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Helping overnight camps get ready for summer 2021

The province is providing support to assist overnight camps for children and youth so they can be ready to open in 2021.

These camps have been affected in a unique way due to the COVID-19 pandemic, losing revenue while incurring ongoing overhead costs such as insurance, security systems and utilities to maintain facilities and prevent damage. Under the Overnight Camps (for Children and Youth) Facility Overhead Funding Program, non-profit organizations that own or operate overnight camps and meet criteria will be able to apply for a one-time grant to help with ongoing facility costs so they can open next year.

“Overnight camps play a vital role in providing recreation and cultural experiences, education, social interaction and skill development for Alberta’s children and youth. Many camps will not survive a full year of lost revenue, which would be devastating for our children and youth who are struggling without school, their friends or extracurricular activities. This funding for overnight camps is an important investment in our kids to ensure the excitement and lifelong memories of an overnight camp experience are there for our kids next summer.” Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
“Overnight camps for children are invaluable to the holistic well-being of children and the staff that service them. As a mother of campers, a teacher, former camp staff member and camp board member, I have seen for the past 20 years how camps across Alberta instil and develop skills and values in our children critical to citizenship. Most importantly, they develop extensive relationship skills that foster community building and contribute to inclusion, open-mindedness, caring for others of all ages, leadership and confidence. Camps teach our children to live lives of integrity and critical awareness. Camp gives children and staff time in our environment in which they learn to appreciate nature and be balanced as people who contribute to the common good.”Shanley Mercer, parent and former camp staff member

The one-time grant program addresses a number of funding gaps compounded by the summer closure of overnight camps. Overnight camps are not typically eligible for existing federal or provincial pandemic response funding, and because they are usually remote or rural, they cannot generate revenue through day programming or rental of space. However, non-profit organizations that operate other public spaces, such as community halls, sport, recreation and cultural facilities, will be able to operate their facilities and generate revenue in some capacity in stages two and three of Alberta’s relaunch.

“We are so thrilled the province sees our industry as invaluable to our communities. This grant will go a long way to helping us maintain overnight camping in Alberta in the years to come. We are so appreciative. Our camp was very concerned about celebrating our 65th anniversary in 2021. This money can help erase that doubt.” Stacy Shaikin, camp director, Camp BB Riback
“Easter Seals Alberta and Camp Horizon have proudly served Albertans with disabilities and complex medical conditions for over 50 years. Due to COVID-19, we have lost all sources of revenue. We have lost all of our planned fundraising events and had to cancel all summer camps at Camp Horizon. Not only did we lose our revenue, but our campers are so disappointed to lose their summer experiences and friendships. Some of our campers have been attending Camp Horizon for over 40 years! The unfortunate reality is that we still have fixed costs just to maintain Camp Horizon and to make sure we are viable when this is all behind us. We need to maintain the facilities and many of our costs are unavoidable. We still need running water, heat and facility maintenance staff. We are committed to doing all that we can do to keep our doors open so that future generations of Albertans with disabilities can come to Camp Horizon and experience inclusion, increased self-esteem and barrier-free recreation.” Paula Telfer, chief executive officer, Easter Seals Alberta

The Overnight Camps (for Children and Youth) Facility Overhead Funding Program will be a new stream under the Community Initiatives Program. To be eligible, an organization must own or operate permanent overnight camp facilities for children and youth and show a loss in revenue equal to or greater than their fixed overhead costs. Overnight camp organizations must also demonstrate financial need and that they are planning for their future viability. Program details are being confirmed, and the online application is expected to be available soon.

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 31.

Provincial Press Release June 18, 2020 at 2:03 PM

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