Children and camp counsellors have fun on the beach during a FUN camp in Metchosin.

Nature-based creativity ever present at camps

Youth-lead initiatives front and centre during Metchosin summer camps

While the students are away, Pearson College will still be rife with learning.

Summer at the Metchosin campus promises to be a busy one, as the Friends Uniting for Nature Society will host their FUN Camps. Operations director Lucas Ker said the activities are focused on environmental education and are youth-led.

“The camper identifies a passion project … something that gets them interested and active, and leverages that idea into an action project that makes the community better in some small way,” he said. “At the end of the summer, they apply to be a FUN champ. We mentor them for a year and hopefully it is presented and the project is either finished, or in existence.”

The society can even help fund ideas. The creators of selected projects receive up to $500 to help kickstart their Passion Project, after presenting their ideas at a gala. Examples of previous projects include a walking school bus, entrepreneurial opportunities for students, fundraising for environmental or wildlife initiatives and a biking extravaganza promoting biking in school.

“(Campers) are as young as five and have an idea on how to make the world better … we support that from an idea to a reality,” Ker said.

“Most kids aren’t interested in making change and don’t believe they can. It’s great we can start creating this social consciousness and help them realize no matter how small or young they are, they can always make a difference.”

After comparing the mandates of several different summer camp opportunities, Stephane Vaudandaine enrolled his daughters Elodie, 11, and Liberté, 9, in FUN Camps a year ago. Both girls are returning this year.

“The kids have the ability to be part of it and use their imagination to come up with ideas and things they want to do,” he said. “Instead of staff saying do this now or do that … they are more listening (for) what the kids want to do and help make it happen. This is the approach I find a lot more interesting in terms of educating kids to become leaders, by (helping) enabling themselves.”

Last year, Elodie raised money with a movie night at her school for an organization protecting Macaw parrots in Costa Rica. “She used the school as part of achieving her passion and that’s opened some connections and teaches them they can (enable) themselves,” Stephane said. “It gives them the ability (to see) as a kid you are a person and you can have an effect on society.”

Camps are for youth between five and 16 years old and take place at Pearson College, 630 Pearson College Dr. The fees are between $200 and $250, but there are also free programs for youth who can’t afford the camps. The first camp starts July 4. For more information visit funsociety.ca.

alim@goldstream  gazette.com

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