Helping Syrian Refugees

The Government of Canada has committed to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada. All refugees are to be identified by December 31, 2015 and arrive in Canada no later than the end of February 2016.

“Canadians can and must do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “This is about showing leadership and doing what is right as Canadians and we are doing the right thing by immediately helping 25,000 Syrian refugees. Canada will make a difference, and we encourage all Canadians to do what they can to help.”

In support of this worthy initiative, the Canadian Camping Association is challenging Canadian camps to do what they can to help Syrian refugees in Canada. Not only can camps make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s promise of action on the Syrian refugee crisis, but they can also introduce Syrian families to the tradition of summer camp that is shared by millions of Canadian children each year.

Here is how Canadian camps can help:

Offer Summer Camp Spots to Families in Transition

Camp Fircom (British Columbia) is offering spots for 25 children from Syrian refugee families to attend their camp in 2016. They have also issued a challenge to all Canadian summer camps – match their goal of supporting 25 children from refugee families to attend one week of summer camp.

Fircom is challenging and encouraging 100 camps across Canada to equal their 25 campership goal. For some camps, a smaller number may be realistic.

Interested in learning more about Fircom’s challenge?  You can email Executive Director Jeff Willis at

Interested in donating camper spots? There are organizations in your area that are looking for those interested in helping refugee families.

Supporting Refugee Families in Ontario

Canadian camps have always taken a lead to create opportunities for Canadians and people around the world to benefit from summer camp. Whether it is positive values, ever lasting friendships, and memorable experiences that camps provide, the accredited camping industry finds ways to make camp available to all.

As was mentioned at their annual conference in January, the Ontario Camps Association has had discussions with agencies that are helping and supporting Syrian refugee families. An opportunity is available for your camp to offer spots to refugee children to attend your camp. Many camps have already offered spaces. The OCA is hoping the community can come together to offer hundreds of spaces for our newest members of their province. In addition, they see this as a starting point for future endeavours to make camp accessible to various other groups of children who otherwise would not be able to attend camp.

If you’d like to help, please provide Mark Diamond ( a short email:

  • Indicating if your camp wishes to join us
  • Number of spaces you could provide
  • Session length
  • Dates
  • Ages of camper spaces

Once Mark has received your information, he will work with the OCA to match families with you. Of course all families will not have an automatic right to have their child attend camp. Camps will use their protocols for interviewing the family and camper to ensure that both the family and the camp feel comfortable with the match. Social workers are usually involved in assessing if a child should be going to camp and each child’s personal situation will be different and taken into consideration in determining if summer camp is even an option.

Reach out to us!

The CCA will acknowledge those camps supporting refugee families. Let us know what you are doing to help by contacting us on Twitter, Facebook, and/or by email.