POPDHH Presents: DHH Regional Camps May 2023

In May this year, POPDHH sponsored and attended 4 regional DHH student camps, in collaboration with the school districts and the The Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Deaf-Blind Well-Being Program (WBP):May 8 – 10 – Kootenay Konnection at Blue Lake
May 15 – 17 – Camp Elkhaven on Denman Island
May 24 – 26 – Camp Elkgrove in Abbotsford (the inaugural event for Fraser Valley districts)
May 29 – 31 – Camp Elkcanoe in Salmon Arm

A big thank you to the BC Elks Association for providing all three of their camping facilities, and hosting our groups.

Almost 100 students from 17 school districts across the BC and the BCSD participated. And who better to tell us how it all went!

Lunchtime at the Blue Lake
  • I loved it! It was amazing. I liked talking to my new friend John in sign language. I loved the s’mores and the stories. – Vicky
  • Blue lake was a beautiful place and I loved the canoeing. But the best part was the activities with everyone. And I really like learning the alphabet in sign language. I can now teach my friends about it. – Noah
  • Blue Lake was really fun! I liked the games the best because I got to run around and hide.  – Gabe
  • It’s so important to meet other DHH friends because you see that you are not  different and you can talk about the same struggles you might have. – Lily
  • My favourite thing about Blue Lake camp was seeing my friends. I also liked having a campfire. I felt so tired after getting back from Blue Lake camp because I did a lot of activities. Like soccer. Blue Lake camp impacted me because I did canoeing which I have never done before and that made me feel proud. – Matt
  • It was really fun and you get to do canoeing, high ropes course, and the cabins are pretty nice and you get to make your own food. – Thomas
  • I liked learning my sign alphabet and I can (finger)spell my name – Sophie
Campfire and s’mores at Camp Elkhaven
  • I liked the cooking part best – Lucas
  • I liked meeting the other kids, and learning ASL – Olivia
  • It was really fun. I liked the Flag game and how we got to have free time. The cooking was super cool. –  Cassidy
  • It was a good learning experience and a great opportunity. I had a lot of fun and made some new friends. –  Aedyn
  • I made a lot of new friends who were similar to me. I felt like I belonged and fit in because we were all the same. The activities were really fun and I loved Capture the Flag. I can’t wait for next year! – Skyler
  • At camp, my favourite part was my friends and the sea. There were many animals I’ve never seen before. I made lots of new friends and met lots of new people. I loved hanging around hard of hearing people like me. – Finley
  • Why I liked Denman Island? I loved the Denman Island camping trip because we got to hang out with other people who were also HH. I also liked it because we got to cook for the other kids and adults. I loved that I got to sign for the adults that were deaf. The activities were a great way to have kids meet each other better. I was very happy to be there because I knew I could be myself three and not have to worry about anyone making fun of me. Thank you for making that time fun and safe for me! – Sophia
Balloons and lightsabers game at Camp Elkgrove
  • At camp I enjoyed the cabins. They were comfortable. I did a lot of reading in the cabins. I learned to play pool and air hockey with new friends. I would go again. – Kyle
  • Things I liked about camp: I like about camp was how I got to help cook, that was fun. I had lots of fun playing the games. I like how there is a lot of land to play outside. – Luca
  • I like to play games with hard of hearing and deaf people and also I like to make new friends. Roasting marshmallows in the fire was really fun. Camping is really fun because of games of frisbee and helping each other in the kitchen. – Eqbal
  • I really liked camping. I enjoyed sitting by the campfire making s’mores. The food was really good. We did lots of fun activities. My favourite activity was playing a game with balloons and pool noodles. It was an awesome first-time camping experience for me! – Akbar
  • The camp is very fun. You can make new friends that have hearing aids or are deaf. You do different activities with your groups. At night when we sit by the fire pit is my favourite part, because we get to eat s’mores and talk to friends. The cabins are very nice, the bed is actually nice for a camp. I would 100 percent come there again. – Harkirat
  • “I loved hearing aid camp because I could meet new people, and I could be around other people with hearing aids.  I met new friends there.  We got to make Arts and Crafts and do S’mores.  If they have camp next year,  I would like to go back.  I decided to go to Deaf Camp this summer because I liked it so much.  I learned a little bit of sign.  I think I would like to learn more in the future.” Sincerely, – Lorelei
Fill the water jug with a sponge as a team at Camp Elkcanoe
  • Being able to be with people who all had troubles with hearing or cannot hear at all, regardless of age, was something I thought I would never get to experience. I just grew up accepting that I might never meet someone who is like me that is around or that is my age group. I couldn’t be more happier to have my experience at Elkcanoe Camp! – Seryna
  • It was a nice camp. It helped me feel reconnected with my deaf culture. And it also showed me that here in Kamloops and also some other places that are near here that there are  some deaf people. When I first moved to Kamloops I thought I was the only deaf person in Kamloops but this camp proved me wrong and I am thankful for that. This camp was amazing and felt like a dream. – Aiden

“Customer reviews” Hall of Fame:

The camp we went to…It was fun but I didn’t really like the mattresses or the spiders. I like the big cabin with all of the activities, pool table, foosball, air hockey. I also liked the dictionaries in the corner. I liked most of the food, but I didn’t like some of the food because I wasn’t used to it. I did like the soup. I liked the balloon game. It was like lightsabers but we had to hit balloons on different sides of the field. I liked the campfire. I made new friends. I would go again! I also think other kids should go. – Taylor, grade 4, Langley

