Easter Seals Camp Horizon
For those of you who haven’t ever been out to Easter Seals Camp Horizon, you’ve missed out on a whole lot of fun! But not to worry, this coming August, kids and teens that live with epilepsy each day will get the chance to attend a whole week of camp, dedicated to them!
They will get the chance to experience activities that they likely never have before: horseback riding, mountain biking, white-water rafting, archery, a high-ropes obstacle course, and a giant swing! For kids who are always told that they “can’t” because of their disability, they are told they can at camp!
Camp Horizon’s goal is to make sure that the kids and teens who are normally isolated due to their medical conditions can break free of stigma and stereotypes that surround them daily and be around other kids who “get them”. Oftentimes with epilepsy being such an invisible condition, kids who live with it each day feel extremely alone. Camp Horizon works very hard to provide a safe environment while paying due attention to the special needs of campers.
This camp is for children and teenagers ages 7-17, with epilepsy. Camp Horizon offers children a medically safe environment to meet new friends, have great new adventures and just be a kid. The camp is located 10 minutes outside of Bragg Creek, AB. The costs for each child to attend camp are $570.00 per week.
However, if cost is an issue for you, Easter Seals has subsidies available for kids to make sure they can come to camp. As well, through the Family Support for Children with Disabilities program (FSCD) the week at camp may be claimed as respite time and most of the camp costs may be covered.
For our parents who may have not ever sent their kid to camp before, it can be quite a scary thing to think about. You’re probably thinking, what happens if they have a seizure? Will they be safe? What about their medications? What about their special diet? Will they be with people who don’t understand epilepsy? Those are all valid concerns and worries but this is not the first time that Camp Horizon has hosted a camp for youth with epilepsy – in fact, many of their other campers are also diagnosed with epilepsy, so it is nothing new to camp staff!
Over 60% of Camp Horizon’s staff are returning, and have been working 3 or more summers. Ratios are one staff member for every two campers, so there will never be a time when your child is far from a watchful eye. There is a nurse who stays on site throughout the whole summer, and a member of the neurology team from the Alberta Children’s Hospital will also be onsite throughout the week.
The food services team at Camp Horizon has worked with a number of specialized and particular diets in the past, preparing foods especially for campers with diabetes, celiac disease, allergies and restrictions. The staff will be consulting with the nutritionist at ACH to provide appropriate care to campers on the Ketogenic and Modified Atkins diets.
When it comes to camp and the camp experience the benefits greatly outweigh the worries. Kids and teens will get the chance to grow, learn new skills, gain independence, confidence and self-esteem and not to mention, make many new friends, and not be “the kid with epilepsy” for a whole week. It will be a week where they can do whatever they want, be in a safe environment, and make them feel as though they aren’t the exception, but the norm!
It gives families a week of respite as well – one mom who sent her daughter to camp had this to say: It was a scary feeling, having her away from me for a whole week; since she was diagnosed, she really hasn’t been out of my sight except for when she is at school. But I realized after three days of worrying and wondering how she was doing, that the staff would have called if something was wrong, and since they hadn’t called, she must have been doing just fine! It gave me, my husband and our other daughter the chance to spend quality time with one another – we went out for dinner, a movie and did things that made us happy, all the while knowing that our other daughter was at camp, as happy as she could be!
I strongly encourage you to give me a call if you have any doubts or are unsure about sending your child to Camp Fireworks this summer. As a “campie” myself, I have lived through many summers at camp, and I believe I am a better person because of it. I will be joining the kids at camp for the week to be a support to the campers, staff and to just have fun!
If you have questions about the camp, registration, costs, subsidies, programming, medical support or the food services team, please contact Camp Horizon at (403) 949-3818 extension “0”