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Secular summer camps

Discussion in 'Family Life' started by chansen, May 17, 2018.

  1. chansen

    chansen Pleasant Enough

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    Our daughter has really, just in the past few months, raised her confidence level. Summer camp really wasn't an option for her until this summer, and only recently was that apparent.

    So I started looking for summer camps. My wife went to Muskoka Woods as a child. Pricy, but it would be a life experience, and essentially it would be her late grandparents sending her. My wife warned me, and I confirmed it's still a Christian camp. There are discussions every night, it appears.

    I'm not worried about Claire converting. I'm worried about what she would say if anyone there tried. She is getting pretty quick with words, and the filter hasn't caught up yet.

    As I continued looking, most of them are Christian camps. What the hell is it with summer camps and Christianity?

    Anyone know of some secular options? Or should we not discount the (at least nominally) Christian camp options? What if she deconverts a camper?
     
    Inannawhimsey likes this.
  2. Jae

    Jae 복음주의 천주교

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    As teens, my siblings and I worked for at least summer each here...

    Kids Overnight Summer Camp Muskoka, Ontario

    Great camp. They used to focus exclusively on sports, but they have added a few arts-related programs in recent years.
     
  3. crazyheart

    crazyheart tomorrow,tomorrow

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    United Church Camps host all kinds of kids. They all love it. I only know of one

    who wouldn't go back because he did not want to ever clean toilets again. It will be a great experience for Claire.
     
  4. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    You might want to drop @Pinga a convo and see if Five Oaks has any suitable options. It's UCCan and I believe they've been moving to more of a multifaith model (e.g. they have a couple Muslim groups listed on their partner page) so I imagine an atheist daughter of an atheist could handle it :D.
     
  5. BetteTheRed

    BetteTheRed Resident Heretic

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    My kids grew up with a largely atheist mother, although they had some familiarity with "god talk". They loved Camp Simpresca, on the shores of Georgian Bay. Son went all the way up to counsellor-in-training year. Daughter quit over an interesting incident (there was discussion of mimicking "pole dancing") in her early teens...
     
  6. ChemGal

    ChemGal One with keen eye

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    Huh, I didn't think this would be an issue, I just figured most would be secular. I wasn't a camping type of kid.
    I guess even the public schools would go to Christian camps though for 'outdoor schools' (4 days) and band camps. Not all of them were, I only recall 1 being actually obviously Christian, including saying grace before meals, although some may have also been and just didn't pick up on all of it. I do recall signing Johnny Apple Seed at one of the ones that didn't stand out as Christian - but music class was no better for omitting obvious Christian influences. (From a Distance being an obvious one).
     
  7. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    My eldest son is the head counsellor at Silver Lake Mennonite camp near Sauble Beach. My youngest son will be a LIT there this summer. If you want to talk to my older son directly I can connect the two of you privately.

    Silver Lake is Mennonite and faith certainly informs many of the activities - one would need to be okay with that. There will be some (progressive/liberal) God talk, but absolutely no pressure to believe that oneself. Atheists would be welcome to the best of my knowledge. Grace will be sung before meals. Some camp songs will have a faith element. There will be intermittent "faith based" things at campfire. Since my son is leading many of these "devotions", and is more liberal/progressive than even me, the themes will be pretty open. These campfire talks tend to focus on core values such as friendship, honesty, inclusion, social justice (Mennonites after all!) - to the best of my knowledge. The camp would be LGBTQ+ friendly and includes kids with disabilities. Some kids will come from religious homes but you will find that at even secular camps. A young man with Down syndrome had a paid staff position last year (meaning it is not token, and they take inclusion seriously).
     
  8. Jae

    Jae 복음주의 천주교

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    The worst camp I ever went to was a fun camp called Adventureland. Full of bugs, and the food was absolutely disgusting. Avoid that place like the plague.
     
  9. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    My kids went to Taylor Staten camps. Also pricey. Brother and sister camps. So single sex camp but activities together. When my son was young he had to once a week have lunch with his little sister. Likely that was a chore

    What I loved about this camp, besides developing self confidence, was the big focus on canoeing. Eventually my kids would both go on 30-40 day canoe trips. Both did a 55 day trip in final year

    Both went on to become counsellors

    It’s on canoe lake. Pricey. Does have financial support

    Loved the camp. Run by same family. Now fourth generation I think


    And secular. Not affiliated with religion
     
  10. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    Current director Taylor Staten. If you want to talk to my son about it happy to connect you
     
  11. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    I am familiar with the TaylorStaten camps. For those who don't know, these camps often have campers with last names like Eaton or Trudeau.

    I am asking this question genuinely, so please don't read any snark into the question - did you or your kids find the camps snobbish?
     
  12. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    Actually no. They have a huge bursary fund. Fund raise for it annually in September. So no

    About 20 years ago one of the campers turned camp director was from Mexico. So a lot of Spanish speaking kids

    My daughter went with a best friend from Whitehorse whose parents were ex ontariens. So kids from all over. When the address book arrived in the fall I was always surprised

    But yes of course. Any Ontario summer camp or ski school is catering to the middle class
     
  13. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    Justin our boy dauphin did go there though. One of the negatives
     
  14. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    I went to & worked at Camp Tawingo at Hunstville, and later both our kids went there too. It's non-religious, but there are lots of solid basic values held highly. Daily thought for the day; weekly chapel service on Sunday (we always had wear our 'whites') but the service was not in-your-face Christian as I recall. Lots of kids from Quebec when I was there. In more recent years there is more international connection I think. Not inexpensive, but well resourced and well run. Strong outdoor skill building, canoe trips, nature learning focus; respectful First Nations aspects. And most of all lots of fun! It's now a well respected outdoor education centre with year-round facilities. It was founded by Jack Pearse, and now is run by his son Mike Pearse.
     
  15. ChemGal

    ChemGal One with keen eye

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    Sounds more to be non-denomination than non-religious?
    Otherwise I'm confused how a chapel service fits in.
     
  16. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    You have to put it in context of date & cultural 'norms' of the day ChemGal. It was quite routine for all of us way back then to go to church on Sunday. It was the late 60s & early 70s. The chapel was outdoors on a hillside, wooden benches in a grove of trees overlooking the lake, there was a cross made of tree trunks. As I recall the chapel services, the readings were not from the bible - they were from secular prose or poetry. We would sing (there was an amazing old pump organ in the chapel - that was memorable!). More of a thanks for creation, thanks for each other kind of thing. The services were developed led by campers. To me it did not feel 'religious' in the way that usual church did at home. Kids who were Roman Catholic would be driven to Huntsville to attend mass at the Catholic church - they didn't participate in the chapel service.
     
    ChemGal likes this.
  17. Tabitha

    Tabitha journeying

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    Out west we have secular camps Like Camp Chief Hector run by the Y. I went and worked at United Church Camps in Ont. but also at Bolton camp. |It was for the "Underpriveleged" from Toronto and is now closed.
     
  18. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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  19. Tabitha

    Tabitha journeying

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    Carolla likes this.
  20. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    There are some great secular day camps occurring at Five Oaks this summer.
    The GO project is another great program, but, i believe for a much older youth than Claire. The GO Project -- it isn't secular though
    There are other camps coming, such as Adullam camps which are run by other organizations. Don't know if any are secular, or how much God talk is present Adullam Camps | Make Your Summer Unforgettable!

    hmm, if i find out there are secular camps at five oaks, i can let you know
     

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