Why Deaf camps are really helpful towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.
From the 29th to the 31st of May, I participated at Camp Elkanoe in Salmon Arm for a deaf camp. It was organised by POPDHH (Provincial Outreach Program: Deaf and Hard of Hearing). Youth from all around the Okanagan and Kootenay area in British-Columbia came to be there.
I believe that doing camps for deaf youth is really important because most of us don’t have deaf schools where we live, therefore we only have 1 or 2 deaf or Hard of Hearing people in schools filled with hearing individuals, and these types of camps give an opportunity for people to actually connect with others who share the same equipment or experiences as you when you come there.
I am the only person in my hometown who is Deaf. I want to have more people to relate to. For example, people that understand why I get tired from listening or people like me who have struggles with the Roger systems in schools. The conversations I have with these people matter to me more because they can understand what it feels like. I definitely felt more comfortable asking for help and clarification with them and not as shy.
Some of my favourite moments were when I had lots of time to socialise and play games with other people. One thing that I definitely noticed from going to these types of camps is that I am definitely more of an extrovert there compared to when I am at home, where I am more of an introvert. At school I lose energy from having to listen to teachers talk all day, but at camp, there is more diversity in language because I get to practise my sign language along with speaking English; hence, I don’t have to listen as much so I have more energy to socialise when I can.
One of my favourite activities was when we had a bucket of water, and we had to use a cloth to absorb water into it and pass it down a line of people in order to squeeze it into a jug of water. My team ended up winning the contest, and I got to pour a full jug onto a staff member’s head in front of everyone at camp. Then when it is time to leave and go home, I have a confidence boost because I know that there are people out there like me with the same struggles, wants and needs. Even though the camps only last 3 days, I always make good friends with at least a couple of people there.
In summary, organising Deaf camps are so important because I get to interact with people that share the same technology or hearing condition as me, but more importantly, someone to relate to. They are also so important due to the fact that I have the opportunity to make new deaf friends, socialise more and have fun. – Emilie, Revelstoke

One day events

In addition to the annual regional camps, the POPDHH sponsored a couple of one-day events:

Victoria School District’s Annual D/deaf and hard of hearing Beach Day –
by Megan Jantz, TDHH, Greater Victoria


Our Victoria District TDHH team once again welcomed staff and students from 5 Vancouver Island school districts to our annual Beach Day. There was a wonderful turnout of over 75 students from kindergarten to grade 12.  We were also thrilled to have staff members from outside agencies including POPDHH, POPDB, PDHHS and Deaf Wellbeing visit and join in the activities. It was wonderful to have ASL represented and so visible at this event.  The day was jam packed with fun activities. In the morning the kids participated in an ‘Amazing Race’, the older students completed challenges in the Cadboro Bay village and the younger students did their version on the Gyro Beach field with 10 activity stations to rotate through. At lunch Terry Maloney (POPDHH) presented our Senior Amazing Race winning team with their trophy while attendees enjoyed a treat from Hazel’s Ice Cream Cart. After lunch Geo from Deaf Well Being led the group in some rounds of tug-of-war. There were new friendships formed, playdates planned and reconnections fostered. Beach day is a highlight of our year, a time when we can observe our students having so much fun and connecting with so many of their peers. Thank you to POPDHH for sponsoring this event and helping make it so special for all of us. It is something we continue to look forward to year after year.

Some quotes from the day:

  • Grade 10 student: “this is a really important event for the younger students. They get to see they are not alone and there are many others like themselves”
  • Grade 5 student: “I got to connect with friends I have made on other days, it is so good to see them again”
  • Parent volunteer: “Thank you for hosting this. I can see that my son has made a connection and we might have a future play date happening!”
  • Grade 9 and 10 students “Do you have paper and pens, we want to exchange our socials to connect later”
  • Grade 2 student: “This was the best day ever!”
  • Staff member: “I got to see a student engage in ASL with a native signer and it brought tears to my eyes to see how engaged they were. I have never seen them this engaged in language before. We need more of this.”

Peace River North Annual Deaf and Hard of Hearing get-together –
by Sally Birley, TDHH Peace River North

June 14th, Beaton Park, Fort St. John: This year the theme of our get-together was “The Amazing Race”. It was a very successful event with twenty-seven kids showing up. The cohort of DHH kids was split into three groups ranging from Kindergarten to grade 12. The older kids were the station leaders, the middle kids were group leaders, and the younger kids were teamed with the middle kids to compete. We had nine stations in which the racing students had to run to complete the race. Our local audiology team also attended the event and tended the nutrition station.
To begin the race, each team was given a name based on the parts of the hearing system from Pinna to the brain, totalling nine groups in all. Each team had a passport in which they recorded answers to questions regarding the station leader’s hearing level and a classroom situation that was difficult due to their hearing levels, this information was required in order to start their station challenge. The station leaders then gave the racers a choice of activities such as “ Do you want to  Surf or Turf, Wing it or Bring it, Piece it Together or Take it Apart,” etc. There were 9 stations in all.
Winners were determined by who arrived at the pavilion first with all the parts of the passport filled in. The winners got to be the first to choose from the prize table. After the Race, we had a hotdog lunch with veggies, fruit, and a lot of snack choices, followed by cupcake decorating and free time. It was a fun-filled day despite the smoke from forest fires in our area. Thank you so much for your support. Without your help, we would not have been able to make it as fun and with so many choices of events. Thank you POPDHH!

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