SuperChefs Year End Summary Report
Date Posted: September 7, 2020
Here’s a report on our successful COVID Summer 2020 Program
In light of COVID-19, SuperChefs Cookery for Kids pivoted by running our cooking, nutrition, and exercise camps online. Departing from the usual format of 1 week camps that included all 3 aspects daily, online camps ran for a duration of 2 weeks each, where Zoom cooking lessons and nutrition + exercise lessons were delivered on alternate days. With 16 staff members, employed by the Canada Summer Jobs Program, SuperChefs was able to reach 60+ campers in July and August via online camps.
As we transitioned our camp online, we navigated through many challenges. The first challenge being the provision of ingredients and equipment. In partnership with Surrey SD36, we were able to arrange contactless pick-up of our SuperChefs camp kits at Johnston Heights Secondary School. In our SuperChefs kits, campers received fresh and local produce for our cooking lessons, a bean planting kit, and a summer bucket list challenge amongst other items.
Our second challenge was finding a way to craft an engaging program through a virtual setting. With the help of our media team, we were able to pre-film recipe demonstrations and online work-outs so that our campers could have a visual representation to follow along during camp. We even had a special workout video from CFL Hall of Famer, Geroy Simon! During our live Zoom camps, we incorporated polls to check our camper’s learning and fun games such as scavenger hunts and “Guess that Movie” using emojis. As a result, the combined interactions with the counsellors and other campers helped foster a supportive community for all of the participants during this socially-distanced time.
Lastly, we were overjoyed by the response we received from both the campers and their families. Although our SuperChefs staff were not able to cook alongside our campers, we were encouraged by the feedback we received from their parents/guardians. Before camps, 53% of families said they rarely cooked together but after camps, 93% of families said they enjoyed spending time together in the kitchen! In this pandemic, SuperChefs was able to create a fun bonding activity for kids and their families while teaching them the importance of nutrition.
With the successful creation of our SuperChefs camp kits, we contacted community organizations that targeted food security during COVID-19. We were able to partner with KidSafe to distribute an additional 52 camp kits to kids that have not previously attended SuperChefs. Furthermore, we also worked with Langley Youth Hub - partnering with their Life Skills and Development Training program specifically for kids with special needs and at-risk youth, thus reaching more families in the community.
Our efforts were congratulated with a feature on the SurreyNow News and a generous grant from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund administered by the SurreyCares Community Foundation. Even in unprecedented times, SuperChefs is proud to continue to engage children on the importance of food literacy while bringing the fun to their own kitchens!
Cooking, Nutrition, and Exercise Lessons
With our brand new format, our team developed a new curriculum for our SuperChefs campers. Similar to curriculum in the past, the 3 aspects of camp were centred around promoting SuperChefs’ 5 pillars (FACES) for a healthy lifestyle: Food literacy, Aware of our food systems, Competent in cooking skills, Engaged in physical activity, and Savour balanced food choices.
Given Canada Food Guide’s recent recommendations of consuming more plant-based meals, we curated four 100% vegetarian recipes for our campers to try. Recipes were also carefully chosen to minimize food waste and maximize food safety. Our menu highlighted local, in-season produce while also challenging our camper’s cooking skills. Campers were able to roll some delicious Vietnamese-style salad rolls and build their own SouthWest bowls!
Our UBC dietetics and dental team worked together to develop lessons that incorporated aspects of nutrition and oral health. Comprehensive worksheets were also created in order to help engage campers during lessons and to solidify their learning. Campers learnt about how to build a healthy snack with all four food groups while also exploring ways to prevent cavities after snacking. Campers also learnt how to grow their own food, planting beans and sunflower seeds, in part thanks to a generous donation of 80 garden kits from a camper in the first week as a result of her community project, Project Sunshine. Particularly with COVID-19, we dedicated a lesson on teaching campers why it is important - and more
nutritious - for campers to support local farmers.
Given that campers are spending more time at home, our exercise team crafted family-friendly at home workouts. With kinesiology students from UBC, Waterloo, and Trinity Western, our staff pre-filmed a variety of fun, equipment free workouts - including a pirate-themed cardio routine and a relaxing yoga routine of differing intensities. This year, we emphasized teaching campers about energy and calories, as well as measuring their heart rate - before and after exercise. Campers were able to workout with us from their homes and also track the intensity of their exercise by measuring their heart rates after.
