CANSA withdraws from sports camp after counsellors fired: co-ordinator

Justin Dickie
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"I don't know what to say, or think, or do," Kris Reid said.

Co-ordinator of the For-Three sports camps, Reid was set to start a second camp last Monday, but when he showed up at Spring Street Academy that morning, he was without his five camp counsellors.

CANSA withdraws from sports camp after counsellors fired: co-ordinator

"I don't know what to say, or think, or do," Kris Reid said.

Co-ordinator of the For-Three sports camps, Reid was set to start a second camp last Monday, but when he showed up at Spring Street Academy that morning, he was without his five camp counsellors.

Reid had teamed with the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association to deliver the first three-week camp from July 2 to 20. CANSA received a Service Canada summer grant to employ five student counsellors at the camp, and left the rest of their summer employment to be decided later.

As the first camp concluded, both parties agreed it was successful enough to run a second from July 23 to Aug 10. CANSA's executive director Liz Cooke-Sumbu and Reid participated in an interview with the Amherst Daily News on Tuesday, July 17, to promote it.

Things apparently fell apart the following night when campers and counsellors held a campout at Reid's Chignecto property, after which Reid fired two counsellors - one of whom is a relative of a CANSA employee - for unacceptable behaviour and breaking camp rules which Cooke-Sumbu had set.

Reid said he's confused by CANSA's decision to pull support for the camp.

"Now they're saying they only wanted to do one three-week camp," Reid said. "There's no way you can get a grant for three weeks. You have to do the whole summer.

"Our concrete plan was to do another camp. CANSA was thrilled, they called the newspaper and in the time in between I fired (the relative) and I was given no explanation (for why CANSA pulled its support)."

Reid said CANSA suspended the two fired counsellors with pay and tried to cancel the camp. He said CANSA attempted to meet with him last Monday to discuss the situation, but he chose instead to go to the school to fulfil his obligation to parents who had their children signed up for the camp.

The remaining three counsellors informed Reid they were told to report to CANSA that Monday instead of the school. The two suspended staff members were at home.

Four of the five counsellors now work for Amherst's recreation department.

All CANSA told Reid was that they had no further commitment to his program.

"The only reason I volunteered the rest of my summer was so I could be in good standing with everyone for next year," Reid said. "Within a day, it all went up in the air, and no explanation from anybody."

Colleen Nix, Service Canada's manager of program administration for Northern Nova Scotia, confirmed a complaint has been received about the project and it is being monitored.

Reid is continuing the camp on his own and he stands by his decision to fire the disobedient counsellors.

"I had to make the choice. It's my camp. There were too many kids getting hurt."

Neither Cooke-Sumbu nor board of directors' chair Brian Martin would comment.



jdickie@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Service Canada, Street Academy Amherst Daily News

Geographic location: Chignecto

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