For many adults, the clearest and happiest memories of our childhood come from the carefree days of summer – summer allows for unique experiences that just can’t be matched within the confines of the school year.
Families in our Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program know this, and each summer set about creating those special memories with their own families, including their foster children.
TFC serves children and youth, between the ages of six to 15, whose special needs require individualized treatment within a family environment.
Heather and Quincy
One family spent the summer honouring their culture by touring the powwow circuit, camping in tents at each location and spending time with extended family and friends. They travelled over 2,000 kilometers over the course of the summer (and got very accomplished at tent set-up and tear-down – by the end of the summer the family could work together to accomplish either within 45 minutes.)
Quincy is an accomplished dancer and has passed his love of powwow dancing down to the children in his family – both biological and foster. One of their foster daughters was honoured to be named Powwow Princess for her home reserve and thus received the privilege of walking in the Grand Entry amongst the dignitaries at each powwow she attended – an experience she won’t soon forget!
There were a lot of long days and late nights, but overall Heather viewed the summer as a wonderful opportunity for her family to spend time together – and they are already planning for next year!
Jennifer and Clifton
Another family took a vacation they’d been planning for nearly a year – travelling from Saskatchewan to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. It was the first-time Jennifer and Clifton’s foster son had been away from home and while he was hesitant to go to begin with, he soon jumped in with both feet and soaked up all the new experiences – which, for the parents, was the biggest reward they could have asked for.
Over the course of two weeks, the family had the opportunity to spend a morning in Toronto where they did some sightseeing, visit Niagara Falls where they purchased fun passes to be able to take in all the attractions offered; spent a week in Ottawa, and took a few day trips to Montreal where they visited landmarks like Old Montreal and the Notre Dame Basilica and enjoyed some local cuisine – poutine in particular! Their second day in Montreal was spent at Six Flags – a huge highlight for all the children.
Their younger children, including their foster son, have a big interest in history, so one of their favourite things was sightseeing in Ottawa – they visited Parliament, saw the Rideau Canal, and watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Matt and Janelle
Yet another family went on the trip of a lifetime, to Disneyland! Matt, Janelle, and their family had a full two weeks of sun and fun, spending one week in northern California and one in southern California, but the highlight for both parents and children was, not surprisingly, the visit to the happiest place on earth.
Their foster daughter was entirely fearless and “had the greatest attitude” – she wanted go on every ride! But Cars – a racing attraction based on the popular movies – was a favourite, as well as Splash Mountain. She met a lot of characters but a favourite was Moana – she couldn’t contain her excitement, jumping up and down and hugging the character after waiting nearly 40 minutes in line for the opportunity.
The family also visited Newport Beach and saw (and played in) the ocean for the first time!
Even when our clients were spending time with our respite family – an alternate caretaker that can take the children for days or weeks at a time to give the foster parents time to decompress – they got to experience the simple pleasures of camping, hiking, and fishing. Some of our clients caught their first fish, and all had the opportunity for a lot of special summer freedoms – they spent a lot of time exploring the area where they camped, Dunnet Regional Park in Avonlea.
Ultimately, each child in our Treatment Foster Care program is truly a part of the family who is caring for them in the program – which sometimes means giving them experiences they’ve never had and opening their eyes to new possibilities, and sometimes just means letting them be a kid.