Summer Camps in the Tri-Cities


Summer usually arrives with great excitement or a collective groan, depending on which side of the breakfast table you’re perched. For kids, it’s the endless lazy days of school-free living, and for parents it’s also the endless days of school-free living.

While the following isn’t an exhaustive list of what’s available to fill the hours, we hope that we have rounded up a few new ideas for you and yours this summer. Check the links for registration details and age limits.

Arts and Crafts: Creative Outlets for Tiny Minds

In addition to the usual offerings from our local arts centres, have you thought about checking what Koko’s on St. John’s Street in Port Moody is offering this summer? Your kid can get involved in Messy Science, Lego Star Wars, Claymation or even become a Harry Potter wizard. There are full week/full day options as well as half-day camps. Koko’s is also offering that rarest-of-rare treats for parents – full- or half-day drop-ins, though these will probably book up fast. Check out the website for the full schedule  and find out about registration.

Other options:

 

Back To School: Academic Retreats for Active Minds

School District 43 has a complete Summer Learning package available to keep young minds sharp. In addition to the usual subjects, treat your junior learner to fine arts, extra mathematics, or French immersion. The camps run 8:45 to 11:45am Monday to Friday from July 8 to 25, and are available as elementary and middle school programs.

Another option is the half-day camps offered at Douglas College’s David Lam campus in Coquitlam . Your kid can take Acting for Camera in the morning and then put it all into practice during Film Camp in the afternoon. There are computers, programming and sports camps to mix the skills so that your child will continue to grow and develop during the summer. Combine a morning camp with an afternoon camp and throw in the before- and after-camp supervision, and your little camper will have a fully supervised day. Hot lunch program available too! Doesn’t this make a parent’s job easier in the summer vacation?

Venturing further afield? Take a peek at SFU’s amazing variety of full-day camps up on the mountain.  Film Camp is just one of the popular options. Campers also have the option to use the impressive mountain-top facilities with swim, soccer and assorted sports camps. Although you may not want to burn rubber up and down the highway each day, once aloft there are plenty of useful spots to hang out and finish some work assignments yourself. Or just have a coffee.

 

Keep It Close to Home

Our local rec centres do an excellent job of keeping kids safe and on the go during the long summer vacation. Check out the city websites for full- and half-day camps.

 

Outdoors – Get Active

There are a number of options for keeping kids totally active this summer. Pedalheads, the bike people, have camps for all levels and in two Coquitlam locations. They are a sure-fire way to get your little person mobile on their own two wheels. You can burn the trainer wheels on the BBQ in celebration.

Rocky Point Sailing Association

Rocky Point Sailing Association

If water’s your little person’s thing, why not try a summer afloat? Rocky Point Sailing Association  has been steering my wee guy through the briny chop for many summers and he’s now graduated into their two-week Summer Fun camps. Campers learn the finer points of sailing the smaller boats, graduating from accompanying the instructors in larger craft to crewing and managing sails themselves. Safety is number one; all sailors wear PFDs and instructors are vigilant from the motorised rescue boats. Camp is a great lesson in independence, self-confidence and the futility of battling against nature. Let your little seadog learn to go with the flow this summer.

Another adventurous slice of life on the open waves comes with Rocky Point Kayak’s  week-long kayak and stand-up paddle board (mornings only; 10-14y) camps. All-day (9:00am to 4:00pm; 8-14y) paddle camps teach kayak safety and technique, with the added attraction of canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding if appropriate. Again safety is a high priority and the instructor/student ratio kept at a good level for maximum attention. Although we’ve not tried this oceanic option, whenever I’ve seen the camps on the go, there have been smiles all round in addition to random sogginess.

Also worth mentioning since we’re at Rocky Point Park – Rocky Point Ice Cream … makes pick up time a holiday in itself!

 

Even More Outdoors … Away from Home

Spending a week or so at residential camp is a true rite of passage for kids and parents alike. The Tri Cities has one magnificent residential camp, Sasamat Outdoor Centre , on its doorstep in Belcarra. Although there are day camper options, the Monday to Friday residential camps are a good way to test out that first break from home. Campers are kept safely occupied in all manner of outdoor activities including archery, climbing, kayak and canoe trips, and some hiking. Helpful camp leaders pay attention to signs of homesickness, often with helpful hints from personal experience way back when they themselves were newbies. Campfire evenings for the family mean that you can visit your little feral person in situ – it’s the parents that find it difficult saying goodbye!

Further afield, Camp Jubilee and Camp Elphinstone also give that home-away-from-home experience to Tri Cities youngsters. Transportation to Camp Jubilee is by 30-minute water taxi trip from Deep Cove up Indian Arm, whereas Camp Elhpinstone has a pick up at Port Moody Rec Centre for onward transportation to the Sunshine Coast.

Note: Sasamat also offers a day camp option at Belcarra where children can explore summer by the sea.

 

Honourable Mentions

Bytecamp 

This is a new offering in the area. Tech camps for kids, held locally at Centennial High School, will keep your junior digital fans busy with 3D animation, video game design, and more. Camps run 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday, throughout the whole summer.

Krystal Creek Riding in Pitt Meadows 

Worth a canter over the bridge for weekly riding camps? Krystal Creek offers morning and afternoon camps for aspiring riders. Registration forms and details are on their website.

French Summer Camp provided by the Société francophone de Maillardville at Maillardville  provides field trips, sports, arts and more for your French-speaking child. Either keep the French immersion vibe going out of school, or keep it natural in your first language all summer long. Space is limited and reserved for kids 6-12y with at least one year experience in the French immersion program, so book as soon as possible.

SoleGirls Camp, an anti-bullying and friendship camp that will help boost girl’s confidence, get mentorship, and meet new friends. Activities include scavenger hunts, games, and learning tools to deal with mean girls and negative self-talk. Camp runs from July 7-11, visit solegirls.org for more info.

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