Giving her girls a chance to grow
By: Caitlyn Gowriluk
The first time Georgina Brightnose’s younger daughter, Yelena, went to Simonhouse Bible Camp, they were both a little nervous.
"She’d never really left me," Brightnose said. "(It was) her first time."
But Brightnose said the experience helped her daughter, now 11, become more independent.
"She loves going," Brightnose said. "She’s OK to be alone now without me."
Yelena and her sister, Jolisse, 14 — have been going to Simonhouse Bible Camp for years and it is a highlight of their summers.
"They look forward to going every year," she said. "They like the activities they do over there, and the time that they get together as a group and meeting new friends from all over."
Brightnose said going to camp gives her daughters a chance to meet people from outside their small home community of Cranberry Portage, which is about an eight-hour drive northwest of Winnipeg.
"All these kids (at camp) come from all over the place," she said. "We don’t have a whole lot in our community, (so) they enjoy going out with other kids and meeting new people."
Brightnose said her family has benefited from the Winnipeg Free PressSunshine Fund, which helps make sure both her daughters get to go back to camp every summer.
The program, in partnership with the Manitoba Camping Association, provides financial assistance to families who can’t afford to send their kids to camp. Over the past 40 years, the Sunshine Fund has helped send more than 26,000 kids to camp — at a cost of about $7 million.
The Sunshine Fund uses the Statistics Canada low-income cutoff chart to determine if an applicant family qualifies for financial assistance and provides up to $700 per child, per year.
Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and the number of children who get to go to camp through the fund is dependent on donations and grants.
Applications for the Sunshine Fund are still coming in almost every day, said Kim Scherger, executive director of the Manitoba Camping Association. Scherger said Sunshine Fund organizers encourage any parents still thinking of applying for camp subsidies to get their forms in as soon as possible.
Last year, 614 kids went to camp with help from the Sunshine Fund, which cost about $220,000. So far this year, the fund has raised enough money to send 492 kids to camp — still shy of this summer’s goal of 650.
"I’m just grateful… They really enjoy going there for that week," Brightnose said.
"I was happy that I got accepted, because that is quite a bit of money."
Brightnose said both of her daughters are looking forward to activities such as archery, putting on skits, playing in the water and going to the chapel at camp again this summer.
"It’s a learning experience," she said. "A lot of the kids in our community love going to Simonhouse."
Yelena, 11, and Jolisse Brightnose, 14.
How to help the Sunshine Fund
To donate, send cheques to the
Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund
c/o Unit F-1215 Henderson Hwy.,
Winnipeg, MB, R2G 1L8.
You can donate in person with a cheque during office hours or in a locked mailbox outside the door. You can also call in with a credit card number to 204.784.1130.
Or you can donate by clicking here
We Need Your Help
The Manitoba Camping Association has been sending kids to camp through the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund for 40 years.
To mark the anniversary, the MCA is planning something for the fall and we need your help.
Do you know someone who benefited from the Sunshine Fund when they were younger and are now in a place in their life where they want to give back?
Contact Rick Scherger at the
MCA office at 204.293.7339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear from you.