Brigadoon Village, in partnership with the Nova Scotia RCMP, recently launched Camp Hope, the first camp in Atlantic Canada for survivors of child and youth sexual abuse and their families. The inaugural three-day camp took place at Brigadoon Village, Canada’s largest pediatric medical camp facility, located in Aylesford, Nova Scotia, September 29 to October 1, 2023.
Cpl. Mark Sobieraj, an investigator with the Nova Scotia RCMP Major Crime Unit, initiated the creation of Camp Hope, a camp designed to provide a safe, nurturing space for children and youth ages 5-12 and their caregivers. Camp Hope aims to improve outcomes for families challenged with the impacts of child sexual abuse and require additional support.
“The vision for Camp Hope was to take a trauma informed approach to healing and recovery. To give kids who have gone through so much the opportunity to just be kids again; to learn, heal, and build self-confidence through play,” said Cpl. Sobieraj.
Prior to joining the Major Crime Unit, Cpl. Sobieraj spent almost five years with the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit, which fueled his desire to help create a camp for survivors.
“Camp Hope was an exact fit for the Brigadoon mandate,” said Tiffany MacInnis, Program Manager at Brigadoon Village. “The families we welcomed at camp have been through really challenging circumstances; our goal was to help build a sense of belonging and community with other survivors who understand what they’re going through.”
While campers engaged in camp activities with Brigadoon Village staff, caregivers had the opportunity to participate in education sessions facilitated by Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Provincial Victim Services and Survivors of Abuse Recovering (S.O.A.R) Society. Other community partners included the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, SeaStar Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, The Peoples Counselling Clinic and the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.
For more information or to support the campers who attend camp at Brigadoon Village, please visit www.brigadoonvillage.ca.