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Why should you send your kid to summer camp?

It’s that time of year again! The trees are starting to bloom, the birds are chirping, and grass is getting greener — yes, it means school is almost out.

Have you given any thought about what your kids are going to do in July and August while you are at work? Sure, they can stay home and watch television, but why not sign them up for a summer camp instead!

It can be a bit traumatic, to send your young child to summer camp for the first time, but the overall benefits of this type of experience are immeasurable. Kids will spend a week (or a weekend) playing outdoors, building lifelong friendships, developing their creativity, and experimenting with their leadership skills. There is also something to be said about getting away from technology for a week and enjoying life without being glued to an electrically charged screen.

Jackie Carmichael, the managing director of programs at Muskoka Woods, started going to camp when she was nine years old — and she loved it so much she never truly left. It was, however, a rough start.

“My parents sent me and my brother to camp for a week and I absolutely hated it. I was homesick. I did not do well. I had fun during the day, but night time was really hard.”

“The next summer I loved it though! I started going longer. I went until I was 15 and then at 16 I did the leadership program called CEO.”

The Challenge Experience Opportunity (CEO) is a month-long intensive program offered at Muskoka Woods that focuses on leadership and personal development. It can even be applied to a grade 11 school credit!

For kids younger than 16, there are a number of fun and exciting summer camps being offered this year, and there is something for everyone. Muskoka Woods alone offers over 50 different types of activities from sports, crafts, photography, culinary, and video production.

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Photo provided by Muskoka Woods

It’s always going to be tough the first time you send your kid to camp, but after that first experience they are bound to come back home with lots of energy and a better understanding of who they are. The best part about summer camp, Carmichael says, is the confidence it gives kids at a young age. Being told they are good at a certain activity, being allowed to experiment and try new things — all of this is important for child development and generates positive attitudes.

“Our vision at Muskoka Woods is to inspire youth to shape their world. We really like to celebrate that and recognize kids who are doing wonderful things. At the same time, we would feel so much more excited and happy if they walk away saying they feel more like themselves. That’s a success for us.”

One of the great thing Muskoka Woods has to offer is something called CITYCAMP, a mobile day camp that spends a week in 15 different locations across Ontario throughout the months of July and August. Kids participating in CITYCAMP will have the opportunity to try archery, skateboarding, paintball, nature experiences, and even have a bit of portable waterslide fun! This way, kids who can’t make it all the way to the Lake Rosseau resort will have the opportunity to have the camp experience.

It can be nerve-wracking leaving your kids at their first overnight camp, but the benefits certainly outweigh the anxiety it may create. Sometimes, kids just need to be on their own to realize their full potential. Summer camp is the perfect outlet for this type of experimentation.

For more information about CITYCAMP, or any of the other summer camps offered by Muskoka Woods, visit their website. Prices range from $240-350 per week, depending on location.  Registration is now open!