With the weather warmer by the day, flowers blooming all over the place, and spring break now in our rear view mirror, many of us are turning our thoughts to the summer ahead. From swimming in the ocean to camping in nearby provincial parks, the options for family-friendly activities multiply as the rain recedes and the temperatures rise. Now’s the perfect time – in fact, the necessary time since spots can go quickly – to consider summer day camps for the coming school break. With so many camps in this region outdoor-based and now with additional safety protocols in place, there’s plenty of options to keep kids busy – and give parents some much-needed breaks of their own. Here’s some top-notch options and remember to check camp websites for updates as restrictions change:
Pear Tree Education
With camps running all summer long for children aged 5 to 14, Pear Tree has one of the most extensive summer camp offerings. They also offer camps in three locations around the region: East Vancouver, North Vancouver, and in White Rock. Camp offerings include everything from cooking to sports, technology to arts, along with music, dance, academics and more.
City of Vancouver Parks and Rec
A host of summer camps will be running at community centres around the city, featuring a mix of activities for all ages. With extensive covid protocols in place, including a “pod” setup and limited-size groups, individual supply bags for crafts, and all physical distancing requirements in place, these courses run throughout the summer.
There’s a reason this organization has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years: plain and simple, kids love it. Well known for their biking camps and education programs, Pedalheads has added swimming and trail programs over the years, and now offer a full line-up that will appeal to every kid, at every age, in cities around North America. With most programs fully outdoors, it’s also a great option for fresh air, exercise and fun – and perfect for social distancing. Registration opens in mid April.
The Fostering Debate Talent Academy is gearing up to offer an eight-week summer debate program, open to students from kindergarten to grade 12. The sessions are ideal for both new debaters seeking an introduction to the sport of debate and for current or ongoing students who want to continue to develop their skills. FDT, which opened its doors in 2016, is the only debate and public speaking academy in BC with students who have become members of both the Canadian National Debate Team and the Canadian National Speech Team.
With camps at both the original Granville Island location in the heart of Vancouver as well as in Surrey, the arts camps offered by Arts Umbrella are known for their high quality programming. With hands-on sessions in theatre, music, dance, visual arts, applied arts, and media arts, there’s plenty on offer to allow students to explore, learn, be curious and have fun.
Vancouver White Caps Soccer
If you’re going to gain soccer skills, why not head to the experts? The Vancouver White Caps run soccer camps around the region for a variety of skill levels and ages. With a focus on both fun and technical skills, the camps include games and scrimmages and run for either full morning or afternoon sessions.
SFU Summer Camps
The ever-popular SFU summer camp programs are back this year with a mix of outdoor programs, online options, and sports activities. With everything tennis to soccer, and a mix of programs with unique titles such as Mountain Madness and Girls Rock, there’s program that will appeal to budding scientists, athletes, engineers and much more.
It’s a perfect year to get outside, have fun, and learn about the nature in our own backyards. For the budding green thumbs or biologists in your family, there’s a variety of options for younger children at Earth Heads. Kids will be immersed in nature at spots around the Vancouver region, with a chance to explore the environment and local ecosystems.
It’s never too early to be organized for summer. Most camps are already booking spots, or will open registration in the coming weeks – and with long-distance travel likely limited for a long while yet, chances are good camps of all kinds will be in high demand. Check for updates on restrictions and potential changes or cancellations.