Feature: Summer Camp Insights

What makes a camp special? What makes it a place to choose? We turned to some of our amazing camp advertisers to see what makes their camps unique, how they help first-time campers, and other fun info to help you choose your next sleepaway location!

Tim Larson of Camp Squeah | www.squeah.com

What is the campers’ favourite evening activity at your camp?
Our evening Chapel in the Sky tradition, winding up the ridge to the amphitheater style seating, looking over the valley and the stars and the mountains with a campfire and music playing.

What is the most unique thing at your camp?
We are a camp that utilizes the centralized model of counselling. Our cabin leaders sole responsibility is to be with and support, befriend, care for and encourage the campers 24 hours a day during the camp. Cabin counsellors are not working the kitchen or activity leading. Their sole responsibility is the children in their care. Another unique thing here is Cage Ball—an activity I’ve only ever seen at Camp Squeah.

Lisa Stiver of YMCA Camp Elphinstone | www.gc.ymca.ca

What is the most unique thing at your camp?
YMCA Camp Elphinstone provides opportunities for both Canadian and International campers and staff to live and play together at camp. With close to 20 nations represented, it’s an amazing opportunity to make friends from around the world.

How do you help first time campers?
We have staff always ready to answer questions by phone, e-mail or in person. We provide opportunities for families to come and visit camp and on Healthy Kids Day, our Annual Open House, they can experience all that we have to offer. We also offer a mini camp, for our younger participants, to try it out for three nights, allowing a short stay.

What’s new at your camp this year?
New programs this year will include Rocks and Ropes and Advanced Sailing Camp Programs for further skill development.

Scott Bayley of Camp Qwanoes | www.qwanoes.ca

Where do you find your best camp counsellors?
We welcome staff from throughout BC, across Canada and around the world! Each summer we welcome staff from about 12 countries and they all join together in unity to create an unforgettable week for our campers. Many of our staff have completed one or all of our four levels of leadership programs. All staff are carefully screened with an application process that includes multiple references, an interview, and a criminal record check. Our staff can’t wait to share a week with our campers and make it one that lasts forever!

What’s new at your camp this year?
At Qwanoes, there’s always new adventure and always more fun! We’re adding the Airwalk Village to our Challenge Course…defy gravity as you stretch, balance and brave your way through what may seem like endless, interconnected challenges. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Aqua Park, we’re expanding it and adding the Igloo, Moonwalk, and the Qube. Put your investigative skills to the test, show off your shrewdness and see if you and your friends will either crack under the pressure…or break free before it’s too late in our new Captain-Q’s Escape Room!

Craig Douglas of Timberline Ranch | www.timberlineranch.com

What is the campers favourite evening activity at your camp?
Kids absolutely LOVE campfires every evening at Timberline Ranch! Such a great time to sing and see a skit and listen to staff share their stories.

What makes families choose your camp?
I think people choose Timberline at first because of the great reputation, established over 56 years, and the fun activities, but they seem to keep coming back because of the great staff, the amazing food, and a community that feels like their second home.

What is the most unique thing at your camp?
Timberline Ranch is the most popular horse Ranch in BC! Our horse activities are very high quality, and some things, like “hoof-ball,” are pretty unusual!

Camp Artaban | www.campartaban.com

What unique traditions do you have?
Opening and closing ceremonies are a special time for new and old campers alike. New campers are given woodchips to add to the first campfire, symbolizing their role in keeping camp going; old campers are given candles symbolizing the light of camp that they bring with them each time they come. At the end of their camp, all campers have a candle at the closing ceremonies. We have a beautiful open-air chapel set in the forest, and sometimes we relocate to the end of the wharf for an evening of Rock the Dock.

How do you inspire new friendships between campers?
There are, at most, eight children of the same age and gender in a cabin. To encourage bonding, at the beginning of camp, campers create a banner and a cheer or song, which is unique to their cabin during the week. Counsellors lead cabin talks and ice breakers and provide many opportunities for social interaction. During their time at camp, there are many opportunities for interaction with others who share similar interests. Counsellors help foster these friendships, which can often last a lifetime.