Camp Day and Why It Matters

This morning, I added an extra 10 minutes to my commute to work  to show my support to Tim Horton’s and more specifically – to Tim Horton’s Camp Day.

Tim Horton’s is dedicated to making Canada a better place through their support of community events like the community clean ups, hockey and soccer programs and their willingness to support so many fundraising efforts by service groups in the communities where I have lived,  but most of all I love to support  Camp Day.

Growing up I was fortunate to belong to the local Girl Guide Group , so I experienced weekend camps through Girl Guides.  When I was in Grade 6 my parents sent me to a week-long camp run by a local Forestry Association.  It was scary, and fun, and I was lonely, and not lonely.  I remember rainy days, and days that we so hot we could smell the wood of the trees heating up around us. I remember ghost stories in the cabin, trying to guess the counselors real names, and yes, I remember being homesick.  I don’t remember being a changed person at the end of the week but looking back, I’m pretty sure I was a changed kid.  I was able to live a week away from home, alone.

It wasn’t until I went to work for the Girl Scouts at their camps that I really began to appreciate the positive effect that camp has on kids.   As a staff member I had the unique  opportunity to see the wide eyes at check in, to watch the kids as they form new bonds with cabin mates, reconnect with friends they made the year before, get over homesickness, learn new skills, and leave filled with stories and information to share with their parents. Stories like the one my daughter told me about this activity (that’s her swinging about 10 ft in the air!)

Sometimes the activities at camp are extreme!

Sometimes the activities at camp are extreme

As camp staff we learn  to watch for the kids that need just a bit more help.  Some kids are afraid when they come to camp.  They are afraid of the dark, of bugs, of being without their family, and staff recognize this and take the time to help the camper through these fears.  I’m not saying that a kid who is afraid of spiders will come away from camp no longer afraid, but what they will come away from camp with is the understanding of the spider’s role in the world (spiders eat all those other nasty bugs you know).

At the end of the camp experience I would get to watch those same wide eyed campers proudly show their parents around camp; pointing out significant areas from their week – places like the magic path, the tree trunk where they watched a squirrel eat, the field where they stargazed or slept under the stars, or the dock where they watched a fish swim.

These are the moments that I remember best from working at camp and define to me why kids need camp. These simple moments and accomplishments that the campers share with their friends and families.   These are the moments and the reasons why I’ll buy many cups of coffee during camp day. Every kid deserves a chance to see a fish swim by with their very own eyes.

My daughter and I getting ready for the zipline at a mother daughter camp.

My daughter and I getting ready for the zipline at a mother daughter camp.



Comments (14)

  • This is a beautiful post, and I agree camp is a wonderful experience and should be enjoyed by all.

  • Thanks!
    As I was waiting in line and watching the videos of camp playing I kind of wished I could have skipped work and gone to camp instead! It’s nice to know that buying coffee and donating the change is going to help someone get to camp!

  • So true Alpine, so true. Camp is great for kids and for counsellors, a learning curve, a lesson in self awareness all hound up in fun.

  • 🙂 That reminds me of one more awesome things about camp – Camp Names that last you a lifetime.

  • I know your name is Heather, I do, I really do but I can’t help but think of you as Alpine, particularly when thinking of you in a camp setting

  • This is a great post and remembering camp is making me smile! I hope my daughters get these opportunities.

  • I think we all need to find a week at Camp and have them host an international week – we can all bring the girls and relive camp days!

  • Excellent post! I too made sure to visit Timmie’s today, buy my coffee and make a donation. Camp did wonders for me, and I created so many amazing memories over 6 years as a camper and counselor at summer camp. Sleeping out on the field under the stars is actually one of my favourite memories. So many more stars to see than in the city!

  • Thanks Deborah, camp memories really are the best aren’t they? And the stars at camp! The STARS!! Sleeping in the field was such a highlight for so many of the campers I got work with.

  • lol – I know! Sometimes I find myself forgetting real names when I’m talking to people. I love that I have a whole new group of kids (and parents) calling me Alpine.

  • Great post and so true! I went to camp as a child and loved it. And my son, fortunately, is going to experience it for the first time this summer. I hope he loves it as much as we did!

  • Love the post Heather! I can relate as well, especially to the comment of smelling the wood from the trees heating up in the sun. To this day I think it is the reason I love to get back into the forest every chance I get. I wasn’t fortunate enough to go for a week long my trips were always day camp trips leaving very early morning and back by supper. My niece attended a Tim Horton’s camp in AB and still remembers it as if it was yesterday. I believe it’s a very important part of a child’s life if it’s able to be done. If not in this way, take your child camping as a family or parent and child whatever the circumstance, teach them what you know about nature and maybe learn from them things you didn’t know but most of all have fun with it.

  • Thanks! I’m sure that your son will love camp as much as you did. He must be getting so excited.

  • I agree Matthew, any camp experience is great – whether it is a week long camp, a Guide/Scout/Cadet/4H/School weekend camp, or camping (or day tripping) with the family, the opportunity to get out and see nature up close is amazing.

    The Tim Horton’s camp in Alberta is just down the road from the hotel that I spent a bit of time working in. It is an amazing location, I hope that all the Tim’s camp as well placed as this one (right at the base of a mountain!).

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