Photo: A group of youngsters gather for a photo on the green-filled grounds of Gesstwood Camp and Education Centre. Photo courtesy of Gesstwood Camp and Education Centre.
The Sky’s The Limit At Summer Day Camps . . . Outdoor Activities, Math & Science, Art & Building & More!
With summertime now in full swing, your young ones have a lot of free time on their hands. And Windsor Essex has no shortage of fun day camps for them to attend. Many of which are focused on keeping your kids learning and engaged on their break from school — all while having a blast-making memories!
But, don’t let this be the only time your children enjoy these fun-filled local activities and experiences. And remember you can check these places out with your kids year-round as well!
For now, read on to learn about a handful of the day camps going on in the area this August in part two of our summer camp section. (for previous camps profiled please refer to the June back issue).
An Overnight Experience “Not Too Far From Home”
If you’re looking for a nostalgic and traditional overnight summer camp experience for your kids — but are concerned about sending them far from home — Gesstwood Camp and Education Centre, located right here in Essex County, maybe the ideal choice.
“Summer camp is an amazing experience for children, and being able to attend Gesstwood Camp right here in Essex County is perfect for first time campers in particular, because they aren’t too far away from home, but still get the full summer camp experience,” states Executive Director Karen Seguin.
Located at 1034 Mole Road in Essex, just off Arner Townline and Highway 3, Gesstwood Camp offers overnight and day camp programs for children ages five to 15 throughout the summer.
In August specifically, they’ll have two overnight camps running. The first one is during the first week of the month. For kids ages seven to 11, the “Holiday Camp” goes from July 29 to August 1, coinciding with “PeeWee Camp” for kids ages five to seven from July 30 to August 1.
The second overnight camp they have, “Olympic and Adventure,” goes from August 19 to August 24. This one is for kids ages seven to 15.
Campers sleep in A-frame cabins with seven other children their age along with two staff members.
“They participate in traditional camp games such as capture the flag, gaga ball, archery, water games, crafts, sports, swimming, pond exploration, creek stomping and much more,” describes Seguin. “We have a big cookout with backyard game competitions, campfire and sing songs with s’mores (a traditional campfire treat).”
Campers also get to visit Gesstwood’s camp store each day and can purchase souvenirs and snacks.
“Summer camp is about embracing nature, learning new things, making new friends and playing outdoors the good old fashioned way,” says Seguin, adding there are no electronic devices at the camp. “Summer camp is an experience of a lifetime. Every child needs a chance to spend a week at camp and make friends and memories that will last a lifetime.”Day camps (not overnight) are also offered during the week of August 20 to August 24.
Gesstwood (GesstwoodCamp.com) has been open in the area for 60 years. Seguin is very proud of the fact that children who attend the camp for the first time love it and continue to come back year after year.
“Over 50 percent of our campers end up becoming summer camp counsellors when they are old enough,” she notes. “A lot of people do not realize this camp is right here in Essex County. We have been referred to several times as the ‘hidden gem of Essex County.’”
Good Times In The Town Of Tecumseh
Through the day camps offered by the Town of Tecumseh Parks & Recreation Department (TecumsehRec.ca), there’s a special focus on helping kids have fun while learning valuable knowledge and skills through participating in various special activities and events.
“Our goal as a community is to promote a healthy lifestyle for children in the modern age of technology, with an emphasis on powering off electronic devices and instead enjoying screen-free fun and games,” explains Brett Palmer, Supervisor of Recreation Programs & Events.
You can sign your children up for Tecumseh Day Camp and have them either join daily or weekly for the month of August.
“All kids spend the day participating in various themed activities all directed by Tecumseh Day Camp staff,” describes Palmer.
Tecumseh Day Camp is offered for kids five to 12 years old. Activities include sports, games, drama, crafts, movies, special events, swimming, skating and more.
“A special event is scheduled every week, which may include off-site excursions,” Palmer mentions adding that due to limited space, advanced registration is required.
Camp hours run from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with early drop off and late pick up hours available starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m.
There are also a number of specialty camps offered on specific dates during the month of August through the Town of Tecumseh. In these camps, kids will learn a new skill and activity while enjoying all the benefits of their regular day camp.
“Specialty campers will experience special instruction every camp morning and then join in with our regular camp for all the scheduled afternoon activities, including swimming, skating and off-site special events,” he states. “Specialty Camp fee includes the specialty camp instruction as well as a full day of supervised activities.”
Weekly Specialty Camps include: Junior Firefighter Camp, Art Camp, Mad Science Camp, Superstars Camp, Home Art Camp, Multi-Sport Camp, Bricks 4 Kidz with LEGO® Technic Camp, Master Chef Camp, and Tae Kwon Do Camp. Dates and further info about these specialty camps can be found online.
All day camps, through the Town of Tecumseh Parks and Recreation Department, are held at the Tecumseh Leisure Pool, 590 Lacasse Boulevard.; St. Pius X Catholic School, 644 Lacasse Boulevard.; and Tecumseh Arena, 12021 McNorton Street.
