Children enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn wagon around the 72 acre WETRA farm. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Mills.
Fun-Filled Summer Day Camps For Kids
Summertime is just around the corner, and with it comes time off for your kids (while you are hard at work at the office).
So what can you do to help keep them busy, entertained, inspired and having fun? There are a number of day camps in Windsor Essex that do just that, and a wide variety of types of camps to choose from.
Biz X did some homework to give you a little background information on what’s available for your children over the next few months from area businesses and non profit organizations. Check out our selection now . . .
Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex
If you’re looking for a unique adventure for your kids this summer, the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex offers a diverse selection of day camps to suit any interest. The complex is situated at 2121 Laurier Parkway in LaSalle (and on the web: LaSalle.ca).
There are many different experiences offered, from sports, science, art and dance camps, to themed ones like superhero, Disney, LEGO and Harry Potter.
“Our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Day Camp gives parents and children ages four to 13 years the ability to plot their own summer adventure by choosing between specialty camps, science, sports or creative themes,” states Patti Funaro, Recreation Manager for the Town of LaSalle.
Scheduled activities run between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and before and after care is available beginning at 7:30 a.m. and up until 5:30 p.m. at no extra cost.
“The Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex is situated on 189 acres and features an indoor pool with waterslide, two NHL-sized ice rinks, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, accessible playground, outdoor splash pad, skateboard park, walking trails and more,” describes Funaro. “Campers are able to use these amenities daily!”
All their day camp counsellors are certified in High Five training, First Aid/CPR, and Safeguard, adds Funaro, and they are each specifically chosen for their leadership abilities and love of working with children.
“Parents are always commenting that their child loves to come to camp every day,” says Funaro. “Knowing their kids are able to choose the activities of interest to them helps parents feel better about leaving them while they are at work.”
Windsor–Essex Therapeutic Riding Association
The Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association offers integrated day camps throughout the summer for kids of all ages and abilities.
“Equine (horse) therapy offers both physical and psychological benefits,” explains WETRA Executive Director Rebecca Mills. “Our clients see physical improvements in their balance, core strength, and flexibility. Psychologically, bonding with a horse helps lower anxiety, increase self-esteem and improve social interaction.”
WETRA is a non-profit organization that offers a great opportunity for all kids to learn how to ride and care for a horse in a safe, fun and engaging environment.
“Campers learn a wide range of skills from grooming, bathing and riding their assigned horse to preparing horse feed and even cooking in our kitchen,” states Mills.
Children are split into age groups to ensure appropriate peer and lesson experiences for all. They also participate in horse-related crafts, activities and games.
“There is truly something for every child to enjoy,” says Mills. “And all of our staff (members) are certified and plans are already taking place to provide the most exciting camp experience for the kids.”
WETRA (WETRA.ca) is located at 3323 North Malden Road, RR#2 in Essex. They also provide equine-assisted therapies to children and adults with various physical and mental disabilities.
“These therapies include, but are not limited to: therapeutic riding, therapeutic carriage driving and, because sitting astride and riding a horse is not for everyone, an un-mounted life skills program on the farm is also available,” describes Mills.
WETRA Summer Camp runs weekly (full weeks only) starting July 9 for seven consecutive weeks. Children must be between the ages of 5 and 14. Drop-off times for all camp days is 9 a.m. and pickup is 3 p.m.
“Kids often fall asleep on the way home and then pop out of bed to come back the next day,” comments Mills. “Parents tell us that the time they hear all about camp is on the drive out to the farm while their children are chatting about their favourite horse, the potbellied pig named ‘Merv’ or how much fun they had on a hay ride. We are sure to keep kids busy all day — and they are tired when they go home!”
Parents love the fact that WETRA is an all-weather facility with tons of indoor spaces that are heated and cooled so their children can stay actively engaged at the farm regardless of the weather, adds Mills.
At WETRA, Mills indicates they strive to keep the camp cost to the average horse camp in the area and people should know that during the summer, all funds received go directly back into their therapeutic riding program for people with special needs.
“So while your children are happy at camp, you are giving back to your community as well,” Mills emphasizes.
University of Windsor Lancer Summer Camps
The Lancer Summer Camps give kids an opportunity to participate in general interest and varsity sports while working with professional athletes and coaches in the community.
“We recommend our Lancer Summer Camp programs to parents because we feel that we have something to offer everyone between the ages of four to 17 in a welcoming and safe environment,” believes Olivia Binder, Campus Recreation Aquatics and Summer Camps Coordinator for the University of Windsor’s Athletic and Recreation Department.
