Counting days until making camp memories By: Bryce Hunt
Thanks to the Sunshine Fund, Samantha Eguiluz will send her son to camp for the first time this summer.
Matias, 11, loves to be active and meet new people. This year, he’ll get the chance to do both at Camp Arnes.
“He’s most excited to go make new friends and try new things,” Eguiluz said.
Growing up, Eguiluz and her brother got the chance to go summer camp through the Sunshine Fund, where she remembers making core memories as a child. She’s grateful her son will share that opportunity.
“I’m a single parent, so without the support of the Sunshine Fund, I wouldn’t have been able to send him to camp. I’m very appreciative of them.”
The Sunshine Fund is a program from the Manitoba Camping Association that helps children attend camp through support from donors and granting agencies. Financial assistance is granted based on an application process.
The fund will allow Matias to try new activities, such as ziplining and horseback riding. He will also get to practice a skill he has been working on.
“He’s looking forward to canoeing and boating. He got a chance to participate in the dragon boat racing this week for his school’s patrol appreciation and loved it,” Eguiluz said.
Matias was unable to have his first camp experience the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is excited to finally get back to a sense of normalcy.
School liaison Lisa Wolfe helps children register for the Sunshine Fund, and said this was the case for many in the city.
“The last two years, we probably had only 10 to 15 applications and they didn’t get to go, so that was disappointing. This is the first year they can come back and we are seeing a lot of excitement,” she said.
Wolfe also attended camp through the fund in her youth, and enjoys helping others share the experiences she had.
“I remember that we had a school liaison who helped my parents sign me up. I see myself in the kids and I want to share the memories I made,” she said.
“Whether it’s making new friends, doing activities like rock climbing or archery, there are a lot of great opportunities at camp — especially since it will be many of their first time camping.”
Wolfe encourages eligible families to apply for the Sunshine Fund, so that they can share the experience with children across the province like Matias.
Eguiluz said Matias is counting down the days before his first trip to camp. She even bought him a disposable camera to capture the experience, since no electronics are allowed.