Many of my childhood summer memories involve doing something fun with my family. Those summer days and nights seemed endless, filled with camping trips, days at the beach, and long bike rides.
Family life has changed in the past few decades. Relationships are more rushed, and many Okanagan attractions are priced out of range for local families.
To make sure everyone can join in the fun, The Bridge Youth and Family Services has launched the “Summer Memories Campaign.”
“It’s hard for families to do the things they want to do,” explains Sue Foisy, Transitions Facilitator for the agency. “Families are tired. They are putting money elsewhere to make ends meet. They need some things to look forward to in the summer, things that will bring them together and create memories.”
Foisy emphasizes that the goal of the program is for families to find time to do something special together. It’s not only about lack of money, but having the finances to do special things together can be a major challenge experienced by families.
So far, they’ve received donations of 2 picnic lunches donated by Quality Greens, Okanagan Sun football tickets, gift certificate from the Real Canadian Superstore, Little Caesar’s gift certificates, Scandia passes, and passes to H2O and Parkinson Recreation Centres.
The outstanding staff of the Bridge Youth and Family Services can refer families who are in need of some quality time together, and who could not afford these kinds of experiences. In the first year, the project is already seeing success stories.
“Our agency is about the preservation of families,” explains Foisy. “Some of these families don’t have time to play together. They are under stress and pressure all the time. We bridge gaps in families that have been fragmented.”
Foisy, a twenty-six year veteran of the agency, is determined to keep growing the Summer Memories Campaign and bring back summer fun. She has enthusiastic and capable assistance from an agency volunteer named Darlene. Recently retired and with time on her hands, Darlene responded to a volunteer ad from the agency because she wanted to make a difference for families. She began working on holiday hampers, and five years later she is committed to making the summer memories campaign a success.
Both organizers help families to work through barriers that arise, so that outings can go smoothly. For example, a family might receive swim passes but not have swimwear or transportation. It takes a lot of coordination to pull it all off, but it is well worth it to see families having fun together.
“It lightens their day,” says Foisy. “It’s something these families may have never thought they could do together.”
Change starts here, because parents and children are spending quality time together, and building precious memories. The Summer Memories Campaign needs partners so that more families can join the fun. To learn more about the Bridge Youth and Families Services, visit http://www.thebridgeservices.ca/
To find out how you can be part of change, visit www.unitedwaycso.com