Get LIT: discover our leadership-in-training programs

We’re more than summer camp. Campfire Circle offers various community leadership programs and wilderness camping trips for teen Campers ages 14 -18 throughout the year. Through workshops, discussions and experiential learning, we help young adults challenge themselves, build resiliency and develop new skills.

Veruca is a Camper who participated in our virtual leadership-in-training (LIT) programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and attended one of our LIT sessions in person this summer. At Bonfire Bash Muskoka, she gave a speech that highlights the true impact of the program. Here is an excerpt:

“September 25, 2019: The day that changed my life and my family’s lives forever. The day I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was 13 years old and had never imagined this happening to me. I felt so alone and like no one understood me. Staying in the hospital for weeks at a time made it hard to find positive things in my life. Then, one day, someone walked into my room to play a game of Jenga with me. Not your average life-changing event, but that day made me realize that I wasn’t alone. That was the day I was introduced to the joy, comfort and life-altering support of Campfire Circle.

“In March 2020, Canada went into lockdown, causing Campfire Circle to host their programs through Zoom. It was a weird experience, but slowly I adjusted to this new format. Even though I couldn’t attend the Campfire Circle summer camp I’d heard so much about, I had the opportunity to do virtual LIT sessions during the summers of 2020 and 2021. I participated in activities such as Dinner and a Movie, Guided Art, Trivia Night, Book Club, and Duke of Edinburgh Club. As a result, I met more amazing people and was able to attend more programs with my sisters. It meant a lot to my family and me that we could participate in these programs because they helped unite us with people who were there to distract us from our problems and engage us in entertaining activities.

group of lit's playing music on closing campfire at camp

“Almost three years after my diagnosis (and about five months after I finished treatment), I finally got to attend Campfire Circle during the summer. I’d never been to summer camp before, but my two weeks there exceeded my expectations. My family and I had visited the Muskoka location over Halloween weekend, but that was a drop in the waterfall of adventure I was about to experience. I did things I would never do anywhere else, including but not limited to a high ropes course, bodyboarding, a four-day canoe trip and even fishing (which is NOT my thing). I gained communication, leadership and cooperation skills through planning an evening program, being a junior counsellor to a younger cabin, and helping with morning activities. I built new relationships through long nights of amusing games and meaningful conversations with my cabin mates. It was an unforgettable experience that showed me the true magic of camp.

“All in all, Campfire Circle means more to me than words can describe. It gives me a place where I don’t feel alone because I’m surrounded by people who know what I’m going through. It’s a place where I can have fun without thinking about cancer. Despite that, it’s also a place where I know I can talk about cancer if I need to. It’s a place where I feel safe, secure and happy.

So when you donate to Campfire Circle, remember that your money isn’t just allowing kids to have fun at summer camp; it’s allowing kids like me to feel included and help us conquer or escape the indescribable challenges we face on a daily basis. Your support and contributions mean the world to me, my family, and every other kid who feels isolated by their illness. Thank you again for your continuous support.”

To learn more about LIT sessions and other leadership programs, visit New Campers & families.

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