When I was a kid, summer camp was a total blast. Being away from home and running around the woods with a band of other kids is one of my favourite childhood memories. I had the opportunity to try things I had never done before, like sailing and archery. We stayed up all night playing a wild game of hide-and-seek called “Ninja Granny,” and generally just got to be kids, having fun outside.
Thanks to several local organizations, kids in our area have the same opportunities. Even if a family can’t pay the full fees, or there are health challenges involved, there are lots of people working to ensure that kids have access to camp experiences (speak to the staff at any of the organizations listed to see if they have subsidies or other arrangements available).
One of my favourites is Silver Lake Camp, and it’s a summer experience that kids never forget. Last year, United Way helped to arrange a group of carpentry volunteers to help get the camp in shape for the season.
This camp in Peachland is now operated by the YMCA-YWCA of the Central Okanagan, a very trusted and effective organization. They offer stays between 2 nights to 2 weeks for youth ages 6-17 years of age.
Activities include archery, canoeing, swimming, fishing, crafts, drama, water trampoline, obstacle course, geo-caching, hiking, adventures and sports. More information on Silver Lake can be found at www.silverlakekidscamp.com or by calling 491-9622.
Camp Arrowflight, another terrific camp in Armstrong, is operated by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, a United Way Community Partner Agency. This camp is available for kids ages 7-12, also has a Counsellor in Training Program, and can be rented by community groups. They emphasize learning through adventure, and activities include swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain boarding, BMX-ing, hiking and more.
Camp Owaissi is another great option. This Anglican summer camp runs during the summer and is available for group rentals. They are situated on 50 acres off Westside Road just before the Lake Okanagan Resort.
Activities at Owaissi include swimming, canoeing, hiking, arts and crafts, singing, team sports, scavenger hunts, talent shows, evening campfires and various other games and activities. Each camp has a resident chaplain - an Anglican parish priest who leads regular worship services and provides one hour of religious instruction and discussion every day.
Camp Owaissi is a place where young people are exposed to a balanced and thoughtful approach to Christianity, as well as the values of teamwork, mutual respect and caring for others. For more information, visit http://www.campoac.com/ or call 250-769-3676.
There are many other wonderful camps operating in the Central Okanagan region. One of the easiest ways to find them all is to visit www.kcr.ca and use the Community Information Search option. I entered the word “camp” and got 51 listings, including everything from day camps to rentals. Kelowna Community Resources is a United Way funded Community Partner agency.
Change starts here, because many groups are working hard to ensure that kids have great summer memories. To find out how you can be part of change, visit www.unitedwaycso.com