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Making Memories at Waterloo Region’s Summer Camps

Making Memories at Waterloo Region’s Summer CampsMaking Memories at Waterloo Region’s Summer Camps

by Alex Kinsella

The longer days and warmer weather have gotten us thinking about summer – and summer camps. Memories of excellent camp counselors, making new friends, playing games, swimming in a lake, asking which vaccine everyone is getting.

Okay, that last one will be a new memory kids make.

There are great summer camp options across Waterloo Region, from sports camps to STEAM camps and everything in between. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourites that are currently accepting registrations. As with all events and activities, there may be changes to the number of campers allowed to participate or changes to schedules due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For now, we’re going to put our best camp attitudes forward and imagine a summer of exploration and fun. 

Spend the summer at the lake with Camp Kumoniwanago

Sure, it’s a mouthful, but Camp Kumoniwanago, or Camp K, as it’s affectionately known, is one of the most sought-after camps in Waterloo Region. Camp K is a day camp based in the Laurel Creek Conservation Area with a different theme each week. Your kids can explore the old west during Wild Wild West week, learn about dinosaurs during the Robots vs. Dinosaurs week, or explore a video game-themed week with Game On! This year also marks Camp K’s 25th birthday, and their first week of camp is focused on learning about our country and camp’s history, making birthday treats, and doing all things Canadian. 

Kids climbing your walls? Time for camp Go Bananas

The best part of summer camp is how tired your kids are at the end of the day. Nothing tires out a kid like climbing the walls of Go Bananas. Located on Charles Street by the Borden ION station, Go Bananas offers weekly day camps running from the week of July 5 to the week of August 23. It’s a great camp to get kids interested in climbing, and their staff is well trained, and more importantly – the facility is well padded. Visit go-bananas.ca to learn more and register.

It’s not summer without some STEAM and LAUNCH Waterloo

Summer camp can be fun and educational – just ask the team at LAUNCH Waterloo. Their STEAM Skills summer camps offer weekly programs for kids to explore and hone their skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. LAUNCH STEAM Skills camps run July 5 through August 27 for children going into grades 3 through 8. You can learn more about LAUNCH Waterloo on their site.

 

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Get your game on with Bingeman’s Esports Camps

Today’s video games might have better graphics and sound effects than the classics when you played in the local arcade, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed – today’s video games are still a great way for kids to socialize, compete, and grow. Bingemans and Esports Camps are hosting three week-long esports camps that mix gaming and traditional outdoor summer fun. Campers will spend half the day competing in Fornite or Rocket League camps instructed by certified Esports Camps coaches and the rest of the day at Bingeman’s Summer Fun Camp. The camps are designed for gamers ages 10 – 14 and run the weeks of July 12, July 19, and July 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

poster for Bingemans' summer esports camps happening in July 2021

Watch where you step, thanks to Brick Works Academy

We can’t guarantee the safety of your feet after your kids attend one of the Brick Works Academy camps. Brick Works offers weekly day camps in LEGO and technology themes. For junior builders aged 6-8, they offer a LEGO Jr. Robotics Camp where campers can learn to build robots and simple machines using LEGO gears and motors. There are also Minecraft and Fortnight-themed camps for the gamers in your home and an Animation Camp for campers aged 8 to 14. Brick Works Academy offers camps in North Waterloo, Uptown Waterloo, and in Kitchener.

The full summer camp experience with Camp Ki-Wa-Y

Overnight summer camps are often your child’s first chance to experience being independent – and to give you a break after a year of staying home to stay safe. Camp Ki-Wa-Y is located close by in St. Clements (which means it’s easy to drive there if they need you, or you just miss them). The camp offers six different streams, including the art-themed Canvas & Clay, adventure with Survive & Thrive, and Traditions for new-to-overnight camping. 

youth wearing a life jacket and crouching on lined up paddles that are laying on life jackets on the open water at the Survive and Thrive camp at Camp Ki-Wa-Y through the YMCA of the Three Rivers Waterloo Region

Survive and Thrive Camp offered through Camp Ki-Wa-Y

Creating in the open air

Nature can be inspiring – especially to budding artists. The Artshine Summer Camp guides your young Picassos, Kahlos, and Jewells through fun art and outdoor activities at Benjamin Tree Farm in Waterloo. The weekly day camps are designed for kids aged 4-12 with themes including Ocean Adventures, Superheroes, and On the Farm.

 

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Connecting Indigenous youth with their culturelogo for the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre offers the Impact Girls’ Summer Camp for girls in grades 7 and 8 and their caregivers. In the two and half day camp, girls will have the opportunity to explore STEAM activities and careers. It’s a great way to celebrate Indigenous culture and help more Indigenous people explore postsecondary education options. 

Find camps close to home with the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge

All three cities in Waterloo Region offer a variety of summer camps close to home. 

The City of Kitchener offers camps at eight community centres across the city. There are also specialized camps for children and youth with disabilities. The All About YOUth summer camp is for campers aged 13-17 and offers sports, crafts, and games. New this year is YOUth Sense for campers aged 11-14 for kids with special needs looking to build new friendships and have fun. 

The City of Waterloo offers weekly day camps at Albert McCormick Community Centre, the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre, and at RIM Park. Each week has a different theme, from Mermaids & Pirates to Messy Makers. Camps are offered for kids aged 4 through 12.

In Cambridge, campers can experience traditional-style day camps with outdoor activities and arts and crafts for campers aged 4-12. In Hespeler, the city offers specialized sports camps for swimming, skating, and the most authentic summer camp activity – archery! Learn more about the City of Cambridge’s camps on their website.

Making friends for a lifetime

We all have our fingers crossed for a safe and healthy summer camp season in Waterloo Region. Whether you try one of these or discover something else, we hope it’s a summer to remember.

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Check out these additional Summer Camps in Waterloo Region:

Bingemans Summer Fun Camps

Homer Watson House and Gallery Summer Camps

Schneider Haus Summer Day Camps

Waterloo Region Museum Summer Day Camps

KW Humane Society Virtual Summer Camps

YMCA of Three Rivers Summer Camps

Focus on Nature Summer Camp

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Alex Kinsella is a freelance writer and marketer based in Waterloo Region. He’s the guy behind TL;WR – Waterloo Region’s weekly events newsletter. He’s worked with some of Canada’s most well-known tech companies in roles including customer success, development, product management, PR, social media and marketing.

Alex has contributed to publications including BetaKit, Grand Magazine, Community Edition and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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