During my childhood and part of my teenage years, I was fortunate enough to attend a summer camp five times. Every one that I went to is infused in my brain forever and stand out as some of the most fun and memorable moments of my life. So I think if a parent gets a chance or wonders if they should send their kid to summer camp, they should most definitely research one close by (or not necessarily close) and send their kid without hesitation. The skills, memories and friends they come home with, stay with them forever. Childhood memories are something I would never want to lose or replace with anything.
The first time I went to a summer camp was when I was about 10. I went to Sunnybrae Bible Camp, located along the incredible shores of Shuswap lake and at the base of the pristine Mount Bastion. It was a beautiful camp with really expert staff, and perfectly executed activities and plans. They definitely had the experience and the resources necessary to give kids the best of time while there.
At Sunnybrae, they have tonnes of activities to choose from to make for a new experience all the time, such things ranging from archery, to swimming, to learning a little more about the bible and religion. All of their camps for kids are a week long and cost $235 + British Columbia’s HST tax. But it isn’t just limited to kids, they have teen and family packs as well. Also, even if your kid isn’t raised with a religion (much like myself), I think its still a great opportunity in their development. At Bible camp, they don’t push religion onto anyone. I just think its just a great way to introduce the Bible to kids and a little of the western religious history. It’s an important part of the worlds development and culture, so I think its a little incompetent to not be at least be a little familiar with the Bible and religion.
The other four years that I went to a summer camp, were spend at the Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Center (VACSTC). I was in cadets for seven years, from the time I was 12 until I aged out at 19.
When I was 14, I went to VACSTC for the first time doing a Cadet Leader course that lasted six weeks, then the year after that I did a Cadet Leader Instructor summer camp course in one of the prestigious Drill and Ceremonial platoons for another six weeks. During both of those years I had an amazing time, learned tonnes of new skills and made plenty new friends that I’m still friends with today.
While attending VACSTC there are a number of different camps to attend that are specialized for different purposes like music, drill, shooting, and athletics. With those camps come a series of lessons as well, based on the different types of camp you choose to go to. Besides the lesson, there are a tonne of fun activities included in each; things like absailing, beach days, water slides, sports nights and even looking at some of the local tourist attractions in and around Vernon, British Columbia. This camp is free, paid for by the Department of National Defence. But your kid actually gets a bonus for going, not much though, just $60 per week spent at camp and you have to be in cadets to be able to attend. But the memories and bonds that you make at Cadet camp are those in which you keep forever.
Lastly, I also spent another 2 consecutive years at VACSTC. I had such an amazing time every time I went, that I wanted to return, but this time as staff. For the first year I was the high ranked warrant officer for the Rifle Coach platoon, specializing in familiarization with several different rifles. The next year I was again a Warrant officer, but this time for a platoon in Drill and Ceremonial. As a leader and staff, I was in charge of about 30 kids with one or two other platoon warrants at my side. We were in charge of their safety, supervision, fun and we were the ones that passed on the commands to them.
Since I was staff, it was a paid position (quite generously, I might add) under a seven week contract. The first week there is spent meeting the other staff and getting a rundown of what we would be doing with the kids for the last six weeks and going over the rules.
Even to this day I still make time to go and visit some of my friends from camp, as well as visit some of the kids that I taught while staffing there. Just before my roadtrip I went and visit with one of the kids I taught that lives in Vancouver, but in August I’m also going to visit some friends I staffed with in the place where it started, Vernon, BC. I honestly can’t wait to see them and I think if any parent gets the chance, they should send their kid to summer camp. It gets them out of the way for a little so the parent can relax for a bit of the summer themselves, but it also lets their kid explore different aspects of the world, learn tonnes of new skills, and come home with a million new friends. All-in-all, summer camp is amazing.
“To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee” – Emily Dickinson