Ontario Children’s Camp Programs: Enhancing Activities to Offer Much More Than a Good Time

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Ontario children’s camp programs have enhanced the activities that have been offered at traditional summer camps by introducing many new and innovative programs and activities to enrich the camp experience.

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Every summer an annual ritual takes place all across Canada. In parking lots throughout urban centers, large numbers of children gather, wildly excited and perhaps visibly nervous. After words of encouragement, caution, best wishes and love, caring and concerned parents pack them up, along with over-flowing duffle bags filled with T-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, towels and more, and then deposit them into awaiting buses to be whisked away to summer camp. Like generations before them, camp will give these children a wonderful opportunity for fun and for personal growth. They will learn new skills, experience nature, and enjoy all that summer camp programs have to offer. At most camps, children participate in group activities and competitions, are taught swimming, canoeing and archery, and they play games, make crafts, have campfires and sing songs. With all the activities associated with children’s camp, they make new friends and generally have the time of their lives.

Ontario children’s camp programs have enhanced the activities that have been offered at traditional summer camps by introducing many new and innovative programs and activities to enrich the camp experience. Although the old standbys such as swimming, canoeing, and archery are offered, Canadian children’s summer camp classes teach a broad spectrum of skills such as digital photography, drama, wake boarding, gymnastics, video production, and flying a trapeze. The sky seems to be the limit as to what is available. In addition, some Toronto children’s camps also offer theme based programs such as hockey camps, computer camps, and forensic science camps. One well established camp is even offering a culinary arts program for the 2006 season.

Along with all the fun things that the summer camp experience has to offer, there are children’s camps that have set themselves apart by putting more emphasis on teaching social values and responsibility. One such camp is Camp Arowhon (http://www.camparowhon.com), operating in Ontario’s Algonquin Park since 1934. The Ministry of Natural Resources has recognized Camp Arowhon for its leadership in the Algonquin Park composting program. Arowhon campers learn to become environmental stewards by composting all their organic waste. With their recycling program, camp vegetable garden tended by campers, and with their program to reduce food waste to zero, Camp Arowhon is creating the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

Camp Arowhon campers are not only encouraged to care for the environment, they are also encouraged to respect and care for themselves and others. Camp director Joanne Kates has developed “The Camp Arowhon Social Safety Kit Bag” that contains tools that all Arowhon staff is trained to use to assist campers in conflict management, dealing with potential bullies, and understanding and solving peer problems. Children learn to be accountable for how their choices affect others.

While nothing comes close to replacing the traditional pleasures of summer camp like sitting round the campfire singing songs, or falling asleep to loon calls, the addition of socially conscious programs to the summer camp ritual complements and enhances the entire summer camp experience.

Camp Arowhon is a thriving community of campers, staff, and alumni that offers a place where social skills blossom and life-long friendships take root. To learn more about the Ontario Canadian children camp activities, please visit http://www.camparowhon.com.

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Joanne Kates and Leon Muszynski
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