Registration is now open for Blue Lake Camp and other youth programs with Columbia Outdoor School.
COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for campers, as per provincial regulations. However, Columbia Outdoor School strongly recommends that campers who are able to get vaccinated do so.
On Jan. 10, 2022 the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) announced that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not required to attend camp this summer. Camps are required to put measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus.
The announcement came just in time for Blue Lake Camp registration, which opened on Jan. 12 and closes once spots are full.
“At Blue Lake Camp, the health and safety of our campers, staff and guests has always been of utmost importance,” said Todd Hebert, Executive Director for Columbia Outdoor School and Blue Lake Camp. “As such, all volunteers, board members and staff have been fully vaccinated. We believe in science and that vaccines are safe and effective and provide us with a path towards returning to normal camp life. To ensure our commitment in keeping Blue Lake Camp a safe place to visit, we strongly recommend all campers attending Blue Lake be fully vaccinated prior to their arrival to camp.”
There are programs for both young campers and youth leaders in the spring and the summer, with registration online at columbiaoutdoorschool.com.
Shonna Murphy, Director of Programs for Columbia Outdoor School & Blue Lake Camp, explained that thanks to a generous donation from the Rick & Marg Jensen Family Foundation, the price for the winter youth leadership program has dropped significantly – a 60 per cent discount off the regular rate.
“Rick and Marg Jensen have been incredible supporters of Columbia Outdoor School and Blue Lake Camp. They place huge value on developing leadership skills in youth and have generously provided support for the build of our new high ropes challenge course, and our outdoor youth leadership programs,” Murphy said. “We run two teen leadership camps annually, once in the winter and once in the summer.”
The Winter Outdoor Youth Leadership program takes place during March Break at Blue Lake Camp, intended for youth ages 14 to 18.
“The youth will spend a week at camp developing their leadership, communication, risk management and outdoor winter survival skills,” Murphy said.
Summer outdoor leadership takes place for two weeks at the beginning of the summer camp season in July. It’s intended for youth ages 15 to 18 and is ideal for someone who wants to become a counsellor at Blue Lake Camp.
“This program has been developed to provide training for youth who are interested in working in a camp, outdoor education, or youth program setting,” Murphy explained. “They receive a certificate of completion to add to their resume as well as a certificate from the BCRPA called HIGH FIVE Principals of Healthy Childhood Development. The Summer youth have the opportunity to return to camp the following weeks to volunteer and put their new skills to the test and gain work experience.”
The annual Christmas Tree fundraiser was also a success this past December, raising nearly $2,000 to help send kids to camp.
Add to that, the Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap in Cranbrook has raised enough funds to sponsor more than 60 campers this year. They asked the community to purchase Christmas tree ornaments over the holidays, with all of the proceeds going toward camper sponsorships.
“The Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap crew continues to blow us away. Their team has been raising money for annual camps since they opened,” Murphy said. “The ‘Little Dirt Bag Camp’ is for local kids who are deserving of a weekend away. Campers are nominated by teachers, family and friends to attend.
“The Little Dirt Bag Camp is unique because the Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap staff come up and act as camp counsellors with the Blue Lake Staff team. You’ll find them playing guitars and singing with the kids by the campfire, paddling in canoes, polar bear dipping and creating incredible memories for these ‘little dirt bags’. Their team embodies our Get Out! philosophy. We are so lucky to have them in our community.”
As the Fire Hall said in an online post, it gives kids the chance to get outside and have some good, clean fun.
“Most of the kids we take couldn’t afford to do this. Most of the kids we take need this. All of the kids we take deserve this.
No tech, no drama, no stress. Just fresh air, games, dirt, and a safe place to be a kid.”
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