A Summer Camp With Impact
You probably know that education has always been a primary goal for Kings Landing, and the Visiting Cousins summer camp program is a great example of that.
Each summer, children aged 9 to 15 descend on Kings Landing from all over New Brunswick, Canada, the U.S. and beyond and become immersed in history.
Twenty children each week are assigned to one of the historic homes and act as a “visiting cousin” to that family. Older children are assigned as “Family Kin”. They do chores, work on the farms, attend the one-room schoolhouse for lessons, play games and interact with historical interpreters in the settlement.
Parents of children who have participated in the Visiting Cousins program have said that the Monday-Friday camp is a gentle introduction for kids to be away from home, and that their kids return with stories of new friends, new songs and new skills such as making butter and gardening. They say that the week away from today's fast-paced, tech-filled world improved their children’s social skills and their confidence levels.
One of the recent Visiting Cousin and Family Kin participants describes the impact of her experience:
"This summer (2019) will be my third year of attending Visiting Cousins/Kin. I have done Visiting Cousins and Kin once respectively. While I enjoyed the whole experience, my favorite parts were when we were either working with animals or working with nature.
After these programs, I have always felt more in tune with myself and my environment, and I've always made the most drastic changes in my life or environment after going to this camp. It has taught me about history, and how to separate myself from the digital media that is constantly swarming around us. It really is the highlight of my summer, and it changes my worldview every time."
~Odessa M., 14 years old
When you hear and see this kind of impact, you begin to realize that Kings Landing is more than just a world-class 19th Century living history museum. It's a place where the past can help guide new generations in their future.
Camp Bursaries for N.B. Children
The Kings Landing Foundation provides 14 bursaries each year to New Brunswick children who might not otherwise be able to attend the Visiting Cousins program.
We work with school boards to ask teachers to nominate deserving children, and the Foundation pays full camp tuition and provides the required camp kit (sleeping bag, pillow, toiletries, socks and a journal).
Feedback has been phenomenal, with teachers reporting a marked difference in the child’s confidence and ability to learn and contribute in the classroom the following year.
Here’s what one N.B. teacher said:
“The Kings Landing Foundation's Visiting Cousins Bursary Program was remarkable for my students. I was fortunate to have two students awarded bursaries in 2018. Neither had ever before had the opportunity to attend an away-camp. While they were a bit scared and nervous, they said they were made welcome right away and quickly made friends. What an incredibly scary, yet magical and empowering opportunity to step away from your family and broaden horizons in a safe environment. One of the students has 4 siblings. Opportunities that are "just for him", are few and far between.
Both students come from strong and supportive families, with single mothers who work hard to support them and give them opportunities, but without this bursary would not have had the means to attend Visiting Cousins camp. The kit bags were also key. The night shirt was worn to school during winter carnival pajama day. One student’s recall of his camp experience was still so incredibly vivid and animated. A trip of a lifetime. This opportunity opened doors to new and exciting places, people, thinking, and skills. For these inquisitive and thoughtful kids, they compared it to living in a story book. Even now almost a year later, they continue to reference their experience, tell me stories in the hall, and relive the lives they led for that week as a cousin. Their families mention it every time I see them and are so thankful.
This is an incredible gift you are giving. These children will have memories that will last a lifetime!”
~ Grade 4 Teacher, New Brunswick
New Residence Building
The Kings Landing Foundation has also committed to contributing $150,000 toward the new Education Residence building that will provide a central gathering place and overnight accommodations for the Visiting Cousins program.
The new facility will replace the 200-year old Slipp House that requires major renovations, and it will include a commercial kitchen and a great room for dining and events.
With direct access to the village, the Residence will ensure Visiting Cousins are fully immersed in the experience of 19th century New Brunswick living, while at the same time meeting today's standards for safety and accessibility.
Donate to the Visiting Cousins Program
We’d like to invite you to help us share the positive impacts of the Kings Landing Visiting Cousins program with more young and impressionable children.
Please support the Visiting Cousins Program with a donation of any size through Canada Helps.
if you are Visiting Cousin Alumni or family, you can mark your own place in history at Kings Landing by purchasing a pewter leaf engraved with your name for our Visiting Cousins tree at the Welcome Centre of Kings Landing.
The cost is $500 which goes fully and directly to the Visiting Cousins program, including bursaries and the new Education Residence Building.
Thank you so much for your generous support!