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20 Summer Camps You Should Know About!

Camps
13 min read
Summer Camp

Summer is almost here. That time of year when our kiddos will be ready to put their school books away and fill their backpacks full of snacks, sunscreen, bathing suits, and whatever else they need to accompany them on their adventures and explorations.

Though the featured summer camp choices in this story are by no means all inclusive of the wide variety that are offered province-wide, each camp provides so much opportunity for our kids to engage their minds and imaginations, learn new skills, while also building upon their social and emotional skills.

OVERNIGHT SUMMER CAMPS

Let’s start off with overnight summer camps as they have always been a highlight of summer break. Kids can spend a few nights to a few weeks diving into endless thrill seeking and social experiences – from water sports to ziplines, from nature hikes during the day to fun games, activities, and collaborative projects in the evenings. Of course, one unforgettable moment is the magic of sitting around the campfire and sharing songs and stories with youth leaders and new friends.

When considering an overnight summer camp, one option that I can share with you is my past family experience at Camp Qwanoes. I recall the special memories made here with my daughter and her entire daycare class. Laughter and conversations linger in my memory of shared cabins and meals and bus rides to beautiful outdoor spots where we embarked on many adventures on land and in water. Our evenings often ended with gatherings full of high energy youth music and stories. It was a wonderful shared family and community experience.

20 Summer Camps You Should Know About! - BC Parent Newsmagazine

ANIMAL SUMMER CAMPS

Land or sea, kids love to pet, play with, and depending on the size and nature of the animals, possibly even ride, making for amazing memories and experiences that might not be offered to them in any other environment.

SEA ANIMALS

One place that offers endless opportunities for children to move through their progressive programs is the Vancouver Aquarium. Starting at the tender age of 5 years, my own daughter was eager to start camp as soon as she could. She attended every summer until she aged out at age 12. 

At 9 years of age, she entered into the Family Volunteer Program. Acting primarily as her ride and chaperone, I completed the training program alongside my now aspiring shark biologist. During our shifts she would proudly set up exhibits of her favourite animal – the great white shark! Next we would walk around and provide information to guests before ending our days at Clown Fish Cove where Haylee would guide children and their families on how to safely handle small sea creatures. Annual sleepovers and visits to the Mammal Rescue Centre were some of the most precious memories of her childhood.

LAND ANIMALS

As for land animals, there is something really special about the connection between a  child and a horse. I first learned of Timberline Ranch during a school field trip years ago and was blown away by the immense offerings – from the beauty of the property and its facilities to the friendly and knowledgeable staff, and of course, to the beautiful horses for the children to engage with. 

At the time of my visit, I was not aware of the wide range of camps that are offered at Timberline Ranch and how much more is involved than just horseback riding. Ideal for ages 9+, camp choices include, the newly added, day camps for the campers that aren’t ready for overnight to the week long overnight camps. Days are packed full of riding and bonding with the horses along with CYOA (choose your own adventures) with many other extra activities including archery, rock climbing, zipline, and so on.

NATURE PROGRAMS

Gaining attention as a safer option for kids to engage in-person during COVID, outdoor programs have now become a favourite choice of parents for both camps and formal education during the school year. One such program, that started off as an outdoor preschool and school-aged program years ago, has gained so much attention and merit resulting in them now also operating as a BC Independent School in North Vancouver for grades K-5. Saplings Outdoor Programs and Nature School are both offering summer camps at many of their locations. 

While visiting their nature centre a few years back, I was dazzled by the trained forest educators while witnessing the way they inspired the children to explore the wonders found in our local forests and beaches. What most impressed me was how the educators fostered the relationship between child and nature. This to me is a huge opportunity to help kids grow their self-confidence as they learn to become risk assessors and decision makers while doing things like building shelters, hiking, and going on nature treasure hunts. 

If your children love nature, two other nature based camps worth checking out this summer are Burns Bog in Delta and Stanley Park Eco Camps. Both camps are committed to nature conservation and are beautiful tourist attractions in themselves.

Soccer Summer Camp

SPORTS SUMMER CAMP

From team sports to dance, yoga, bicycling or scooter clubs, to the very unique experiences of learning archery or even joining the circus at camp for the week, the choices available for the sports category are extensive. The ones that stood out to me were two soccer camps that focused on character development and sportsmanship as their main achievements.

First, Free Kick, founded and run by soccer icon and pioneer of women’s soccer in Canada, Carrie Serwetnyk. As a former Canadian National team player Carrie has created a program for kids drawing from her love of sharing her extraordinary World Cup experiences with the younger generation.  Her main objective is to instill the love of soccer through character development. 

