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‘They had a lot of trauma’: Calgary agency offers day camp for recently arrived Ukrainian kids – Calgary |


A special day camp is bringing a much-needed summer boost for some new Calgarians.

It’s a welcome bright spot for kids who’ve just been through some very dark days.

The Immigrant Education Society (TIES), a Calgary agency that supports newcomers, is offering a day camp this week for children who’ve come to Canada after fleeing the war in Ukraine.

It’s an opportunity for the kids to connect with each other and learn more about their new lives in Canada.

“I like learning English,” camp participant Emir Suvorov, 9, said.

Some of the children attending the camp arrived in Calgary as recently as a month ago.

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‘We need a safe place: New immigration program for Ukrainian refugees welcomed by Calgary family

“They go through the bombing, they go through the terrible things that happen in Ukraine,” camp counsellor Sofiia Krok said. “So many of these kids, they had a lot of trauma.”

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Krok was a kindergarten teacher in Ukraine before coming to Calgary during the summer of 2022.

“I’m so happy that the kids have this opportunity here to be together and to share their emotions,” Krok said.

The children attending TIES Ukrainian Day Camp range in age from 8 to 12.

“You can talk with your friends and find a new friend,” camp participant Seva Rynhenky, 10, said.

Krok is one of five recent arrivals from Ukraine who’ve been hired at TIES helping to provide support for newcomers like the kids from Ukraine.

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“It is very important, because we want to provide opportunities for the children to be themselves, to be a kid,” TIES executive director Sally Zhao said. “So they can live healthily, both physically and mentally.”

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TIES Ukrainian Day Camp features learning activities and games, as well as trips to local parks for some outdoor fun.

“I can learn here many interesting things about Canada,” camp participant Sofiia Yatsanko, 12, said.

Krok said she’s worried about the safety of family members still in Ukraine and knows that many of the children in her camp have similar concerns.

“We have one game that we play: ‘Say for us one of your dreams,’” Krok said. “And all of them say ‘I want the war to get finished’ – it’s their dream.”

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