Does your daughter dream of using her talents to change the world, but doesn’t know where to begin? Does your son spend his lunch hours holed up in the library, penning letters to the mayor about the homelessness crisis gripping your city? Perhaps you know your younger cousin spends their weekends building houses for endangered solitary bees, while the other kids on the street shoot hoops.
We know just the place for them.
At ME to WE’s Take Action Camp in Bethany, Ontario, youth experience all the beloved hallmarks of sleepover camp, like arts and crafts, campfires, and talent shows. But they also learn about global issues, spend a day volunteering and find the inspiration and guidance to change the world. They’ll spend their morning making friendship bracelets and their afternoon learning about mental health. They’ll brainstorm how to tackle cyberbullying while they roast marshmallows. And they’ll leave with lifelong friendships and an action plan to improve their community.
Take Action Camp is where kids find a community of like-minded peers and discover their purpose. It’s where every child can be their true, authentic selves.
We call this spirit of acceptance and inclusivity “camp magic.” It’s the invisible force that makes it a camp unlike any other and draws youth back year after year. But don’t take our word for it—read what former campers and counsellors say makes Take Action Camp magical.
Maddy Hoyer-Wood, leadership facilitator and motivational speaker—one year at camp
To Hoyer-Wood, camp magic appears when youth get away from the rest of the world—the stresses of daily life and modern technology—and are able to completely be themselves. They are present in each moment, and are better able to form friendships that stand the test of time and distance.
“We have lots of youth that come who are really struggling with their identities or who might not have very many friends at school—maybe they’re gay, or they’re being bullied, or they have a disability—and at camp they’re very much accepted for who they are. It’s a very supportive environment,” she said. “Camp magic, for me, is a place that is just accepting of everybody, where everybody feels loved and accepted.”
Heather Sumner—two years at camp
"Camp magic is kind of like invisible armour." –Heather Summer, camper
“Camp magic is kind of like invisible armour. Throughout last year I would wear it and it would empower me to be able to do things that I believed I couldn’t do. It does the exact same thing that WE does—it gives you a hand up not a hand out,” she said. “It gives you the strength to do it on your own. You keep it with you and it gives you the capability to do it by yourself, to take it upon yourself to complete whatever it is that you’re trying to do.”
Jalen Nicholson, leadership facilitator and motivational speaker—one year at camp
Nicholson has worked at and attended many camps over the years, but he’s never seen stronger connections between campers, and between campers and staff, than the ones forged at Take Action Camp. He believes it stems from the programming offered, and how it encourages participants to be vulnerable.
“To me, camp magic is finding a community of people that you didn’t expect to be your community. A lot of these kids, and the staff too really, have always been off the beaten path. Often, for kids, being into social issues or social justice isn’t always seen as hip or trendy,” he said. “I think that’s why people get so emotional about it. Finding a community that you wouldn’t expect. By the end of the week they’re like a family—they’re crying because they love it so much, they love the staff so much, they love each other so much.”
Leah Jones—two years at camp
"The family that grows here you stay with forever." –Leah Jones, camper
“Camp magic is just the atmosphere around here. You come to camp and you’re basically stripped of most of your technology. But it’s awesome,” she said. “The family that grows here you stay with forever. I’m still in contact with a lot of the people that I met last year. I love having no social media here, because you can take it all in way more than if you were able to text and talk and Snapchat.”
Hailey Barett—two years at camp
“Camp magic is people coming together to celebrate the issues that matter and having the intelligence and the motivation to do it,” she said. “None of us here are alone. All of us have a purpose, and all of us are coming together in one week, in one place, to achieve it.”
Stuart Jansen, leadership facilitator and motivational speaker—one year at camp
"Camp magic is all about the relationships they build, how quickly they build those relationships and how strong those bonds are." –Stuart Jansen, counsellor and coach
To Jansen, camp magic is a mix between witnessing the relationships between campers grow over the course of a single week, and how driven the youth are to change the world by the time they’re ready to go home. When campers arrive on Sunday, coaches and counsellors have to create conversation amongst them, but by Wednesday they’re buzzing with discussion. “You can tell they’re already friends,” he said.
“One Thursday night I was trying to get everyone to go to bed and I could hear singing coming from downstairs. So I go down, and there were probably 50 campers all singing Adele at the top of their lungs. It was great,” he said. “Four days earlier, these same kids were strangers to each other and couldn’t even have a conversation. And now they’re at this point. It was amazing to see. Camp magic is all about the relationships they build, how quickly they build those relationships and how strong those bonds are.”
Whether the child in your life is outgoing or introverted, loves sports or is a budding Van Gogh, Take Action Camp will build on their strengths and help them develop the tools to change the world, all while they build strong friendships in an inclusive environment. Let them discover camp magic for themselves. Learn more and register now.
Zoe Demarco is a writer and production manager for WE Stories. A third generation journalist, she has a natural curiosity for other people’s lives.