Windsor-Essex students leap into Jumpstart Games
'We understand it takes a village to raise a child'
For eight-year-old Fadi Kareem it was the best day he's ever had at a summer camp.
"We're having fun, and everyone's nice and respects us," said Kareem.
- Camp Wonder enrolment doubles in Windsor this summer
- Parents camp out overnight for a chance to get kids into free YMCA camps
Kareem is one of about 750 Windsor-Essex students that participated in the third annual Windsor Jumpstart Games sponsored by Canadian Tire.
Students from 23 schools across the region were involved in the games day at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. The event is part of Camp Wonder, a summer learning program with the public school board for children who might not get to attend summer camp otherwise.
"We understand it takes a village to raise a child," said Sharon Johnson, one of the coordinators of Camp Wonder and also a teaching consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board.
The camp has been running for seven years, and the number of campers continue to increase. The program has expanded from single-digit numbers in its first year to 32 classes this year. When school starts in September, Johnson said teachers can tell which children have attended the camp.
"These children come with new enthusiasm, and new self-confidence to pursue their learning throughout the rest of the year," Johnson said.
The Jumpstart Games has been part of Camp Wonder for three years. Jumpstart pays for all transportation and athletic gear for the children. The group also gives the kids a backpack with gifts stuffed inside at the end of the day.
"There are a lot of kids around the county that wouldn't be able to afford to go to other camps like this," said Harry Bell, regional manager for Jumpstart.
The Windsor games is one of 37 events put on by Jumpstart across Canada, and more paralympic sports are being added so that all kids can be included in the games. In Windsor, the kids participated in paralympic boccia.
Along with funding the games, Jumpstart has helped 2,337 kids participate in organized sports in Windsor. The organization assists families in financial need by covering costs associated with registration, equipment, and transportation.
"It's not all about health and physical activity, but definitely about building social character for the kids, helping them become better individuals," Bell said.