Help­ing chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence sum­mer camp

The Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - CÉLINA IP cip@postmedia.com

Fam­ily and Chil­dren’s Ser­vices (FCS) of Ren­frew County has of­fi­cially kicked off the 2017 Sum­mer Smiles Cam­paign.

Since 1980, the FCS has been en­gag­ing in the Sum­mer Smiles Cam­paign to fundraise for its Dar­lene Aikens Me­mo­rial Sum­mer Camp Pro­gram that en­sures chil­dren across Ren­frew County are given the chance to en­joy the ben­e­fits of at­tend­ing a sum­mer camp.

Ac­cord­ing to FCS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ari­jana Haram­in­cic, stud­ies show a sum­mer camp ex­pe­ri­ence pro­vides great ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits for chil­dren in ar­eas like self-es­teem, so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and health and well-be­ing.

“The safety and well-be­ing of chil­dren is very im­por­tant. So the safety part is mak­ing sure that they have their im­me­di­ate needs cov­ered and the well-be­ing part is mak­ing sure that they have fun and they de­velop friendships and long-last­ing con­nec­tions,” said Haram­in­cic.

She added that with­out the Sum­mer Smiles Cam­paign hun­dreds of Ren­frew County kids would not be able to ex­pe­ri­ence the so­cial, de­vel­op­men­tal and real fun that camp can bring.

“Re­gard­less of where the child lives in Ren­frew County, we’ll be send­ing them to the camp they choose to go to,” said Haram­in­cic.

In 2016 alone, the com­mu­nity sup­ported the cam­paign so much that it raised nearly $30,000 to send 215 chil­dren to camp.

This year, the hope is to raise enough to be able to send just as many kids – if not more – to camp.

“Our goal is to con­tinue this year to reach at least 200 chil­dren and if we can sur­pass it then that’s great,” said Haram­in­cic.

From now un­til mid-Au­gust, the FCS will be reach­ing out to in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses, churches and so­cial groups in hopes to rais­ing funds for the cam­paign to help put a smile on kids’ faces and send them to camp.

To learn more about the Sum­mer Smiles Cam­paign in sup­port of the Dar­lene Aikens Sum­mer Camp Fund and to do­nate, con­tact fund devel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor Dave Hen­der­son at 613-735-6866 ext. 4041 or email dave.hen­der­son@ fc­sren­frew.on.ca

CÉLINA IP / DAILY OB­SERVER

Fam­ily and Chil­dren's Ser­vices of Ren­frew County of­fi­cially kicked off its 2017 Sum­mer Smiles Cam­paign on May 16 at Pem­broke's Ro­tary Park. On hand to pro­mote the cam­paign (from left) are Pem­broke Coun. John McCann, FCS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ari­jana Haram­in­cic and FCS fund devel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor Dave Hen­der­son.

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