TORONTO — Tim Hortons Foundation Camps has announced a partnership with Kids Help Phone to provide essential mental-health support to youth campers until the end of 2020. Through this partnership, all campers, including those who participate in Tim Hortons Foundation Camps new virtual Tims eCamp, will be supplied with an exclusive keyword. This keyword provides 24/7 access to Kids Help Phone’s bilingual 24/7 texting service where campers can reach out to a trained-volunteer crisis responder for support on any issue, anywhere and anytime.
“Our youth’s mental health is a critical priority for the Foundation,” says Dave Newnham, president and executive director of the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps. “This partnership with Kids Help Phone gives our campers a safe and reliable resource that they can count on in times of need.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Hortons Foundation Camps quickly pivoted to re-imagine its summer-camp programming with the launch of Tims eCamp, starting July 6. This all-new, online camp experience focuses on supporting youth emotionally, socially and developmentally through this challenging time.
Shifting to a virtual camp brings additional challenges to camper mental health and safety. Kids Help Phone’s service demand has increased 112 per cent compared to this time last year. Typically, during the in-person summer program, youth have access to trained Camper Support Specialists and nurses who can assist them when they are experiencing mental-health issues. While some of these staff members will still be available during the virtual camp, forming a partnership with Kids Help Phone increases the ability to support youth 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“For young people, camp is a time to grow and build new skills and relationships; this new eCamp will provide hope and creativity at a time when kids need it most,” says Katherine Hay, president and CEO, Kids Help Phone. “Thanks to Tim Hortons Foundations Camp’s support, Kids Help Phone will continue to offer 24/7 mental-health and well-being services for the youth in Canada — and the campers.”