In Canada, a regulation offers people the opportunity to privately sponsor a refugee family so the newcomers can get to know their new country. Through their sponsors, a group of Syrian and Iraqi boys from Toronto are introduced to the phenomenon of summer camp, where they learn skills in the Canadian wilderness and go on a six-day canoe trip. The two time Academy Award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple follows these five boys over a period of several weeks and captures their experiences.
For many kids in Canada and the United States, summer camp is a rite of passage from the safe and comfortable cocoon of the family to greater independence and responsibility. But what if you’ve already been through hardship and misery? The 14-year-old Omer from Iraq, whose father is missing, constantly looks for trouble with other children and provokes the camp counselors, despite their good intentions towards him. Fortunately, things go better for the rest of the boys in this warm portrait of resilient refugee children and the adults who care for them.