After this endless winter it feels like summer is going to be too short – unless you’re trying to keep your kids busy because then it feels like it will last forever. The solution? Summer camp! We’ve rounded up our top picks of Barrie’s Summer Camps to make life a little easier, and to help ward off those dreaded words: “I’m bored”.
Now is the time to get your kids’ summer program planned and purchased. Even though there’s still snow on the ground, as soon as the weather even looks like it’s beginning to warm, spots in the most popular camps begin to fill up. They fill up fast too, and if you’re not careful it can leave you having to put your kids in a program that’s not their first choice.
The first question to consider is whether to choose a day camp, or an overnight camp. By blending the two you can give yourself some kid-free time – aka an extra holiday. A week, or two, or four without the kids might seem indulgent, but when you consider they’re learning new skills and making friends, the guilt subsides.
Overnight Barrie Summer Camps
The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is located on Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay. Camp Kitchikewana offers one, two and four-week programs. This includes a one-week Waterbug Club (ages 6-9), a two-week traditional camp (ages 7-14), a two-week sailing camp (ages 12-14), and a four-week leadership camps for older teens. What’s not to like about spending a getaway on Georgian Bay?
The YMCA also owns an incredible site on the east shore of Lake Couchiching, called Geneva Park. This camp offers adventure-based programs which vary by age. These camps help a child obtain the Duke of Edinburgh’s Adventurous Journey award.
On the eastern shore sits Camp Couchiching, which has been active for more than 70 years. Although it started as a summer camp, it does offer year-round programs. It is the founder of the Pathways Program, which is designed to focus on helping special needs children gain confidence and independence. Camp Couchiching offers one-week short stays for new campers, but its most popular is its two-week program which splits campers into age-based groups. There’s also a one-month camp, which bridges two traditional two-weeks camps, where kids can earn their Bronze Medallion or Cross.
Barrie Day Summer Camps
The Barrie area enjoys an array of day camp options to help reduce childhood boredom, with the YMCA, the City of Barrie and other organizations.
New this year is STEM Camp. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math camps have been offered in Ontario since 2013, but this year is the first in our area. The co-ed program runs weekly for kids ages 5 to 13. It’s a fun way to explore science and engineering in weekly themes which include Transformers, Super Heroes, Star Wars and Minecraft.
YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka day camps are offered at the Barrie YMCA and other locations, and include themed programs such as art, sports and a horse camps.
- Equestrian enthusiasts can join Horse Camp, a program that takes the kids to Lonesome Acres Stables to learn all the aspects of good horsemanship and stable management.
- For kids who love the outdoors, Adventure Camp focuses on keeping active outside. Campers learn archery, go hiking, canoeing and swimming each day in Lake Couchiching.
- New Discoveries takes the younger campers, ages 6 to 8, outdoors to discover nature at Springwater Park. Here they will play sports and games, hike, do a pond study and learn survival skills.
- Young Naturalists, ages 9 to 12, follow a similar trail that includes hikes, geocaching and biking. Both camps take the kids to a local beach for a swim.
The City of Barrie offers a variety of day camps for kids and youth of all abilities between the ages of 4 and 16. The city camps can help kids explore a sport and build their skills in basketball, volleyball, swimming, tennis or biking. Big Bang is a popular science option, or the animation program that blends technology and creativity. Barrie’s recreation department has spent years creating a menu of day program options, and the best way to explore is to grab a copy of the Spring/Summer Rec Guide.
Bulldog Fitness has perfected the art of the summer camp, with themes such as the Summer Kick-off Party, the Superhero Academy, Mission Impossible and Harry Potter. Bulldog has plotted out the entire nine-week summer and the weekly themes are available online. Camps can include treasure hunts, potions class with Professor Snape and field tips, topped up with Pizza Days on Fridays.
Camps for Kids Make Summer Fun
With all of those options, maybe summer really is for the kids. Exploring what your child is interested in and booking a spot now is recommended, as these all fill up very quickly. If you wait they might not get their first choice, and no one wants to spend their mornings convincing kids to get up and go. Save yourself the pain and begin summer dreaming, or summer planning now.