"Every time I visit camp during the summer, it's incredible the amount of joy, and just pure happiness, and laughter. The atmosphere at camp is so energetic and infectious it's an incredible experience it's so hard to describe. To be there on site in the summer, it's just magical" These words come from Easter Seals CEO Katherine Such, when discussing Camp Horizon.
Located about 35 minutes south of Cochrane near Bragg Creek, "Camp Horizon provides individuals with disabilities, and medical conditions with life-changing outdoor summer camp experiences", says Such.
Easter Seals Alberta who "Provide support and programs to individuals with disabilities and medical conditions", put their heart and soul into making sure these kids have the best camp experience, "Everything we do is all reflected into our programs and making sure our campers have the best experience possible" says Such, who is a longtime member of the Alberta charity, starting out as a work term student while in post-secondary education.
However, Such tells us the Pandemic was hard on the charity, "In 2020 we were forced to close our doors and cancel our summer camp season... With this forced closure camp Horizon lost revenue from school groups, parental groups, the opportunity to host camps for our clients. We were unable to host a variety of our planned fundraisers and many of our corporate and grant funders were unable to provide support. All of this, which just further compounded our financial strain".
Even with the pandemic seemingly in the rearview mirror, and campers being able to return to Camp Horizon, there are still some hurdles that the Easter Seals face to give kids summer camp memories that will last a lifetime. With the continuous rising costs, hiring of camp staff, and the need for fixing and upgrading of equipment, being listed as Such as bridges that the camp still needs to cross so that it is ready for campers this summer.
To support the Easter Seals and Camp Horizon, Such says that "The easiest way is to make an online donation on our website" or "If they have a unique idea for a fundraiser, we're happy to work through them, work with them through it, and provide them with the tools to be successful. We're always looking for volunteers to help with grounds maintenance and cleaning, and skilled trades at camp too".
Such believes that "Camp is only successful because we have strong community support and we really just are so looking forward to having our campers back at camp and seeing all their smiling faces again this year".
For more information on the Easter Seals, Camp Horizon, and how you can help kids go to camp this summer go to https://easterseals.ab.ca/.