By Parry-Sound Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison
Summer camp is a treasured Canadian past time.
Not only is camp fun, it also provides a unique environment for children to grow, learn, and experience the great outdoors. Nowhere do we understand and appreciate the value of summer camp better than right here in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
Gone are the days when camp was the exclusive enclave of the privileged. Today, three-quarters of all camps are charities and non-profits and one third of all children attending camp come from vulnerable populations.
For many such young people, camp is the primary learning environment for building relationship skills, learning to live in the moment, fostering an appreciation for diversity, perseverance, and self-confidence.
Camps are also big contributors to our local economies. Across the country, summer camps employ more than 70,000 Canadians each year, mostly made of youth and students building vital skills for their future careers. Thousands of those jobs are right here in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
In normal times, hundreds of local businesses serve our vibrant summer camp sector but today their future is in jeopardy. Like many of us, summer camps have been hit hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at home, and all across Canada, camps are struggling with the impacts of a lost summer season and an uncertain future. Sadly, COVID-19 could have lasting permanent effects on the camp industry, preventing camps from continuing their valuable work to support children and families.
Here’s the stark reality:
Right now, more than half of Canadian camps face bankruptcy by December 2021. Ontario alone is home to almost 200 accredited camps. Many of those are right here in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
We need to save our camps.
Due to the huge social and economic benefits of the camp industry, I am calling on the federal government to provide the necessary financial support camps need to get through this pandemic.
We need this help right across this country;
We need this help right here at home;
And we need this help right now.
Please join me in this campaign to save our summer camps.
(Photo of Parliament Hill by festivio on Pixabay. Photo of Scott Aitchison courtesy of Scott Aitchison.)
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