Animation Kidz Under the Tent is offering an eight-week summer day camp this year in Montreal West/N.D.G. Initially conceived as backyard programming, the camp hosted a short session last August on the grounds of St. Philip’s Church, where it is located again this summer.
Co-founders Andrew Farmer and Samantha Patel say they created the camp out of a demand for smaller, family-oriented day camp programming. They modeled their venture on the old-school summer camps of the 1980s and 90s, where kids played sports while learning a new skill several times a week.
A typical day will blend interactive group activities like capture the flag and parachute games with DIY-style crafts and creative twists on traditional sports. Older campers can participate in a leadership program and learn more elaborate skills, such as wood burning.
Geared to kids 5-14, each week will have a different theme and a speciality day that includes a lunch and notable activity. Fridays are “prize days” for kids who rack up enough points to earn a reward.
“COVID kind of changed the concept of the [summer] camp,” Farmer says. “A lot of camps used to have speciality activities that take kids to different locations.” Instead, this camp aims to bring traditional field trip activities — such as water slides or laser tag — to a single location, he says.
Health measures are a priority for the camp. Before the day begins, all children will undergo temperature checks and all equipment will be sanitized. Craft materials are individually packaged. And on days when indoor activities are necessary, campers will move to a recreation room for STEM programming like robotics, allowing for social distancing and mask-wearing. “It’s cozy, it’s fun, and it’s very safe because we have small bubbles,” Patel says.
The camp offers extended pick-up time in the morning and afternoon. There will be a designated zone for pick-up and drop-off; parents are not allowed on site per the camp’s pandemic-safety protocols.
Farmer says the mission is to make the camp feel like a second home for campers and an exciting place to spend the day.
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