Coming to the rescue of four campers

‘It’s amazing that they helped with all four. They are a godsend’


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Lisa Faulkner is a busy woman. She’s been a school bus driver for 12 years and is raising four kids independently.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/07/2022 (214 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Lisa Faulkner is a busy woman. She’s been a school bus driver for 12 years and is raising four kids independently.

She tries to spoil her kids as often as possible, but money is tight.

One of her children’s favourite summer activities is going to camp, but Faulkner didn’t think it would be possible for them to go this year.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Camp ‘wouldn’t have been possible’ without the Sunshine Fund, says Lisa Faulkner, holding granddaughter Malena Basso beside daughters Mireya Faulkner (top step) and Ray-Li Faulkner (left).

“In previous years, I would register them in January and make payments toward it every month. Since registration didn’t open this year until March, there’s no way I would’ve had the money paid before camp started,” she said. “I thought I was going to have to pick one or two to go this summer and have them take turns every year.”

In a pinch, Faulkner started talking about the situation to people she knew. Her neighbour mentioned the Sunshine Fund might help pay for her oldest daughter to go since she is autistic. After applying, Faulkner was thrilled to learn the fund had accepted all four of her children.

“My kids wouldn’t be going to camp if it wasn’t for the Sunshine Fund. It is amazing that they helped with all four. They are a godsend,” she said. “I don’t bring in a lot of money and we live in subsidized housing, so if it wasn’t for an agency like this, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

As part of the Manitoba Camping Association, the Sunshine Fund provides as much as $700 per child for low-income households. Each year, the fund sends 600 children to various camps in Manitoba and Ontario.

Three of the kids will go to InterVarsity’s Circle Square Ranch Spruce Woods; her oldest will go to Pioneer Camp.

“We are grateful for the Sunshine Fund because without them, a lot of kids wouldn’t be able to come to our camp,” said Danielle Ingram, executive director of Circle Square Ranch. “We point a lot of families to the Sunshine Fund and we see them so relieved and happy because they want their kids to come and have this experience.”

At camp, children learn new skills, participate in activities and make new friends.

“After two years of the pandemic and kids not having the opportunities they have had in the past, camp is a great experience. We’re so glad to be a part of that and welcome the kids thanks to the Sunshine Fund,” Ingram said. “We often see the campers who are involved with the fund return in following years, so it’s nice for us to see that they are enjoying coming to camp.”

With all four kids attending camp over the summer, Faulker will be able to enjoy time alone for the first time in years.

“I’m not used to having a quiet house, so I’m not sure I’ll get used to it. I like to be out in my yard doing some gardening and I am hoping to get some stuff done in my downtime.”

Faulkner said she would recommend the Sunshine Fund to other families who are looking to send their kids to camp.

Applications for the fund are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and can be found on the Manitoba Camping Association website.

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