This summer the University of Regina is offering Syrian refugee children the chance to enjoy the Canadian experience of summer camp, with a few changes to accommodate religion.
The kids are doing everything from art to sport, sometimes together, sometimes apart, depending on age and ability. But for swimming, the girls and boys are typically separated for religious reasons.
“If those opportunities weren’t presented those children wouldn’t be participating to be blunt,” explained Dean of Kinesiology, Harold Riemer. “I think that would be unfortunate.”
Riemer says some people will view this as a way to divide rather than assimilate, but he hopes people view this decision with the diverse, positive approach the university tried to take.
“When we can find a way to provide an opportunity for kids from various cultures and religious persuasions to be together and still accommodate kind of, religious values at the same time, I think that is a very positive thing. I don’t see that as a negative opportunity,” Riemer maintained.
The camps were opened up to Syrian refugee children at the request of the federal government. But the U of R has been working with refugee families through its social work faculty.