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 enjoy everything from art to sport either in groups or individually depending on age and ability.
But when it comes to swimming, girls and boys are typically separated for religious reasons.
“If those opportunities weren’t presented, those children wouldn’t be participating to be blunt,” said Harold Riemer, the dean of kinesiology. “I think that would be unfortunate.”
Riemer said some people might view the swimming decision as a way to divide rather than assimilate; however, he hopes they will understand the university’s diverse and positive approach to the camp.
“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 said.
The camps were opened up to Syrian refugee children at the request of the federal government; the U of R works with refugee families through its social work faculty.