Let us show you what a day at WCK City Camp is like, through a child's eyes. The kid in this blog is imagined, but the experiences are very real.
Mom and I arrive at WCK City Camp. We go through an entrance that feels super secure and private. We have our own part of the building so no one else disturbs us. City Camp is close to the hospital in case I have any medical needs, so mom feels less worried about me.
One of the volunteers says hi and shows me some of the toys and games they have out. She asks if I want to play one with her and I pick Headbanz.
I see my mom hanging around for a little bit, like she did yesterday. She’s still not used to leaving me places since I first got sick, but after a cup of coffee and a chat with one of the grown ups called Kelsey, she waves goodbye to me and says she’ll be back to pick me up later.
We walk past the nurses’ station – it’s a super clean room and it has lots of supplies. Kelsey says we always have nurses with us at camp, and they join in with all the fun! I see the same nurse from yesterday, Meghan, who smiles and waves at me.
We have some time for “free play.” This means we can choose whatever we want to do. I’m glad, because I haven’t gotten to go to school and play with my friends while I’ve been on treatment. After some playground games, I do some crafts and it relaxes my mind.
Snack time! The volunteers help to prepare the snacks for us, and they have different foods for our different needs. We have our own kitchen area just for ourselves, even though a summer school is happening in the building, too.
I’m confused when I hear Kelsey say we’re in a school because it doesn’t feel like one. It’s camp, and it’s magical!
Time for some group games. I really liked doing the games yesterday because that’s how I made friends with my new buddy Sam.
Although I have cancer and he has a blood disorder, we both know what it’s like to have scary treatments and be in hospital. We also both love Lego and Batman!
The volunteers are getting silly with us and it’s great! They teach us funny campfire songs and they laugh at my jokes.
I learn a song about Joe who works in a button factory. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much that my belly hurt.
Can you believe it – I’m building a rocket!! They’re made out of pop bottles and we’re going to launch them into the air this afternoon. I love decorating my rocket and choosing all my favourite colours for it.
I realize that I haven’t been in such a big group with other kids in a while, and I start to feel a bit nervous. I head to the sensory chillout space where I wind down and feel my body calming down. Then I’m ready to join in with the fun again!
At break time, my friend Sam arrives – yay! He tells me he had an appointment this morning and was excited to come straight to City Camp after it.
I ask one of the volunteers, JJ, if they have cancer. They say no, but one of their friends had it when they were little. I tell them that I have cancer and sometimes I feel sick when I get my treatment. They don’t make the funny face that other people do when I talk about my cancer, and I feel relieved. Maybe I’m not as weird as I worried I was.
We do some arts and crafts and there’s more space for free play. After helping Sam with his epic toilet roll Gotham City (which takes up half the craft table), I go to the library to pick out some books. I feel like having some quiet time.
Meghan reads my favourite story with me and I feel comforted. I love the part where Max is made the king of all wild things.
The best time of the day – lunchtime. Today is a pizza party and it’s so yummy. I like cheese and tomato pizza even when my body feels a bit icky. Today, nothing feels icky and I have FIVE SLICES. A new personal record!
The WCK team teaches us some breathing exercises including “finger breathing,” which helps me to calm my body and take time to digest my lunch. No barfing today!
Ilze from the Heroes Circle teaches us some cool martial arts moves! She tells us that we are powerful martial artists who are in control of our bodies.
She shows us ways to move our bodies that feel good and help us to join our mind and body together. I feel really settled afterwards and I never knew I could kick so high!
The big event has arrived. The time has come for the Great WCK Rocket Launch. I am SO excited. When I see the pop bottles shoot up into the air, I feel butterflies fluttering around my tummy!
When I see my rocket go up, it looks like it very nearly – almost – touches the cloud. I let out a huge gasp.
We have a covered area outside that I can sit in. My cancer treatment makes me sensitive to the sun, so the shaded area lets me join in with all the outdoor activities. I’m so happy not to miss the launch of my rocket!
JJ asks me what my favourite things were today. I get to draw a picture of all the things I liked and I write on the big poster my very favourite thing from City Camp today – the rocket launch.
Sam is feeling tired out so his dad comes to get him. He says “See you tomorrow, bud” with a big grin! He says we will for sure finish his Gotham City craft project tomorrow.
One more quick snack before my mom arrives. She says she missed me lots. I don’t really want to leave, I was having so much fun!
Tomorrow I’m going to ask if we can sing the song about Joe again. And tonight I think I’ll dream about rockets touching the clouds.
How we set up City Camp with kids in mind
The WCK team
We plan programming that includes adventure, magic, risk-taking, and space for kids to get into flow with free play.
We hire and train staff and volunteers to plan, run, and evaluate City Camp programs that are tailored for kids affected by childhood cancer and blood disorders.
The Surrey Schools District Partnership
Paul Bruce and Linda Stewart recruit and train student volunteers who help to facilitate City Camp. Through hands-on, experiential training, they get the students back into kid mode.
The students learn how to join in with the fun, and make talking about childhood cancer and blood disorders more comfortable.
And finally, we want to introduce you to a hidden gem that does so much behind the scenes…
The Community-Schools Partnership Coordinator
Jeff Randhawa finds and secures facilities that meet all the criteria for WCK City Camp. This includes room for a dedicated nurses’ station, chillout zones, shaded outdoor areas, private use of all facilities, and proximity to the hospital.
He sets up all of the processes and procedures so that everyone feels safe and secure in a shared building. On top of all that, he is on-call and available to deal with any questions or issues during the running of camp. Here’s what Jeff has to say:
“July is my busiest month with everything going in six different directions, but it’s also my favourite time. Working with people like WCK, I’ve seen the unconditional love and caring they give to kids and families. As an organization, they truly believe in what they do.
I love to support WCK however I can. Whatever makes it work for the program for that day, we will do. I’ve noticed things work out much better that way. I get to work with likeminded people, it feels like working with friends, and I know I’m doing good for the community. What more could I ask for?”
Want to see more about how much fun the kids have at WCK City Camp? Check out our picture gallery by clicking below.