At summer camp, your kids will get outside, away from all those screens, and they'll meet kids from around the world.
Summer campers and counsellors share their stories of how much fun it is to be forced to get outdoors and meet new people from around the world.
I'm into sailing and canoeing and bio. That's biology. They have a huge biology thing—frogs, turtles, snakes . . . There's an eastern hognose (snake) and a Massassauga rattler. They're very rare. You can learn a lot just from watching them.
But there's a whole lot of different things to do. Like, for canoeing, you can make your own paddle in the crafts class. I don't even think about video games when I'm out here by the water. (Camp Hurontario)
Brad, 11, fourth year; Vancouver, British Columbia
Next summer, I'm thinking that maybe I can lead one of the camp's whitewater and hiking trips. I'm studying geosciences at Princeton so that I can do my senior thesis on the river. See, I'm always thinking of a way to get back to camp!
This is so different from England; it's really another world. I started coming here when I was seven and 14 years later, I'm still coming back. I grew up here. I've done three years as a counsellor and I've also been a rock-climbing instructor. Some of my bunkmates keep coming back, too. We get to do all the fun stuff and get paid for it, too.
I'm a huge fan of the outdoors. Camp is the ideal way to let off steam. And this is a perfect setting. You're not looking out across the water and staring at someone else's cottage.
I had a great day yesterday; I was sailing all afternoon. If I hadn't been coming here every year, I'd never have learned how. I learned rock climbing and windsurfing too.
I keep telling myself, "This is my last year." And then summer rolls around and I'm frantically emailing for a job. (Camp Hurontario)
Chris, 21, counsellor, 14th year; London, England
England is far enough away. Even North Carolina is, says Anna, a camp kid at Camp Arowhon, but she's even more impressed with others who came from much further away.
Coming from North Carolina is nothing much. There's a girl here from Barcelona! My dad came here when he was young.
I like the place generally. I like the activities; I like the meals; I love the people and I really like that it's truly in the middle of nowhere, not just five miles in off the highway.
Back at home, I play volleyball and go swimming and that's kind of it; that's my life. There's not a lot to do, But here . . . last year, I learned to do a rollover in a kayak; how cool is that?
The first time I came I was a little confused for a while. But then I started fitting in.
It's changed me, absolutely. Before I came to camp, I was a moody grouch. Then I came here and no one knew who I was and people weren't looking at me as a time bomb. So I was able to relax. (Camp Arowhon)
Anna, 13, third year; Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Teasing each other is part of getting to know each other, according to Thomas, all the way from Paris, France.
This is my fourth time here and my nickname is French Fries. That's because I come from France. It's a seven-and-a-half hour flight, but that's okay. It's not French food, but I like the food here. I like everything, especially doing art. You get to sit out on the rocks and paint.
My mom is Canadian and my dad is French, so I'm—what's the word—bilingual.
Do I miss my parents? Errr . . . not really. (Camp Hurontario)
Thomas, 8, fourth year; Paris, France
Alecia chimes in with all the other voices, that there are benefits from being forced to bunk with strangers from other cultures.
I'm just doing dance camp for fun, but when I go home and get out on the floor, I will own all my friends! That's worth the effort right there.
I've made a new friend here, Maelle from Quebec City She takes dance classes in Quebec. She doesn't speak much English and I don't speak much French so we're teaching each other.
We have 13 girls in our cabin and I think that's pretty lucky. Everybody gets along. Lights out is at 11 p.m. and then we go to sleep at . . . well, it depends. What do we talk about? The usual stuff: Boys, makeup, hair . . . c'mon!
(Olympia Sports Camp)
Alecia, 15; first year; Corunna, Ontario
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