Summer camp abroad can be a great way to break up a long hot summer in Cayman, and also expose your children to new activities, new friends and new experiences. Almost all children start with a two-week camp and they are kept so busy that they will have little time to miss you or think of home. They will then invariably be desperate to do it again the following summer! Here we bring you tips to help make sure both you and your child are ready for the full overseas camp experience.
It pushes your child out of their comfort zone and shows them that there are different activities and different experiences out there. They may find a new hobby or passion, and above all they may just find that one thing that makes them very happy.
As well as making new friends and getting along with their cabin mates, the experience of camp teaches them about ethics, honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. Parents frequently report that after camp, their children are kinder, more helpful and willing to be more responsible.
Going to a new camp, in a different country, with new people his/her age, pushes your child into making new friends by encouraging effective communication with others and working as a team.
At camp children learn to make their own decisions within the safety of the camp environment. Campers can risk finding out what works and what doesn’t, while discovering new facets of themselves. The camp environment provides peer support that allows children to quickly overcome their need for constant parental dependency.
Sophie has lived in Cayman for most of her life, and goes to Millfield School in the UK. She is a competitive swimmer having recently attended CARIFTA in Jamaica with the National Swimming Team. She attended Glen Barnard Camp in Canada.
What was your camp experience like?
It was an exciting one! When I got there everyone was so kind and willing to help with anything possible. The camp I went to was Glen Bernard Camp in Canada and I’ve enjoyed it three years in a row.
What was your average day like?
Our councillors would wake us up for flag raising in the morning, we would sing the Canadian national anthem and then go to the dining hall for breakfast. After eating we would clean up our cabins and then have our first activity. We’d start with Skill Advancement Time and you would have two of those before lunch. After a rest hour we would have a choice of two Activity Times. Then it was time for dinner followed by another camp activity.
Would you recommend camp to a friend and if so why?
I would definitely recommend this camp to a friend – it’s a great experience and a lot of fun. I learnt how to be a life guard at GBC, and I took an exam in it, so now I am a junior life guard in Canada.
Glen Bernard Camp just north of Huntsville in Ontario, is an all-girls summer camp located on 700 acres of forest with a kilometre of safe shoreline along Lake Bernard. Established in 1922, it has an established reputation of helping girls develop self-confidence and independence. Their slogan is “Live Lightly”. They demonstrate a significant commitment to environmental sustainability and they rely on solar energy, composting toilets and energy efficient lighting. See www.gbcamp.com.
Hamish Carmichael (10), a Caymanian, explains his experience of going to Camp Wanapitei in the summer of 2017.
This was your first time away from Mum and Dad for any period of time – did you ever get home sick? Yes, once, when we were out on a two-night canoe trip away from Camp, but one of the other campers reassured me and said that it happens to us all.
When you were in the main campsite, what activities did you do?
The whole camp woke up to a bell each morning at 7.30am and if it was our turn, we had to raise the camp flag. Then it was off to the dining hall for breakfast – a buffet – it had everything and was the best meal of the day! After breakfast we would split into groups and the activities started… we had an arts cabin, the post office had a big indoor play area, football area, and sailing. We did a lot of practise canoeing for our trip and we played lots of outdoor games like tag.
What was your best memory of the 3 day, 2 night canoe trip?
Best fun was the paddling to the camp grounds. We chatted and paddled for the day. The rain storm was great: it was not the experience you get in Cayman – it was foggy, raining and we paddled through it. We got to the camp, set up the tents during a break in the rain, and when the rain came back as we slept, we were dry and warm in our tents.
Camp Wanapitei on Lake Temagami in Ontario, Canada
Located on 42 acres of forest on the north shore of Lake Temagami, Camp Wanapitei has a two-kilometre stretch of white, sandy beach. Campers can have their first taste of river canoeing on the Red Squirrel River which flows through the middle of camp. The picturesque Red Squirrel Falls are only a short hike away and the camp is an easy departure point for many beautiful hiking trails. A Wanapitei experience promotes self-reliance and personal growth, through challenging canoe trips in Canada’s north. See www.wanapitei.net.
Cassian (11) a Cayman Prep School student explains his experience of going away to Camp Echo, in upstate New York last summer. He has lived in Cayman for over ten years and has two siblings.
What was your camp experience like?
I liked camp because there were a variety of sports and some that I hadn’t played before. Lacrosse was one sport that I tried for the first time, as well as baseball – my favourite position to play was fielder. My bunkmates were funny and my counsellor, Evan, was really cool and made up a lot of games for us to play.
What were your concerns about going to camp and how did you overcome any fears?
My concerns about going to camp were whether I would make friends and if I got hurt my mum and dad wouldn’t be there. There are also certain medications I can’t take and so I wanted to make sure that the counsellors knew that. When I got to camp I really enjoyed it.
What was your average day like at camp?
When I woke up in the morning, we had breakfast and then cleaned the cabin. Activities started around 9.30am and we had a schedule to follow of different sports and activities for each day. Woodwork was one of the activities I enjoyed the most, where I made a clock and a table hockey game. After lunch, we had an hour of rest time. After that we would take part in more activities until 5pm, when we had ‘snack and go’ before twilight. We then got to choose our last sports activity for the day. We ate dinner around 6pm and then gathered with the girls for evening activities which included concerts, sailing on the pirate ship on the lake, watching movies, playing music and toasting s’mores.
Camp Echo is on a private lake and has 200+ acres of fields and wooded trails. The beautiful natural surroundings provide the perfect setting for trotting horses, rowing boats, hitting balls, riding bikes, discovering trails, painting canvases, roasting marshmallows, and making new best friends. All this just a convenient and comfortable distance from the greater New York City.
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