Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/6/2011 (3755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When Rebecca Friesen got home from her first week at Camp Arnes three years ago, she told her mom she wanted to be a camp counsellor one day.
Rebecca was only six at the time. The counsellors had taken care of her. "They gave her teddy bears to hug, and they sat with her till she fell asleep," Rebecca's mother, Delia, says. Rebecca has returned to camp every year since.
Rebecca wouldn't be able to go to Camp Arnes if it weren't for the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund. Rebecca's mother, Delia, came to Canada from Paraguay when she was 19 with a husband who she says physically abused her. He left her a few years later, and Delia worked as a hairdresser before having Rebecca when she was 26.
She found her income as a hairdresser wasn't enough to support the two of them, so she went back to high school at 28 and completed Grade 12. She studies nursing at college while working as a ward clerk at a hospital.
Rebecca, now 10, answers questions shyly with just two or three words at a time, sitting next to her mother on a sofa in their home on Donwood Drive. Asked how much she looks forward to the camp, she softly says, "a lot." How excited is she? Again, those two words: "A lot." What would she say to someone who's thinking of going to camp? "Just go for it."
There's no hesitation in her voice, and she's never gotten homesick while she was there.
Her favourite camp activities are swimming and canoeing and the closest friend that she made there is a girl named Christina. "She has blond hair. She was really nice," Rebecca says.
Rebecca describes a game she played at camp called "capture the boot." Everyone throws their boots into a square, and then one team has to defend the boots while the other has to try to get by and grab the footwear without getting tagged.
For Delia, the fact that Camp Arnes is a Christian camp is important. She looks at it as a kind of concentrated Sunday school with lots of fun and games mixed in.
Rebecca says she reads the Bible every day at camp, and that she learns a lot.
Part of the fun of Camp Arnes is that Rebecca's aunt, Delia's sister, is the nurse. She motivated Delia to study to become a nurse, too.
For the past three years, the cost to send all the kids who applied to the Sunshine Fund to camp has exceeded the amount of funds collected. In previous years, the money collected exceeded the costs, so the fund was able to rely on that surplus till now. But more and more low-income families have sought sponsorship for their kids every year.
The Manitoba Camping Association, which helps manage the Sunshine Fund program, is anticipating a large number of applicants again this year, similar to the 1,000 it sent to camp last year. If it doesn't receive enough donations, some of these kids will have to stay home.
This year's donors are:
Walter and Melba Kruschel $200
Dan Bigelow $100
Paul Platz $100 In memory of Dorothy
Lynne Claydon $100 In memory of James
John A. Kell $100
Richard Winton $200
Anonymous $50 In memory of Bob Reynolds
Laurie Johnston $100
Anonymous $250 In memory of Roy and Donnie Miller
Ettie and Earl Robinson $1,000
Anonymous $200 In memory of Meg
George Waters $25
Bernard McQuade $50
Hazel Griffin $100
Geraldine Baker $25 In memory of my daughter, Pam Buchalter
Debby Lexier $35
Deanna Muller $25
Shirley Stovin $200
Larters Senior Putter League $500
Barbara Nikodem $150 In memory of Ronald Nikodem
Christopher J. Ball $20
Irene Lyon $25 In memory of Grace Lacey
Ralph and Loraine Huuk $100
John Melnick $350 In memory of firefighter Larry Quinn
Val Allardice $200 In memory of Jim and Kate
Joanie Fridell and Milton Freedman $100
Rietta and Jerry Floom and family $25
Burt and Mary Mulder $100 In memory of our daughter, Carrie
Carole Osler $70
Calvin Kukelko $25 In memory of Toni Brodie
Bernice Gregory $50
Claire Friesen $50
Fred and Lorna Buckmaster $150
Bob and Verna Wiebe $25
Nancy J. Reeve $200 In memory of my parents, Marc and Mary Bockstael
St. Andrew's Anglican Church ACW $100
Kay Stewart $50
N.G. Harvey $100
Betty Campbell $50
Joan Buck $25
Lynn Scott $200
Anonymous $50 In memory of Mrs. Jean Isbister
Rudy Schilling $25
Mike Babinsky $20
Mark, Sandy and Kayla Shuster $25 In memory of Charles S. J. Harvey
Mr. Lynwood Giles $100
Jan Bones $100 To celebrate Janice and Mary -- the "two new docs"
Naomi Mendelson $100 In memory of Dr. Jack Mendelson
Anonymous donations $2,410
Campers placed -- 444
Campers waiting -- 60
Campership cost -- $159,815.11
Donations this week -- $7,855
Donations to date -- $45,898.26