Camp Themes are a fun way to “spice-up” camp and add a unique character to each session. The themes act as a backdrop of creativity. Capture the Flag (for example) is a great game in itself but with a Space, Pirate or Superhero spin, the game becomes awesome.
The session themes are seamlessly woven throughout all the program areas from ping pong to the sailing. All campers get the opportunity to participate, watch and enjoy the special activities. There are day-to-day themed events within each program. During the last few days of each two week session, we put more emphasis on the themes and include more special events.
Lots of fun to be had with these exciting camp themes this year.
JUL A Caribbean Vacation
JUL B Jungle Jamboree
AUG A Team Spirit
AUG B Rock and Blues
You are invited to Camp Otterdale for the annual Open House on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Come and tour the site, meet the Directors and some of the counselling staff, see the waterfront, the Dining Hall, a camper cabin and try out our “sign-up board”. Looking forward to meeting you!
A Sense of Belonging
I’m writing on calm seas while I cross from Victoria to Vancouver on the ferry. I have enjoyed a terrific day of travel with my sister (Pammer) as we ventured from snowy Whistler to beautiful Victoria where Pam will visit to welcome a new baby to our family. It’s a wee boy and his name is Joseph…Congratulations Starr, Dani and big brother James!
The purpose of my western trek was to have a pre-Christmas visit with my two siblings and some extended family members. Our children will not be joining us at home in Perth this Christmas. Our eldest son (Elwood) will be in Costa Rica, and our youngest son will be in the Vancouver area. Our “western stray” (Ludwig) is experiencing the challenging slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. I have been lucky enough to enjoy a few fantastic days of skiing with him (in lieu of Christmas) and with his lifelong friend Duke.
An unexpected coffee rendezvous was organized a few days ago with several alumni staff from my early days in camping. We were all staff at Camp Kawabi. The exact number of years gone by when we worked together is not really that important; let’s say we worked together late in the 70′s (that’s 1970’s). There we were: Murf, Stew, Duff and myself at a trendy (or groovy) coffee shop in West Vancouver getting caught up. In three-fifths of an instant we were talking and sharing stories as if no time had elapsed since our days on the swim docks, in sail boats, in the Lodge or in the Craft Shop. We must have spent a couple of hours together and I can’t remember a lull or pause in any of the conversations. It seemed we were almost competing to find air time to get in one more bit of news or to recollect one more past camp event.
It has occurred to me many times when I have reconnected with my camping peers how exceptional the sense of belonging is within this group. I’m not exactly sure just how big “our” group is. There are no membership requirements to help define eras or people and I think it’s perfect that way; simply a group of people who are friends, mentors, confidants, colleagues and great mates! They are a group of people who spent a relatively short period of time together doing valuable work with children and young teens at camp. We were only teens ourselves: growing and learning every day starting with the wake-up trio of bells.
At Otterdale and other camps in our Camping Association, there is no shortage of activities, events and experiences that benefit campers. Kids learn to swim, sail, canoe, kayak and participate in dramatic arts, music and much more. We ask kids to unplug at camp and spend time in the outdoors to experience nature through play and deliberate programs. They learn to cooperate by living in a rustic environment with 8-10 kids in a cabin of their own age. They run and play (and trip and fall) in an environment that promotes good health, fitness and personal growth.
A single session at camp can be a “stand-alone” positive experience for kids and families. My hope is that all kids get a chance to enjoy recurring camp experiences over a period of many years to benefit from this stable and predictable annual event during the important years of change and growth. The Otterdale staff work hard to ensure that every camper is immediately included and that they feel accepted into our camp community. The added benefit of returning to camp each year is a free membership into a lifelong community and instills an important sense of belonging.
There are so many benefits to summer camp for your children, here are a few…
1. It’s an opportunity to disconnect. Our culture is loud. I don’t mean loud as in volume level. Our culture is loud in that there is all sorts of ambient noise going on all the time. Between school, sports, homework, cell phones, video games, Facebook – to name a few – kids today can be spread so thin they are ready to break.
When they come to camp, they turn in their cell phones, unplug their music, and begin to breathe deeply again. It is very fun to see kids surprised by a sunset, or in awe at the sound of crickets at night. Within the first two days at camp, you can begin to see the walls of protection come crashing down.
2. It’s a great place to be known. Most wouldn’t admit it, but we all want to be known. When you sleep in the same cabin with 7 or 8 other campers over a period of one week or more, great friendships can be formed. These friendships can become such a support throughout the year as life unfolds.
The relationship with the counselor should be the best one. Often campers opening up to their counselors and share their souls with them. When they do, there is such a sense of relief. They can be known, and loved for who they are.
3. It’s a new adventure to be experienced. Have you ever: sailed a boat, water skied, rock climbed, gone on a survival trip, worked on a farm? Many would say no. These experiences – done safely – are priceless. And when a child conquers a new adventure at camp, they quickly store it away as a reminder of their courage.
4. It’s a great way to gain confidence. Even high school students can be scared at the idea of going to camp, even they can become homesick. However, when they get through it and realize they did it, it is great to see what it does to their confidence. When a child does an activity they never thought they would do, they walk taller, as if they’ve found their new armor.
Being away from their parents, making new friends, trying new activities – these all help in the child gain confidence as they grow up.
The session themes for the summer of 2012 are:
JUL A The Wild West
JUL B Rock’n’Roll
AUG A Under the Sea
AUG B Canadian Explorers
Have you signed up for your session yet? Spots are starting to fill up.
Camp Otterdale’s Open House is on Sunday, May 20th from 1 to 5 pm.
Come for a tour of the site, meet some of our staff and try a few activities!
It is now easier than ever to register your summer camper with our new online registration service.
Be sure to register early to assure you get the session you want.
For the 2012 camp season, Camp Otterdale will be using Camp Brain, an online registration service.
Sorry there has been a delay service it should be available on Dec 23, 2011.
If you would like to get your registration in before December 23, contact us to “pencil in” a spot, we are happy to do so by email or phone.
The Fall 2011 Issue of Camp Otterdale’s newsletter is also online, for those that did not subscribe to it.
If you don’t want to miss another issue, please subscribe to get the newsletters by email.
What a summer we have had !
Enthusiastic staff, eager campers, delicious food and way too much FUN at all our activities!
“Life-long friends and new memories!”
Camp Otterdale hopes to see you back in 2012!