By Tim Collins
With summer vacation time fast approaching, parents across Victoria are faced with the task of finding a way to occupy their children during the months when school is not in session.
Gone is the age when parents left children to make their own fun during those lazy summer days. Today’s parents are increasingly opting for one or more of the variety of summer camps available in the city.
Sandra Gibbons, with the University of Victoria’s school of exercise science, physical and health education, reflects on the challenges facing today’s parents.
“Things have changed over the years and leaving children to their own devices is not really an option. The economic realities of today dictate both parents having to work more often than not. Camps provide an excellent alternative for those parents,” said Gibbons, adding it’s important to involve the children in choosing the camps that are right for them.
“There are all kinds of camps out there, from computer camps to camps that emphasize physical activities and specific sports. Parents and children should pick the ones best suited for their interests, ages and abilities.”
Even so, parents are faced with a myriad of questions when choosing the right camp including location, type of camp, co-ed versus gender-specific, outdoor or indoor, and the values and philosophy upon which the camp is based.
In order to address some of these questions, the City of Victoria offers a wide variety of summer activities and camps that range from basic day camps for first time pre-school campers to zombie apocalypse or Hunger Games-type adventure camps for teens.
“We have a lot to choose from but the idea is to have some camp or activity for every interest and age group,” said Ryan Lance, child and youth recreation programmer with the city’s recreation department.
“Most of our camps are very affordable, although there are a few that get more expensive, like horseback riding and sailing, but that’s because of our costs for the programs.”
Lance added the city’s goal is to make a camp experience accessible to any family, pointing to the Campership Program, that offers financial aid to those families who cannot afford camps.
The applications for funding under that program are available at Crystal Pool at 2275 Quadra St.
“Our purpose is to serve the public and we believe that every kid should have the chance to go to camp,” said Lance.
A full list of camps offered by the city is available at victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/recreation.