July… and August
Camps begin in July. Most of our camps are five to six days long. And the camps are held over 5 weeks in the summer, (except the Senior Graduate Sessions, which are held biannually). If you are thinking of going to camp this year, make sure you check the website in January to see the new camp dates and make sure to save the dates!
At 12 and 13 years old, Juniors are the youngest youth at camp. This is usually your first level at camp. The activities at Junior Camp are intended to help you get into the co-operative mindset. The camp activities are fun, interactive and get you thinking everything “co-op”, while still being age-appropriate. This level is where the ENERGY is INSANE! These kids keep you running, literally! Best part of Junior Camp last year? It was the game of sardines, where a Staffer accidentally let the most adventurous and feisty camper be the sardine. This is a kid who wouldn’t be afraid to fight a bear, or a forest fire, on his own. It was the best game ever!
Honorable Mentions: JANET!!!, Junior Staff
The Youth who come to Co-op Camp have a wide variety of personalities. They are everything form a shy first timer, to a super self-assured alumnus, who is ready for anything. These people are the reason we have camp! They bring an open mind, and it’s our job to fill that mind with knowledge about co-operatives, leadership, teamwork, and communication. They are good kids who are ready for a good time, and we are going to provide one 😊
Kindness is the currency at Co-op Camp. We call kindnesses “Warm Fuzzies”. You cannot be at Co-op Camp and feel like people don’t genuinely care. The people who set camp up put the Free Zone in place to help to make sure that campers are safe and happy all week at camp. You can’t even be unkind to yourself! There are no put-downs allowed, even self-deprecation is frowned upon! Kindness is king!
Honorable Mentions: Kickball, Keepsakes, Knowledge
Letter to Sponsor
When you come to Co-op Camp, you don’t have to pay for the whole thing by yourself. You will have a co-operative organization pay the majority of your camp fees for you. This could be a credit union, a retail co-operative, an insurance co-op, a health care co-op, really, any organization that is co-operative! We thank these organizations by sending them a Letter to Sponsor. This is a chance for you to explain what you got out of going to Co-op Camp, and by sharing with the sponsor, why you think they should continue to sponsor youth again the following year. Sometimes, the sponsors will ask you to come and give them a small presentation about camp, and you have an opportunity to thank them in person! Without our fantastic sponsors, there would be no co-op camp!
AKA a Camp Bath! There is no feeling like cool lake water on a hot day. It wakes you up, cools you off, and is super refreshing! Also, after you are in the Last Mountain Lake Mud Pit, the lake scrub makes your skin so soft and smooth, we should charge extra for this spa treatment!
Honorable Mentions: Lightning storms, Last Mountain Lake, Long Bus Rides
Co-op Camp is a magical place. The Magic of Co-op Camp is something that is hard to describe to an outsider. It is a place where strangers become friends! Kids become youth, who become young adults, who become leaders. Co-operation and respect lead to amazing outcomes week after week at camp. There is a reason that campers come back year after year, and they turn into alumni who come back as staffers year after year. The Co-op Camp Magic is a real thing that you have to experience to believe!
The Last Mountain Lake Mud Pit is the thing of Legends! I was leery to venture into the mud pit, but once I sunk my toes into the squelchy squishy goo that is the mud pit, I was hooked! There is something fantastic about playing duck, duck, goose, or red rover in a slimy slippery mud pit. The way your skin feels when you have a thick layer of dark mud drying onto it is almost indescribable. The exfoliation on your knees and elbows, GLORIOUS! Plus, it just feels fun to let go, and toss handfuls of mud at each other in a lighthearted and playful mud fight.
Honorable Mentions: Mosquitos, Mission Improbable, Mom AKA Camp Mom
Camp is held at two locations in Saskatchewan where our provincial catchphrase of the “Land of Living Skies” can really be true. The last time I was at either one of the camp locations, I got a fantastic peek at the northern lights, PLUS, there were some clear nights where I could see stars for miles. As a city kid, I am too used to the light pollution that ruins the night sky, and the beauty of the constellations above. Co-op Camp in the evening is a great place to sit back and look up.
Yes, we will know your name at camp, but you still have to wear your name tag. Why? Well a couple of reasons. First, there will be new staffers who don’t know you and you don’t know them, or you might just be a first timer at camp, so you don’t know anyone’s name. Second, there are some secret symbols or words put on your nametag for part of some of the games we play at camp, so you need to know what team you may end up on. Lastly, the Rec & Bylaw crew at camp may come up with a fun rule about having, (or not having), your name tag on, so you had better have it on you at all times 😊
Honorable Mentions: New Friends, Networking, Ninja (Ultimate)
A lot of your time at camp is spent outdoors – from wide games, a few sessions, or evening activities – which means camp can suck in the rain! Luckily the weather is beautiful 95% of the time*. I love spending my summer outdoors soaking up the fresh air and catching a few rays! Plus, the scenery of the boreal forest at Candle Lake or the prairie skyline at Last Mountain Lake cannot be recreated indoors.
*statistic totally made up, and not entirely factual, more hopeful!
At Co-op Camp, you are free to be 100% yourself. There is no need for pretense or faking any part of who you are! We are a community of open-minded people. Inclusivity is more than a buzz word here with us. We LIVE the motto, “Be Yourself”. The Free Zone is a real thing. Free to be what you want and who you want. No Judgement from your Co-op Camp Family!
Honorable Mentions:Overnight, Orientation
People posters are one of the best souvenirs of your Co-op Camp experience. Think about the best greeting card you ever got and combine that with the best hand written letter or note from someone you really care about. Now mash these together, put it on a giant sheet of paper, and this is a people poster. It’s a memory of the people you spent your week with and a love letter to you from all of your Camp Fam that shows why people like you!
A little friendly prank might be allowed at camp, (your Camp Coordinator will let you know the rules on day 1 of Camp), but because we are living in the Free Zone at camp, all pranking that is allowed, must be done in a light hearted and friendly way. We are family, and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or break anything that doesn’t belong to you. Always remember the Golden Rule; if you wouldn’t want it done to you…don’t do it.
Honorable Mentions:Participants, Program Officer, PA's, Photographs
Ahhhh…. Can you hear that? It’s the crickets, and the leaves rustling in the trees, and the birds chirping… It must be quiet time! Enjoy these 10 minutes, because soon enough you will have teenagers running around, shouting to their friends, laughing and singing, playing frisbee, or ladder golf, and basically being teenagers 😊Camp is a noisy cacophony of happy sounds, so when it is peaceful, be sure to enjoy it.
Honorable Mentions:Questions, Quotability
Keep your eyes peeled for Part Three (letters R-Z) coming soon!