The 114 Scouts from the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish in Pierrefonds
Nicola, an accompanying dad, Nadia Tooma, organizer of the event and Carl Boisvert of the Red Cross
Joulie, on the far right, is with her friends of the Scout movement.
Winter camp with the Scouts from the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish in Pierrefonds.
Getting ready to enjoy ice skating at winter camp for the Scouts of the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish of Pierrefonds
Winter camp with the Scouts of the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish of Pierrefonds
The Scouts of the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish of Pierrefonds enjoyed many activities at winter camp.
Joulie is 12. She arrived in Quebec last winter with her family and thousands of other Syrian refugees. In temperatures of -20°C, Joulie and 69 other young newcomers to Canada experienced their first winter camp with the Scouts from the Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation parish in Pierrefonds. As a newly minted Scout, she sees the boys and girls she grew up with in Syria every week. “Here in Quebec, we live in different cities. I get to see my friends every Friday night, which makes me happy. Today we’re playing in the snow together and it’s great!” And so Joulie can stay connected to her life in Syria.
The idea for the winter camp came from Nadia Tooma, the group leader, who was looking for a way to get the new arrivals involved in the Scout movement. Of Egyptian origin, she came to Quebec at the age of 16. Having been a Scout in Egypt, she joined a group when she arrived in Canada without hesitation. “My group had other kids from my country, as well as from Quebec. It helped me flourish and embrace Quebec culture. Seeing all these new refugees got me thinking. The Scouts were my gateway to integration, so I naturally wanted to give that back.”
Last summer, 65 young Syrian refugees were invited to participate in an inaugural camp. “Young people are curious. Our instructions are in French, but they aren’t shy about asking us to repeat ourselves to make sure they understand and can play with the others. Since the summer camp, we have seen the youth gain lots of maturity and confidence,” said Nadia.
Thanks to the Red Cross Syrian Refugee Arrival Appeal, 75 kids were able to participate in the winter camp free of charge. “I am very grateful to the Red Cross. The woman who handled our file went to great lengths to support our efforts. Even during the holidays, we kept tabs on things to make sure each child could get a spot in the camp. I’m proud that the project went ahead. It’s something of a miracle.”
All smiles and rosy cheeks, Joulie and her Scout friends from Pierrefonds went home bursting with unforgettable memories.