Backyard Camp Faces: Erin Elfassy

Suffice to say, the summer of 2020 was like no other. Summer camp cancellations across the country left parents panicked over how they’ll keep their kids busy and happy while working from home. 

Thankfully, a group of parents stepped up to the plate with a solution: if we can’t send our kids into the great outdoors this summer, why not replicate the experience in our own backyards and local parks?

And so began Backyard Camp, where Erin is both a founding parent and volunteer with her brother-in-law Mark Silver.

Recently, the Backyard Camp editorial team caught up with Erin to learn a little more about her background, role in Backyard Camp, and what makes the camp a fun, successful program for both kids and parents. 

Q&A with Erin Elfassy: 

Co-founder and spokesperson for Backyard Camp

Age: 42

Home: Toronto 

Occupation: Occupational therapist and mom of 3 kids:

Ethan - 9-year-old boy. Loves science and hockey 

Rayna - 7-year-old girl, loves dance and crafts 

Zev - 5-year-old active boy. Loves being outside and playing sports 

Question: Erin, did you go to summer camp as a kid? If so, which camp did you go to? 

Answer: Erin: I went to day camps: city-run camps and Green Acres (Markham, Ontario). I also went to Northland (Haliburton, Ontario) for two summers when I was 11 and 12.

Q: How would you describe your own camp experience?

A: Erin I loved day camp - especially arts and crafts and being with friends, new and old.

Q: How did going to camp yourself play a role in inspiring you to get involved in Backyard Camp?  

A: Erin: I always looked forward to summer camp as a kid and the variety of activities, the carefree feeling of being at camp and out of school. I wanted to make sure my kids didn’t miss out on a summer of fun and carefree activities, enjoying the outdoors and keeping active.

Q: How has Backyard Camp made your life easier? 

A: Erin: It takes away the stress of thinking of what to do with the kids to entertain them. Most of the activities, the kids can do on their own with minimal preparation from me so I can continue to do work and things around the house while my kids are occupied. There’s also so much variety to the activities from science, arts & crafts to dance and sports.

Q: What are the remaining challenges, parenting your kids and getting things done while you and your kids are stuck at home, despite the benefits of Backyard Camp? 

A: Erin: The kids miss their friends, but we use some Backyard Camp activities to make things for their friends - like shaving cream marbles cards and friendship bracelets. 

Q: What are their favourite Backyard Camp activities?

A: Erin: So far their favourite activity has been making homemade slime. They spent hours playing with it and creating different colours. Lego zip lines have also been a favourite.

More About Backyard Camp:

Backyard Camp offers a free daily newsletter that provides parents and caregivers activities for their children at or near their homes.

Parents can sign up for the daily newsletter and share their child’s preferred activities, which are then matched with like-minded programs to keep them busy and happy through the summer.