Camp: a catalyst for generosity

Teen volunteers

Summer’s Here – Now What?

It is the first week of July. Most Canadian parents are aware that their kids have a lot of empty days ahead this summer. Parents want to make sure the break from school is not only restful, but constructive. I was the same.

Many parents are grateful for the variety of registered summer programs and camps catering to their kids’ different interests. But when the children get older, they may be too young for a summer job but feel too grown for the usual programmed activities. One answer is in simple generosity.

Giving some of their time to help with an activity program they enjoy gives older kids a chance to generously share their most valuable resources – time and energy.

Taking on summer volunteer positions changed our daughters’ lives.

From Summer Camper to Generous Volunteer

Our daughters were introduced to camp ministry as a way to connect with their cousins, when we attended family camps during the summer. The camp community captured our daughters’ hearts, and as they grew older, they were offered the opportunity to come back as volunteers. Having loved the camp experience, they were happy to give some of their time to volunteer in various summer staff roles.

Our daughters gained many valuable skills as each found roles they loved. Giving their time at camp felt effortless. Each has returned for multiple summers. One returned ten years in a row with a strong commitment to the horsemanship program.

Giving their summers at camp helped our daughters gain confidence, make lifelong friends, discover and develop their talents, practice new skills, and cultivate a strong work ethic. They have also come to understand that they are modelling generosity for other youth following in their footsteps, especially when they find themselves volunteering alongside kids they first met as campers.

Giving Time Today, Giving More Tomorrow

In my work at Abundance Canada, I have the privilege of walking families through their generosity journeys. Creating a plan that helps them maximize their charitable giving to the causes close to their hearts. Although teens and young adults may not be ready to give much in terms of financial resources, they can give their time right now. July and August are the perfect time for young people to volunteer, and the return on investment is unbeatable. By giving some of their vacation time to a camp or summer programs, teens and young adults can help families across Canada build friendships, meet community needs, have fun – and grow their own generosity.

By giving some of their vacation time to a camp or summer programs, teens can help families across Canada build friendships, meet community needs, have fun – and grow their own generosity.Click to Tweet

This past week, my oldest daughter and her family once again returned to camp. At various times over the years, each daughter has chosen their post-secondary programs and job selection to be available to volunteer at camp. Giving in this way has become an important part of who each of them is. And to think this enduring generosity started with parents wanting an easy way to connect with family and friends over the summer.




Contributed by Harold Penner
Gift Planning Consultant


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