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"The dietary aspect is key," says Brandon McClounie, publicity chair for the British Columbia Camping Association. "At traditional camps, you're certainly getting plenty of exercise, but the specialty (health and fitness) camps can really hone in on cardio and nutrition, too."

Some weight loss camps, such as Active Challenge near Ottawa, are upfront about their focus on health and nutrition, while others slip healthy messages into their program. At Active Challenge, each session begins with goal-setting seminars, where girls can articulate what they hope to achieve. "The ideal campers are those who recognize they want to make some changes and want to have more energy," says camp director Jill Baxter. Active Challenge offers sessions of one and two months, since it usually takes about 23 days to form new lifestyle habits.

"When you're trying to change habits, a week's not really going to cut it," says McClounie. "With a month, you're really compounding the results. It ingrains more of the healthy lifestyle that campers can carry on after they leave."

Active Challenge teaches campers about portion control, providing measuring cups and spoons at mealtimes so the girls can get a sense of proper serving sizes. Campers also take healthy cooking classes, where they learn how to make things like sushi, turkey burgers and dishes they can pack in their school lunches. "We follow Canada's Food Guide to healthy eating," Baxter explains. "We eat a whole lot of produce and lean meats."

Fitness boot camps focusing on do-able activities Campers begin each day with a hike, an activity Baxter feels the girls can easily continue at home. In this way, these camps are not focused on strenuous activities like those seen on shows such as The Biggest Loser; these camps are relatively soft "fitness boot camps for kids." Throughout the day, kids do all kinds of activities, including circuit training, aquafit and more traditional camp activities like mountain biking, swimming and canoeing.

Active Challenge is more goal-oriented, so the girls measure their progress and learn to enjoy their new healthy lifestyle. That said, Baxter warns that it's not all fun and games. "I don't want anyone to think it's a joy ride—2010 will be our fifth year—and we haven't had a single girl yet who didn't say the camp was the biggest challenge of her life," she says. However, tackling the hard work is something the girls can feel proud of, Baxter says. "They leave a few pounds at camp, but they take home confidence." Other camps, such as the Academy of Martial Arts in Mississauga, are more discreet in their approach. Campers are kept active with martial arts activities like karate and taekwondo, but they also learn about healthy eating through games and activity books. "We definitely include a lot of healthy living material," says Michelle Jay, the academy's camp director. "We convey that being fit is important. We do little things like going out for nature walks that kids can do when they leave camp, too."



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Camps that specialize in
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  • Active Challenge
    Focusing on self esteem and healthy lifestyle, this camp features hikes, water adventure and more. Combines education, activity and personal growth and development.

    Renfrew

    Health & Fitness: Weight Loss Program
    • Ages 12 to 25
    • Girls
    • Day, Overnight
    from $3,675/month
    Day, Overnight Girls 3675 12-25 0 Renfrew
    Camps offering as an activity
    The Hoop Factory
    Camp/program teaching the fundamentals in basketball, balance, footwork to players at all levels. A fun, high energy camp for boys/girls of all ages. Christmas Holiday-March Break-Summer Break #BuildingBetterBallers

    Teddington Park, Toronto; Ajax; North Toronto, Toronto

    Sport: Basketball
    • Ages 5 to 18
    • Coed
    • Day
    from $150/week
    Day Coed 150 5-18 0 Teddington Park, Toronto, Ajax, North Toronto, Toronto
    Neighbour Note Day Camps
    Toronto's premier camps run by University Professors, TDSB Teachers, and extraordinary Musicians! (PhD, DMA). Our Rock Band camp instructor performed for over 10 000 people when his band opened for KISS in Mexico City!

    Bloor West Village, Toronto; Mimico, Toronto; North Toronto, Toronto

    Music (multi)
    • Ages 4 to 18
    • Coed
    • Day
    from $100/week
    Day Coed 100 4-18 1 Bloor West Village, Toronto, Mimico, Toronto, North Toronto, Toronto
    Airborne Trampoline
    Jump through summer with Airborne's Summer Trampoline Classes & Day Camps. Camp includes trampoline lessons and games, arts and crafts, games and movie room, daily outings, and a trip of the week.