The Lancer Summer Camps (UWindsor.ca/lancerrecreation) are facilitated by the University of Windsor and held at the St. Denis Centre, 2555 College Avenue in Windsor.
The general interest camps include: junior/multi-sport, little Lancers, swimming, dance, “Girls in Motion,” “Leaders in Training,” robotics, engineering, science discovery and biology.
The varsity sports camps include: baseball/fast-pitch, basketball, football, hockey, soccer (including bubble soccer), volleyball and track and field.
The Lancer Summer Camp program offers week-long camps from July 2 until August 24. A majority of their summer camps run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., but campers can be dropped off as early as 8 a.m. and picked up as late as 5 p.m. for no additional cost.
“Our dedicated summer camp staff strive to ensure all participants get the opportunity to further develop their skills, foster a better understanding of sportsmanship and leadership, while having fun,” comments Binder.
Harvest Bible Chapel Windsor
Harvest Bible Chapel Windsor is a Christian Church that seeks to get children more involved in learning the “truths of God’s word.”
“Our talented camp staff and volunteers create welcoming and engaging camp experiences that allow kids to discover more about the world around them while building meaningful friendships with their peers,” describes Jennifer Karb, Children’s Director of Events at Harvest Windsor. “Our commitment to excellence means that we emphasize the importance of honouring God through our worship, teaching, electives and relationships.”
Harvest Windsor (HarvestWindsor.ca) is located in South Windsor at 2001 Spring Garden Road and has been open in the community for 17 years.
They offer a Sunday morning kids’ program during their regular service times for infants and kids up to Grade 5, a mid-week kids club program that runs from September to April and two weeks of summer day-camps for kids from JK to Grade 5.
“We also offer a weekly youth program on Tuesday nights for kids in grades six to eight and Friday nights for kids in grades nine to 12, along with one week of summer day camp for kids in grades six to nine,” explains Karb.
Children registered for a week of summer camp can make use of their early drop-off and late pick-up options during camp week.
“This allows parents to drop children off in supervised care up to one hour prior to camp at 8 a.m. and pick them up two hours after camp up to 5 p.m.,” says Karb, adding parents should make sure to register early as registration is limited.
“As a church, we seek to pour God’s love into the lives of children,” declares Karb.
Mad Science of Windsor & Chatham-Kent
If you’re wanting a day camp with engaging educational entertainment for your kids, Mad Science of Windsor & Chatham-Kent has just what you’re looking for.
“Our programs are presented in an entertaining fashion because the best way to learn is by having fun, and there’s never a shortage of that with Mad Science,” asserts Steven Spagnuolo, Assistant Manager at Mad Science. “We have a variety of different programming options, including science, chess, engineering classes working with real LEGO pieces, and our brand new Crayola-based art program.”
Spagnuolo recommends Mad Science for parents, not only because they offer full-day programs with early drop-off and late pick-up included, but because there’s something new and exciting to learn each and every day.
“Each week of Summer Camp will revolve around a different theme, with different actives and experiments to take part in each day,” he explains. “The great thing about Summer Camp programming is that it’s totally separate from our After-School Programs, so if the child took part in our program at school they’d be learning something different at Summer Camp.”
Programming for kids aged five to 12 runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with drop-off as early as 8 a.m. and late pick-up lasting until 5 p.m.
Mad Science (MadScienceofWindsor.com) Summer Camps are held at Windsor Day Adventist Church in Windsor at 5350 Haig Avenue and 122 Fox Street in Cottam.
“We will also be running a partner camp at the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex every Monday beginning July 9 through August 27 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., but you must register through them for that specific program because after Mad Science they have their own programming going on,” explains Spagnuolo.
The Mad Science franchise will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this coming September.
“We were located in Windsor, but we moved our lab and office to Cottam in October of 2016, where we have a much more kid-friendly atmosphere compared to our last location in Windsor, featuring a splash pad and park on one side of us, a fire station on another and a library behind us,” describes Spagnuolo.
Film Camp for Kids & Youth
For a summer camp experience like no other, you may want to consider having your children explore their artistic side through filmmaking at the Film Camp for Kids & Youth.
“It’s just a great camp for kids to be creative,” says Amanda Gellman, Founder and Board Chair of the camp which operates year round.
Film Camp for Kids & Youth (FilmCampForKids.com) offers nine weeks of camps in the summer for kids aged eight to 18 years old. Gellman notes the camps are broken down by age group, so, for example, there are camps for: eight/nine to 12, nine to 11, 12 to 14, 15 to 18 and then some that vary from those. Camps are also offered in both English and French.