April 30, 2020

Hello Awakening Community,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

We have written, and rewritten, this letter several times because we have news to share and while likely not unexpected, it will be disappointing to hear.

The health, safety and well-being of our campers and staff has been Camp Awakening’s top priority since our founding more than 38 years ago – and is the deciding factor in today’s announcement.

At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors, we came to the difficult decision that Camp Awakening must suspend all on-site and in-person camp programs for summer 2020 as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are following the advice of health, government, and camping authorities and Camp Awakening’s own volunteer Medical Advisors. We feel confident that this is in the best interests of our entire community, but like you, we are incredibly sad and disappointed.

However, we pledge to continue our mission to “create fun, safe and supportive environments where youth with physical disabilities can increase independence, learn new skills, develop confidence and make lasting friendships”.  We are working on new and innovative ways to reach our campers and staff through the summer as kids of all ages and abilities need connection and community now, more than ever.

The Awakening community is strong, thoughtful and supportive, even when we’re not together in person.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a voicemail at 416-487-8400.

Keep Paddling!

Tracy Morley
Executive Director

 


 

April 16, 2020

Hello Awakening Families,

We hope this message finds you all well – and warm.  We had snow flurries in Toronto today!

What’s happening with camp right now…

The health and safety of our campers, staff and host camp communities are the most important parts of any final decision Camp Awakening will make.  As new information becomes available every day (like confirmation that schools will not reopen on May 4th as anticipated) and with so much uncertainty, we have made the decision to again delay the final camp package and postpone the camp fee due date for a few more weeks.  We continue to work closely with health, government, and camping authorities and plan to make our final decision by mid-May.

However, just like our campers, we are dreaming of summer days on the shores of Gull and Eagle lakes.  So, keep thinking positive thoughts!

How can WE support YOU?

In the meantime, we want to do whatever we can to meet the needs of our community in some new and creative ways!  We’ve been hosting weekly online events (including Awakening's Awesome Architecture Activity coming up tomorrow!), sharing resources and some good old-fashioned fun & games on social media.  Links to follow us are below.

We also want to know how we can support you right now.  We shared a short SURVEY last week asking for your input.  If you haven’t had a chance to complete it, please take a few minutes between today and the deadline on Sunday - or reach out via email and we can set up a video or phone chat check-in just with your family.

Sending hugs, handshakes and high fives to all of you.

Keep Paddling!

Tracy & Andy

p.s. Check out our social media for resources and activities to do at home:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 


 

April 8, 2020

Hello Awakening Community,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones happy, healthy and thinking positive thoughts!

Last week, we hosted a reverse scavenger hunt, our first (of many!) online events. We had so much fun and it was such a delight getting to see the smiling faces of our campers (great work choosing your items!).

It also really hit home how important community is during difficult times. Which brings us to the main question:

How can WE support YOU?

We have put together a brief SURVEY to get a better idea of how we can. Please take a moment, fill it out, and let us know what is on your mind.

As always, never hesitate to reach out! We are more than happy to hear your ideas - or just have a chat. These are strange times and we are doing everything in our power to meet the needs of our community.

Sending hugs, handshakes and high fives to all of you.

Keep Paddling!

Tracy & Andy

 


 

March 31, 2020

Hello Awakening Families,

How are you holding up?

It’s only been two weeks since our last note, but with the world changing daily, if not hourly, we wanted to check in again and see how your family is coping.  We also want to know if there’s anything we can do to help - more on that below.

We are somewhat settled into the work-from-home routine, but definitely missing each other, our colleagues at the Toronto office, and most especially our Camp Awakening community.  So, we thought we’d take a moment to share what’s happening with camp right now and what we’ve got planned to connect us all over the next few weeks and beyond.

What’s happening with camp right now...

We still have no idea what impact COVID-19 might have on camp this summer, but we are thinking positive thoughts and, for now, continuing to plan & prepare as best we can.  However, given all the uncertainty, we have made the decision to delay the final camp paperwork that was originally scheduled to be sent to you tomorrow (things like health forms, doctor’s forms, pre-camp surveys, etc.).  We will revisit this decision in mid-April.

Yesterday we published a special edition of The Paddler camper newsletter packed with resources for you and activities for your camper and family.

...and beyond?

This Thursday we will host our first virtual camp event. Your whole family is invited to join our Reverse Scavenger Hunt!

Step 1:

Find and bring 15 objects from your home to your computer.

Hint: we are looking for 3 items from your kitchen, 3 from your bedroom, 2 from your bathroom, 2 from your living room and 5 bonus items from anywhere!

Step 2:

Meet us online via Zoom on Thursday, April 2 at 1:30pm to find out if you have chosen your items correctly!

The link will be posted to our social media on Thursday morning.

Step 3:

Celebrate how good you are at reverse scavenger hunting!

How can we help YOU??

We are sure that today’s news that schools will be closed for at least another month has many of you worried about how to keep your camper engaged and entertained.  We want to help!  Our current plan is to share daily ideas and resources via social media and host some kind of activity online at least once a week.

However, we don’t want to overwhelm you or add any stress to your already hectic lives.  Participate as much, or as little, as suits you and your camper.

Finally, if there’s any other way Camp Awakening can help your family right now, we’d love to hear from you.  Send us an email or set up a call with us during the day or evening (we’re just hanging out at home so the 9am-4pm office hours really don’t apply right now!)

Sending hugs, handshakes and high fives to all of you.

Keep Paddling!

Tracy & Andy


 

March 18, 2020

Hello Awakening Families and Friends,

How are YOU doing? 

If you’re anything like us, you are feeling pretty overwhelmed and worried by all that is happening in the world at the moment.  We wanted to check in and let you know we are thinking of you - and thinking positive thoughts about Camp Awakening’s 38th season.

Health & Wellness Is Our Top Priority

With the start of camp still months away, it is impossible to predict the impact of COVID-19 on camp programs for this summer, but we are closely monitoring the situation and are being guided by public health officials across several jurisdictions.

This includes the Health Protection and Promotion Act for Recreational Camps; the Public Health guidance for schools (K-12) and childcare programs (COVID-19); the best practices recommended by the Ontario Camps Association, of which we are an accredited camp; and by the protocols and practices of Toronto Public Health, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s Not All Bad - Virtual Fun Coming Soon!

Assistant Director Andy and I are working remotely for the time being.  As camp people who love being social and love our camp community, this is tough and we bet a lot of you are feeling the same way.

So, in the next few weeks with campers out of school and parents looking for a break, we hope to launch a series of online gatherings via Zoom (a free online video conferencing tool) and a special edition of The Paddler camper newsletter packed with resources.  Stay tuned…

The Awakening community is strong, thoughtful and supportive, even when we’re not together in person.  Sending hugs, handshakes, and high fives to all of you.

Keep Paddling!

Tracy Morley
Executive Director