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Camp Quality campers gather for a day of fun

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 26, 2014 - 3:48 PM |
Mathieu Vaillancourt, 7, and Gabrielle Vaillancourt, 10, were among those who attended Camp Quality's fun day Jan. 26. The siblings enjoyed swimming in the pool at the Sudbury YMCA. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Mathieu Vaillancourt, 7, and Gabrielle Vaillancourt, 10, were among those who attended Camp Quality's fun day Jan. 26. The siblings enjoyed swimming in the pool at the Sudbury YMCA. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Organization supports kids with cancer

While Camp Quality Northern Ontario, located on the West Arm of Lake Nipissing in Monetville, is buried under a blanket of snow this time of year, that didn't stop its campers from enjoying a day of indoors fun Jan. 26.

The non-profit, volunteer organization provides a week-long camping experience and year-round support for children who have experienced cancer and their families.

Campers and their families gathered at the Sudbury YMCA to go swimming, play in the gym, do crafts and even go on limo rides courtesy of Mr. Nite Lite Limousine. The group capped off the day by taking in a Sudbury Wolves game.

A similar event for Sault Ste. Marie-area campers was held last week, and another event for campers in the far north will be held in Kirkland Lake next month.

“The kids love seeing their friends and the parents like to be able to talk to the parents who are in a similar position as them,” said Dan McLean, who is co-directing the camp this year with his brother, John McLean.

Melanie Moreiria and her kids, Olivia, 7, and Gabriel, 4, were among the 120 people at the Camp Quality fun day.

When Olivia was just a year old, she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye common among children. She received treatments at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for three years, and is now in remission.

The energetic little girl, who will attend Camp Quality for the fourth time this summer, smiles at the mere mention of camp.

Olivia said she enjoys swimming and eating chocolate there. She'll be bringing her brother to camp with her for the second time this summer.

Moreiria said she can't say enough about Camp Quality. “At camp they don't focus on the illness,” she said. “They focus on fun and just being kids. It's an amazing, amazing camp.”

Unlike the usual summer camp model, which sees councillors look after groups of children, Camp Quality matches an adult volunteer, known as a “companion,” with each camper.

The fun day gave Olivia a chance to see her companion, 20-year-old Kyra Michel. The two haven't seen each other much since camp because of their busy schedules. 

Michel said she loved being Olivia's companion. “She's very energetic and fun,” she said. “We have an awesome time at camp, playing, swimming, doing all the crafts. It's a lot of fun. She keeps me very busy.”

Volunteers needed

Dan and John McLean are currently recruiting adults to volunteer as camper companions at Camp Quality at next summer's camp, which takes place during the second week of July. For more information, visit www.campquality.com.
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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