Elena Zarzhitsky – Learn to Camp testimonial

Nova Scotia is known for many things, but especially its natural beauty, with winding forest trails, coastline views, and many breathtaking waterfalls and rivers.  

ISANS’ Community Connections program has partnered with Parks Canada for eight years to give Nova Scotian newcomers a chance to explore our province’s great outdoors through the Learn to Camp event, which takes place every summer. 

For many years, Learn to Camp was a large group event, but due to COVID, the event had to be scaled back and altered. In 2023, however, the event was finally able to return to form, welcoming 74 newcomers for a Learn to Camp event at Kejimkujik National Park. The event gave this enthusiastic group of newcomers a chance to camp in a national park, canoe on the Mersey River, hike some of the trails at Kejimkujik, and practice outdoor skills.  
Elena Zarzhitsky and her family participated in this event. She has graciously shared with us, in her own words, what the experience was like. Please enjoy this testimonial from Elena. 


In a beautiful corner of Nova Scotia, a real adventure unfolded for my family. We had the opportunity to participate in an extraordinary outdoor program organized by ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia). With three kids and two adults, we were in for a camping experience like no other. 

We arrived at Kejimkujik with a sense of anticipation. To our delight, everything was incredibly well organized. As we entered the site, a welcoming team was there to greet us, ensuring we felt right at home. The team provided us with tents and helped us set them up at our designated spot. We were also given comfortable mattresses for a good night’s sleep under the stars. 

As the sun began to cast its warm glow, we were divided into smaller groups, each assigned a fascinating activity. Our family chose canoeing, and this turned out to be an incredible experience. The kids were brimming with excitement as we embarked on this adventure, guided by the expert hosting team. The tranquil waters of Kejimkujik Lake created the perfect backdrop for our memorable canoeing expedition. Afterward, we indulged in some refreshing swimming, making the most of the natural beauty around us.

As evening descended, a campfire was arranged, complete with marshmallows and all the necessary supplies. We gathered around the fire, sharing stories and songs. Laughter and warmth filled the air, making it an unforgettable night. 

The following morning, we awoke to the serene sounds of nature. We made our way to the dining area, where the ISANS team had thoughtfully provided small portable ovens for us to prepare a delicious breakfast. The taste of the freshly cooked meal added to the charm of the experience. 

With breakfast enjoyed, we dismantled our tents and embarked on another day of exciting activities. Our adventures included hiking through the lush wilderness, followed by another round of canoeing. The kids couldn’t get enough of it, and their enthusiasm was infectious. 

This camping trip was undoubtedly the highlight of our summer. Thanks to ISANS, our family had the opportunity to bond, explore the great outdoors, and create lasting memories together. It was an adventure filled with laughter, learning, and a deep sense of connection with nature and one another. ISANS had not only organized an incredible outdoor program but had also brought our family closer together in the process.  Thanks to Melissa King [ISANS’ community connections coordinator] for making this wonderful experience happen. 


To learn more about how you can connect with your community as an ISANS client, check out our available programming. For more general information on Learn to Camp, please visit the following link: https://parks.canada.ca/serapprocher-connect/ltc-dlc   

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