Unplug and Connect
For the past number of years, we have been fortunate at The Lilly to have the opportunity to take youth residents on a weekend camping trip, and this year was no different. Traditionally, this has been a time of wonderful memory making and a true highlight of The Lilly experience. This year we chose the theme “Unplug and Connect”. Even in the midst of returning to a new normal with COVID-19 and young people's daily struggles and stresses, we were able to provide a space, in partnership with a wonderful community agency, where youth could enjoy a unique camping experience.
Programming for the camp was done with a focus on youth enjoying fun and refreshment in an outdoor space that allowed opportunities to build life skills, leadership abilities, and confidence. The awesome chance of spending time immersed in nature, camping, and participating in outdoor adventures offered tremendous opportunities for personal growth for our Lillies.
Solitude, connection, fun and freedom.
It always does our heart good to hear them tell their stories and share of wonderful moments of connecting around campfires and minutes of complete joy and relaxation. When I asked the youth to describe camp, they replied with words like solitude, connection, fun and freedom.
We always find ourselves celebrating with young people when they are encouraged to try new things and push their limits, all in a safe and nurturing environment. One youth in particular had expressed fear of the water and of heights before heading off to camp, and this weekend they faced their fears and we all celebrated their accomplishments.
When asked how they felt when they pushed past their fears, their face lit up with one word coming out: “exhilarating!” Enough said!
Sherry Whittle is a Residential Counsellor and Housing Support Mentor with The Lilly Program.