CHEO's recreation therapy program kicks off its summer camp
It’s the first day of camp for Ottawa youngsters at the Canada Agricultural Food Museum, part of a program for kids with physical or developmental disabilities.
“I got to name a rabbit named Bella,” said Jacob Landriault, as he got a first hand experience learning what goes into taking care of animals on a farm.
“Agriculture, we don’t talk about that a lot in school anymore, so it's neat to teach agriculture in a fun setting and relate that to their life,” said Renee Gingras with the museum.
For Landriault, this week long camp is also developing others skills through CHEO’s recreation therapy program, assisting kids aged seven to 12 living with a physical or developmental disability like autism.
“A lot of our kiddos really struggle engaging with their peers,” said recreational therapist Ashley Hilliard
She says participating in camps like this helps children gain the confidence they need to be in large social gatherings in a safe and supportive way.
“If they have a smaller group of kids they are seeing for four or five days in a row, that really helps with their social interactions and really building those connections,” said Hilliard.
“I made a friend, all the animals are cute and it’s been an enjoyable time,” said 11-year-old Celes Feltmate. “This place is fun, it’s just having friends makes it a lot more fun.”
CHEO says it is expecting about 40 kids to take part in this year's program, which is scheduled to run until the end of August. This particular camp runs until Friday but Landriault is already looking forward next summer.
“I just love it, I want to come back here next year,” said Landriault.