The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (July 3). Full transcript below.
With summer here, I know that Clubs are shifting focus. Usually we go from out of school programs to summer camps, typically an intense period at most Clubs. I’m going to step away from the camera for the summer—at least for these weekly updates.
Summer camps are in for many, but not for all. And where they are in, they don’t look like normal camps—staff to camper ratios are higher, and more activities are done over a distance or in different ways, with masks, hand sanitizer, and frequent cleaning.
It’s complicated and difficult, yet you are doing the work with kids to ensure they have something that looks like a summer.
This is important not just for families who need this—a way to access childcare while they work, or seek work. This is important because kids need it. Several articles and studies are now out looking at the impact the quarantine has on kids.
Because humans are social beings, the developmental stages of childhood are vital to forming the social behaviours that are critical for adult success.
Kids learn from others. They learn how to interact, how to negotiate, how to function socially. They learn what works, and what doesn’t. They learn social instincts, and how to work and play with others. They learn ethics, responsibility, and morals.
Sure they can learn from the adults in their lives, but it is not the same as the constant interaction that comes from being with your peers.
While some time in quarantine and away from other kids is an inconvenience, the longer kids stay away from others the more detrimental the effects. We need to work on and implement safe ways for kids to get back to being kids. To seeing their friends, interacting with their peers.
The kids are increasingly not alright. It’s not just the support system that Clubs provide outside of school and home—it’s the very nature of being young, of needing to socialize and connect.
As adults, we can often find creative ways to connect with family and friends. We can rationalize the problem and have patience.
These are not options for children and youth. They need to connect, and this summer, they need to find their peers and interact. Safely.
Let’s work together to find ways to support the children and youth of Canada. Let’s keep them safe—physically and mentally.
Stay safe, be strong, be well.