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Thread: Summer Camps

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    Default Summer Camps

    So finally dh will be switching to a day shift (after 8 years of midnights or afternoons) sometime hopefully in the next 6 months. Which means this will be the first time we have ever had to arrange summer camp (possible March break camp too if he switches soon enough).

    What are some good, affordable summer camps? Any weekly cost will be times three so adds up fast. I've thought of joining the Y with a family membership but even with a membership the camps seem to be $170 a week and the Spectrum ones are in the $111-$125 range, huge difference. What are your experiences? Which camps would you recommend or not?
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    I recommend Church Camps - usually only a week or two, but they are usually less expensive than other camps (with exception of City run Spectrum camps which I have reason to not like). We've done several over the years.
    We have done a few sleep-away camps - look into these if your kids are interested. I find the prices of some to be very reasonable.

    What I have done in the past was one week at a camp, one week at the free drop-in playgroup (in Spectrum - keeping in mind days are shorter, no Friday's, some camps keep to the hours in the Spectrum for age groups - ours does not) with the Friday at Grandma's.

    Some of the (not as economical, but fun) camps my kids went to include - East Park Fun Camp, East Park Golf Camp, Western Day Camps, Fanshawe Pioneer Day Camp, Science Day Camp, Forest Cliff Sleep-Away Camp, and several others I can't even remember....

    One year (long ago) when our HDP had a baby, I hired a friend to watch my kids in my home, she brought her kids with her and I provided all food for everyone and paid her (not min wage, in fact I can't remember exactly but it was about what I would have paid the HDP for three kids full time) - she took a leave of absence, and it worked out in her favor as well because she didn't have to find or pay for care for her children.

    This thread makes me so happy that I only have 1 kid to worry about for this summer - the other two have jobs!
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    I knew a family this summer that booked their kids into church camps and they were crazy cheap (6 weeks for $100). The kids did a ton of fun stuff too. The only time they had to send a bit of extra money was if they did a day trip to East Park, etc.
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    Hmm, we are not religious at all, dh is atheist and I'm more of the pagan mind set so I'm not sure about a church camp. Do they teach their religion or anything at these camps or is it just a day camp that happens to be run through a church?
    Mommy to three adorable kids!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aidensmom View Post
    Hmm, we are not religious at all, dh is atheist and I'm more of the pagan mind set so I'm not sure about a church camp. Do they teach their religion or anything at these camps or is it just a day camp that happens to be run through a church?
    I'm an atheist. Yes, they talk about religion at the church camps, but usually it's only a small portion of the program - they say Grace before snacks/lunch as well. I personally, thought it was a good idea to expose my kids to religion in a unstructured way like these camps, this way they have been exposed and they can make their own decisions later in life as to what they choose to believe. My oldest son declares himself an atheist as well, but he still enjoyed these camps and he appreciated the exposure to religion without pressure these camps provided him.... funny, because we were just talking about this the other night.

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    I have sent my oldest to the Spectrum camps, and he liked them. Many of the more expensive camps have lots of specialty activities. The spectrum ones, may go swimming if they are near an outdoor pool, but often times have crafts, and sports time, etc. My son likes it because it is too scheduled, and has a relaxed feel.

    If they are under 8, then there are Storybook camps through Spectrum. I am not sure what the older group does, but my son LOVED going for 2 weeks to the 3-5 year old camp. Even though he is used to daycare during the school year, I was nervous about a full day camp, but he still asked when he will be going back

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    I haven't had a ton of experience with camps and the ones that DD1 has been in were expensive (Gibbons Park Montessori which she loved but was about $220 for the week). I also looked into camps at the university which looked good, but it's kind of confusing b/c they do half day camps and there's a lot of switching b/w activities. The price for the city camps through Spectrum are great, and she actually was in one at the community centre near us this summer b/c I wasn't very entertaining for a bit after the baby came. I found that it was a bit chaotic, but she listens well and knew several kids there so she seemed to be fine in it.

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    Has anyone ever sent their kid(s) to the Archeology Museum summer camp?
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidensmom View Post
    Has anyone ever sent their kid(s) to the Archeology Museum summer camp?
    I sent mine a few years back and they liked it. It was reasonably priced if I remember correctly.

    As anyone ever sent kids to the STEM camp?

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    My DD has gone for one week the last two years and really enjoyed it.

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    Hi

    Anyone who has done church camps can you send me some more info, I'm guessing you do not need to be part of a church. What churchs do this? Any in the downtown area? Thanks in advance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiJ View Post
    Hi

    Anyone who has done church camps can you send me some more info, I'm guessing you do not need to be part of a church. What churchs do this? Any in the downtown area? Thanks in advance.
    Nope - don't have to be a member - We have done camps at West London Alliance Church (if you have pre-teens the "Wired" sleep away camp was a favorite of my DS), New Hope Community Church, West Park Baptist Church - and maybe a couple of others I can't remember. All these churches (and tons of others) have websites for the summer camp program.

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    How do the churches run camps and barely charge anything? How are the staff trained and are background checks done?

    We've really liked Spectrum. The teens that work there are a bit daft at times, and I can see that it may not work with a special needs kid, but we've had really good experiences. They have fun, are busy all day, learn new games, and over 3 years now there is a really low staff turnover at the Byron and Storeybook Gardens camps. Low turnover is good.

    I love Museum London, but it's more$$. I also love Belle Pointe camp - they just moved out of Byron. Michaels Hall will also run Lego and Chess camps, I've seen the sign but they were full when I tried to enroll. Oh - and Elan Dance in Lambeth, another great camp we've done. Elan Dance owner runs London Lightning dancers, she does a great job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinUp View Post
    How do the churches run camps and barely charge anything? How are the staff trained and are background checks done?

    We've really liked Spectrum. The teens that work there are a bit daft at times, and I can see that it may not work with a special needs kid, but we've had really good experiences. They have fun, are busy all day, learn new games, and over 3 years now there is a really low staff turnover at the Byron and Storeybook Gardens camps. Low turnover is good.

    I love Museum London, but it's more$$. I also love Belle Pointe camp - they just moved out of Byron. Michaels Hall will also run Lego and Chess camps, I've seen the sign but they were full when I tried to enroll. Oh - and Elan Dance in Lambeth, another great camp we've done. Elan Dance owner runs London Lightning dancers, she does a great job.
    Our church accepts volunteers but I'd imagine that they would undergo similar training to Sunday school staff. I teach Sunday school currently and we all go through vulnerable person police checks and yearly training to spot abuse, a review of our Sunday School's rules and how to use an epipen and a little bit of info on other emergencies, we also go over fire evacuation training, etc. North Park generally charges $20/week for the young kids and more for the older kids. They are run on 2 different weeks and the older kids have been known to go to Canada's Wonderland or something during the week. One is called Day Camp and the other is Sun Scream. Sun Scream was $150 last year.

    My parents' church has free VBS and they have vulnerable police checks done through the RCMP but other than that I'm guessing they have a few staff meetings.

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    Our kids go here and absolutely LOVE it!!!
    WLA Camps
    Catherine
    Mama of 2 wonderful Children,
    July 2006 & January 2008

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