Syrian refugees experience 1st summer camp in Calgary

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WATCH ABOVE: It’s something they’re experiencing for the very first time, 30 Syrian refugees from ages 5 to 14 are taking part in a Canadian summer tradition. Global’s Jill Croteau reports – Aug 5, 2016

Summer camp is considered a part of Canadian culture; an opportunity for kids to just be kids, away from their parents and schedules. A Syrian Canadian who recently graduated high school in Calgary wanted to give refugee youth the chance to experience a week-long summer camp.

Selma Janbey said it was something she was compelled to do.

“I kind of feel an obligation and responsibility to help out fellow Syrians,” she said. “You feel a connection to people who share your nationality.”
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She pitched her summer camp concept to a business competition and won. The $2,000 winnings helped fund the camp so the kids could attend for free.

“It’s the most rewarding thing. It’s worth a million dollars and I cannot explain what this camp has done for me.”

The camp accommodates close to 30 Syrian children from five years old up to 14. The last day was Friday, Aug. 5.

Janbey knows the value of the experience for the kids and their parents.

“The first day we were all nervous. I can speak Arabic–but it’s iffy–and I was questioning ‘what am I doing’?” Janbey recalled. “But then the mom opened the door with a smile on her face from ear to ear and the kids came out smiling ear to ear and just happy.

“I can’t imagine what they’ve been through. It’s nice to know we can help them.”


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