Fun, excitement, and feeling like you belong

How Adventure Valley promotes a close-knit camp community

The best camps offer the kinds of experiences you won’t find anywhere else. They also cultivate growth and character development through activities that are specifically designed with these aims. And they have close-knit, inclusive, and vibrant communities where all kids feel like they belong. Adventure Valley, with its commitment to promoting these values, is the perfect example of this kind of camp.

    Building community

    Camp isn’t just about participating in a bunch of activities. It’s about forming and building relationships based on common interests and abilities. Kids attend camps to connect with others and to learn about who they are and who they want to be.

    Adventure Valley (AV), a day camp located in Oakville, Ontario, recognizes that a big part of this equation is community. “We intentionally build an environment where kids feel special, honoured, and unique,” says Camp Director Ashlee Woolfson. “We want to make everyone feel like they belong to something important and meaningful.”

    How does Adventure Valley foster a close-knit community? Well, for starters, it ensures all campers feel cared for.

    For instance, as each camper registers, Woolfson sends them their own personal welcome video. Talk about welcoming kids to camp!

    And this goes for families as well. “We have off-season events like a fall family fun day at the farm and a movie day for our camp community,” says Woolfson. “And we hand-delivered AV cookies to all our families this past winter.” 

    Adventure Valley cultivates close relationships between campers (and staff) through community-building activities. One way it does this is through its “cabin huddles,” in which time is set aside each day for cabin mates to talk, reflect, and engage in activities that help them form friendships. “We also have ‘Shmooze’ every day,” says Woolfson, “where we have camp dances and cheers and different kinds of activities and celebrations. It’s like a giant pep rally and dance party, with the whole camp community. You can feel the camp spirit pulsing through the crowd.”

    Another fun and quirky feature of Adventure Valley is that all its staff have nicknames such as “Twinkle Toes,” “Spooky,” “Sparrow,” “Cookie,” “Pebbles,” and “Otter.” This promotes a silly, fun and creative environment, and it helps build camp spirit and community. “It’s like a big inside joke that everyone is in on,” says Woolfson.

    Planning your summer

    Adventure Valley also prioritizes making summer planning easier. “We know that it can be difficult for parents to puzzle-piece their kids’ summers together,” says Woolfson. “We want to make things simpler for them.”

    How does the camp do this? For one thing, it offers one-week sessions and campers can start at any point during the summer. Also, each week is self-contained: it’s structured independently of the others. “It doesn’t matter if you start at the beginning, middle, or end,” says Woolfson. “You’ll feel just as welcome and just as much a part of our community.”

    Adventure Valley also makes registration a cinch. You can register your child at any time through its user-friendly online system. And the camp has a generous cancellation policy: families can cancel or change their sessions up to one week before they start. “We don’t want parents to have to worry about signing up for camp,” says Woolfson. “Providing them with flexibility gives them peace of mind.” And this is something that can make the transition to summer camp easier and more joyful for both parents and kids.

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