5 Calgary Summer Camps to Sign Your Kids Up For
Have your kids learn the basics of biking, send them to university or give yourself a real break by registering your kids for overnight camp.
For working parents (or those who need at least a week’s break over the summer) summer camps are a necessity. They keep the kids busy and safe while their folks are working and help prevent young minds from turning into mush during the annual two month hiatus from the classroom. Young Calgarians have dozens and dozens of camp options to choose from, and with so much choice, it can be difficult to figure out what’s what. Here are some of the biggies to get you started (many of them still have room if you’ve been slow to register this year).
Age: 7 to 17 (16 and 17 year-olds take leadership roles)
Dates: July 5 to August 28
The YMCA’s Camp Chief Hector is Calgary’s most famed overnight summer camp and for that reason it’s painfully difficult to get into. Kids get to go out into nature with programming varying depending on the child’s age and if they choose options like hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. The camps are either six or 13 glorious days long – enough time to expect some classic camp letters sent home. If you don’t luck into getting a spot for this year, keep in mind that registration for next summer starts in December and you need to be quick on the button if you’re not alumni and want to get in.
Age: 4 and older
Dates: June 29 to August 28
It may feel a little weird to pay someone to teach your kid to ride a bike but if you’ve experienced the frustration of arguing with a five-year-old about the necessity of taking off their training wheels, Pedalheads is for you. Available as a full or a half-day camp, Pedalheads sessions take place in empty fields all over the city. Younger kids learn the basics of riding and experienced riders take on trickier challenges and learn about bike maintenance and the rules of riding on the road.
Age: Kids entering kindergarten through high school
Dates: July and August
The University of Calgary’s program is massive – taking your kid there on their first day can be overwhelming, because of the number of kids attending the high-quality courses on offer. Thankfully, it’s an extremely organized chaos. Just about every interest group is catered to, with specific camps offered for kids who are into sports, technology, art, science, outdoor activities, or movie making. It’s a great chance for kids to hone in on their individual interests and get a feel for the big campus. The U of C also offers off-site overnight camps and on-site day camps for teens.
Age: Age 4 to kids entering Grade 9
Dates: June 29 to August 21
Most kids like hanging out at the Zoo over the summer anyway, so why not formalize it with a summer camp? The Zoo’s camps are split up by age groups, with more intensive science and conservation topics available for older kids. The younger kids get to frolic among the animals (and go for an arts-specific stream if they choose) while older elementary and junior high age students can take workshops with zoologists and get more in-depth behind the scenes experiences.
Age: 3 to 14
Dates: July and August
These are kind of a no-brainer, since most parents of young kids likely attended Calgary Parks and Recs camps as youngsters themselves and the City has consistently offered high quality day camps for children, covering art, sports, computers, and other interests. Camps are held at most of the city’s aquatic facilities (hence, a lot of swimming opportunities) as well as the North Mount Pleasant and Wildflower Arts Centres for artsy types. Camps are either half or full day, depending on the program and facility and pre and post care is often available. Most importantly, so many programs are offered that you can often squeeze your kid into something if you realize that you have a gap in your summer childcare at the last minute.