Children & Youth Leisure & Recreation Program: Day Camps in Brandon, MB Receive $10,000 Boost from TELUS

Jackie Wild (TELUS Community Investment Manager), Bill Muloin (SMD’s Children's Leisure & Recreation Program Supervisor), Dana Erickson (SMD’s CEO), Cindy Stumme (Manager of Rural Services at SMD’s branch in Brandon, MB)Left to Right: Jackie Wild (TELUS Community Investment Manager), Bill Muloin (SMD’s Children's Leisure & Recreation Program Supervisor), Dana Erickson (SMD’s CEO), Cindy Stumme (Manager of Rural Services at SMD’s branch in Brandon, MB)

The Society for Manitoban’s With Disabilities (SMD) is delighted to receive a $10,000 community grant from TELUS. The grant is part of the TELUS Manitoba Community Board which donates $500,000 annually to charities who provide programming to youth across Manitoba.

“At TELUS, we give where we live and support local youth-focused education programs by putting funding decisions in the hands of local leaders who know our communities best.” - TELUS

The grant will go towards supporting the growth of the Leisure and Recreation program – Day Camps for Children and Youth in Brandon, Manitoba which offers girls and boys aged 6-17 years old with disabilities the opportunity to actively participate socially and physically, aiming to improve overall quality of life and relationships.

The program has grown over 7 years from only 4 children during 2 weeks of summer to now offering six weeks with 10 children/youth enrolled per week. Plus, there is also a spring and winter camp. They travel daily (weather permitting) to various locations around Western Manitoba. Monthly activities include pottery, cooking classes, music therapy as well as social and educational outings.

SMD plans to continue growing the program and expand into other rural communities. To do this, they intend to use the grant towards acquiring additional equipment that will enhance the kid’s experiences along with the need to look for additional room rental space. Furthermore, the grant will go towards general costs such as special event outings, therapeutic horseback riding, swimming, administration, etc. The development of strong community partners (like TELUS) further enhances and strengthens the viability of the program.

Children and youth with disabilities face challenges such as the lack of extra-curricular activities to fill their summer, winter evenings and school breaks that allow them to sustain their skills and learn new ones in a fun, safe manner.

“Other than SMD, there are next to no resources these individuals can take advantage of that are cost efficient.” - Cindy Stumme

The majority of participants require one-to-one supports in order to take part in most activities along with completing activities of daily living. Technology also plays an important part in improving individuals overall experience. It allows everyone to obtain an equal opportunity and finds solutions for fighting social exclusion, discrimination and poverty through the application of innovative ICTs (Information Communication Technology Services) and open solutions. Furthermore, technology can be paired with communication strategies for individuals who need an alternative form of communication (i.e. those who are non-verbal, those who need to see pictures in order to make a decision, those who are Deaf or hard of hearing or who speak another language).

An important focus of the program is on empowering individual’s independence and patience is integral throughout the process. First, children are encouraged to try and complete tasks and activities on their own or incorporate the help from a peer. By doing so they learn to work together and not just rely on each other for things. Also, adaptability is important and SMD provides a fun way to learn these tasks to avoid the frustration that leads to giving up.

“Children with disabilities spend much of their days filled with attending appointments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, doctors’ appointments, specialist appointments etc. All of which are necessary but we cannot forget that children are supposed to play and have fun. Children learn through play. SMDs children’s Leisure and Recreation program allows kids to be kids. It offers children with disabilities the opportunity to do what children without disabilities do every day – LAUGH, PLAY AND HAVE FUN. ” - Cindy Stumme

Click Here for further information about SMDs Children and Youth Leisure and Recreation Program and for more info on TELUS’s community grant program, Click Here.