Did you ever go away for a week of overnight camp as a kid? 
We’d camp together as a family. My Dad would take my little sister and I into the mighty forests of Washington State. We would also camp near the Vedder River or at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains or in the dry Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. I have amazing memories from all of that.
When we were in high school, we would go away with our church youth group for a weekend of youth camp.

I don’t know what year this was, but judging from the pink Cotton Ginny sweatshirt I’m wearing… I’d say it was around 1987 and I’m pretty sure I have a perm!
Now it’s my kids turn. Yikes, I have kids old enough to go to camp!!!
This past Sunday we dropped off our four kids at Ontario Pioneer Camp (a camp that’s been around since 1929!) in the Muskoka’s for them to enjoy their very first week of overnight camp. 
After they were checked over for lice & such by the camp nurse, they were cleared and off to their separate zones around the massive grounds that Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship owns. 

Jake wasn’t sure about leaving me, he will be 7 next month and is a Momma’s Boy through and through. We’ve left him for a week or two before, when we’ve had to go out of town (or country) for ministry over the years, but it’s always been with family or close friends. This is the first time he’s been left with “strangers”.  
His camp counselor, “Shoes”, greeted us with a great big smile as we arrived and showed Jake his room. He made Jake feel at ease very quickly and soon they were off, without a good-bye, to the mess hall as the dinner bell rang.
Liam was the same, although he did give me a great big squeeze hug as we left him in line for supper.

Next to be dropped off was our oldest, Quinton. At 13, although he has never been to a week long camp… he did go to Peru on a two-week Mission’s trip last summer. I think he’ll do fine! 🙂
His sleeping quarters were a little more “outdoors” than they expected but he’s used to sleeping under the stars. Dave has taken him for week long canoeing (portaging upwards of 120 klm) trips through Algonquin and Temagami parks since he was five years old.

Emma on the other hand… is far more girly than she’d like you to think. She comes off as this tom-boy but as soon as she saw the sleeping arrangements, I knew what she was thinking! lol 
She’s going to have some fun adjusting but I know she will do it and do it with grace and style. Good thing I packed bug nets for them both!!

Her camp counselors were super friendly and bubbly and greeted her with such enthusiasm, I know she will have a blast!! Even with her broken arm… 
I was extremely impressed with all of the staff that we met! From the camp directors, nurses, mayors and managers, supervisors and counselors alike, all were totally awesome at putting my “Mom’s first time” fears to rest. 

I can’t wait to hear all about it next Saturday when I pick them up, I know that car ride home won’t be quiet!!

*GOOD NEWS! The Summer Pioneer Camp Contest has been extended to July 15, enter now for a chance to win a trip for two to Punta Cana & a week of summer camp. Print out coupons for camp, Mabel’s Labels & Crossroads.ca too.  Open to Canada only (ex. QC). ARV over $4,500 Enter NOW!*


I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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  1. they are going to have THE BEST TIME!!!!! This post totally made me cry just remembering the wonderful times I had both as a camper and as a camp counsellor for many years- camp is really a great experience. I hope I can find an Autism-friendly camp to send my kids to someday!

    Gah. Can't. Stop. Crying. In a really good way 🙂

    Love the pictures and I love the smiles! And am totally jealous that you have a week totally kid-free lol

  2. Hello Tarasview – Ontario Pioneer Camp actually has an Inclusion Program where kids of all kinds are welcome and included – including kids with autism, Aspergers, downs syndrome, physical challenges, if manageable – and integrated into the program with all the other kids. They've been doing it for years, and they do it really well. Happy to provide some more info to you on this, or you can call them directly to inquire at 1-800-361-2267.

  3. I love this article! I was an Ontario Pioneer Camp "lifer" every summer for years and years – met Jesus there, met my husband there, met some of the best friends I've ever had there… fabulous games and activities, great food, a huge amount of personal growth and development… (happy sigh)

    The circle rolls on… Next year our little fellow will be old enough to go up to OPC for the first time, and I'm already looking forward to being on the "other side" of the drop-off day! Thanks so much for this post, it really brings home the excitement of the event! 🙂

    (p.s. to Tarasview, Laser's right – the Inclusion program at camp is awesome. I remember when our cabin got paired up with an Inclusion camper one summer – it was a wonderful time for everyone!)

  4. I just dropped of my 9-year-old son Maxime at Camp Hyanto on Sunday, and 11-year-old Sam is registered to Pioneer Camp in August for a week as well. First time for both. I'm having a hard time being without Max–counting down the days to pick him up–but I know they'll have a great time. Just hope I can survive without my babies! 🙂

  5. Wow I dropped my son off at Pioneer for his second year on Sunday. I am so glad to hear people talking about the inclusion program. My son has a one to one worker. She just called to say he is having a blast. Pioneer is a great camp!

  6. @Laser that is good to know! I'll look into it- thanks 🙂

  7. Enjoy your week with no kids in the house. I like that the nurse checked them over before sending them all on their way to their groups.

  8. Looks like they'll have a blast. I'm currently enjoying denial that our children will grow up at all. It's working.

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