100+ Women vote to ‘send a kid to camp’
By Sara White
A good in-person attendance, plus a voting contingent watching via Facebook Live, helped 100+ Women Who Care make a March 12 decision to send youth to summer camp programs with the Annapolis Valley Chapter of Autism Nova Scotia.
The group met at Mainstreet Station in Kentville, but broadcast its first full meeting though social media for members away or unable to make the early evening event. As concerns about early signs of COVID-19 were just beginning, the online viewing and voting option enabled many members to feel just as much part of the decision.
Sandy Wing of the Valley autism group spoke about the program’s Camp Spectrum, a summer day camp experience for youth with all you’d expect – crafts, outings, swimming and games; plus trained, high-ratio counsellor support for participants. In 2019, the camp hosted 42 participants, with a waiting list that barely moved as families were keen to access the specialty program. With the 100+Women’s funding, increasing the camp staff by just one counsellor means seven more youth can attend the program this summer.
Also presenting at this meeting were representatives from SOAR (Survivors of Abuse Recovering) and the Hants County Christmas Angels Society. SOAR is an adult, peer support organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It partners with several other Valley services, hosts public workshops and trains a network of volunteer peer supporters. Christmas Angels has been working in Hants County for over 40 years to raise funds and support families over the holidays. In 2019, it used $50,000 of fundraised effort to help 242 families, including single parents, children being raised by grandparents and emancipated youth. Both organizations received advertising packages from 89.3 KRock to support future promotions.
Also at the meeting were representatives of the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, including Annapolis Valley chapter representative Connie Benjamin. The group received the 100+ Women’s June 2019 support, and were on hand at this meeting to describe the impact on programs and people.
“Last June, there was very little consistent support for brain-injured folks in the Valley,” BIANS executive director Leona Burkey said. “You beautiful, caring women: since then, Connie and a team of volunteers working here have started three support options in Wolfville and Kentville, there are some new volunteers, we’re bringing community-based ‘brain injury 101’ training to Kentville and we’re planning a ‘concussion cafe’ for spring. There is a real need for education and practical tools to support people.”
Benjamin said she herself has now developed a network of 30 people she checks in on every week, with personal visits or even phone calls: “it’s been amazing.”
100+ Women Who Care Annapolis Valley Chapter meets quarterly to hear from three member-nominated community non-profit groups. After five-minute presentations, members vote on which group will be the recipient of each member’s $100 donation. New members are welcome. Visit 100womenvalley.ca for organization information on past non-profit recipients, joining details and upcoming events.
To honour your membership commitment, please either mail your donation cheque to Autism Nova Scotia Annapolis Valley Chapter, 565 Main Street, PO Box 555,Kingston, NS B0P 1R0. Please remember to put “100 Women Valley” in the subject line so they know you’re part of our group donation.
OR donate online here using the CanadaHelps fundraising page we set up for the purpose: