Did you go to summer camp as a kid?
Did you get the chance to spend all day, every day for a few days, weeks, or even a month outside? Did you get to craft? Play? (Man did I ever love playing Capture the Flag and Knock Your Socks Off!) Swim? (Polar Bear!) Sail? Go on outings? Meet new friends? Learn independence? Eat strange foods? Try eating spaghetti with a spatula? (Maybe that was just me.)
So? Did you? Did you get the opportunity to engage in all that lovely, delicious free play?
Three Generations of Summer Camp
I was very lucky to have two grandmas who understood the value of summer camp. (Yes, sleep-away camp. No cell phones. Buggy cabins. On an island. With only teenagers to keep us safe. Oh man, did we ever give those sailboats a run for their money!) One grandma would pay my airfare. The other my camp admission. And off I would go for a week. Sometimes with cousins. Sometimes with my brother somewhere around on the boys side. Sometimes not. And I loved every minute of it.
A few Benefits of Summer Camp
Summer camp is great for kids in so many different ways. It creates independence, allows them to develop new skills, meet new people, explore their interests, be physically active, spend valuable time outside in nature, and get opportunities to try things they might not at home (rock climbing down into the water, putting out a campfire using your sweater as a bucket, chasing raccoons out of your cooking pots, battling big waves in a kayak, earning your 3K swim badge…).
Tim Horton’s Camp Day
But not all kids get the chance to go to summer camp. Up here in Canada, eh?, it’s Tim Horton’s annual “Camp Day.” In years past you simply bought a coffee at Timmy’s on Camp Day and the proceeds automatically went to sending over 130,000 kids (since 1974) to summer camps across Canada. But now, it’s even cooler. You can still buy your double-double to donate (donate to a good cause AND get to drink it too), but now you can also text a donation or buy virtual camp items (only $5!!) at the Timmy’s online Tuck Shop. (They don’t call it a Tuck Shop, but come on! It’s camp! Get with the program, T.H.!)
So… How about you? Did you go to summer camp? What kind of camp was it? What is your favourite memory from all that free play?