Release of the 2015 Impact Report on Aboriginal Summer Literacy Camps

Frontier College delivered free literacy programming to over 6,600 Aboriginal children in summer 2015

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - In July and August 2015, Frontier College, a national literacy organization, provided free literacy camps to 6,648 children and youth in 99 Aboriginal communities across Canada. The camps, which are now in their tenth year, were started in Ontario in an effort to support student success and reduce summer reading loss, which can occur if children do not use their reading and writing skills between the school years. With the support of lead national sponsor, TD Bank Group, along with contributions from First Book Canada and One Laptop per Child, the camps are held in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nunavut and Ontario. The camps help address the educational needs of children in remote communities during the summer months. Children and youth aged 5–15 years old read an average of nine books each, and spent 51 minutes reading each day—almost four times the amount studies recommend is needed to combat summer reading loss.

"This report demonstrates that our approach is effective in meeting the educational needs of Aboriginal children and youth," said Sherry Campbell, President & CEO, Frontier College. "By offering a fun and supportive learning environment, the camps foster a love of reading that leads to increased confidence and social skills."

In addition to the literacy camps, Frontier College partnered with Corus Entertainment and TD Bank Group to help refurbish a classroom in Cat Lake First Nation's Learning Together Centre. The project, which involved light repair and fresh coats of paint to the Learning Together Centre brought Corus employees from the YTV, Kids Can Press and Corus Feeds Kids teams together with Frontier College staff and local residents to create an intergenerational learning space to be prepped in time for the new school year. TD also donated new books from Kids Can Press for the centre's library. This is the second time TD, Frontier College and Corus have partnered on literacy projects — last year's partnership was in support Frontier College's Summer Aboriginal Literacy Camps with a financial and in-kind donation that included books and PSA spots across Corus' networks.

"Building and strengthening literacy skills is critical to ensuring Canada's prosperity for generations to come," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. "We're honoured to support Frontier College to see these opportunities extend across the country, with a focus on underserved communities, to promote a year-round joy of reading and help children continue to develop essential life skills."

As recommended by the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, the camps help to close the educational attainment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. The camps also offer opportunities for community engagement by empowering parents, Elders and members to participate in the children's education by integrating Aboriginal culture and language into camp activities. A memorable summer filled with reading, crafts, fitness and traditional activities was created by 301 camp counsellors.

"I believe in communicating what I observe with my students on a regular basis. We have already discussed the role the camp had on their reading. We have all made the connection that they feel stronger in reading and that camp should definitely happen again next year. I believe that the literacy camp positively affected our entire school! It has truly been a transformational experience. In addition, our school staff have realized the benefit of bringing our strengths to the table and sharing ideas so that our students can have the most positive school experience possible!" said Christina Renneberg, teacher, Ditidaht First Nation, British Columbia.

Report highlights:

  • 301 camp staff benefited from training and meaningful employment – 44% of whom were First Nations, Métis and Inuit counsellors hired locally.
  • 25 communities offered Summer Literacy Camps for the first time in 2015.
  • More than 37,000 free, high-quality books were distributed to the communities for campers to take home to build their own personal libraries.
  • 80% of teachers and educators noticed positive change in the behaviours, attitudes and school performance from students who attended camp.
  • 89% of parents say that their child now reads more at home after attending camp.
  • 97% of parents said camp participation boosted their child's confidence and readiness to learn.

View video of a Summer Literacy Camp in Fort Albany First Nation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cD7y1lI3w

Frontier College began offering Aboriginal Summer Literacy Camps in 2005, following the vision of former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James K. Bartleman. The camps have grown from five to 121 operating in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nunavut. The camp program is funded by local governments, corporate donors and Aboriginal communities.

About Frontier College
Frontier College is Canada's original literacy organization. Founded in 1899, this non-profit organization recruits and trains volunteers to deliver literacy programs to children, youth and adults in communities across the country. Frontier College helps Canadians improve their literacy and increase their opportunities. We believe that literacy is a right. www.frontiercollege.ca

SOURCE Frontier College

For further information: Meredith Roberts, Manager, Special Events and Media Relations, Frontier College, mroberts@frontiercollege.ca, 416-923-3591 ext. 324

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http://www.frontiercollege.ca

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