September 2

Extend-A-Family Summer Program 2016: A Review

Extend-A-Family LogoIt’s that time of year again where we wrap up our summer program! 2016 was a year filled with excitement, friendship, and fun!

Before we get into all of the exciting details about the program itself, we’d like to first introduce you to the team that brought all of the magic to life! This year our team was led by two time On-Site Director Spencer, who never failed to bring out the excellence in the rest of the team members. Josh held the position of Assistant On-Site Director, who rejuvenated the Peer Leader system by bringing mentorship and goal setting to the forefront. Returning for his third year, and introducing the Summer Program Leaders, Gryphon brought his strong relationship building back to the program, and gave the rest of a team an example to follow. Our resident cheerleader Sabrina brought enormous amounts of energy and spirit to everyone she interacted with. Patience and an aura of peace and tranquility came from our leader Marissa, who made strong and lasting one to one connections with many of the participants. Evan, our jack of all trades, brought a great sense of humour and well roundedness to the team and the participants. Where’s our last leader you ask? Not to fear, Emily is here! Emily met every challenge with a positive energy and with a unique intuition, which helped the team strive for greater success.

Sticking with tradition, we began our summer program by traveling the globe in “All Around the World” week. We focused on bringing different cultures to life, by creating maracas and dancing to music from different countries, we had the chance to meet some ‘very cute’ exotic animals from Little Rays Reptiles, and ended our week touring the animals of the world by visiting the African Lion Safari!

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We learned a lot about each other in our “Hidden Talents” week. Marissa brought her dad in to give an educational and interactive lesson in Karate, our minds were blown thanks to the magical talents of Five the Magician, and we found out what our personal super powers are by creating super hero models! Finally, we wrapped the week up by showcasing our hidden talents in a talent show, which had everything from lifting weights and arm wrestling, to beautiful singing and dancing.

In our third week of program, we managed to get out into the community and give something back by being “Vibrant Volunteers”. We began the week by focusing on our futures and learning how to write a successful resume. We created goals for ourselves and put them in jars as a reminder of what we want to achieve, and took steps towards many of those goals by volunteering in small groups at the Victoria Hills and Forest Heights community centers. We took everyone to the Family Center and spent the full day learning about the positive experiences that can arise from being a volunteer. We ended our week taking a bit of a break at the Mountsberg Conservation Centre, where we learned all about different birds and how important they are to maintaining a healthy environment.

After a week of volunteering, it was time to bring out a bit of competition by “Getting our Game on!” We channeled our inner Tom Cruise by planning mission impossible, broke into teams and played our hearts out in a sports circuit, and gave er’ a go with some Australian sports taught to us by X-Movement. We finished off the week with an awards ceremony, followed by hitting those strikes bowling and splashing around at the Waterloo Rec Center.

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After a busy, hot summer, we wrapped up our day program getting wet and refreshed at our “Wacky Water Week”! We tapped into our inner artist and created some amazing paintings using water guns, got soaked running relays and capturing the flag, had a fiery time in the gym when Drumfit came to burn some calories, and relaxed afterwards by creating some tie dye shirts. After spraying the participants with water all week, it was time for them to get some revenge in reverse paintball, where everyone got the chance to paint the program leaders from head to toe, and wash all of the paint off using water guns, sponges, pails, and eventually the buckets that held all of the water.  We capped off our week with a trip to Wild Water Works, where we slayed the slides, laid back in the lazy river, and went wild in the wave pool.

We said goodbye to the day program and hello to the overnight program by travelling to Camp Impeesa, located in Ayr. For the next two weeks, we spent our days playing cards, board games, going on hikes, making bracelets and paintings, swimming, and even a little bit of rock climbing. We celebrated the nights by singing around the campfire and making s’mores, watching movies and eating popcorn. We partied with a dance, topping off the night with ice cream sundaes.

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Just like that, summer program came to a close. All of the excitement and fun of the summer came to a wrap. The friendships and relationships built this summer brought everyone closer, and the sense of unity and closeness extended out to everyone who came into contact with the summer program. The staff at St. Dominic Savio did an amazing job at accommodating the needs of a constantly changing program, the peer leaders jumped right into their role and quickly became members of the team, the coordinators who connected all of the participants to the program, our fantastic guests and trip locations who provided memories that will never be forgotten, and the one on one support workers who did an outstanding job in insuring that everyone felt welcomed and supported at the summer program, we would like send a great big thank you to all of you for becoming a part of the summer program, and making this summer one to remember.

We want to send a big shout out to Mitch Bewick, whose 6 years involved in the summer program is coming to a close. His amazing contributions and guidance in that time has lead the program to new heights and success, and he has helped set the bar higher each year for the next team to reach. We want to wish Mitch all of the best in his future endeavors, and look forward to seeing his continued success.

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Until next time, Summer Program!

Written by: Summer Program Staff 2016

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Posted September 2, 2016 by Spencer in category "Personal

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