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Life lessons: U of T Camp participants take what they learned to the streets

Camp U of T and Junior Blues run through the summer and March Break, offering 33 programs committed to sport, recreation and play (photo by Seed9)

Create an inclusive and safe environment and look out for your fellow campers – those are just a couple of the values promoted through Camp U of T's camper code.

This fall, Oliver Wong, Arnav Shah and Quinlan Birmingham exemplified these principles when they translated a project they dreamed up at a business camp run by University of Toronto's Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education into a real-world solution to make their neighbourhood safer.

The 11-year old boys started the Crosswalk Company, developing a system for placing bright orange flags at the crosswalk near their school to further alert drivers to pedestrian traffic. In 2014, a young girl, Georgia Walsh, was struck and killed by a driver in their neighbourhood and the community has since been committed to getting cars to slow down to prevent another tragedy.

“They are such smart, thoughtful kids,” says Rowan DeBues, who led the business camp the boys attended. “I'm so proud of them. It's awesome seeing these guys take lessons from camp games and simulations and run with them to another level.”

Camp U of T and Junior Blues run throughout the summer and during March Break. They offer 33 unique programs committed to sport, recreation and play, with topics ranging from animation to track and field. In 2015-16, more than 4,300 children and youth participated in these programs.  

CBC's Lisa Naccarato recently profiled the young entrepreneurs. Will Kopplin, U of T’s acting manager of children and youth programs, is also planning to acknowledge the boys' initiative with a presentation during half-time at an upcoming Varsity Blues football game. "We couldn't ask for a better example of taking the fundamental principles of Camp U of T out into the real world. On behalf of everyone at U of T, we’d like to send them a great big congratulations.”

Read the CBC story