I was born and raised in the city. I am a true urbanite. Every summer the only camp I went to was the one hosted by the City “Parks & Rec” or Vacation Bible School because Grandma paid to send me.  We didn’t have that many choices for summer camps, not like today, and as soon as I hit 14 I began working because making my own money was waaay cool…and my parents wouldn’t pay for anything I bought from my favourite vintage shop “Courage My Love” in Kensington Market. 

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Friends in my ‘hood are surprised that I have never been to overnight summer camp …EVER. 
But step outside of the ‘hood and if you talk to my friends who’s families are of European or Asian backgrounds and you’ll realize that it’s not that uncommon. Our families weren’t comfortable sending us away for overnight camp so young..not like today. Even my Italian friend is sending her daughter for her first time this summer – she’s 15.  
Well, our 12 year old finally said he was ready to go away to overnight camp for the first time. Hubby and I never pushed the idea because we, as a family, travel quite a bit and our kids are exposed to many different cultures and experiences. But now that the older kid and has expressed interest, we’ve researched the options and have asked our friends. The same camp kept coming up in conversations. So, in March we signed him up for camp at Muskoka Woods located 2 hours north of Toronto. 

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If you’ve heard of Muskoka Woods you already know it’s a little more that the average camp. Their property spans 1000 acres of pure fun in a natural setting. They also offers off-summer camp season programs to school groups, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, church groups, and corporate retreats. 
So, as mentioned, I’ve never been to camp. I’m a TOTAL city girl. I prefer high heels over Birkenstocks. Glitter over sweats. I fully admit that I’m a  Girly Girl (did you see Nancy Johnston’s write up?) It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate nature. Au contraire! I do! I love fresh air and being by the ocean. I’m just not that rugged outdoorsy type (and I hate bugs). We’re all different, right? 
This past weekend UrbanMoms was invited to Muskoka Woods (pure coincedence) for a media preview. I decided that it would be a great idea to attend (with my son) for the 24 hour trip up north so I could get a “taste” of what I’ve missed in my childhood and so he could see the lay of the land. 
I had said this to the organizers …
a) I don’t know how to swim
b) I don’t know how to ride a bike
c) coffee is a must
d)  there’s wi-fi, right?
e) can I bring vodka? (..they answer quickly on this one. uh…NO)

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About 20 media moms (bloggers, tv, magazine reporters) attended the weekend with our kids and bug repellent in hand.
We were provided a very tight schedule of activities to give us as much of an experience as possible within the given time period. They insisted that the moms get fully involved in the activities with the kids. When I read that I thought to myself  I. AM. SO. DEAD. 
BUT CHIN UP! I really wanted to check this camp stuff out first-hand. I had lots of encouragement “You will LOVE it” Jen Maier, founder of Urbanmoms said to me and others kept telling me “It’s more of a resort, it’s an experience”. Got it. 
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I WAS GOING FOR THE EXPERIENCE. 
And it was! I’m still alive!  I am happy to say that my kid and I both enjoyed the weekend more than expected! I didn’t do all the activities but my kid did almost everything.

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There are plenty of activities for campers to experience from rock climbing and ziplining, to canoeing, wakeboarding, mountain biking, tennis, golf, dance, inline skating, skateboarding, swimming, arts & crafts, archery (sadly, I would lose at the Hunger Games on this skill alone), and more. 
Evening programs include campfire songs  - hilarious! And skits put on my councillors and kids together. Entertaining..and always with positive messages. No ghost stories here. They don’t really do that. Can you imagine getting kids to sleep after telling them stories? They know what they are doing. 

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The camp councillors were encouraging and never intimidating the kids or moms do things they truly didn’t want to. I really liked that. I’m not one to be pushed into anything, trust me. The camp program leaders are passionate about their areas of expertise. They’ve already begun their leadership training this past month in prep for the summer season. They will also offer instructions to kids who have never tried  activities like skateboarding. What a great way to learn something that you may have never tried before! 
Most of the kids that were on our weekend didn’t know each other but I was amazed at how quickly friendships had formed within the 24 hours. Even for myself!
Most of the mommy bloggers here already have established friendships for several years now. I’m not a wall flower and I can usually hold my own in a room full of strangers. But, I was really relieved to have met some amazing moms in the community that I have seen on social media sites and now we’ve become friends as well…I figured that camp does that! I had mentioned to my son prior to going that this is one of those cool things about camp – you get to make new friends! So, both of us did! 
This preview of Muskoka Woods  totally prepped my kid for his upcoming stay and helped me feel more comfortable as a mom who’s never been to camp.  As soon as he got home he was al
ready talking about the experience with his buddies. I asked him if it’s what he had expected..and he said “it was more”. Cool. 

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For kids who are still unsure about overnight camp, Muskoka Woods offers a “test drive” where parents can arrange at the beginning of a camp week to let their child try it for a couple days and then let the child opt out if they choose to. 
Muskoka Woods is definitely an experience that offers kids many opportunities to try things that they may not have a chance to normally. It’s a very organized, safe and fun place to be even for a week or more. Even from the words from our own camp councillor Josh (who we’ve now nick-named Mountain Dew – as he’s a mountain bike instructor) this weekend, they think of everything…no stone is left unturned here!
You’re wondering if I did anything wild & crazy? Yes, I went on the giant swing and hoisted up 75 feet up in the air and released. Screamed like a lunatic! yep.
Visit their official website at www.MuskokaWoods.com for more details on summer camp.
I can already see how great memories are made at summer camps like this! 

I’d love to know what your favourite memory is of camp ? 
Bring on the S’mores!
I’ve included a few more photos here just for fun!
  • Sara

    LOVE! My first summer camp experience was brutal – BUT it gave me my best memory ever – my mom pre-mailed a letter so the first day of camp, I was the only camper to get mail. So awesome!

  • Sonya

    it was way better than I had anticipated..also due to the fab moms that were on this trip! And the flask? I should have picked up the blingy swarovski crystal encrusted one I saw in Beverly Hills. Darn it! ;)

  • Tracey

    This sounds awesome, lady! I never went to overnight cam either… for all the similar reasons you described. I can appreciate the outdoors too, though – I just never know what time of day to wear the sequins is. *snort* No vodka? You need a boot-flask, sistah… (Heh.)
    Great pics too, Sonya!!

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