There was a time when administrators at Camp Kindle had to turn away people applying for summer jobs after positions quickly filled, but that’s not the case this year.
“Right now we’re in pretty desperate need for lifeguards, also some kitchen staff and then a few specialty areas,” said Leighana Shockey, director of operations for the camp that’s operated by the Kids Cancer Care Foundation.
There are a number of jobs available at the facility near Water Valley, located northwest of Calgary, which is open year-round but has not hosted any children for the last two years due to the pandemic.
“Right now we would have been fully hired,” said Shockey. “We would be turning people away, we have been very fortunate in the past to always have a great broad choice of candidates so that we could really choose from the top and COVID-19 has changed everything.”
The camp specializes in dealing with children with medical conditions and caters to many specialty groups.
“Diabetes Canada, Hemophilia Canada, Alberta Junior Arthritis, Little Heart Heroes,” said Shockey. “We have quite a few medical groups and Diabetes Canada is a very large one, they’re here for two full weeks.”
To make the camper’s experience fun and safe, a medical team made up of a doctor and four nurses is on hand at the facility’s clinic each week. Kate Hilton, the director of nursing and outreach, said while nurses are paid at the camp they typically use their vacation time.
“The last two years have been really, really difficult for nurses,” said Hilton. “They have given everything that they can and coming out of the pandemic slightly now nurses are burnt out, they’re exhausted, they need that vacation time, they need that rest.”
Hilton is still short a few nurses and would like a few in reserve in case someone is ill. She’s also tasked with recruiting volunteers. The camp typically operates with more than 25 but she’s short by about 10 positions.
IMPORTANT TO JUST BE KIDS
Christine McIver is the founder and CEO of the Kids Cancer Care Foundation and is passionate about Camp Kindle. She said it’s important for kids to take a break in their medical treatments to just be kids.
“I always say it’s a crisis within a crisis when they cannot be out and about like other healthy kids are,” said McIver. “They are immunocompromised and have to be really careful about where they go and who they see and so it’s a double challenge for them so I know they’re going to be excited to be back (at camp) again.”
McIver knows the camp can operate now but it puts a lot of pressure on staff when there are fewer of them. She’s hopeful more people will sign up to work and volunteer.
“It’s easy, just go to our website, www.kidscancercare.ab.ca and click on get involved,” she said. “You can get involved in so many ways in fundraising for us and volunteering and actually getting a job with us too.”