Special SuperChefs is an inclusive camp for kids who may experience limitations. Maintaining the integrity and mission of SuperChef’s Cookery for Kids, Special SuperChef’s adapted recipes, itinerary, lessons, and activities allows all children to participate in camp with unique 1:1 support. Responding to Covid-19 this summer, our in-person camp experience was further adapted to be completed in the individual family’s homes. Our goal was to provide the parents with pre-planned activities to engage their children in meaningful and productive ways as a form of respite care.
Camp kits were packaged with the parents ease in mind. We took care to label everything and provide clear and detailed instructions, making it easy for parents to navigate with their children. Camp kits include all the ingredients they need to cook the 5 recipes included, printed activities, and tools related to cooking, oral health, nutrition, and physical activity. Each activity came with clear instructions for the parents to adapt to be easier or more challenging depending on their child’s special needs and capacity.
Our Welcome Zoom call took place on the first day of camp where the kids were able to connect with their peers and have time to work on social skills while being in community. We walked the kids through opening their kit and completing the “kit scavenger hunt activity” together. This is also a time for parents or kids to ask questions about the layout and content. In the Farewell Zoom call on the last day of camp we showed a slideshow of the photos kids had sent in throughout camp to create a sense of unity and togetherness. We chatted with them about their experiences and gave them a chance to share stories. It was amazing to see the kids grow in their communication, even virtually! Counsellors are available on call from 10am-2pm everyday to connect with families over zoom if they have questions or would like to share what they have created with us. The families had the link to the ongoing zoom call they can hop onto at any time.
Parents expressed excitement and gratitude for the program being offered at home during this time. They are happy to be provided with activities that engage their children and encourage positive family interactions. Kids have loved the scavenger hunt on zoom, getting to see the other kids looking through their boxes and bags at the same time as them. Many of the parents were thankful for the entertainment and skill development our program provided for their children. Though we all missed being together in the kitchen, parents commented that the recorded video cooking demonstrations and fitness activities were personable and fostered a unique sense of connection.
Parental Feedback and Participant Comments
“[SuperChefs] has definitely improved [my child’s] confidence in the kitchen. She didn’t need much help, she just watched the videos and the Zoom call and went and did it on her own! [SuperChefs] is teaching kids about nutrition and how to cook and that’s sort of a lost art in this society.” - Coffey, SuperChefs parent
“[My son] turned [our kitchen] into a restaurant, he was actually asking for everyone in the family’s pancake order.” - Simonov, SuperChefs parent
“Mmmm, SuperChefs, that’s good stuff!” - Wong, SuperChefs parent
“Thank you for this wonderful and educational camp! SuperChefs is an awesome and inclusive camp! My daughter looked forward to waking up early! We were very grateful to be a part of your camp! Thanks to everyone involved!!” - anonymous from parent survey
“I loved everything!” - Milne, SuperChefs camper
“What I liked about camp this year was that everyone in my family got to try my food compared to last year only I got to eat the food I made.” - Perron, SuperChefs camper
“Here are some pictures of Meera cooking. What a fantastic program, and such delicious recipes! I have definitely seen an increase in confidence while she’s been cooking (With very little assistance). Thank you!” - Chaube, Special SuperChefs Camper and Parent
“Thank you to everyone for making Special Superchefs happen this year in this crazy time. Connor made Grandma Chang's Cookies and played Bingo today. Thank you so much, have a great summer and take care everyone.” - Hassa, Special SuperChefs Parent
Program Sponsors and Partners
SuperChefs deeply thanks all of our sponsors for believing in our vision and supporting our program. For partnership or sponsorship opportunities, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.superchefs.org.
- Amur Financial Group
- BC Lions
- BC Dairy Association
- BC Egg
- COBS Bread
- Community Foundations of Canada
- COVID-10 Emergency Community Support Fund
- Creekside Hothouse
- Laura Ballance Media Group (LBMG)
- Maduke Bulat
- President’s Choice Children’s Charity
- Service Canada
- Sinclair Dental
- Surrey Cares Community Foundation
- Surrey Schools
- UBC Dentistry
- UBC Land and Food Systems