Summer camp bridges age groups

Intergenerational academy unites Powell River area youth and seniors

A summer program run through Powell River Child and Youth Family Services Society aims to bridge a generational gap, according to the society’s special projects manager Kevin Dodd.

“We’re hoping we’re going to get that bridge between generations,” said Dodd, “and increase understanding, shared wisdom and shared strengths from the senior generation.”

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Intergenerational Summer Academy will take place from July 10 to August 16 and largely be run and taught by local senior volunteers. The program will be free for youth ages nine to 12 who are chosen through an application process to be announced in late April or early May.

According to Dodd, the society is expecting interest in the camp to exceed the number of spots available.

“We’re hoping to have about 30 to 35 youth attend,” he said. The society has already established an advisory group of seniors and is recruiting more for various activities. For those more interested in helping out behind the scenes rather than leading a course, those types of roles exist as well.

Society executive director Heather Gordon said she has witnessed similar programs throughout the province and that something special happens when different age groups spend time together.

“I’ve visited and seen other intergenerational programs where there is a lot of magic between the children and the seniors; there is a shared playfulness,” said Gordon. “Seniors get to be creative and the children feel valued.”

The types of suggested courses include interpretive nature walks to learn about different edible plants and learning about vintage cars.

Dodd said age is just a number when it comes to who can be considered a senior.

“The definition of a senior would be anyone who considers themselves part of the senior generation, so it’s relative to the age of the nine-to-12 year olds,” said Dodd. “If you identify yourself as part of the senior generation and have skills you would like to share, or think this is something you would enjoy, you’re definitely welcome.”

The society will host a morning tea for seniors interested in becoming involved with the summer program at 10 am on Friday, April 6, at Oceanview Education Centre.

For more information, contact Dodd at 604.485.3090.

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