Camp to the Classroom

The Cause

YWCA Camp Yowochas has been offering overnight camps and outdoor education on the shores of Lake Wabamun since 1916. Over 100 youth groups, and over 1400 summer campers, visit camp each year for team building, outdoor education, and leadership training.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have been unable to offer these incredible services to school groups or overnight campers. We have not hosted any school groups since March 13th, 2020. This means, that thousands children and youth were not able to experience the "camp magic" that has been so valuable to so many of our campers.

Our mission is to teach kids to respect themselves, others and the environment. As we work diligently within the guidelines and regulations of our governing bodies to ensure the safety of our staff and the public, we have been planning opportunities to fulfill our mission as safely as possible.

As a new school year approaches, we are thrilled to have the potential to bring “Camp to the Classroom.” School days in Alberta will look very different in the fall and there is no doubt that opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular activities will be limited. This is both due to COVID-19 restrictions and to budgetary constraints schools face, that will likely lead to the reduction of traditional field trips. We want to help by bringing camp to schools at no cost to the schools.

Our idea will have our staff utilizing a school's green space to run day-long outdoor programming for classroom cohorts. We plan to be running team-building and problem solving activities that encourage the participants to communicate with one another. Facilitation is at the core of all of our programming, creating a reflective experience for participants to learn and grow from. Though overnight camps and school group visits have all been cancelled for 2020, we will be able to give participants a day of camp magic in a safe and inclusive environment.

Camp Yowochas and our staff are wildly focused on safety, and in these trying times we’ve upped our game there too! All of our staff will be required to wear masks while they are on site and will be physically distanced from participants. We will also come to the school with our own equipment that has been cleaned and sanitized, and we will have disinfectant on hand to clean the equipment between classroom uses.

Who Will it Benefit?

Students from participating schools in Edmonton and Parkland County are the real beneficiaries. Many of these students may not have had the opportunity to attend camp in the past or missed out this year due to COVID-19. The budget scope of $10,000, to subsidize the cost for schools who cannot afford this opportunity, will have us visiting up 10 schools. The schedule of activities will be planned with each school to build a day that has the most meaningful impact for that school.

We would work with 45 students for a whole day, or switch classroom groups at lunch break and work with an additional 45 students, for a potential daily maximum of 90 students. In total we will work to provide programming to 160-1,440 students through this opportunity, funding dependent.