Monday, June 08, 2015

Where to Find the Most "Fun and Unique" Summer Camps in Calgary

Summer's coming and the pressure's on to get the kids registered for at least one summer camp!  How do you choose though when there's SO much selection out there?  The process was a tad overwhelming when I sat down a couple months ago to wade through the options.  I mean, how do you choose between a favourite sport your child may have, a skill he or she should get better at like riding a bike or swimming, or a new activity you'd like to introduce your child to (think dance, art, karate, mountain biking, rock climbing...?) 

Fortunately for us, we live very close to Canada Olympic Park and I've heard nothing but rave reviews of the camps run by WinSport.  It should also come as no shock that mountain biking was at the top of our list for camps we had to register our son in.  At the age of 6, my son is already a much  better biker than I am and it's time to hand the instruction over to somebody who actually knows what he or she is doing on a bike!  Chances are, if you still think the "bunny hop" is a dance from the 50s (usually danced at weddings and family reunions,) it's time to get your child a real mountain bike instructor too!

Mountain biking on the Slopes beside Canada Olympic Park

WinSport at Canada Olympic Park

WinSport at Canada Olympic Park (COP) has "the most fun and unique summer camps in Calgary for kids aged 4 to 14!"
"Our goal is to build athleticism and a foundation of fundamental movement skills by providing children with intentional and exceptional instruction."
The WinSport website explains that "Kids who are physically literate have the motivation to move with competence and confidence; not just in sports, but throughout many aspects of life."
"At WinSport, we strive to positively influence the healthy development of children as a whole."

Hiking on the Slopes beside Canada Olympic Park

Active for Life
Physical Literacy is a huge priority in our house and we work daily to ensure our son builds the skills necessary to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle well through his adult years. 

Thanks to organizations such as WinSport, children can learn to ride a bike (building balance), play hockey and skate (more balance, ball handling skills, coordination,) climb, hike, run, kick, throw and jump (to mention only a small number of skills built while spending time at COP.)

There are three Summer Camps that families can register their children for at Canada Olympic Park this summer. 

  • Sport and Adventure Camp
  • Mountain Biking Camp
  • Hockey and Ringette Camp

Sport and Adventure Camp at Canada Olympic Park

The Sport and Adventure Camps allow children to "run, play and socialize with other kids while learning new activities."

"We encourage kids to explore, discover a sense of adventure, try new things and overcome their fears in a safe and nurturing environment. This helps to develop physically active children who are willing to try new and exciting activities with confidence. "
These camps are offered to children ages 4 through 14 and depending on the age of child,  a myriad of activities will be explored each day including a sampling of the following:
  • Spiderweb, Climbing Wall and Eurobungy Trampolines
  • Introduction to Biathlon, Ski Jumping, Roller/Ice Luge
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking to the "Big Rock" on the Slopes East of COP
  • Mini Golf
  • Bouldering
  • Wilderness Games
  • High and Low Ropes Challenge Course
  • Ball hockey, handball, Lacrosse, rugby, archery
  • Swimming
  • Introduction to Parkour
  • Zipline and Skyline Luge
  • Biking
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Off site hiking in Kananaskis or day trip to the Canmore Nordic Centre for Biathlon
  • Off site day trip to go canoeing in Banff
  • Fitness testing

Exhausted yet?

WinSport Adventure Camps at Canada Olympic Park (photo courtesy of WinSport)

Mountain Bike Camp at Canada Olympic Park

Children registered in a mountain bike camp at COP will be introduced to all areas of mountain biking from cross-country single track riding, to chairlift accessible downhill terrain, to the newest addition: Enduro riding ( a combination of cross-country and downhill.)

"Your child will not only be developing skills that will make them stronger and better bikers, but also skills that can be transferred to other disciplines. The fitness of cross-county allows them to be faster on downhill riding, and skills learned on the downhill trails will make aspects of their cross-country riding faster. Here at WinSport, we aim to introduce children to all areas of sport and let them choose the ones they wish to progress in."
Mountain Bike Camps at Canada Olympic Park (photo courtesy of WinSport)

These camps are offered for children ages 4 through 14 and there are separate girls-only camps for girls ages 6+ who would like to learn with other girls rather than in a co-ed setting.

I'll direct you to the WinSport website for a complete list of skills children can build in a week of bike camp, but suffice it to say, the camps cover everything from getting the training wheels off to technical single track riding, hops, jumps, and drops. 

Learning all about cross country biking at Canada Olympic Park

Hockey and Ringette Camps at Canada Olympic Park

Looking for something a little "cooler" on those hot summer days?  WinSport and Hockey Canada have partnered together to offer a unique summer hockey camp experience for kids ages 4 through 14. 

These week-long camps have been designed to "foster a child's athletic and physical development as well as their enjoyment of sport in general."

"Not only are we dedicated to developing your child in the sport of hockey, we also have a distinctive off-ice program to promote physical activity, athleticism, confidence building, fair play and positive social interactions."

On-ice training focuses on the following:
  • Proper skating mechanics
  • Puck skills (passing, shooting, puck control and possession skills)
  • Individual and team tactics

Off-ice training focuses on the following:
  • Shooting and stickhandling clinics
  • Dryland and fundamental movement skills training
  • Athletic yoga
  • Flag rugby, handball, ball hockey, mini golf and lacrosse. 

Children may also get to try out other activities such as wall climbing, trampolines, Skyline Luge, ziplining, low and high ropes courses or mountain biking.

Summer Hockey Camps at Canada Olympic Park (photo courtesy of WinSport)

We purchased an annual family pass for Canada Olympic Park and are super excited to spend our summer mountain biking, climbing, playing mini golf, and trying cool new activities from the skyline luge to playing on the big spiderweb in the childrens activity area.  We may even go skating on a hot day this summer when we need to cool down a bit! 

My son is also registered for a youth mountain bike camp for kids ages 6-8 and so far he's signed up for level 3 - which seems terrifying to me!  I'll let you know how it goes!!

We'll spend at lot of time here in the kids' Discover Park at COP this summer

I'll be writing a couple more stories this summer as we try out all the cool activities at COP and I will definitely write a follow up piece letting you know how "rad" Noah's biking has become after his week of camp.

Disclaimer:  We purchased our own annual family pass, but Noah is receiving a complimentary mountain bike camp in exchange for promotional writing.  As always, all opinions this summer as I write about our experiences at COP, will be my own.  All wording in quotes comes direct from the WinSport website. 

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