Growing up in Montreal, summer days were filled being a pool rat at the local outdoor community pool – swim team and meets, diving team, synchro, swim lessons and as we got older – waterpolo and lifeguarding courses. Once I was 8, I was able to go to the pool by myself without an adult. Boy did I feel grown up!
While there aren’t outdoor community pools in my Ontario neighbourhood, I have found a camp that I think gives my child a similar sense of independence, Kids Inc. Camp. (www.kidsinc.ca)
Never having been to a day camp away from a familiar setting, my eldest son was nervous but a little excited as he started his first day at Kids Inc. last summer. He came home on day one exhausted but exhilarated as he described all of the activities he had tried. He was most impressed with the outdoor pool and how he had passed the required swim test. Before he fell asleep at the dinner table, he detailed what he could expect the next day – a game of flag in the forest and the tuck shop!
This summer he is going back for another week. He is quite excited about trying Rock Climbing for the first time, the main event with all kinds of crazy events and of course, swimming in the outdoor pool. He can’t wait for Friday when the week’s theme of Survivor comes to life and the campers are divided into tribes. What will they have to do as challenges? Eat gummy worms in chocolate pudding?! Oh what messy, ooey-gooey fun!
I have been so impressed with the owners, Mary-Kay and Jason, who do an outstanding job of putting parents at ease, giving the children an incredible experience and managing their staff. As an example of how fantastic they are: We registered my youngest son for Kids Inc last year as well. However, he had just turned 4 and had only ever had half days of school. On his first day at Kids Inc, he cried and cried and ended up napping for hours. Mary-Kay called me a few times during the day to give me updates on him. When I picked him up at the end of the day, she tried hard to convince him to come back the next day. While there was no hope, she left me with the impression that she absolutely cares about each camper.
Since last summer, my eldest son seems more self-confident. He will happily initiate conversation with other children. He will actively engage in new activities that he thinks look like fun. I believe that his experience at Kids Inc. Camp has helped him become more independent. As his parent, I can help to facilitate his growth through activities such as these and enjoy watching him grow.