By Daniella Bendo, Special to the News
Jamar Holder, an eight-year old boy from Brooklyn, N.Y. arrived at the F.H. Sherman Learning and Recreation Centre on July 23 to participate in an adventure he had never experienced before at Camp Steel Away.
Kelly Bramwell, daughter of an AMD Dofasco retiree, applied to the Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit organization that matches children from low-income communities with children who live in rural areas, away from congested, polluted streets.
She was successfully matched with Jamar. For 10 days, Bramwell and her son Matthew took Jamar on exciting day trips and provided him with accommodations in their own home for the duration of his stay.
When Jamar walked into Camp Steel Away his initial response was “Frank Sherman!,” as he hugged the statue of Frank H. Sherman in the lobby of the facility, revealing the excitement and gratitude of his attendance at camp.
Throughout the week, Jamar participated in a variety of games such as capture the flag, gold rush, man hunt, kangaroo court and went on trips to Safari Niagara and the Sir Winston Churchill pool.
Camp Steel Away funded Jamar’s attendance at camp for the week.
As camp director, it was the highlight of my summer to watch an underprivileged child have the time of his life.
When I asked Jamar what his favourite part of camp was, he replied without hesitation, “manhunt,” a game that is a variation of tag and simply involves a decent sized play area to run around.
The fact that Jamar came to camp the second day with sore legs because he had been running around all day, highlights how simple things in life can be taken for granted, such as a space for children to play.
Although all children have the right to play under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is sad knowing that not all children’s rights are fulfilled in this sector.
This illustrates the importance of the Fresh Air Fund and of Bramwell’s willingness to bring a child into her home and provide him with a life-changing experience.
Overall, Jamar’s experience at Camp Steel Away was a success as he told staff he wants to come back to Camp Steel Away next year. Staff members at the recreation centre are pleased they had the opportunity to part-take in Jamar’s summer adventure and admire Bramwell’s decision to support an underprivileged child through the Fresh Air Fund.