It didn't take long for Bronwyn Bridges to click with Cam's Kids. From the moment she heard about the organization's chapter at St. Francis Xavier (StFX) University in Nova Scotia, the sophomore Biology and Psychology student knew she'd found something special.
“I remember Mitch Anderson, who was the Team Lead for Cam's Kids at StFX at the time, going on Facebook to ask if anyone would be interested in getting involved. I didn't know Cam's Kids at the time, but I read the website, really liked what I saw, and decided to take a shot in the dark and send him a message,” she recalls. “Within about two hours I was fully registered with the ambassador program and ready to get started.”
Bronwyn admits she didn't know what she was getting into at first. Nevertheless, after attending her first meeting with StFX's Cam's Kids group, she became fast friends with its members and wasted no time helping them strengthen both their numbers and their message.
“What I realized early on is that there are so many people out there who don't talk about mental health – not even with the people they're close with,” she says. “Through this program, we've seen students come together and connect, whether it's through one of the Cam's Kids society nights or an event like the Candy Cane Campaign. We've received so many messages from people saying that what we're doing has helped them personally.”
In her time with StFX's Cam's Kids chapter, Bronwyn has helped the group grow from 3 to 13 members and conduct numerous Cam's Kids initiatives. She also assumed the role of Team Lead for the group following Mitch's graduation.
Looking back, Bronwyn says she's proud of the group's success and the impact it's had on StFX's campus. Moreover, she is thankful for the support she's received in return: “About six years ago, I went through a tragic incident. For years I just kind of shoved it aside without dealing with it properly, but after I became involved with Cam's Kids I started reading stories and tips on the website and realized a lot of stuff they were talking about applied to me.”
This past summer, Bronwyn's family physician diagnosed her with PTSD as a result of that event. Encouraged by Cam's Kids, she has since become vocal about her own struggles, noting, “I've found that the programs through Cam's Kids have been a really good way to learn coping strategies, listen to other people's stories, and learn how to deal with it. It's been very helpful.”
Facing forward, Bronwyn is eager to continue building StFX's Cam's Kids community while exploring new ways to help her colleagues share their own stories. And even through she is 1,800 km from Cam's Kids headquarters in Uxbridge, Ontario, she feels nonetheless supported in her efforts.
“[Cam's Kids] is such a welcoming family. I feel very connected to the program and the support they give to me even though I'm halfway across the country,” she says.