From refugee camp to summer camp: Syrian sisters embark on Canadian rite of passage

National Post Sundridge Ontario - The Alkurdi sisters are Syrian. They came to Canada in mid-February with their parents, Hisham and Bareaa, as privately sponsored refugees. On their second day in the country, they built a snowman. Now it is July and they are at an all-girls camp about three hours north of Toronto.

For many Canadians, camp is a rite of passage, a place where city kids escape the concrete to paddle, sail, catch frogs, sleep beneath the stars, sing songs around a campfire and form lifelong friendships. Camp, for the Alkurdis, held a different connotation, until recently. The only camps that they knew of were overflowing with Syrian refugees and known as places to get out of and not to happily go to for a week.

“Our special project this summer is to welcome Syrian newcomers, to have them come and enjoy this beautiful outdoor experience beside the lake and to share our activities — and for us to experience them and for them to experience us,” Palm says.