You can do this!

The benefits of getting kids out of their comfort zones

“If you are the parent trying to break the mold, and to do something out of the ordinary,” says Craig Bowker, “that’s the main focus of our program.” And when he says out of the ordinary, he really means it. Bowker is the director of Ski-Mazing Watersports School, which has been operating just outside Haliburton, Ontario, for the past 15 years.

    It’s a certified waterski school, so skiing and wakeboarding are core parts of the program, but so too are parasailing and hydro flight. Bowker describes hydro flight as, “using devices attached by a hose to a jet-propusion system powered by a jet ski.” It’s hardcore, but, again, it doesn’t have to be. With younger kids, or those trying it for the first time, Bowker starts them on the Jetovator, an easier, gentler version of the fly board.

    Skills, thrills, and confidence

    Definitely the school appeals to kids and families keen to immerse themselves in their passion, and build core skills. But it’s more than that, too. Bowker is, himself, particularly inspired to introduce kids new the sport, to provide a window onto a world of new experience, possibility, and allow kids to gain a new understanding of what they are capable of.

    Getting out of your comfort zone can be transformative, and Ski-Mazing is an example of a range of camps that, indeed, seek to break the mold in how we think of camp. The Canadian Adventure Camp has a focus on gymnastics, including some very skill-based and frankly difficult activities, such as silks, which was added last year. “We’ve also added hoops. These are all kind of like cirque, or circus, elements,” says Justin Gerson, admitting that “it’s quite a difficult sport.”


    Even though a majority of campers don’t attend for the gymnastics program, they all try it. A majority also try the Gyro. “It’s a giant metal ring that spins on different axes.” They’ve had it for a few years, and “kids still love it to this day, because it’s not something they really see. Ever. … They don’t know it, they’ve never seen it, but they try it.” That experience can be instructive, far beyond the Gyro or even camp. “The next time they come across something new, says Gerson, they’ll probably go for it.”

    And they do. Says Bowker, “We get them out of their comfort zone, provide some interesting bucket list experiences. We also like to think that we’re teaching the kids skill development but also helping them with social compatibility, how to care for equipment, and creating some great memories.”

    Which, after all, is what camp is all about. 

    For a list of adventure camps, click here.

    Looking for something out of the ordinary, or for more information on the camps above? Email me at [email protected]  


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