CAMP AMY MOLSON IN THE NEWS
DECEMBER 2010 - MONTREAL GAZETTE
Foster children find a place in the sun
2008 - MONTREAL GAZETTE
Summer camp an anchor for inner-city kids
2008 - the chronicle
a camp that really cares - kids enjoy simple summer pleasures
By JULIE QUENNEVILLE
Not all children have the chance to enjoy fresh air, outdoor activities and sing-a-longs during the summer, but Camp Amy Molson is dedicated to changing that.
Costs for the residential camp operate on a sliding scale, rising up to $480 per two-week session, to allow underprivileged children to attend.
Executive director Georgina Ricard said the actual cost is $700 per child and the provincial government and Centraide fund the camp. Remaining costs are covered by donations.
We’re always in need of money. We’re always in deficit, she said.
The Grenville, Que., camp was founded in 1944 by the Ladies Benevolent Society, thanks to money donated by Amy Molson. At the time, it welcomed orphans. Today, 150 campers aged four to 12 and 70 staff members attend.
A lot of the kids are sent here and they don’t really want to be here, but by the time they leave, they don’t want to leave,” Ricard said.
‘We have really good role models. It’s something I think they remember for years.’
Jelani Lattimore, 11, of Pierrefonds, has been attending Camp Amy Molson for four years. He said he looks forward to it every year.
‘(Yesterday), I did swimming, baseball, pottery. . . we had lunch then we had cabin choice,’ he said. Cabin choice allows the children to decide what they want to do, so the boys chose to practice a dance routine they later presented to the rest of the campers.
Pincourt resident Amanda Fairchild, 11, stays in touch with her camp friends during the year. She loves the camp and hopes to eventually become a counselor, she said.
Some campers are sponsored by CLSCs or Batshaw Youth and Family Services. Cathy Carroll, manager of camping referrals at Batshaw, said camps are good for all children,
but “I think for our kids it’s more important because for a lot of them, they don’t go on vacation. It’s the only time they can get off the street, she said. Some children are left unsupervised and at risk during the summer, she added, so they have to be placed in temporary homes.
‘For us, it’s an important time to get them out of the city and just be kids. A lot of our kids are also older than they should be.’
Carroll sends about 600 children to camp each year, but another 100 are on a waiting list. She blames lack of government funding, which she said has not changed since 1992, while have doubled.
Pointe Claire resident Shauna Joyce feels she has helped many children during her seven years at the camp.
‘A lot of them have hard lives and they will open up to you if you just stop and listen,’ said the 21-year-old. ‘I don’t think we can change the kids in two weeks but just being accepted and being loved makes a difference.’
However, her first year was difficult emotionally. She recalled being on night supervision and comforting a seven-year-old boy with recurring nightmares.
‘He had seen his father get shot that year and he talked about it very easily.’
Being a counselor is very rewarding, Joyce added.
“There’s people here who (the children) really respect and who they really care about and they won’t talk to just anyone so when they do open up to you, you really feel like you’ve gotten through.
Danny Labreque, a 23-year-old counselor from Dollard des Ormeaux, agreed.
‘You feel like you really help the kids out. Last year, one kid told me that he wished I were his father. Little things like that will make the summer worthwhile.’
To contact Camp Amy Molson, call (514) 484-9919.
Affordable overnight camp
Camp Amy Molson is a affordable sleep-over camp for inner-city Montreal children, aged 5 to 13 years old. Camp Amy Molson offers 3 sessions of 15 days each.
The staff-to-camper ratio is better than one to three, so that all the youngsters are guaranteed very personal care.
With a sliding scale for registration fee's Camp Amy Molson tries to make camp an affordable option to all families.
MONDAY TO FRIDAY
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM