Why virtual is here to stay
As the world returns to in-person life, here’s why virtual programming will continue to be offered at WCK.
While the world shut down in March 2020, WCK moved quickly to pivot our programming and make sure we were continuing to support kids and families experiencing childhood cancer, particularly at such a scary and lonely time.
Parents asked us for ways that we could help their kids to feel less isolated and alone, and we responded by developing our Virtual Hangouts program. These regular online Hangouts connected kids with cancer / blood disorders and their siblings to trusted adults and to other kids who were “just like them.” Each week, kids and volunteers logged on to do crafts, tell jokes, play games of Simon Says, and just be kids.
As the months went on, these sessions opened our eyes to the possibilities of virtual connection programs. It broke down geographical barriers and allowed kids to join from all over the province. It created consistency for kids who were moving from place to place to be closer to their treatments or their sibling’s treatments. Kids could log on from the hospital during long stays to help them connect with other kids.
“We realized that no matter what, there will always be kids who will miss out on in-person activities if they are going through treatment for cancer or blood disorders,” says Kelsey Merritt, Connections Program Coordinator at WCK. “The pandemic showed us that there are other ways of creating fun and connection for kids, even if they can’t be together in person.”
This summer we are so excited to be running virtual summer programs alongside our in-person City Camp, so kids can experience the fun and magic of summer no matter where they are. Tal Rock, WCK’s Virtual Camp Team Lead, will be hosting four drop-in virtual sessions every day that camp is in session.
“I’m so excited to be able to lead these virtual sessions this summer,” says Rock. “Connection is one of the biggest pillars at WCK, and being in a virtual space allows us to reach out to a community that may not be able to access programming and offer these memorable moments of togetherness, connection, and most importantly - fun!”
Each drop-in virtual session will offer a new activity, so kids can drop in as many times as they like throughout the day.
“We’ll be doing arts and crafts, holding awesome dance parties, playing tons of games, and having theme days like superhero day and PJ day!” says Rock.
Regardless of what the future brings, virtual programs at West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation are here to stay. We are proud to continue to offer connection, fun, and a chance for kids to just be kids in a safe, virtual, and accessible space.