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What about your Child’s Development?

Camp season is upon us & to help you help your kiddos get ready, we’ve lined up some guest posts by LeAnne from Inter-Varsity Camps! Enjoy & post any questions you have for LeAnne in the comments! 


If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for what’s next in your child’s development.  I want my kids to grow up to be responsible, well-rounded, considerate contributors to the betterment of our world.  And because of that, I’m kind of on yellow alert to make sure I don’t miss an important piece in their development.

For me, one of those critical components is a camp experience.  Why camp?  Because camp provides kids with an opportunity to build independence and self-confidence, make new friends, and improve their attitude towards physical activity, among other things.   How do I know?  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve watched shy kids slowly let caring camp staff into their lives, smiled as a camper tries an activity or sport for the first time, and seen the joy on their faces as they hug a new camp friend they hardly knew a week earlier.  If you’re curious, check out some research that came out at the end of last year from the University of Waterloo.  Dubbed “The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project,” this Canadian, 5-year study of the impact of camp on children provides proof of the positive impact of the camp experience on campers.  Researchers explored the outcomes of the Canadian summer camping experience.  Campers’ behaviours, attitudes & values were observed by their leaders at the beginning & end of camp, and with those observations, researchers looked for changes.  Among the findings:

  • New friendships are developed, often with people different from themselves;
  • Positive approaches to resolving personal conflicts;
  • Improved attitudes towards physical activity (a worthy outcome, given childhood obesity rates, sedentary lifestyles and obsession with technology);
  • Growth in self-confidence & independence.

If you haven’t yet completed your summer planning, consider a camp experience.  Fill in a critical piece in your kids’ development.  You might want to check out a contest offering 20% off a week at camp for new campers at:


About the Author:

LeAnne is married and is the proud mom of 2 boys, aged 6 and 8.  Both boys are quickly becoming veteran campers as LeAnne works as VP Camping for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.  In this role she is responsible for leading the work of 9 Christian camps across Canada – 4 Pioneer Camps and 5 Circle Square Ranches.  When she’s not working, LeAnne loves hanging out with her husband and her boys, bike riding, playing Wii, and making music together.

McMaster Children’s Hospital Our Home Away From Home

My name is Melissa, I work for a fabulous company called Mabel’s Labels and I’m the mom to a beautiful and very special 1 year old girl.

From the moment my little ladybug was born she was a frequent patient at McMaster Children’s Hospital. During our most recent stay at MCH my wee ladybug was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder known as CDG – Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation. Basically her body can’t transfer the sugars needed, which means that she is unable to absorb protein. CDG causes many different disorders that effect several systems in the body. There are approximately 500-700 cases of CDG worldwide, most of which are type I, only a very tiny handful have type II. The latter is where my princess falls.

Anyone who has ever received a life changing diagnosis for the ones you love – whether it be a child, spouse, parent, or friend, know that as soon as the doctor tells you those words your entire world flips upside down in an instant. Any hopes or dreams for them just seem to float up in the air and hover, because even though you may finally have a diagnosis there is no way of knowing how things will play out.

Even the most seasoned parent will tell you that any trip to the hospital can be daunting, however, somehow knowing that we were at one of the top paediatric academic hospitals in the Canada seemed to alleviate some of my anxiety. Our last visit to McMaster lasted nearly 2 ½ months. It may seem like a long time, but after a while it just became our home away from home. The Ronald McDonald room for families of children in the hospital was a life saver, especially when you needed somewhere homey and close by to escape – if only for a few minutes. The nurses on the children’s ward were fantastic; they became my extended family and love my ladybug as much as any other family member would. There were even a few nurses who had gone above and beyond their duties and have become close confidants since. The child life staff was always checking in to see if we needed anything, and started my ladybug on the Beanstalk Program. This program was created to communicate the developmental needs and goals of young children receiving extended acute care on wards 3B and 3C, to the staff, families and volunteers at MCH. It was great to know that if I were to step out for lunch, the volunteers would know exactly which book my daughter liked to look at, that she enjoyed hearing music or singing, or how if you twirled her hair she would relax and fall asleep.

One of my favourite quotes is “Struggles only make triumphs that much sweeter”. Because of the wonderful staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital we were able to make it through our first bout of struggles in my ladybugs life, and can begin to relax and enjoy the many triumphs yet to come.

Mabel’s Labels is a proud supporter of the McMaster Children’s Hosptial. Shop at and 20% of all orders placed through the link goes back to the hospital.

A Resolution to Change

For this week’s blog post, guest blogger Christopher McGrath provides some timely inspiration about getting healthy in the New Year.

Chris before his journey

Chris before his journey

It’s that time of year again when many people reflect upon the previous year, wondering what could have been, and contemplate the year ahead, dreaming of what could possibly be.  While I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions (mainly because I’m no good at keeping them), two years ago, I promised myself I would try to make a change that would last a lifetime.

Two years ago, I was a 435-pound man.  And for the last time, I resolved to get healthy.

And while I had tried almost every diet, gimmick and trick out there, I was not thoroughly convinced that surgically wrapping an elastic band around my stomach was going to be the solution to my problems.  Why?  Well, it wasn’t modern medicine’s fault that I was a morbidly obese.  Over the twenty previous years prior, I made a series of bad choices in terms of my eating habits and my inability to manage my emotions.  So while I didn’t resolve to go on a diet, or read yet another self-help book in search of the secret to happiness and weight-loss success, I did resolve to do one thing very differently. 

I made a resolution to hold myself accountable to my own choices.
I chose to live my life differently.  Quite simply, I chose to live.

Because 20 months ago, I used to pray at night that I wouldn’t die in my sleep – feeling the weight of 200+ extra pounds, depression, sadness, disappointment, and anxiety pressing down on both my body and my spirit.  And I made a deal with myself on April 19, 2008 – that if I woke up the next morning, I would not only choose to make a change, but I would actually do it.

And I haven’t looked back since.

I hired the best trainer in the world (I think!).
I actually applied everything I had learned from 20+ years of dieting, to fuel my body in healthy and wonderful way.
I learned to enjoy sweating…running, indoor cycling, and kickboxing.  I’ll try anything now, and in the process, likely grow to love it.
And most importantly…
I dropped over 200 pounds of body weight…the old fashioned way!
I’ve lost 7.7 feet (yes, feet!) of fat from my body’s girth measurements.
I’ve learned to take control of my life, and forgive myself for the consequences of negative choices.

I learned that the problem with all of my previous resolutions was that they weren’t about making a change in how I think, or how I see myself in the wonderful world around me.  They were about changing something that existed externally to who I am as a person, in hopes that changing that one condition alone would create an imbalance in my already chaotic life that could prompt much-needed change.  But now, the resolution – the best one I ever made – was about not feeling victimized by my bad choices, but instead understanding that the most powerful thing I have as a person is the power to choose.  I can choose to live my life in whatever way I wish.  And once I made the choice to eat more healthfully (I still eat burgers!), exercise daily, and forgive myself and others for everything I had been hanging onto for so very very long, I drew more strength and motivation from that choice than I had ever found before.

And for me, that was the secret to my resolution.

May 2010 bring you the same power and inspiration – from your own power to choose.

Chris today

Chris today

 To read more about my journey, visit:

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