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Ukrainian kids get Canadian experience at Camp Tiffin

Thirteen children took part in hiking, canoeing, games and more

Thanks to funding from the Rotary Club of Barrie, the Tiffin Centre for Conservation hosted 13 Ukrainian children at Camp Tiffin.

This is the fifth year that Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) has hosted camp for new Canadians. Previous camps have focused on children around the world, but staff have decided to support Ukrainian children this year as they were displaced by the Russia-Ukraine war.

“The Rotary Club of Barrie is a community service organization that takes great pleasure in supporting all projects big and small,” said Dave Mills, a member of the Rotary Club of Barrie. “The New Canadian Camp at Tiffin is an important initiative that assists with integration and the learning of new skills for children.”

“Here at camp, these children are learning Canadian ways together, while also sharing their own personal experiences, culture and language,” added Naomi Saunders, manager of education at the NVCA. “They support and comfort each other in all things they have known, while also getting the opportunity to integrate with Canadian kids. This experience will help set them up for success as they go to school and potentially continue to live here.”

The children experienced Canada first-hand through activities such as canoeing and hiking. Most importantly, Camp Tiffin allowed them to be with other children from the same culture using the same language and get back to doing what they should be doing — playing, making friends and being kids.

“The long-standing partnership between the Simcoe County District School Board and the Tiffin Centre has allowed the opportunity to offer this learning experience for newcomer students,” said Tatiana Khrystynko, international student co-ordinator at the Simcoe County District School Board. “The Ukrainian children learned about nature and life in Simcoe County, and will be able to share this experience with their peers upon returning to school in September, which will support their integration into their new country and schools.”

To honour Ukrainian families, NVCA is flying the Ukrainian flag at the Tiffin Centre for Conservation for the duration of the children’s stay.