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Our Impact

Amici's Impact

Amici recognizes the enormous toll the pandemic has had on youth and low-income families. Though middle and high income earners have primarily returned to regular working hours, low-income earners are still working 20% fewer hours than they were in 2019 (Ayer, S., Navarrete, V., & Foster, J., 2021). Paired with the rise in food insecurity and the cost of housing, children from low-income households face more obstacles than ever before. In responding to a survey from May 2020, 98% of Amici families said their lives were negatively affected by the pandemic, with 88% of families responding that they were struggling to meet basic needs. 

The upheaval that our youth have experienced throughout the global pandemic and the related school and camp closures have had a great effect on children and youth. According to a recent study conducted by CAMH, rates of depression are up 35% in  Canadian youth (Boak, A., 2021). Anxiety, sadness, eating disorders and social withdrawal are on the rise. More than ever, the impact of a summer camp experience is becoming so critical to getting children back on track after years of upheaval to their regular activities. A study by the Toronto District School Board found that 48% of children in lower-income families did not participate in extracurricular activities, compared to 7% of children in households earning $100,000 or more (Hensley, M., 2019). Having access to recreational programs, such as summer camp, increases a child's likelihood of success in school and improves their overall well-being (Polyani, M., Wilson, B., Mustachi, J., & Kerr, M., 2017). When Amici campers return home from camp they report experiencing stress relief, gaining a sense of control, and developing a positive identity. Camp offers an escape from the challenges that come with living in a low-income household. 

Amici is playing a critical role in helping our campers overcome potentially long-term effects caused by the pandemic, providing them with meaningful camp experiences. Camp naturally teaches independence, optimism and resilience: a foundation for developing long term coping skills and good mental health into adulthood. At camp, all children have the opportunity to discover the strengths that make them unique, while gaining real world skills and developing a strong foundation for positive long-term mental health. 

Through multi-year access to camp, the children in our program return to camp year-after-year, ensuring the benefits of camp are long-term, profound and life-changing. Camp is a space where kids can be kids, building new friendships, strengthening existing relationships and learning from the mentors around them. It is this multi-year access to camp that transforms children’s lives.

Program Updates

While the common characteristic of Amici families is financial need, the children that Amici supports come from diverse backgrounds. Amici has seen an increase in requests from families for enrollment at camps that offer additional support. In an effort to increase the number of spaces at camps serving children with disabilities and additional needs, Amici has sought out new partnerships with camps to serve a greater diversity of campers. In summer 2022 and summer 2023 Amici has partnered with 3 additional camps, each serving children with diverse physical and cognitive needs. In 2019 Amici sent 18 children needing extra support to 4 partner camps offering additional support, while in 2023 we increased this number and were able to send 30 campers to 7 partner camps offering additional support. Adding new Amici camp partners to support diverse camper needs increased our offering by 60%. 

While working with a consulting agency to develop Amici’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Charter and Strategic Roadmap in 2022,  our team learned there are gaps in our knowledge of our campers and their families. In order to learn more about the Amici camper population and improve our campership program, we refined our camper application and camper impact survey. Amici’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee developed a new camper application and camper impact survey, collecting more detailed demographic data for our campers and families. Our survey results have helped us identify gaps in the populations we serve and allowed us to make data-informed decisions to improve Amici’s program in the future.

2022 Camper Survey Highlights

Amici's Objectives and Results

Campership Program Over The Years

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government closed all overnight summer camps in Summer 2020. As a result, Amici supported our families with the Amici Family 2020 Support Fund.

**In 2021, many of our partner camps made the difficult decision to not offer traditional overnight summer camp programming due to ongoing challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we supported many families with the Amici Family 2021 Support Fund.

In 2022, Amici recognizes that we are in the process of rebuilding our Campership Program as we work with our partners to recover from the impact of COVID-19. We also recognize the complex effects the pandemic has had on the well being of children and youth within our program and beyond as they ease into a new normal still being defined for them.

Ayer, S., Navarrete, V., & Foster, J. (2021) Toronto’s VItal Signs 2021 Report. Toronto Foundation. Toronto, Canada. 

Boak, A. (2021) The Well-Being of Ontario Students: Findings from the 2021 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Toronto, Canada.

Hensley, M. (2019) Here's just how much poverty can hold kids back. United Way Greater Toronto, Canada.

Polyani, M., Wilson, B., Mustachi, J., Ekra, M., & Kerr, M. (2017) Unequal City: Hidden Divide Among Toronto’s Children and Youth. 2017 Toronto Child and Family Poverty Report Card (24)