Camp “Kids First”

Camp “Kids First” is a summer day camp for autistic and other exceptional children aged 4-17-years-old in the Wood Buffalo region.  Participants have the opportunity to experience typical summer camp experiences like their peers do. We offer experiences such as swimming, rock-climbing, music and dance classes, boat trip on the river, arts & crafts, visits to Heritage Park, Oilsands Discovery Centre, day trip to Gregoire Lake beach area, just to name a few.

The needs of every child are met individually and one-to-one support is provided by our team of dedicated and experienced support workers. Children participate in a variety of activities that promote social skills, play and communication.

If you would like sponsor our 10th annual summer day camp that will
give children and youth aged 4-17 years-old with autism and other special needs the opportunity to experience typical summer camp experiences like their peers do. Please see letter for more details.  CKF.sponsorshipletter.2021

Camp Kids First 2020 – Annual Report

55 children attended over six weeks of camp this summer – biggest camp EVER! Despite the challenges presented this year due the global pandemic, camp turned out to be hugely successful.

Modifications to camp included: smaller groups, staggered start and end times, no additional visitors in camp area (drop off and pick up at front door), individual ‘activity baskets’ (crafts, sensory toys, etc.) for children, PPE (masks, sanitizer, gloves, etc. for staff), daily screening on arrival for both staff and children, field trips planned that promoted physical distancing as much as possible.

This year was challenging in so many ways, but it is a testament to a great team that we provided an amazing summer camp experience for children who needed it more than ever this summer!

Some activities the group enjoyed were ten-pin bowling at The Alley YMM, pottery painting at Color Me Mine, parks and water parks, scavenger hunts, crafts, music classes, dancing, horse club visit, games, a day at the lake/beach and a river boat trip with Running Bear Adventures – it was a fun summer camp experience for all!

Activities at Camp Kids First are planned intentionally to suit the needs of each child’s individual physical, cognitive, sensory and social-emotional needs. Support workers are able to adapt activities to ensure all children have a chance to participate. We encourage children to try new things at camp and parents are often shocked at hearing some of the activities their children did that they ever thought they would!

Parent Survey Feedback:

  • 100% parents found the online registration process “easy”
  • 88% parents were “very happy” with COVID-19 precautions in place for camp (12% were “somewhat happy”)
  • 88% parents were “very happy” with communications regarding camp (12% were “somewhat happy”)
  • 72% parents were “very happy” with camp leadership and support staff (18% were “somewhat happy”)
  • 94% parents were “very happy” with camp activities and field trips (6% were “somewhat happy”)

 

Parent Testimonials:

“Getting him out to do things he’s never experience. I.e. boat was the best thing about camp“

“The support and understanding of kid’s needs, and parent’s fears, and expectations was amazing”

“it was great for her to be with friends and socializing after months at home with parents”

“I wish my child go to Camp Kids First for more than one week”

Every year parents tell us that they wish camp ran for longer hours, more days, and more weeks each summer. One day we hope to have the capacity (space, staff and funding) to provide this for families.

The smiles on the kid’s faces is the best feedback we have for Camp Kids First 2020!

                     

Camp Kids First would not be possible without the generosity of our community partners… we thank the following organizations for supporting Camp Kids First in 2020.