About Us

Our Vision

A community where everyone can embrace their differences and harness their strengths

Our Mission

We empower neurodiverse kids and youth to reach their potential through recreational programs.

Our Values

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Fun

We believe fun and recreation are the key ingredients for kids to learn and grow.

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Relationships

Self image, confidence, and resilience are shaped by our experiences with others, which is why positive relationships are the cornerstone of our programs.

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Customized Care

We go the extra mile to understand our kids, youth and families, and we design our programs to ensure everyone feels like a valued member of our community.

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A Focus on Strengths

We create environments where differences can be seen as strengths, so kids can walk away with a true sense of what they have to offer the world.

Our Kids + Youth

girls making friends at campOur campers and leaders-in-training are neurodiverse kids and youth, age 6-18. The majority of participants typically have one or more of the following diagnoses:

  • Learning Disability
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Tourettes or a tic disorder
  • An anxiety disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Note: Participants do not need a formal diagnosis to be eligible for Camp Kirk.

 

What is neurodiversity?

Simply put, neurodiversity is the diversity of the human mind. There are natural variations in how humans learn, think, and experience the world. Neurodivergent individuals are people who have more distinct ways of learning and thinking than what has been deemed the ‘average’ standard. The concept of neurodiversity sees these differences as normal, rather than deficits.

All our campers and leaders-in-training are neurodiverse, which is a fact we value and celebrate

Our Programs

We create spaces where kids and youth who think and act ‘out-of-the-box’ can thrive. We meet with every camper before they come to camp to ensure we have the right program and supports in place for them to have a successful experience.   Through small group environments, non-competitive programming, and a focus on strengths, our programs create a safe space for our campers to discover what they have to offer the world.   

To learn more about our approach and what makes Camp Kirk unique, head to Our Programs page.


OVERNIGHT SUMMER CAMP
The traditional overnight camp experience- all within a nurturing and non-competitive environment.

CAMP KIRK COMMUNITY WEEKENDS
Community Weekends extends the benefits of our summer program year-round. Through outdoor adventure programming, our campers get regular touch-points with a supportive community throughout the school year.  

VIRTUAL PROGRAMS
Our weekly virtual programs provide a safe space for kids to connect and collaborate online.

Reducing Financial Barriers

We believe that a family’s financial situation should not stop their child from taking part in our programs.  We fundraise year-round to subsidize all of our Camper Fees, and provide financial aid to families that need a extra help getting their child to camp.   

Help a neurodiverse child take part in our programs with a donation today.

Our History

Lions Clubs members survey the site where Camp Kirk is now locatedCamp Kirk is a registered charity in Canada, our legal name is Friends of the Learning Disabled, Camp Kirk. Since 1993 we’ve delivered recreational programs that empower neurodiverse kids and youth.

In 1989 the Lions Clubs of District A-16 were gifted the camp property. They had the means and people-power to build cabins and the infrastructure needed for a summer camp, but they needed to find a partner to develop and deliver the programming. Through a connection at the Learning Disability Association of Ontario, the Lions found a group of individuals passionate about supporting the needs of children with learning disabilities. This group saw the benefit of nurturing recreational activities for kids with LD’s and was keen to partner. Consequently, our charity, Friends of the Learning Disabled, Camp Kirk was established to oversee the summer camp program, while Lions Clubs Camp Kirk Foundation was launched to develop and maintain the camp property. As a team, the two charities worked together to develop Camp Kirk. 

Here’s a quick look at some of our milestones:

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  • We welcomed our first campers

    Our founding Camp Director, Henri Audet, lead a small team to give 36 kids a boost in confidence and self-esteem during the first camping season.

  • Challenge Ropes Course Built

    Camp Kirk built a Challenge Ropes Course implementing the “Challenge by Choice” philosophy and adding new programming to our overnight camp.

  • Wildernes Canoe Trips

    We launched our wilderness canoe trip program.

  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training

    First year that staff trained in therapeutic crisis intervention to ensure escalated camper behaviour is managed with a therapeutic and holistic approach.

  • Leader-In-Training Program

    Inaugural year for the Leader-in-Training program. Graduating campers now have an opportunity to gain work experience within the camp community.

  • Teen Program

    Teen Program is launched to support youth up to the age of 16.

  • Theatre Created

    With support from the Charles H. Ivey Foundation and the Harold E. Ballard Foundation we created a theatre to enhance our Music and Dramatic Art programs.

  • Our Founding Executive Director retires

    Founding Executive Director, Henri Audet retires. Former Camp Director, Erica Park-Coutts, steps into Executive Director position to lead the organization.

  • Coronavirus Pandemic

    Coronavirus pandemic forces the suspension of the summer camp program. Distance Programs are launched to ensure Camp Kirk can continue to support the need of children and youth with social emotional challenges.

Our Impact

Testimonials, Annual Reports and more

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Our Community

Our staff, board and partners

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Our Programs

Learn more about our summer camp and year-round programs

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