Trip helps PARC members build confidence and relationships
Aug 26, 2017
by Hilary Caton
Every summer for the past five years, Robert Noble has hopped on a bus with a few dozen of his fellow Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) members to escape the suffocating city life.
“I just like to get away from the city,” said Noble.
“Parkdale is great, but it’s nice to get away now and then. I do it just to keep my sanity; I do it for whatever sanity I have left, really.”
Noble is one of 44 campers heading to Sparrow Lake, about an hour north of Orillia, on Monday, Aug. 28 for four days on PARC’s Camp Trip. The trip was established 30 years ago, according to PARC’s executive director Victor Willis, who also joins members on the trip.
“The idea was born through conversations with members and staff along with early research on rehabilitative environments for people who had been institutionalized,” Willis said.
“Every member who goes, talks about how important it is to them. For people who live with very limited means, this is as close as they may ever get to a break from their day-to-day lives.”
It’s a break that many attending look forward to every year. Noble especially has high hopes for this year’s trip. He missed last year due to a severe accident that required major surgery on both wrists. Not being able to go to camp that year was a devastating blow for him.
“I really missed it,” Noble told the Villager.
“After going through that trauma, I’m definitely looking forward to getting away this year. I’m excited. I’m hyped.”
The trip, which is lottery based due to popularity, is designed to help people who are low-income or marginalized temporarily escape the pressures of poverty with a four-day camp trip. The program comes with a hefty cost of around $30,000, so PARC has to fundraise as much of it as it can. The remainder is supplemented with the drop-in budget.