or not, you have the ability to be whoever you would like to be without limitations. It’s an amazing outlet that children can come back to every year. Throughout the years, I’ve become fierce and more confident. You have the opportunity to have random dance parties with some good friends and dance like nobody is watching. You tend to become a completely different person here, which is an amazing experience.

Easter Seals BC/Yukon relies on community support and special events so campers can have this one-of-a-kind experience. If you would like to send a kid to camp, please consider signing up for their upcoming event Woman2Warrior on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Swangard Stadium. Woman2Warrior is an untimed, five-kilometre run through grass, trail and track, featuring top-secret obstacles designed to test strength, agility, determination and endurance. To register check out woman2warrior.ca

Mohini Takhar graduated from Windermere Secondary and currently studies at Douglas College. In her spare time, she enjoys working with children and reading. She has spoken at events on behalf of the Centre for Child Development and is the 2016 recipient of the BC Council for Exceptional Children Yes I Can! award in the category of self-advocacy. thewritingsidee.blogspot.ca/

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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