Big Day Out
From 2009-2011, Big Day Out ran each summer during July and August, taking participants on exciting and educational trips around Toronto, exposing them to arts, culture, and career opportunities. Guest speakers were also invited to deliver workshops on interesting topics including journalism, comic book art, and music. Campers documented their trips through writing and photography, and their work was published in a Big Day Out publication, which was then distributed to participants, libraries, and schools in the community.
The Jane and Finch neighbourhood in the North York region of Toronto has faced numerous social and economic problems since it was originally developed in the 1960s. Designed as a model suburb to accommodate the culturally diverse immigrant and refugee population surging into the city, it quickly became a hub for poverty and crime. Many of the youth living in the Jane and Finch community have very little mobility and rarely leave the neighbourhood to visit other parts of the city. This is due to the high portion of families that have two working parents and little expendable income for day trips or family outings. The inability of youth to venture outside their neighbourhood makes it difficult to see the possibility of a future that extends beyond the narrow scope of the Jane and Finch.
Big Day Out goals:
- To bring participants on excursions that allow them to experience the unfamiliar and adventure beyond the Jane and Finch neighbourhood in a safe and educational atmosphere.
- To improve literacy skills in participants by encouraging imaginative and informative writing of journalistic articles as well as the editing of others’ writing.
- To increase the confidence and pride of participants by making each a published author/journalist.
- To create a reproducible day camp model for other neighbourhoods with similar demographics.
- To ease the transition from middle school to high school by bringing together youth in an informal system of mentorship.
WLC generously acknowledges the sponsors of Big Day Out: