Main photo: Jack Spring, Riley Spring and Shannan Pratt with Forest the dog during a past summer at Bella Lake. (Courtesy of Mary Spring)
From the beginning of this pandemic we have been worried about the health of Canadians. We fear for the health and safety of our seniors in long-term care homes. We are concerned about small businesses surviving, staggering unemployment and stressed parents who have become teachers.
One of our biggest concerns, however, needs to be the health of our children. Our children are at risk and we must not forget their physical and mental health.
Many children are spending a lot of time online with schooling and they miss their friends.
I am thinking back to my childhood right now and remembering times and events that were most memorable for me. If I were a child right now my life would be so different.
At the age of ten I was an active member of the Girl Guides of Canada. Weekly meetings provided opportunities for friendship and learning. Experiences such as camping at Albion Hills were especially memorable. In 2020, the Girl Guide meetings have been cancelled.
I spent eight glorious summers at a camp north of Kingston. For me, camp was my refuge, my opportunity to live away from home, to meet lifelong friends and to learn skills that were so valuable. In university I helped to run a day camp in Etobicoke and I understand how much fun it was for the children. Would I be going to camp in 2020?
After high school I lived in a residence at the University of Waterloo, along with 48 others on one floor. Residence was a life changer for me, as this is where I again met lifelong friends and learned to cope away from home. It led to apartment living in second year and more life skills learned. If I were university bound in September of 2020 there likely would be no residence. All of my learning would be online. What kind of an experience is that for university or college aged students?
In 2020, summer is going to be very long and extremely different for our children. Soccer in Huntsville has been cancelled. The CNE will not take place. What about day camps? Some overnight camps have already been cancelled. Will families be able to camp in provincial parks or travel across provincial borders? The snow in early May is somewhat discouraging, but summer is looking bleak for many children as well.
As a community, we need to band together to help our children. As a collective group of citizens, what can be done to help our children to manage at this difficult time? I propose a working group of people who might be willing to brainstorm some ideas for the next few months.
Let’s not forget our children.
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