Another soccer camp, not to be missed, that shares similar goals of this game is Royal Soccer Club. This program has grown to be one of the largest across Canada because of its reputation for quality programming and is available in many communities across our province.

ARTS SUMMER CAMP

Starting off this category is iconic interdisciplinary arts organization, Arts Umbrella, offering top notch programs in all art disciplines – from visual arts to music, dance to performing arts. As a fellow early music educator, I have to also include a program that’s offering a beautiful foundation of conservatory music in age appropriate and playfully fun music camps for kids of all ages at Colourstrings Conservatory Of Music

Next, another camp choice not to be missed this summer is at Gateway Theatre. This quality theatre company offers unique experiences that will leave lasting impressions. Kids who attend these camps are inside a professional theatre, taught by working professional artists who are passionately helping kids grow in a safe environment. Kids in these camps are set up for success by practicing Gateway Theatre’s philosophy of process over product. 

Lights Up Musical Theatre Schools are also offering performing arts camps this summer with a similar philosophy of focusing on setting their kids up for success by teaching them theatre skills while instilling self-confidence in these young performers. 

I love this because this way the kids are able to learn the hows of acting and singing and dancing before performing in front of an audience while still having parents and guardians attend to watch and encourage the progress they are making in developing their performance skills. 

Arts Summer Camp

ACADEMIC SUMMER CAMP

Who said that STEM was only sought after during the school year? Definitely not kids who are into building Lego robotics. Daedalus Enrichment Programs offers such programs where kids can create their own ideas with constructive learning and exploration and have built up a strong reputation for doing so. Another summer camp worth mentioning that offers a very unique blend of STEM and environmental studies is at Petit Architect. Here kids build their own constructive creations while learning about the relationship between architecture, interior design, sustainability, and the environment.

PLAY BASED SUMMER CAMP

We would like to end off this story with a whole new world, or rather an 1800-square foot indoor city, at Kidtropolis. As a licensed early childhood educator who is a huge fan of dramatic play I can safely say that this level of imaginative play is nothing I have ever witnessed before and offers kids unlimited opportunities to play, explore and learn all at the same time. At Kidtropolis summer camps, kids enjoy a whole schedule of fun activities, experiments and games offered within this amazing environment! Read more about Kidtropolis in Strengthening Family Connections.

20 GREAT SUMMER CAMPS!

Dance Co.
Vancouver, 604/736-3394
danceco.com
Dance Co’s Summer Camps are a perfect way to introduce new and aspiring dancers to different disciplines! Dancers will have the opportunity to try a variety of dance styles as well as make new friends through crafts and games! Camps are available for ages 3 and up. With unique camps each week, there’s no reason not to dance this Summer!

20 Summer Camps You Should Know About! - BC Parent Newsmagazine
Dance Co

Summer Boost Camp by Fraser Academy
Vancouver, 604/736-5575
fraseracademy.ca/summer-camp
Provide your child with a two-week “boost” in skills development at our half-day Summer Boost Camp. Students in Grades 2-8 will build skills in an engaging environment through small group and 1:1 classes in curriculum areas such as reading, writing, math, outdoor education, science, music, and art. Summer Boost Camp runs from July 3-14 and July 17-28.

20 Summer Camps You Should Know About! - BC Parent Newsmagazine
Summer Boost Camp by Fraser Academy

Spirit of Math Summer Camp
Vancouver, West Vancouver, 604/304-4032
spiritofmath.com
Spirit of Math Summer Camps offer instruction on a wide range of topics including problem solving, shape counting, numeracy, integers, golden ratio, relocation, drills and more.  A Spirit of Math Summer camp is a way to keep your child engaged in learning mathematics and help them to prepare for the upcoming school year!

20 Summer Camps You Should Know About! - BC Parent Newsmagazine
Spirit of Math

residential summer camp

Camp Qwanoes
Vancouver Island, 250/246-3014
qwanoes.ca
Ages 8–18
Qwanoes is a Christian camp built from the ground up for kids to experience an unforgettable lifechanging week. Qwanoes is wild action and pure fun, sun-soaked days,
new friendships, tasty food, great music, over 75 activities, and all in a spectacular setting with amazing staff from around the world… all who love kids. Life like no other awaits!

Timberline Ranch
Maple Ridge, 604/463-9278
timberlineranch.com
Ages 9–16
Horseback riding is just the beginning of your adventures on our 73 acres where activities include trail riding, challenge and team building courses, climbing wall and rock face, archery, rifle range, zip line, petting zoo, swimming pool and much more.

art, music, drama & dance summer camp

Colourstrings Conservatory Musical Summer Camps
Vancouver
colourstrings.ca
Ages 4–10
Fun interactive summer music camps and classes. Immerse your child in music, art & drama at Colourstrings Conservatory of Music! Discover their enthusiasm and create a unique musical foundation as they explore their creativity and make friends.

