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August 14, 2008
Play It Fair! brings human rights programming to summer camps
Today at Earl Bales Park, Councillor Michael Feldman (Ward 10 York Centre), and representatives from Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education, TD Bank Financial Group, and the City of Toronto celebrated the expansion of Play It Fair!, an innovative program that helps children learn conflict resolution skills and raises their awareness of human rights, diversity and intercultural issues.

In partnership with Equitas, TD Bank Financial Group, Canadian Heritage and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the program has been implemented at 28 summer camps operated by the City. Over 15,000 children are taking part in the initiative and more than 500 Toronto summer camp staff are being trained to teach the Play It Fair! curriculum.

“Parks, Forestry and Recreation summer camps are a great way for children and youth to get involved, be active and enjoy the outdoors,” said Councillor Feldman. “Play it Fair! builds on and formalizes a long-standing tradition of teaching kids co-operation, fair play, inclusion and respect in a fun and safe camp environment,” commented Councillor Feldman.

Play It Fair! is an educational toolkit that contains information and age appropriate activities and games adapted for the summer camp environment. As well, it improves the ability of camp counsellors to respond to conflicts or disagreements among campers. The activities also include a reflection section that allows the children to further explore the essential values learned in the game.

“The implementation of Play It Fair! programming in our summer camps is a great way to help our children and youth develop the life skills they need to deal with complex issues such as bullying, conflict resolution and diversity in their communities,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St. Paul’s), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. “It helps children to integrate human rights values and attitudes into their day-to-day lives and encounters.”

Last year, the program was piloted at five City of Toronto camps where staff from Camp Naorca and the Avondale, Malvern, St. Lawrence and Lawrence Heights community centres received training. Based on the success of last year’s programming, and with the financial support of TD Bank Financial Group, Play It Fair! has been expanded this summer to more camp programs.

"TD is proud to have supported Equitas for many years. Educating and encouraging children to celebrate diversity and treat one another's differences with respect is a key step in developing stronger, more vibrant communities," says Bill Hatanaka, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. and Chair of TD's Diversity Leadership Council.

Today’s event brought together campers from eight programs across the city who participated in games and activities that reinforce the positive values that are central to the Play It Fair! curriculum.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Parks, Forestry and Recreation media hotline, 416-560-8726,
Ian Hamilton, Executive Director, Equitas, 514-433-5263



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