*Doug recently went on the adventure of a lifetime!

His Treatment Foster Care parents Melissa and Tim Berezowski took the seven-year-old on his first canoe trip.

They worked hard preparing him for the journey since his arrival with them in April.

“We started out with him just sitting in the canoe in our yard, so he knew how it felt. Then we took him to a local lake, and we sat on the water for about 45 minutes the first time and fished. The second time we were there a bit longer,” said Tim.

“He also got to help us dehydrate food in preparation for the trip. He was intrigued by the process and was open to trying the food which is not his norm,” said Melissa.

When Doug arrived with the Berezowskis, he was very fixated on certain foods. He refused to eat much of what was served to him. On this trip, he was open to eating all the foods they gave him.

He was involved in the whole planning process which got him more excited about the trip.

“He was a new child for us, so we didn’t know how he was going to react to being on an eight-day, 100-kilometre canoe trip in the middle of nowhere. As soon as he came to live with us, we started involving him in planning the trip, so he was able to get used to the idea,” said Melissa.

Doug loves trains. Tim and Melissa tried to associate trains with the trip by explaining that the people with the paddles are the engine, the food was the steam to power the engine, and everyone needed to work together to power the engine so the “train” could move.

There were seven people on the trip including Melissa and Tim’s two children and two friends of their son’s.

“He really opened up and was joking around with the boys. He was enjoying the camaraderie with the positive male role models. He had a water gun that he used to squirt water at everyone in the canoes. He did exceptionally well on this trip,” said Tim.

“We have taken other youth in our care before, but Doug was by far the youngest, so this was a new experience for us too,” said Melissa.

They started at Stanley Mission and went east on the Churchill River with a little jaunt on the Drinking River. They camped on islands, so they kept him motivated by telling him they had to look for another island to camp on.

They foraged for saskatoons, blueberries, raspberries, and enjoyed fish fries.

“We want to connect kids back to the land, so we strongly believe in the benefits of land-based learning,” said Melissa.

One of Tim’s favourite parts of the trip was seeing the wonder in Doug’s eyes when he tasted a fried fish they had caught just minutes before.

Doug is excited to go on another camping adventure.

Ranch Ehrlo’s unique Treatment Foster Care Services have professionalized foster care with qualified foster parents who provide a loving and supportive family environment for children and youth with complex needs.

*Name changed for privacy.