Guest article by: Jake Roth for OurKids.net, Canada’s trusted source for camps and schools.
Have you heard of Family Camps? They do exist and are much fun for parents and children. Read on to find out more from OurKids.net, a great resource to find camps.
With summer fast approaching, many parents have already begun the search for the right camp for their child. For some kids, this may be the first time they’ll be away from their parents for an extended period of time and the prospect is sometimes overwhelming, especially for younger campers. Other families may just be looking to spend some time away together with a bit more structure than a typical campground. So why not check out a family camp as an option?
Family camps allow kids to attend camp with the entire family! These camps provide many traditional programs, activities, and facilities such as windsurfing, kayaking, land sports, and tents. When you would like time to yourself or to enjoy adult-geared programs, counsellors will look after your kids (usually ages one and higher) and keep them active. Typically, families enroll for one week (or less) at camps, many of which offer a designated family week.
Aruna Ogale, former executive director of the Ontario Camps Association, says, “I think that more and more families want to spend time together, but they also want to have some structure for their children. So it’s a good way for parents and kids to do an activity together, yet in a setting that’s very child focused.” Now, here are some of family camp’s benefits that may account for this growing popularity.
Family Bonding and Activities
Family camps allow families to spend time together and bond in the midst of nature. Elisa Van Wagner, a third-generation director of Camp Nominingue in Quebec’s Northern Laurentians, states, “There is family programming where the whole family can take part.” Such activities include baseball, sailing, mountain biking, wall climbing, and day canoe trips that require you and your family to work together.
Camp Fun for the Kids
“There’s always something for someone to do,” Van Wagner exclaims, while noting that programs run until as late as ten at night. Your children, who will inevitably make new friends, will not be bored! “We call our staff programming geniuses.”
Cam Green, the family camp coordinator at YMCA Wanakita in Haliburton, Ont., sees family week as an introduction to the camp experience. In short, most of the kids at family camp would be too young for a regular overnight camp. Therefore, attending family week is an occasion to acclimatize them to the camp experience.
Camp Fun for Parents
Ogale points out that attending family camp is a way for parents to relive their past camp experiences. “Or, if you’re a parent, like me, who maybe didn’t get a chance to go to camp, here’s your opportunity to see what camp’s all about.”
Van Wagner explains that camp allows parents to enjoy themselves in adult ways. At Camp Nominingue, you can send your child to “kids’ club” and then enjoy time to yourself. “We have adult programs, like a film festival and wine and cheese . . . A lot of parents say, boy, camp sounds fun, I wish we could go.”
A Carefree Atmosphere at Family Camp
Van Wagner views family camp as a chance for you to take a break from many of your regular responsibilities, or go on a vacation. You need not cook, do dishes, or clean. The camp takes care of everything for you. You just have time to relax!
Meeting Other Families
At family camp, you will meet plenty of families, most of which will be in the same life stage as you are. “You know your neighbour” and will often spend a lot of time with them. It’s a great opportunity to develop new friendships!
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