British Columbia

Eager but unemployed during COVID-19, Surrey youth host free day camp

A group of B.C. university students with experience in child and youth care didn't let an unemployed summer due to the pandemic get in the way of their goals. They held a free outdoor summer camp in North Delta instead and are hoping the volunteer experience will be a resumé builder.

Surrey day camp workers laid off from summer jobs start their own for free

Harj Mann (left), Rachel Kennedy (middle), and Remy Sanghe (right) on the first day of camp in July located at Sunbury Park in North Delta. (Harjan Mann)

A group of B.C. university students with experience in child and youth care didn't let an unemployed summer due to the pandemic get in the way of their goals.

They held a free outdoor summer camp in North Delta instead and are hoping the volunteer experience will be a resumé builder.

Harjan Mann, Remy Sanghe, and Rachel Kennedy, spent six weeks of their summer from July until mid-August running the free day camp at Sunbury Park.

Mann said they worked together last summer as camp leaders at the South Surrey Recreation Centre but were laid off this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still they wanted to find a way to help parents struggling to keep their children engaged.

"The idea came around doing a summer camp program."

Mann along with Sanghe and Kennedy ran the camp for 6 to 8-year-olds, in groups to 15 children at a time.

Sanghe says parents were grateful and the children were eager to socialize with others.

"You know we understand how hard it is for parents to find child care as it is," he said. "Especially during covid, it's even harder."

Children from ages 6 to 8 years-old participate in outdoor activities at a free summer camp held in North Delta at Sunbury Park. (Harjan Mann)

Kennedy says part of the challenge was dealing with protocols put in place by the province to avoid spreading the virus.

"We kept the kids active with lots of outdoor activities since we were based outdoors and didn't have an indoor facility to use."

Mann says the group called the project "that orange house" and will consider holding a similar camp again.

"If there is another stay at home type of call, we'll plan accordingly and hopefully we're able to do something again for the community."

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