“Programs are both indoors and outdoors,” Palmer informs us. “We aim to promote outdoor fun and advertise the many outdoor recreation possibilities that are available in the Town of Tecumseh that are easy to access for kids and families.”
Discover The Science Behind Having Fun
For a thought-provoking and intriguing hands-on experience with safe, but exciting activities, that engage campers in the principles of science and their applications in the real world, you might want to consider signing your kids up for day camp at Canada South Science City.
“It’s fun to discover science through hands-on activities and experiments,” states Dr. William E. Baylis, President of Canada South Science City. “Kids learn to appreciate the STEM topics of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in teamwork and problem solving, while they also experience the important role of art in guiding the discovery.”
While the centre is commonly known as Canada South Science City, Baylis points out that they are registered as a charity under the name, The Interactive Science and Technology Centre of Windsor, Inc.
Baylis lists how most of the sciences are represented at their day camp, including: physics (mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism), astronomy, chemistry, biology and geology. Each week brings a different theme to which daily activities contribute, he adds.
While specific details for camps running in August are still being finalized at the time of writing, Baylis indicates the themes will likely include weather, climate, thermal physics and gas laws.
The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and arrangements can be made for early drop off or late pickup.
Now located at the former Forster High School at 749 Felix Avenue, Canada South Science City (CSScienceCity.com) originally opened its doors on Marion Avenue in 2004. The move to their current location in the city’s west end took place in 2015.
“The Forster building is our new home, and it offers an exciting time of rebuilding and development,” says Baylis, adding the entrance to the building is from the parking lot behind the school.
Baylis lets Biz X know they served about 10,000 visitors a year when located on Marion Avenue, and reaction was generally quite positive. The day camp is a great way to get young individuals interested in the various topics surrounding science and open their eyes to opportunities and ideas they may not have realized.
“The camp can open the campers to possible future careers in the profitable advanced technology sector,” Baylis believes.
Gymnastics is filled with flips and turns, being active and acrobatic, maintaining balance and just having fun!
At Rose City Gymnastics, day camp options are available for full weeks in August, or if you’d like, you can just sign your child up for a full day (9 a.m. until 4 p.m.) or a half day here and there (either 9 a.m. until noon or 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.), explains Jenny Stojkovski, Recreational Director.
“Our goal is to enrich the lives of the children who come through our doors with physical fitness, health awareness, confidence, dedication and the ability to set and reach goals that are not always easy to achieve,” Stojkovski mentions.
Rose City Gymnastics (RoseCityGymnastics.com) is a non-profit organization that has been providing athletic services, through the sport of gymnastics, to families since 1976. It has been at its current location — 4365 County Road 42 — for about 30 years.
“Kids love our camps,” asserts Stojkovski.
Campers can participate in a variety of activities, not just gymnastics.
“They play games, do crafts and Fridays is water day, where — weather permitting — they go outside to enjoy some activities involving water, like a water balloon fight and we have a baby pool they can splash around in,” describes Stojkovski.
She points out that parents love the flexibility of their day camp program and being able to choose either half day, full day or full week for their kids.
“All children must be registered beforehand,” Stojkovski stresses. “They can register online, over the phone or in person.”
On August 10 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., Rose City Gymnastics is holding an Open House to showcase their new renovations. There will be tours, demonstrations from different groups and vendors, and everyone is welcome to attend.
The Right Equation For Avoiding The “Summer Slide”
Amit Modi, President of Nimble Brain Education Inc., runs day camps through his business using the Universal Concept of Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS Mental Math Schools).
“The UCMAS program is based on the ancient, simple but powerful, abacus tool that provides countable beads for children to visualize numbers,” explains Modi. “Children learn to manipulate those beads to perform arithmetic calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.”
UCMAS Summer Camp is developed by UCMAS Canada Inc. to provide standardized, consistent programming to all participating UCMAS centres in Canada, Modi states.
But, the camp entails more than just learning about math, he adds.
“We are offering abacus, clay modelling, origami and puzzles in half-day camp, and full-day camp will have introductory abacus, robotics, clay modelling, origami, puzzles, board games and painting,” describes Modi.
Day camps are for kids ages six to 14 years and run for two weeks in August — from August 13 to August 17 and from August 20 to August 24.
“We offer two types of day camp: half-day from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and full-day from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.,” lists Modi. “We can also offer early drop off and late pick up if necessary.”
Located at 3020 Dougall Avenue, Unit 11, UCMAS has been running in the community for seven years. (more details at: UCMAS.ca)
Modi suggests you register your child in the UCMAS Summer Camp to avoid what some refer to as the “summer slide” — a notion that suggests kids sometimes lose academic knowledge and skills during their break from school over the summer.
According to Modi, “The UCMAS Summer Camp 2018 is specially designed to productively engage a child and develop their cognitive skills.”
The Sky’s The Limit At Summer Day Camps continues on Page 32