Teaching children about a family’s religious traditions can happen in many ways, including through a summer camp program. Both in and around Montreal, there are several camps where the daily program includes time to learn about the Jewish or Christian faith.
Five years ago, Montreal mother Corrie Sirota-Frankel decided to send her daughter Justine, to the Camp B’nai Brith during the summer. Justine did not attend a Jewish day school, and, as her mother explains, “we wanted her to have a positive, fun experience while getting a flavour of her Jewish tradition.” Justine enjoyed attending so much that she is returning this year as an SIT (staff in training). She says the camp found the right balance between traditional activities like swimming and the programs that encouraged children to explore the Jewish faith.
At Camp Frontier Lodge, which focuses on the Christian tradition, a focus on spirituality is part of all activities. “The spiritual element flows to everything; we want to help children have a physical, mental, social, and spiritual experience,” says executive director Steve Townley.
There are daily chapel times and campers are encouraged to think about the messages they’ve heard in the Bible readings. However, religious camps aren’t appropriate for every child, says Townley. The young person has to have an interest. But after a few days, most children make a few friends, settle in and enjoy the experience, he adds.
Here is a list of camps offering programs with a religious focus. Call or consult the camp websites for detailed descriptions of activities offered, which can run the gamut from creative arts (drama, music, painting) to swimming, soccer and other activities. Religious themes may be explored through guest speakers, group discussions, readings or special events.
Jewish Summer Camps
Sleepover (residential) Camps
Camp B’nai Brith of Montreal
Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
Dates: June 25 – July 19 and July 22 – Aug. 15
Ages: 8-15, will accept children with special needs ages 8-16
Costs: $1,700-$5,270. The camp offers a $1,000 grant to cover fees for children who have never been to day camp and are not registered in Jewish day school. They also provide financial aid for low-income families.
Information: Call (514)735-3669 or visit www.cbbmtl.org.
Camp B’nai Brith Ottawa
Border of Quebec/Ontario, near Ottawa River
Dates: June 27 – Aug. 15, which can include two and three-week sessions or a weekend session.
Costs: $150 up to $6,425; grants of $1,000 are available for campers who meet eligibility requirements.
Information: Call (514) 396-7091 or visit www.cbbottawa.com.
The Harry Bronfman Y Country Camp
Dates: June 30 – July 25, June 30 – Aug. 9, June 30 – Aug 19, July 26- Aug 19. They offer a one-week session for first-time campers from July 26-Aug. 1, a two-week “starter” camp from June 30 – July 14 or July 26 – Aug. 9 and a weekend program from July 9-11.
Ages: For children who have finished Grade 1 up to Grade 10.
Costs: $150 up to $6,500
Information: Call (514) 737-6551 or visit www.ycountrycamp.com.
Lac Mercier, Quebec
Dates: July 6 – Aug. 17
Ages: 7–5, with a special leadership program (Camp Biluim) for teens 16 years old
Costs: $1,920 to $4,700
Information: Call (514) 735-3167 or (800) 804-6661 for Camp Biluim or visit www.ckb.ca.
Camp White Pine
Haliburton Highlands, Ontario
Dates: July 1-27, July 1 – Aug. 21,
July 27 – Aug. 9, July 27 – Aug. 21
Information: Call (416) 322-6250 or visit www.campwhitepine.com.
The YM-YWHA Day Camps
Montreal and West Island
Ages: 4-12 (special needs from ages 4 & up) at the Montreal location; 21/2 -10 for the West Island location
Dates: June 28 – Aug. 20
Cost: $220 per week (sibling discount available)
Information: Call (514)737-6551 (Montreal) or (514) 624-6750 (West Island) or visit www.ymywha.com.
Christian Summer Camps
Sleepover (residential) & Day Camps
Eastern Townships, Quebec.
Dates: July 4 -10 (ages 13 –17), July 11-17, Aug. 1-7, Aug. 8-13 (ages 8-12), July 18-24 and July 25-31 (family camp). Week-long day camp sessions also offered July 11-17, Aug. 1-7 and Aug. 8-13.
Ages: 8-17, plus families
Costs: $155-$325 with reduced rates offered to low-income families.
Information: Call (819) 843-2019 or visit www.cssm.ca/livingstone.
Eastern Townships, Quebec.
Dates: July 4-Aug. 21 (one and two-week overnight and day camp sessions available)
Information: Call (819) 844-2277 or visit www.frontierlodge.org.
Dates: June 27 – July 3 (French) July 4-17, July 18-31, Aug. 1-7, Aug. 7-14
Information: Call (819) 868-0431 or visit www.parksideranch.com.