I remember vividly my very first visit to Camp. At that time, I was an employee of SaskAbilities working in Fundraising and we gathered as an organization at Camp Easter Seal. Even before visiting, I was very familiar with Camp. I heard clients each day at the Regina Branch talk about their excitement as the countdown began to summer. I soon realized that hearing about Camp was different from being at Camp!
Arriving and seeing the lush green grounds, the historic chalet and the cozy cabins immediately made me smile. I watched the unfiltered joy of campers as they were just being themselves with their peers; enjoying activities while taking full advantage of how accessible everything was for them. You could easily hear laughter from every corner and direction as groups gathered for activities and games. No one was ever left out, everyone belonged. It struck me then just how magical Camp Easter Seal is and that feeling has stuck with me all these years later, now as a board member. I wish I could bottle Camp’s uplifting energy and share it with everyone I know, including you! It really is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
Part of Camp’s magic is its inclusivity – the unspoken acceptance of everyone by both campers and staff members. At Camp, everyone is different in their own unique way, which is something celebrated, not feared. Over the years since my first visit, Camp has seen many amazing changes, upgrades, and expansions. If you can believe it, Camp has managed to become even more inclusive and accessible. The one thing that never changes – its magic and impact!
Today, as a board member, my focus along with that of my colleagues is on the sustainability of Camp and the safety of campers. We know that Camp Easter Seal is a very special place to the thousands of campers who have attended since its inception in 1954, as well as their caregivers and families who put so much trust in staff members to keep their loved ones safe. I wish I could share with you the countless stories I’ve heard, both as an employee of SaskAbilities and a board member, of parents’ first-time jitters sending their kids off to Camp, some even hovering close to Camp “just in case.” While completely valid in their love and protection of their children, these stories always have a happy ending – one that includes those same parents dropping their children off at Camp summer after summer.
Since Camp re-opened last summer after a two-year hiatus of in-person programming, it has been both a personal joy of mine to see campers return to their home away from home as well as a professional accomplishment. I speak on behalf of all the board members when I say that this decision was made with much care and concern. Ultimately, it was a poignant moment and highlight for all of us – knowing the excitement campers would have and the much-deserved respite families and caregivers would receive. This summer will be another exciting one as camper applications have been flying in from across Saskatchewan. We anticipate meeting some new campers and their families as well as welcoming back familiar faces and their loved ones. I can only imagine the new friendships that will be formed, the multitude of memories made, and all of the fun that will be had this summer!
I also want to share with you that you don’t have to be an employee of SaskAbilities or a board member to make a huge impact! You can contribute to the magic of Camp Easter Seal as a supporter and donor. We each have a role to play in building inclusive communities and ensuring the legacy of Camp lives on for future generations. Your generous donation ensures children, youth, and adults experiencing disability in our community have access to life-enhancing recreational programs like Camp Easter Seal. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to extend our warmest gratitude and appreciation for your continued support of Camp Easter Seal. Together, we are contributing to the magic that is Camp Easter Seal.
In celebration of the 40th Stay at Home Tea and Camp Easter Seal, this year we are baking one of my favourite things with the help of some friends – cupcakes! While you can find a recipe enclosed for vanilla cupcakes and, what I would consider the best vanilla buttercream icing, I also encourage you to get creative. Feel free to choose multi-colour confetti sprinkles or your favourite fruit to perch on top of a hearty mound of icing – whatever makes you smile! This can also be an activity enjoyed with friends and family members, the more the merrier.
It brings me so much joy to imagine our Stay at Home Tea community coming together once again from all across Saskatchewan to support campers. It is an honour to contribute to this campaign and I thank you for welcoming me into your homes for this special occasion.
Please remember to join me live on June 23 at 2 PM by visiting SaskAbilities’ Camp Easter Seal or Easter Seals™ Saskatchewan on Facebook as we raise our teacups in support of Camp Easter Seal and catch all the baking fun. I also invite you to send us photos of your own cupcake creations so that we might share them on our website or social media pages. You can email them to SaskAbilities at email@example.com. I look forward to celebrating our shared love of Camp Easter Seal and connecting with you all again.
Past President & Board Member,
Camp Easter Seal Supporter
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This year’s letter can be viewed here.
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