Greetings from Michelle Hunter
President of the Board, SaskAbilities
Greetings from Christine Epp
Camp Easter Seal Manager
Facebook Live Event Video
Situated along the shore of Little Manitou Lake in the Resort Village of Manitou Beach is Camp Easter Seal, Saskatchewan’s only fully accessible camp. Since its inception in 1954, tens of thousands of children and adults experiencing disability have enjoyed the magic of Camp Easter Seal. Each summer the unique and beautiful facility becomes home to approximately 600 campers and 65 staff members. The sense of belonging that each camper experiences is empowering and life changing.
Operating as a program of SaskAbilities and funded in part by Easter Seals™ Saskatchewan*, each summer Camp Easter Seal offers weekly camps, for campers ages 6 to 65 plus. Activities are adapted and allow campers to participate in the fun and enjoyment of a camp experience, including:
The Camp Easter Seal site includes many buildings – some of them original, some of them newer – all of them connected by accessible pathways. Facilities at Camp include:
In addition to recreation and leisure, campers achieve many personal outcomes as a result of their camping experience, including:
Parents and caregivers can expect the highest standard of care for campers, including full-time medical staff on-site and trained camp staff who can meet the complex and diverse support needs of campers.
* SaskAbilities is a member of Easter Seals™ Canada and owns the rights to Easter Seals™ Saskatchewan. The national organization is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life, self-esteem, and self-determination of individuals with disabilities in Canada.
In 1930-31, the Government of Saskatchewan constructed the fieldstone chalet and dining hall that remain today as Camp Easter Seal’s primary buildings. The construction was part of a make-work project during the early years of the Great Depression, employing 400 men at $20 a month. The site became Little Manitou Provincial Park, officially opening in June of 1931 and was the province’s first of six provincial parks to open that year.
Until the 1940’s. Little Manitou Provincial Park was the most popular of all the provincial parks. In 1945, a commission was appointed to study the park facilities. Ten years later, the facility was leased to SaskAbilities to establish Camp Easter Seal.
1954 Camp Easter Seal program begins
1956 Camp Easter Seal site established at Manitou Beach
1956 First facility lease with Government of Saskatchewan
1957 First swimming pool constructed
1959 Campers meet Queen Elizabeth II
1964 New cabins built
1964 First phone system installed
1968 New cabins built
1969 Health Centre opens
1970 Arts and Crafts building opens
1972 Major renovations
1974 Level IV camp begins
1979 First campers under age 10 attend
1983 Recreation centre built
1985 Water treatment plant and well constructed
1990’s New cabins built
1991 New ramp built for Chalet
1994 New aquatic centre built
1999 Premier of Saskatchewan signs 21-year lease
2002 Accessibility study and Access for All
2004 50th anniversary celebration
2006 Arrival area opens
2010 Accessibility playground built
2011 Deck constructed for dining hall
2012 Camp Easter Seal receives Champion of Children award
2016 Government of Saskatchewan completes permanent berm
2018 SaskAbilities undertakes a facilities review
2019 Rennovations to the facilities begin
2020 Camp Connected Virtual program introduced
2021 Rennovations of the aquatic centre, chalet and dining hall completed
Thousands of individuals experiencing disability as well as thousands of supporting community members have attended Camp Easter Seal over the years. The experiences that are created hold considerable strength because they are shared together. Counsellors, campers, and volunteers all impact each other and carry on those memories throughout their lives.
In the last moments of the final evening, you can hear all their heartfelt sentiments come together through a traditionally shared Camp Easter Seal song:
Friends, friends, friends we’ll always be,
Whether in fair or dark stormy weather.
Camp Easter Seal will keep us together.
Old friends and new – old and new
We will always be true –
Oh so so true
Love will prevail us
‘Til death separates us
We are friends, friends, friends.
In 1994 we were excited to launch a new Aquatics program which included the building of a fully accessible pool. We are forever grateful for the support of the Draggins Rod & Custom Car Club, New Careers Corporation, Kinsmen Clubs of: Kindersley, Martensville, Regina Buffalo City, Regina Wheat City, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Pow City, Watrous, Yorkton, and the Kinsmen Foundation. Also, a special mention to Edwards and Edwards Architects for the construction. The pool would not have been possible without all the support of so many.
Now, in 2021 we have completed major renovations with the help of the Draggins Rod & Custom Car Club and are very excited to share with you the Grand Reopening of the Aquatic Centre with this amazing group.
Through the generosity of the Betty Irwin Estate and the dream of Kaela Ann Piwarski, Camp Easter Seal is deeply honoured to share with you the Grand Opening of our newest landmark, The Treehouse.
What makes Camp so special to so many individuals? We have some special guests that would like to share their stories and hope that the magic of Camp Easter Seal reaches you too!
Camp Easter Seal Counsellors Reminiscing
Why is Camp Easter Seal Important?
Hayden Linsley – Support Worker
Brenda Bansescu, Parent of a Camper
Sydney Risler, Camper
Alvin Law, Former Camper
Tamara, a dedicated participant of Yorkton’s Snowarama
Jamie Ellis, Camper
Gary Busch, Century 21 Fusion
Charmaine Gamble, Camper
Cody Stack, Camper
Jenita Dickie, Camper
Lynn Schmidt, a dedicated participant of Yorkton’s Snowarama
Thank you for joining us for Camp Day 2021. We hope you enjoyed your experience and tour today and hope to see you again next year.
Are you interested in a tour of camp in-person or attending our camp day in 2022?
We would be happy to arrange this!
Camp is what it is today because of the generous support of others. Please consider making a donation today.
Camp Day Slideshow