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The family plays together

Summer doesn’t have to equate to kids and parents parting ways, thanks to family camp options now available across the province.

Summer doesn’t have to equate to kids and parents parting ways, thanks to family camp options now available across the province.

Doug Saul, executive director of Camp Chief Hector YMCA in Kananaskis, said the concept is still fairly novel to Alberta, but interest is growing.

“The big difference is you are there with your parents, and parents are there with their kids,” explained Saul.

While many come from Alberta, Saul sees campers from as far away as Asia at the week-long camps, this year in late August. For many, being together and making friends as a family is what keeps campers coming back. The cost is $390 for adults, $275 for kids aged 10 to 16, $240 for children four to nine — so a family of four camps for around $1,400. Financial assistance is also available.

This summer’s Y family camps are full but spots remain in “family weekends” in K-country, May 8-10 and 29-31. Ideal for those who want to book their crew for next summer, the three days are $150 for adults plus $95 for kids four to 17, up to $550.

Families bunk together in teepees or cabins, while activities from arts and crafts to canoeing, climbing and horseback riding are open to all family campers.

For those looking to “get their feet wet” in the outdoors, Camp Valaqua in Water Valley, Alta., offers a mini-camp July 3-5. A mix of adult-child activities and kids-only fare led by camp staff is on the camp calendar, including swimming, canoeing and climbing.

It’s designed to give future campers aged three to eight and their parents a preview and meet staff, says Jeff Schellenberg, Camp Valaqua manager. “Parents, as their kids get within the age six, seven and eight age range, get a good taste of what to expect (at residential camp), and it’s also a chance for families to reconnect.”

Schellenberg said some parents attended the 50-year-old Mennonite Church run-camp as youngsters. “The camper-ship is diverse. We get a range of those (who are) brand new to camping, quite a few with some experience, and others who have just found out about it.”

The weekend — spent in dorm lodge rooms or private cabins — runs $65 per person, up to $220. Families can also park RVs on the property and stay there.

 
 
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