Generals rookie defenceman Mitchell Brewer knows what it is like to have an Emergency Services worker in the immediate family. His dad, Mark, has been a firefighter with Brampton Fire for almost 20 years. When you speak with the Brewer’s, the family understands that what Mark does for a living is a high-risk occupation. The same goes for many other families in Canada who also have an Emergency Services worker in their families. Mark has always returned home every time he has left for a shift, where other families sometimes aren’t as lucky.
Four years ago, the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation started CAMP F.A.C.E.S. (Families and Children of Emergency Services). This camp would fill a void in Canada for Emergency Services workers families, who were tragically lost in the line of duty, access to programming and activities to help cope after the loss. The camp, based in Orillia, ON, provides counselling and access to ongoing quality support and mental wellness for these families. Camp F.A.C.E.S. supports families and children, with a focus on children ages 2-18, who they continue to provide support to until they feel necessary. When families from across Canada attend the camp, it is at no cost to them and the focus is on time together and healing as a family.
As in any family, the dinner table talk usually revolves around what is going on with family members lives and his dad brought up what kind of volunteering he was doing. Mitchell became aware of the Camp F.A.C.E.S. initiative when his dad volunteered to be a driver for families coming to the attend Camp. Families are flown into the Toronto airport and Brampton Fire is responsible for transporting the families to the Camp facilities. Mitchell wanted to know what he could do to help these families who are in similar situations to his but haven’t been as fortunate.
The idea to raise money quickly grew into much more than anyone could have expected. Mitchell, being from Waterdown, ON reached out to the Bulldogs organization in partnership for selling tickets to his first return home when the Generals faced the Bulldogs on January 27th. A portion of the tickets he sold would go directly to Camp F.A.C.E.S. tying in with their first responders night. As he sold tickets to family and friends, his former elementary and high school jumped on board as well as local businesses in Hamilton and Oshawa areas wanting to support his fundraising efforts. Oshawa Generals President and Governor Rocco Tullio was happy to donate $2,000 from Rock Developments and the Oshawa Generals organization to the initiative. When Mitchell started, his goal was to raise anything he could, even if it was only a couple hundred dollars to go to Camp F.A.C.E.S. Upon conclusion of his fundraising, he reached over ten thousand dollars for a final total of $10,747.
This summer, Mitchell plans on attending the Camp to see firsthand what they do for the Emergency Services families. He is the first hockey player to take interest in this charity and hopefully his involvement will bring attention to this organization for years to come. The Oshawa Generals organization are extremely proud of Mitchell for taking the time to bring attention to an organization that is so seldom recognized for the work they put forth. The Generals look forward to continuing to help Mitchell grow this program with Camp F.A.C.E.S. as he progresses through his OHL career.
Hear what Mitchell has to say about what this initiative means to him:
Below is further information on Camp F.A.C.E.S. and how you can donate to the organization.
What is Camp F.A.C.E.S?
By its very nature, Emergency Services are a high-risk occupation which could result in a tragic loss, not only to Line of duty death but also by the suicide of a member. The loss of a loved one to a family is tremendous and incredibly challenging to deal with but to a child it can be even greater. Many children experience feelings of confusion, anger, fear, isolation and depression.
Camp F.A.C.E.S. provides families who have suffered this tragic loss the opportunity to be with others who have experienced similar loss. Along with trained personnel and mental health oversight, these families will have the opportunity to experience some normalcy all while developing life long friendships.
What to expect at Camp F.A.C.E.S.
Families attending the summer program – a 5 day camp session in the month of AUGUST
Kid Campers (ages 4 – 18) enjoy:
Age relevant, engaging fun structured workshops with mental health oversight. Our programs identify and enhance personal strengths and encourage peer support. Through creative arts, outdoor sports, lots of games and tons of FUN our campers grow with support. Campers will meet new friends, challenge themselves and recognize that they are not alone.
Spousal Campers Enjoy:
Rest and relaxation
Fun as a family!
Our Spousal program builds lifelong support networks, across Canada amongst our attendees
If you would like to donate to the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation and Camp F.A.C.E.S. click here!
To read more on Camp F.A.C.E.S. click here!
Left to Right: Mitchell Brewer, his father Mark, a Firefighter with Brampton Fire, and Mitchell’s older brother Mason