Have you ever been to Summer camp? I was blessed with opportunities to attend day camps and the occasional sleep away weekend camp when I was younger, but going away for an entire summer just wasn’t in cards. This past weekend, I was invited to spend the weekend with my family at Ontario Pioneer Camp in Huntsville. The only problem was, DH had to work. Was I brave enough to go alone with three kids? Bugs, no boundaries, endless danger and three kids alone! Let’s just say, you wouldn’t call me an outdoorsy person. When the sun goes down and the mosquitoes come out, I run to the shelter of the indoors in the CITY(Was I crazy?)! Heck, the last time we went camping, I slept in the back of the truck instead of the tent! Not wanting them to miss the opportunity to try things like canoeing, archery and rope courses, I knew I had to put on my ‘Tarzan’ camper panties and toughen up!
Our adventure started with a three hour car ride to Huntsville. We left nice an early to avoid the ‘cottage traffic’ that so many people complain of. Half way there, we stopped at the famous WEBERS for dinner!
Although we timed it poorly (we arrived after two bus loads of kids), the staff worked quickly and effectively to get us through.
Within 10 minutes we had our food and were chilling in the cool (yes they were air conditioned!) dinning cars!
We piled then piled into the car and completed the rest of our journey to Ontario Pioneer camp!
The view was breath taking! Trees, lakes and cottages everywhere! What amazed us most was how large the OPC property was! It seemed to go on for miles! When we pulled into the Adventure Camp section of the OPC, we were immediately greeted by camp staff. This wasn’t an awkward, nice to meet you type of greeting but rather a welcome-home-my friend type of greeting. My DD4 who can be VERY shy around new people immediately warmed up the camp staff!
After being shown our room and settling in, we headed over to the dinning hall where we played traditional camp games while waiting for the other families to show up! Again, the OPC staff was AMAZING! A staff member joined every team and there was always a smiling face or a helping hand if you needed it. My children’s favourite game was ‘Running Pictionary!”. Maybe it was because they were crazy good at guessing the drawings! Or maybe it was because they won!
When most of the other families arrived, we trudged up to the Crows Nest to enjoy the ‘Late Night Show’! From jokes to skits to audience-included games, we laughed until our sides split! By the time the ‘Late Night Show’ ended my crew was beat and headed off to bed. The older kids that were still raring to go participated in activities like roasting s’mores at the camp fire or board games in dinning hall!
The next day is when the real fun began!
I woke up some very sleepy children at 730 and we managed to get up and organized for the 8 am breakfast bell. By the time we reached the dining hall the kids were excited and raring to go! After a hardy breakfast of bacon, eggs, potatoes, we headed out as a group to the ropes courses! There were three different levels:
Low ropes for beginners,
rock climbing for intermediate
and high ropes for experts.
We were provided with instructions,safety rules and set free! Having three children at three different ages, I was worried that someone wouldn’t be happy. Again, the staff came to the rescue and offered to help me divide and conquer! My two younger ones headed out and conquered the low ropes then headed off the rock climbing wall for our next challenge. DS10 headed out with some of the older kids and the camp staff to the high ropes! My computer obsessed indoor loving son, surprised me at the end of the activity by showing up covered in Caterpillars! His camp name is now Caterpillar man! It was great to see him break out of normal bubble!
After a few hours of climbing in the trees, we changed into our swim suits and headed down to the lake for canoeing!
Our canoeing trip took us around the lake, where the staff pointed out the boy’s and girl’s campsites and where they worship on Sunday mornings!
We made a brief stop on land, to play a little “Lodge ball: Parents vs Kids”. It was beautiful site and the kids had so much fun!
After all that fun, it was time for lunch! Again, we provided with a fabulous buffet! Being gluten free, I was worried when I saw ‘Deli sandwiches” on the menu! The camp kitchen staff was amazing! They didn’t make me feel like burden by asking for gluten free options. They were only to happy to help!
Sadly, our weekend was cut early due to other commitments, but we did follow along the fun on social media as our friends tried out archery, swam in the lake, had water balloon fights and much, much more camp fun!
If you are looking for a camp to send your kids to this summer, I highly recommend OPC! Not only will the be surrounded by breathtaking nature, but they will immersed in a caring environment that helps them discover who they are (their strengths, weakness and talents), make life long friendships and discover how much God loves them! This is a camp that will welcome them back to camp, year after year!