Jennifer Cranston, reporter with The Essex Free Press posted this report on August 29, 2013.
CITY KIDS CELEBRATE END OF SUMMER IN THE COUNTRY
About 80 children from Windsor came to Co-An Park to celebrate the end of summer.
These children are participants in a summer recreation program run by Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation and come from seven communities across Windsor. The children range in age from 5-12. The program is about 25 years old, and is run at no cost to the families.
This program employs university and high school students as counselors and some of the administration.
Sara Power of Maidstone is the Administration Coordinator and supervises all the camps. This is her seventh year with the program and she is sad to say it will be her last. She has finished her studies at the University of Windsor and will move on to a year-round program studying law at Queens University in Kingston.
“I love this program,” she said. “The relationships you build with these kids are incredible.”
She says that one of her favorite parts of the program is getting children doing activities in the community that they might not normally have access to. The children get to go swimming regularly and go to see a movie and visit Seacliff Beach in Leamington and Blue Water Fun Park in Sarnia.
Power says one of the most important parts of the program is community building. Children meet their neighbours and make friends of them. During trips they meet children from neighbouring communities and build relationships there as well.
This year was the first year for a youth program for children aged 12-16. That program was designed and run by Tyler Leal who just finished his studies in peace and conflict resolution at the University of Waterloo.
Leal explained that the program was a lot like summer camp but geared to older children. The youth participated in workshops at New Beginnings and enjoyed visits by University of Windsor athletes who promoted post secondary education and healthy living. They also had a visit from an art teacher. Those children voted to end their summer playing laser tag so they were absent from the picnic.
“For a lot of them it was their first time and they had a blast,” said Leal.