    Newmarket; Vaughan

    Sport: Trampoline
    • Ages 3 to 80
    • Coed
    • Day, Program, family
    from $149/session
    sessions & dates
    Day, Program, family Coed 149 3-80 2 Newmarket, Vaughan
    A.M.A. Karate Camp
    Mississauga kids camp focused on martial arts training, including karate and jiu-jitsu. The camp also includes arts and crafts, outdoor activities and field trips.

    Mississauga

    Sport: Martial Arts
    • Ages 5 to 12
    • Coed
    • Day
    from $120/week
    sessions & dates
    Day Coed 120 5-12 3 Mississauga
    Sayu Healthy Living Camps
    A Fun & Unique Co-ed Camp involving Outdoor Activities, Healthy Foods, Art, Music & Hands-On Cooking. Each week includes Field Trips, Guest Musician & Yoga Instructor, Games, Playful Workshops, & more...

    Islington Village, Toronto

    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 6 to 12
    • Coed
    • Day, Program
    from $350/week
    Day, Program Coed 350 6-12 4 Islington Village, Toronto
    Toronto Kidz
    Every week at Toronto Kidz Camp focuses on a new theme and includes a field trip to one of Toronto's top attractions: Ripley's Aquarium, Royal Ontario Museum, Pirate Life Cruise, Casa Loma...

    Junction Triangle, Toronto

    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 5 to 12
    • Coed
    • Day
    from $225/week
    Day Coed 225 5-12 5 Junction Triangle, Toronto
    Sport Western Summer Camps
    A premier march break and summer camp offering sport specific and academic based programming with over 25 camp options and a staff team, which consists of primarily Western University students and student-athletes.

    London

    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 4 to 18
    • Coed, Girls, Boys
    • Day
    from $118/week
    Day Coed, Girls, Boys 118 4-18 6 London
    Radiant Girls
    A unique Girls Wellness Camp in a Retreat setting. Featuring Yoga and Pilates, Outdoor Excursions, Hands-On Cooking, Coaching for Confidence & Emotional Intelligence, Meaningful Expressive Art, Fun & Lots of Giggling.

    Burlington; Hamilton

    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 8 to 13
    • Girls
    • Day, Overnight, Program, family
    from $50/day
    sessions & dates
    Day, Overnight, Program, family Girls 50 8-13 7 Burlington, Hamilton
    Stanstead College Summer Camps
    Summer Camps for local and foreign students and include highlights like a Tall Ship Adventure, Leadership, Yoga & Wellness, Hockey, etc. in addition to ESL and Language Excellence Camps.

    Stanstead; Halifax; Louisbourg

    Traditional (multi activity)
    • Ages 11 to 17
    • Coed
    • Day, Overnight
    from $950/session
    Day, Overnight Coed 950 11-17 8 Stanstead, Halifax, Louisbourg
    Sports Camps Canada
    Our coed summer sports camps are geared toward kids ages 4-18 of all abilities and skill levels. From beginner to elite, there is a camp option for everyone. Improve Your Skills & Have SERIOUS FUN at Sports Camps Canada!

    Alberta (1); British Columbia (3); Ontario (1); Quebec (1)

    Sport (multi)
    • Ages 6 to 18
    • Coed, Girls, Boys
    • Day, Overnight
    from $175/week
    Day, Overnight Coed, Girls, Boys 175 6-18 9 Lytton Park, Toronto, Langley, Calgary, Humber Valley Village, Toronto, Don Valley Village, Toronto, Caribou Park, Toronto, Riverdale, Toronto, Kitchener, Bathurst Manor/Clanton Park, Toronto, Whistler, Mont-Tremblant, Burnaby
    Toronto Kyokushinkai Karate
    Kids Karate Summer Day Camp, PA Day Camps, March Break Camps. After school martial arts and fitness programs.

    The Beach, Toronto

    Sport: Martial Arts
    • Ages 4 to 12
    • Coed
    • Day, Program, family
    from $199/week
    sessions & dates
    Day, Program, family Coed 199 4-12 10 The Beach, Toronto