Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sending a child to camp can be a big step

Mom was worried son would be homesick

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Crystal Davis sent her six-year-old son, Michael, to Camp Arnes for three days this summer.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Crystal Davis sent her six-year-old son, Michael, to Camp Arnes for three days this summer. Photo Store

As Crystal Davis can attest, parents are often more nervous than their kids when it comes to summer camp.

Dropping off her six-year-old son, Michael, at Camp Arnes earlier this month, Davis lingered as Michael jetted off to play with a friend.

"I had to force myself to leave. I'm like, 'I'm going to be one of those parents, I better go now,' " Davis said.

But Michael had a fantastic time at camp, said his mom.

While he was a bit shy to talk specifics about his camp experience with a strange interviewer, he relayed his thoughts through his mom.

His favourite part about camp?

"The flying squirrel," he told Davis. "They're attached to bungees, and then they're pulled on a rope and they go flying in the air."

Very cool. And any other fond memories?

"There's a little tuck shop. He got a new camo hat that says "Camp Arnes" and treats a couple times a day," Davis said.

Michael only camped out for three days, but his short schedule was jam-packed with activities, such as swimming, singing, Bible study and snack time.

Davis said she was worried Michael would miss home, but he didn't get the chance to fret -- he was too busy having fun.

"At home, he actually crawls into bed with me at night. So I was worried that he was going to wake up and nobody was going to be there," Davis said. "But they're so busy during the day that they're actually tired at night. The program was fantastic and if it wasn't for the Sunshine Fund, my kids would never be able to experience anything like this."

Davis, who also has an 18-year-old daughter, Victoria, and a four-year-old daughter, Hayley, said she couldn't afford to send her kids to camp and found out about the opportunity provided by the Sunshine Fund from a friend.

"The process was fairly simple and it's not invasive. It doesn't make you feel like any less of a person when you're applying for it either," Davis said. "They're very friendly and very understanding."

The Davis family will definitely be enrolling for camp again next year, and this time Michael will go for the long haul, if he has his way.

"As he was leaving (camp) he said, 'Next time, it's not only going to be for three days. Next time, I'm going for 10!' "

If you'd like to help send kids to camp, send cheques to the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund at 302-960 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0R4.

You can also donate in person at that address, the home of the Manitoba Camping Association, using cash, Visa or MasterCard. Or you can go to mbcamping.ca and follow the CanadaHelps donation link. Tax receipts will be issued for donations.

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 26, 2014 B4

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