What St. Brendan's, a small island community in Bonavista Bay, lacks in numbers and infrastructure, it makes up with community spirit and stewardship! For the second year running, MUN student and camp coordinator Sarah Kean, a summer resident; and two permanent residents Genevieve Fournier, assistant coordinator and Jessica Aylward, Leader in Training; are volunteering their time and talent to conduct a not for profit summer camp for the younger children of the Island. In smaller rural communities, recreational opportunities for children can be limited, but with an imagination, some financial support, and a commitment to community stewardship, big things can be accomplished!
Camp activities include crafts, play time, beach walks and new this year, with the permission of St. Gabriel's All Grade School; a small accessible children's gardening project was constructed on the playground property. Several varieties of vegetables and flowers have been planted, with the hopes of a small harvest at the conclusion of camp the end of August. Through the financial support of a Central Health Wellness Grant, a Community Healthy Living Fund Program Grant, St. Brendan's Community Council and St. Brendan's Lions Club, the construction of this small accessible garden and the provision of daily healthy snacks have been made possible.
The camp is offered 3 hours a day, 3 days per week, weather permitting. It will continue for the duration of the summer at the community playground. Camp activities provide both resident and visiting children the opportunity to socialize with their peers and learn about various aspects of healthy living in a fun environment. One regular camp participant said "I love the camp! We have so much fun! And I love the snacks too." The children were excited to participate in the recent St. Brendan's Come Home Year Parade celebrating 175 years of settlement, proudly carrying their signs that displayed their handprints and names with Sarah's Newfoundland Pony Belle as their mascot.
Support for the camp has also come from sources off of the island including Best of Care, Newfoundland Pony Pals, and MHA for the district of Terra Nova Mr. Collin Holloway. This little project has demonstrated that big things can be accomplished by the youth of our communities with a little determination and support. Sarah, Genevieve and Jessica are already looking forward to the planning of St. Brendan's Summer Camp 2017!
Submitted By: Kelly Power-Kean