The Power of Camp

Posted on December 5, 2016 by Catherine Ross

David Graham, Executive Director of Brigadoon Children’s Camp in Nova Scotia, shares a powerful story that could only happen at camp:

As the parents’ cars drove away on arrival day, a small group of boys started an impromptu game of soccer on the playing field.  As more boys arrived, it became apparent that they needed to get organized. “Let’s divide into teams. Shirts and Skins.” Half the boys immediately pulled off their T-shirts, tossed them to the sidelines and play continued.  As Dave explained it, this would never happen at school or at the neighbourhood park − because every camper’s chest revealed a long scar from cardiac surgery.

Brigadoon Village is a year round facility that offers camp programming to children and youth with a chronic illness, chronic condition or special needs.  Similarly, at camps for children with diabetes, no one stares or questions when a camper steps aside in the middle of an activity and self-administers insulin.  At camps for children with exceptionalities, where campers are no different from their cabin mates, they can be themselves and gain the strength and confidence to live happily in the real world where they are perceived as different.

Such is the power of camp.









Past Communications Officer at Canadian Camping Association
Catherine's lifelong love of camping began in 1953 when she accompanied her mother, the new camp cook, to Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park. She remained at Tan until 1978 as a camper and in several staff roles. After five years as a teacher, in 1979, Catherine and her husband George purchased Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da for girls in Parry Sound, Ontario which they owned for 20 years. Catherine has served on the Board of the Ontario Camps Association, and is Past President of the Society of Camp Directors. She is served as Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA, as is a recipient of the CCA's Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAsional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.