At the last meeting of the WIRN, we had a presentation by Lisa Byer de Wever about Montreal's Camp Cosmos which has this year opened a branch in Dollard des Ormeaux. Notes from the minutes are quoted below and are of particular interest to recent Syrian Refugees.
Lisa is a student United Church minister, serving part time at Kahnawake and at the Montreal City Mission. The Montreal City Mission, which has a long history of work with refugees, immigrants and seniors, worked with MAN (Montreal Muslim Arabic Association Network) to create child-friendly space for children of refugee families who had lost the space and place of "play" and the interaction that brings in their lives. They currently have 45 children from 4-16 years of age who have been in Montreal less than 6 months re-learning how to play and interact with children of various cultures.
A summer day camp, Camp Cosmos (downtown) was established in 1971. Refugee children are able to attend for only $40 per week, thanks to donations by churches and individuals to support this program. This summer, Camp Cosmos will be held in DDO as well, for 6 weeks in July & August, with 15 spaces for refugee children. The West Island day camp will be for children 7-12 years old.
A multi-faith team from churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are making this West Island camp happen, which will have two sites; Ste Genevieve United Church and the Mosque near Riverdale High School. Programs will include sports, gardening, swimming, culture, farm visits and other excursions. There will be 1 staff person for every 3 children.
Lisa noted that several West Island churches have been supporting Camp Cosmos for many years, and she hopes that they, and other groups and individuals will offer to support the West Island Camp Cosmos too. The operational budget will be $60,000 for the West Island site, and so support is much needed and would be greatly appreciated!She also described some of the other services offered by the Montreal City Mission, including a Sunday Drop In program, and special events to begin, and end Ramadan.
You can visit the Camp Cosmos website here: Camp Cosmos