Ah, summer camp: a place to play, learn, bunk with friends new and old and connect with the environment. S’mores, campfires and singsongs too, please!
Choosing the best one is an important decision. Whether it’s a day-to-day or sleep away camp you’ll want your child to be enriched, learn valuable skills and create wonderful memories. Organizations like the Ontario Camp Association (OCA) and Our Kids are extremely helpful to search for camp options. A certified OCA camp will bear the logo on its website.
Options for sleep away camps are almost limitless – it really depends on the type of activities you want your child to participate in – and whether you want to stick within the province or go beyond Ontario’s border. Does your child like horses, dance, outdoor pursuits, sports, yoga, robotics, music, public speaking or art? Are you looking for something more faith-based? Co-ed? More than likely there’s a place that matches your child’s interests. Here are just a few fun and enriching examples:
Centauri Arts Camp
This summer home-away-from-home welcomes youth from eight to 18. Aptly named, there are over 40 programs revolving around acting, stage combat, dance, fine art, creative writing, music, TV production and more – even a cultural tour trip to Scotland.
The Wylde Swan
Here’s a world-class learning experience for adventurous boys and girls aged 14 to 25 – summer onboard the Wylde Swan. This year the camp will be taking part in the Tall Ship Races 2018 in Scandinavia. There’s a strong focus on hands-on teamwork and decision-making. Students learn basic seamanship and enjoy extracurricular activities. Various organized excursions are also designed to enhance a uniquely cultural experience.
“Once discovered, never forgotten” is Muskoka’s tagline. Kids have been enjoying this camp since 1979 and there are over 50 types of activities for kids ages seven to 17. There are over 1,100 acres and 2,800 feet of shoreline on Lake Rousseau with world-class facilities and sports complexes. Almost like being at the cottage, campers can customize their schedule to fill a six-hour day with everything from adrenaline boosting pursuits to art. Staff to guest ratio is 1:2.
Day camps provide a fun environment for kids, and are especially helpful if both parents still need to work their usual nine to five routine. The YMCA, Town of Oakville and City of Burlington all offer day camps, and there are so many options, including Lego, art or Stem, so here are just a few to choose from:
Conservation Halton: Ways of the Woods
A summer of biking, rock climbing, caving, archery, and boating, among many other activities; a sample of “all the hallmarks of a Canadian childhood.” Ages four to 15. WOW offers free supervised busing at select stops in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Georgetown, Acton, and Mississauga.
Campus turns to camp during the summer. Camps are organized into four major programs and are offered in full and half days: Early Discovery (ages 4 – 7), and older campers (7-17) can choose Sports & Adventure, Arts & Media, Science & Success and a new Leadership Camp.
Kerr St. Mission Camp
Children can enjoy a safe and nurturing environment participating in lots of fun activities. KSM’s mission of being committed to helping youth learn, develop and prepare themselves for success carries through in their camps.
Lots to do and so close to the city on 65 acres in the Niagara Escarpment: campfires, swimming, fishing, co-operative games, and fort building. Campers also learn about role model leadership through entertaining presentations.
by Becky Dumais
The Ontario Camp Association