“Tims Camps helps people break out of their shell. It helps people discover the potential within themselves that they may not have had the opportunity to discover because of circumstances in their life that put them behind other children. When you give every kid an opportunity to see what’s in themselves and explore their strengths and interests, they can do great things.”
Attending Tims Camps starting at age 10, Aimen couldn’t count on having a cellphone camera on hand to capture every moment and memory.
So instead, she wrote.
It began with writing assignments from her counsellors – a letter to her local restaurant, for instance, or daily reflections – before their positive feedback encouraged Aimen to write more. While at camp, Aimen would fill journals until they were overflowing, packed with stories, anecdotes and memories – documenting a day she spent laughing, exploring new activities or spinning in circles with friends.
Now, the 16-year-old is an aspiring author working on publishing her first book, a mix of poetry, short stories and reflections. She credits Tims Camps with helping her find her voice – a common experience for participants as they hone newfound skills and confidence through the multi-year leadership development programming.
We caught up with Aimen – who still has those old journals in a drawer close by – to reflect on her memories of Tims Camps.
You were 10 years old your first time at camp. Were you nervous?
Not really. I was incredibly excited! I’d never been given an opportunity like this. I’d never spent much time outdoors. I’d never been outside my province or even on vacation.
I never had opportunities to explore my interests – camp gave me the opportunity to do that.
Do any favourite memories stand out to you?
One time, we were on a trip through the wilderness in Manitoba and we ran out of water. We decided to hike to get some, but unfortunately read the map wrong. We wound up hiking 10 kilometres in total to get the water, resting and eating our lunch, and then hiking back another 10 kilometres to the campsite. It was 20 kilometres total!
It was very difficult and extremely challenging, but it was also very memorable because we were all so surprised we could accomplish it in the first place!
We all have these mental barriers, and when people push and guide you to break through them and see how far you can go, it’s incredible. I’m glad camp gave me that opportunity.
Did attending camp change you in other ways?
I used to be incredibly shy before I started going to camp. But as soon as I got there, I got this huge burst of confidence and did all these crazy things I never thought I’d do before. I felt safe in that environment. I didn’t feel like anyone was going to judge me. Immediately, we were all smiling, bonding and having fun.
I’ve become a more confident person. I’m not shy anymore.
I believe that Tims Camps helps people break out of their shell. It helps people discover the potential within themselves that they may not have had the opportunity to discover because of circumstances in their life that put them behind other children.
When you give every kid an opportunity to see what’s in themselves and explore their strengths and interests, they can do great things for themselves, for others, and for their community.
All kids should have opportunities to explore themselves and become the best person they can be. I am grateful Tims Camps provided me with that.