Summer Camp 2021 with PSP

Children and youth have fun reading, doing art and creating magical gardens at Summer Camp.

PSP Borden Summer Camp kids show off the artwork that will be submitted in the hopes of being selected and featured in the upcoming Natasha’s Wood series picture book, “A Pollen Fairy named Squirt” written by Fay Maddison.

Kids attending PSP summer camp at CFB Borden got the chance for their original art to be featured in an upcoming children’s picture book. 

Written by Fay Maddison, the Natasha’s Wood series is illustrated entirely by Canadian children and youth. The first book in the series, “Twiglet’s First Birthday”, was released in 2015 and submissions are now being accepted for the second book in the series, “A Pollen Fairy named Squirt”. Funds raised through sales of the books go back to supporting children and youth programs for Veteran and serving members, as well as first responders.

“When a parent’s well-being is compromised, the entire family is profoundly affected, especially the most vulnerable – our children. The Natasha’s Wood Foundation will address this compelling challenge by generating the resources required to provide programs and support services for children affected by their loved one’s service,” reads the mission statement on the Natasha’s Wood Foundation website. 

In the stories, Natasha is an 8-year-old whose father is serving in the military. After moving to yet another new place, she invents this magical land to make new friends. To get them started, kids at Borden’s summer camp were given an overview of the story and the faeries, dragons and unicorns that live in the enchanted forest, Natasha’s Wood, a product of the main character’s imagination. Then, they put their own imaginations to work creating artwork that could be featured in the next story. 

“I would probably dance,” said 8-year-old Tenley when asked what she would do if her drawing got picked for the book. 

“I’d be really happy,” said 8-year-old Noa, who loves to draw. 

Thanks to a grant from the Natasha’s Wood Foundation, the kids enjoyed a full week of fairy-themed activities, including decorating flowerpots, building wind chimes and bird houses, and even creating their own imagination garden. 

“I just feel so privileged to be here, it’s awesome,” said Natasha’s Wood Foundation Board Member, Elizabeth Lorenzin, who visited Borden’s camp the day the kids were working on their pictures.

After the isolation kids everywhere have faced for the last year and a half due to the pandemic, Lorenzin said escaping into a world of imagination with fairies and dragons gives them a chance to go to a place that’s safe, happy, delightful, joyful, and gives them something different to focus on. Lorenzin added that participating in this activity helps kids feel like they belong to something bigger. Selected illustrations are included in the finished product with the artists name and age, offering them a sense of pride and ownership. 

“It’s just to give these kids some kind of hope and just take them into another imaginary world, into Natasha’s world, is really what we’re here to do today for the kids.”

Fay Maddison is the founder of the Natasha’s Wood Foundation, and the author of the Natasha’s Wood series. 

“She knows all too well the stresses that are on the families,” said Lorenzin, who has been a board member with the foundation for three years. “We’re really here today to just give those kids that opportunity through art to express their emotions, what they’re feeling, and to give them that joy that there’s something bigger out there.”

Anyone over the age of five, including military children and the general public can submit their artwork until 30 April, 2022 for a chance to be featured in the forthcoming picture book. For more information or to make a submission, visit Natasha’s Wood.

Original article published in the Borden Citizen on 12 August 2021. Written by Emily Nakeff Editor in Chief.

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