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"At summer camp I finally found something I was good at."
–Rick Mercer, Political Satirist


It's no surprise that camp stories often weave themselves into many children's best life experiences. After all, when people think camp, they think fun. However, the not-so-well-kept secret is that kids will learn more at camp than they ever expected.

Camps provide the perfect setting for enjoyable learning through hands-on experiences, co-operative tasks and unique challenges.

Scavenger hunts, canoe trips and campfire sing-alongs, for example, all manage to keep the brain active and foster newfound skills, all while being a lot of fun.

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Camp is also the cure for young people experiencing symptoms of boredom, play-deprivation or nature-deficit disorder, which can easily be treated with exposure to nature, team-building activities and opportunities for free play.

Side effects may include acquiring leadership abilities, building a love of learning and a noticeable improvement in self-esteem and social skills.

The broad range of camps and programs available across Canada means there's a camp or program to suit every interest, strength and need. Now only one question remains - how do you make the right choice for your child?

It's important to remember what a "good camp" means when making a decision. A good camp will recognize children's individuality and have them feeling comfortable while challenging them in new ways.

 

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When choosing a camp, make sure to ask the right questions and take your child's interests and comfort zone into account. Single-sex or co-ed? Day or sleep-away? Drama or wilderness camp? It all comes down to your child.

Kids who are mature enough may enjoy overnight camps for the independence and adventure it offers. If your child isn't ready for an overnight camp, then perhaps a day camp or a family camp would be a better choice.

Some day and overnight camps are general, offering a range of different activities. Specialty camps, meanwhile, focus on a particular activity or skill, such as sports, computers, arts, language or adventure.

Among these specialty camps are those geared towards kids with special needs, enabling them to experience the joys and excitement of camp like every other child. Here's where you need to identify your child's talents, interests and needs.

Explore the options within this guide and discover the perfect camp for your child!

If you've already chosen the right camp, or are looking to learn more about how to prepare, what age to send kids or how to pay for camp, Our Kids has advice on the entire camp experience, from packing to signing up for a second session:

 

 


   

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