Camp Story Exchange

There are a lot of great camp stories out there: lore, inspiring people, golden memories. Collected here are some of the best, as submitted by our members.

Camp Stories:

  1. Camp Hurontario
    How to create a camp with a dream, a storm, and a piano

  2. The Cube STEM Camps
    The week that made the summer

  3. Glen Bernard Camp
    Sharing the camp experience with new Canadians

  4. Wilvaken
    Does the summer ever really end?

  5. Camp Chelsea
    Wherever there's a counsellor, there's a camp

  6. Lovell International Camps
    Snow in July

  7. InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Ontario
    Heroes everywhere

  8. Camp Kodiak
    Success and growth at Camp Kodiak

  9. YMCA of Greater Toronto Summer Day Camps
    Coming Full Circle: Crystal and Jacob’s Day Camp journey

Wherever there's a counsellor, there's a camp

You don’t need a lake or cabins, a campfire or a dock. Camp isn’t about stuff, it’s about people and spirit. An empty parking lot, an airport waiting room, the forest--wherever it is, counsellors can bring campers together around a task and have fun at the same time. It’s all about thinking fast, having fun, and going with it. This story, from Iris Ibarra of Camp Chelsea, is a great example of that and then some …

When people think of summer camp, they probably don’t think of a hotel in downtown Toronto. But, that’s where Camp Chelsea is held each summer: the Chelsea Hotel on Gerrard Street in the very heart of the city.

Each summer we have day camp sessions for children from 5 to 12 years of age. There are games, arts and crafts, treasure hunts, orienteering. We swim in the pool, and the giant corkscrew waterslide is always a big hit! We also do things that you can’t do at more traditional camps, such as behind the scenes tours of the hotel. The kids love that because they get to see things that most visitors to the hotel don’t ever have a chance to.

chelsea 01

One of the best experiences we’ve have had with Camp Chelsea was a unique one, even for us. As you can imagine, all the usual activities of the hotel are going on in addition to the camp, including all the usual guests and conferences. One summer the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation (CANAAF) was holding their national conference here, and they arrived from across the country.

Because it was the summer, many guests brought their families along as well. Somebody got the idea to hold a special camp for the children of those attending the meetings … everyone thought it was a great idea, so we did! There were about 20 kids aged 5 – 12, as well as 19 teens and we were together for the duration of the conference. We took the kids swimming, made arts and crafts and edible art, played games such as bingo, “minute to win it” and "family fear factor.”

Both the campers and the counsellors said that it was one of the most rewarding experiences they have ever had. The director of the CANAAF thought so too. She wrote the following note as thanks to the Camp Chelsea team, address to JP, the camp director:

Hi JP,

I have just come home from holidays and have opened my mail to see the usb Key you sent us with the wonderful montage of our Kids Camp experience at the Chelsea Hotel.

Thanks so much for the picture PowerPoint presentation for running such an amazing Camp for our kids! It's wonderful and I will be showing our CANAAF families on November 8th at our next Toronto Support Session.

CANAAF has sent a survey to all attendees. The Feedback we received from both the Kids Camp and Teen Camp was outstanding. I can tell you my daughter loves her t-shirts and the friendly staff, and my son said the teen program was "great." He said the Minute To Win It Team Building event was the best activity he has even been a part of.

Thank you and your incredible team you for giving our kids such a memorable experience.

All the best,

How great is that?!

About Camp Chelsea

When school's out, Camp Chelsea is open! Camp Chelsea, located within Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, is a supervised day camp for children aged 5 to 12. Offering an extensive line-up of activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. including meals (lunch and snacks), behind-the-scenes tours, 130-ft indoor Corkscrew waterslide and more.

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