Play it Fair!: Purposeful recreation programming is having a real impact at Bob Abate Community Centre: Donna`s story!

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Read Donna`s story about how Play it Fair! and purposeful recreation programming is having a real impact at Bob Abate Community Centre: Hello Play It Fair Team! I have had a number of parents come in and speak to me about our camp for 7-10 years olds and how they really like the format of the camp which we based around the Play It Fair values! I thought you might like to hear about our success! One of our senior staff decided to use the Play it Fair! values to help structure the activities of his group. All seven Play it Fair! values were displayed in the camp and every morning the group discussed the values and chose one to focus on that day. They would select Play it Fair! games to reinforce the day’s chosen value and would really focus on identifying ways to put that value into action throughout  their day. At the end of the day, the group reviewed all seven Play it Fair! values and used stickers to mark off the successful application of the value of that day! One of the children in this group had Aspergers syndrome and was initially somewhat shy and reticent.  After his first few days he spoke to his mother about the activities he and his group had been doing and said that he wanted to tell the other children in his group about his  Aspergers. His mother was surprised; he had been bullied before and his family had always been hesitant about openly naming his condition for fear of further isolating him.  With the support of the camp staff, he explained about his condition to the other children in his group. The children’s reaction was amazing – they asked some questions about what it was like to have Aspergers syndrome, and that was it; this child was able to be open about who he was and be accepted and included by the group. His mother said that it was incredible that he felt so safe in this group that he wanted to be open about his Aspergers, and that the positive response he got from the other children had made her son (and her) feel much more confident about the upcoming school year. The difference in this group between last year and this has been like night and day. In the past some children  would have disagreements, they would want to sit out of activities afraid they weren’t “good enough”, or tell us that “they are too old for camp”. This is not happening this year, the children are engaged, cooperating with one another and really enjoying the activities that have been planned. The camp is full with parents are asking if we can accommodate their children in the next session. It has been wonderful to watch the growth of this camp and see how using Play It Fair! to support our programming and organizational objectives  has really helped to create an AWESOME experience for many young people. A happy summer! Donna Densmore, Community Recreation Programmer, Bob Abate Community Centre, Toronto   (2013)

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