By Françoise Boucher
“If grandparents did not exist, we would have to invent them.”
Inspired by this idea, Sun Youth inaugurated a few years ago its House of Wisdom, a cabin made especially for seniors, on the premises of its Rivière-Rouge Summer Camp located in the Laurentians. This initiative was intended to benefit both the young campers and the seniors, following an observation made that many children attending Sun Youth’s camp during the summer had no grandparents in their lives.
As well, among seniors attending our Seniors Club, several felt that giving a bit of love and attention would light up their lives. Our organization believes that children would benefit greatly from the love and individual attention of a grandparent.
We have a perfect setting for our campers and seniors to meet and share. Our summer camp now offers three sessions where children and seniors enjoy activities that will allow them to find what they need in one another. Up to 12 seniors can attend each session and stay in the House of Wisdom. During such activities as tennis, reading, biking, or cooking, all campers can enjoy the presence of seniors.
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Personalized activities are suggested to seniors and children without grandparents, allowing them to spend time together.
“At the end of each camp session, we do an evaluation with our campers of all the activities they were offered during their stay, and this initiative is always mentioned as one of the activities enjoyed the most”, says camp Director Johanne Saltarelli. “It is also very popular among seniors, judging by the number of applications we receive each year.”
Every relationship is unique. Children keep seniors in touch with the present while giving them a glimpse of what the future holds. Meanwhile, seniors are able to teach children about the past, giving them a better understanding of where they come from.