Choosing a Summer Camp Today

Once, choosing a summer camp was all so easy. Every year, Mom and Dad would sign up little Megan or young Matthew for the same camps they themselves attended as kids. Year after year, it was the same: canoeing, cabins and campfires with the same bunch of chums whose parents and even grandparents knew each other. It was a great Canadian tradition: summer camp.


While such camps have lost none of their appeal, the camping scene has undergone a huge change. Outdoor fun and skills remain at the heart of camping, but camps now offer such a variety of experiences and take so many forms that choosing one with and for your child can be daunting.

One of the biggest catalysts for change has stemmed from the extensive cutbacks in school arts, music and athletic programs by successive provincial governments.

As a result, summer camps have stepped in to take up the slack, especially over the last two years, says Brian Blackstock, president of the Ontario Camping Association (OCA). Camps offer a rainbow assortment of arts and activity programs, where kids with special talents can make up in the summer what they’re losing the rest of the year.

Some campers take dance or go to the Edinburgh Festival; others opt for basketball or hockey camp. Even conventional camps have added the thrills of high ropes, climbing walls and rugged mountain biking to the tradition of canoeing on northern waterways. And for kids who are queasy about jumping in the lake, some camps now offer swimming pools.

Day camps also have become a bigger part of the equation, not just for city-bound kids, but for youngsters at the family cottage. Another innovation: family camps, where mom and dad join the fun, usually at the end of the season.

One of the happiest developments, Blackstock says, is the opening up of new camping opportunities for children with special needs, with some camps offering integrated programs.

Luckily, by taking things a step at a time, you can consider options and come to an informed choice for your family.

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Apr 19
Don't Worry about Missing Registration!  
April 19, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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April 22, 2024
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April 25, 2024

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