Canada’s captivating beauty and invigorating fresh air provided the picturesque backdrop for 45 young victims of terrorism and war and a team of counsellors who accompanied them during an action-packed, fun-filled month in various camps and cottage communities across Ontario, Canada during the summer. For many of them, it was the first time they had ever visited another country. The adventure marked the 10th anniversary of the unique partnership between OneFamily Canada and the Toronto Jewish community.
This year, the programs ran at Camp Timberlane and at a cottage community north of Toronto, and for the first time, was expanded to include a group of Bat Mitzvah aged girls which ran at Camp Moshava in Ontario. The youngsters were given the trip of a lifetime, where they participated in all kinds of activities including land and water sports, canoe trips, arts and music and more. They also had the opportunity to meet and develop deep and lasting relationships with Canadian youth and their families, as well having the opportunity to just be themselves in a caring and nurturing environment. In addition to camping and the cottage experiences, the group also visited the metro Toronto area, which was highlighted by trips to the Toronto Aquarium, Niagara Falls and Canada’s Wonderland.
The cottage encounter took place on a beautiful lake outside of Toronto. Six teenage (pre-army) boys were hosted by families in the area, where they experienced two weeks of fun filled water activities, sports, day trips, sightseeing and exploration. They also had a unique opportunity to grow and develop close relationships with their host families and friends and their counsellors.
Canadian supporters of OneFamily created a new summer program this year in conjunction with Camp Moshava Canada, a B’nai Akiva camp located in Ennismore Ontario. Four, 13 year old girls from OneFamily, accompanied by their counsellor, participated in a two-week program at Moshava that were packed with various activities activities including land and water sports, wall climbing, zip-line, ropes course, arts and crafts, canoeing, videography, waterskiing, swimming, as well as nature walks and bike rides. The girls also baked challah for Shabbat and did charitable work in local communities.
“We felt deeply that the personal growth and healing power of a Canadian summer camp experience could help Israeli children impacted by terror and war move forward with their lives in very unique and powerful ways. We were also convinced that the program would build bridges and create a powerful bond between youth in Canada and Israel, said Bernie Little, a dedicated OneFamily volunteer who has been organizing the Camp Timberlane program since its inception. “The Canadians simply cannot wait for the Israeli kids to arrive at Camp Timberlane and their presence has changed the entire fabric of camp in a very positive way.”