Evergreen Cultural Centre
Coquitlam, 604/927-6555
evergreenculturalcentre.ca
Seasonal arts camps, a curated art gallery, and free family arts programs, just steps away from the Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain station!

Gateway Academy – Acting, Musical Theatre Summer Camps
Richmond, 604/247-4975
gatewaytheatre.com/academy
Ages 6–8
Whether your child is outgoing or shy, Gateway Academy provides performance and life skills for kids to express themselves confidently. Students get the unique opportunity to learn inside a professional theatre taught by industry artists in a safe, welcoming environment.

Lights Up Musical Theatre Schools
Locations throughout the Lower Mainland.
1-888/502-5253
lightsuptheatre.ca
Ages 4–12
Shine a Spotlight on FUN at Lights Up Musical Theatre camps. Every kid is a born performer—no prior experience is required. Campers will strut their stuff for family and friends at our camp presentations. Like all Lights Up programs, our camps teach children to work in teams, build confidence, sing, dance, act and SHINE! Sign up for a
week they won’t forget!

General Activities

Kidtropolis’ Summer Break Kid Camp
Richmond, 604/285-7529 (PLAY)
kidtropolis.ca
Age 6–10
This summer, let your child experience camp like no other at Kidtropolis! We’re taking imagination to the next level and your child will be able to join in various fun hands-on educational activities ranging from the sciences, to the arts and to everything in between!

Westside Montessori Academy
Vancouver, 604/434-9611
wmasummercamp.com
WMA’s Summer Camps are professionally led camps for 3 to 12-year-olds celebrating our final year at the Italian Cultural Centre, making summer fun and full of learning in
secure, air-conditioned classrooms and adjacent Beaconsfield Park.

Specialty Summer Camp

LEGO® Robotics Summer Camps with Daedalos Enrichment Programs
Vancouver, 604/345-8603
daedalosacademy.com
Ages 6–13
At these LEGO® Robotics Camps, kids create, build, program and operate robotic animals, machines and vehicles using LEGO® Education Robotics and Computer Programming. Children are given grade level appropriate activities based on skill, ability, experience and preference.

Maplewood Farm Camp
North Vancouver, 604/929-5610
maplewoodfarm.bc.ca
Ages 8–12
Maplewood Farm Camp offers a unique opportunity for youth to learn about domesticated animals in a Farm setting. Learning and working alongside our Farmers, children will create animal enrichment, learn feeding and grooming techniques, as well as some animal husbandry.
July 31–August 3 and August 8–11 8:30 am–11:30 am

Reframe Education Summer Sessions
North Vancouver, 604/417-3300
reframeeducation.ca
Ages 5+
One to one Programs including OG Tutoring, Executive Function Coaching, and Art Therapy. Small group programs including Writer’s Workshop, Social Communication
Skills, and Keyboarding Skills. Now accepting registrations.

Saplings Outdoor Program & Nature School
North and West Vancouver
778/838-0335
saplingsoutdoorprogram.ca & saplingsnatureschool.ca
Saplings campers love exploring the natural wonders of our local forests & beaches. Children grow in self-confidence while learning to become risk assessors and decision makers when shelter-building, hiking, going on nature treasure hunts and playing group games alongside forest educators.

Vancouver Neurotherapy Health Services Inc. Summer Camp
Vancouver, 604/730-9600
neurofeedbackclinic.ca
Ages 3+
An Orton-Gillingham-trained multisensory tutor will guide your child through kinesthetic, visual & auditory activities to optimize performance & learning. Children will acquire new skills while learning rhythm, rhyme, music, and coding with a goal to improve academics, organization, integration & language. Biofeedback Virtual Reality games are used to teach self-regulation, self-control & how to achieve optimal performance.

Sports Summer Camp

Academie Duello
604-568-9907
academieduello.com
Knight Camp is an authentic knight school for youth (ages 8–14), where knightly skills are taught in a safe and engaging environment by Academie Duello’s trained instructors. Knight Camp Vancouver has been voted “Best Children’s Camp” by the Georgia Straight.

Royal Soccer
Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley
800/427-0536
royalsoccer.com
Ages 5–13
Royal Soccer Club is the #1 grassroots summer soccer day camp in British Columbia. Host to children aged 5 to 13 across 16 locations in the Lower Mainland, we operate during July and August.

Timberline Ranch
Maple Ridge, 604/463-9278
timberlineranch.com
Ages 9–16
Horseback riding is just the beginning of your adventures on our 73 acres where activities include trail riding, challenge and team building courses, climbing wall and rock face, archery, rifle range, zip line, petting zoo, swimming pool and much more.

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