In the summer of 2006, a six (6) week summer camp pilot project was undertaken in the Municipalities of Bonne Esperance and St. Augustine to provide a Summer Camp for youth. The summer camp entitled Kindness, Inspiration, Determination, Spirit, “KIDS”, has proven to be a great success.
The mission of KIDS Summer Camp is to nurture and develop a safe and healthy environment in which youth can improve their health and obtain skills that will assist them in their future lives, through physical activities, mental development, artistic growth, environment awareness and community/family participation.
In 2007, the Coasters Association expanded the KIDS Summer Camp to two (2) additional communities (La Tabatiere, and Blanc Sablon), as well worked in partnership with, and supported, the Eau-Naturelle Discovery Camp in Chevery, and the two (2) camps already established were maintained. In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the five camps were in operation and ran very well.
Living in such a remote area as the Lower North Shore, finding new and exciting activities for our youth is a constant challenge. We do not have access to the amenities of a larger community; therefore, we have to be creative in our endeavour to provide a place where our youth can interact with other youth, as well as create an environment in which they can express themselves, learn new and exciting things and most importantly have fun.
Socialization is an important component of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. Isolation and a lack of interpersonal skills increase the stress of everyday situations and contribute to negative self-esteem. Therefore, the involvement with a social group increase the youth’s sense of community and social support, as well as providing an environment in which youth can improve their health and obtain skills that will assist them in their future lives.
Furthermore, with the economic downfall on the Lower North Shore, many parents have no other choice but to leave the coast to seek employment, leaving their children behind for a period of four (4) to six (6) months, with grandparents or guardians, thus causing problems for youth in the early stages of his/her life. Through the KIDS Summer Camp, the goal is to provide services to assist parents and guardians, thereby leading to the improvement of the social and learning capacities of children ages four to twelve (4-12) years.
The KIDS Summer Camp, not only fulfills its mission but provides employment opportunities for our students who are furthering their education. It is a social, educational, environmental, cultural, community and historical development activity. It is also known that kids who are involved in summer activities (such as the camp) do better in the up-coming school year, and participate more in community events.
The KIDS Summer Camp is an exceptional program; however, through assessments we have realized that much work has to be done to ensure the sustainability of this worthwhile initiative in the areas of program development, setting up of operational structure and continued expansion of the KIDS Summer Camp Program.