Wild Side Day Camp

Tired of the endlessly structured but hopelessly boring day camp? Or the huge, unwieldy and structured but crazy day camp? We’ve tried all sorts and finally gave up. Why? Because we wanted our boys to explore the city at their own pace and directed by their interests in doing so. We didn’t want them to be endlessly managed, corralled and shuttled back and forth on the metro/bus to canned kid experiences. So we decided to create the camp we were looking for: one that involves lots and lots of walking, one that allows us to explore the city unbound by scheduled group tours, and one that fosters an appreciation of nature and adventure.

Here’s our take and our requirements: Though we will do other things from time to time (such as going to LaRonde and the Botanical Gardens), most of our time will be spent exploring every single one of Montreal’s seventeen large parks. Each day, we will choose a destination as well as a departure and return time. However, the path that we follow and the time we spend at each destination will be dictated primarily by the young hominids—that is, structured around their interests, their sense of time, and their approach to play. If they see and want to go to an awesome park that we happen across along the way, so be it. We stop. When they seem ready to move on, we move on. We provide lunch and snacks along the way, with organic produce that is either from our garden or locally grown. We are a husband and wife team with two sons, ages 12 & 13. Our camp is thus decidedly and deliberately small (i.e. up to a dozen total). So, we invite your kids to join in the ride if this sounds like the experience you have been waiting for as well.

Your kid must be between 8 and 13. And your kid must be able to go on very long walks. If this sounds like the day camp you’ve been looking for, send us a message. The camp will be happening for only three weeks in July this year: July 11-July 15; July 18-July 22; July 25-July 29. The price is $270/week (payable in advance, now, via PayPal) and it’s first come first serve.

—John Faithful Hamer & Anna-Liisa Aunio

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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