Fun + Reflection = Confidence is the equation at Muskoka Woods, a few hours north of Toronto, where campers from ages 7 to 17 try everything from baking to zipline to stand-up paddleboarding. Many staff and leadership members are Muskoka Woods alumni, proving summer camp is an experience for a lifetime.

Fun is the key ingredient of the summer camp experience. It’s where kids get to be kids. Young people often worry about their grades or extracurriculars, and many battle mental health issues. Camp is a place to get outside and develop healthy attitudes.

Every summer, camps are filled with campers and staff from across Canada and around the world. They might only see each other once a year, but they stay connected through social media and look forward to a reunion each summer. Counsellors serve as role models, deepening the camp experience and guiding campers’ growth.

There’s a real chance for kids to get out of their comfort zones, whether it’s their first time away from home, learning to wakesurf, or performing in front of peers. At home, kids often face pressure to fit in. At camp, personalities are forged in a unique environment and kids get to be themselves.

Most camps offer a leader-in-training program, where teens are mentored and take part in experiential learning activities to acquire communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Camp inspires kids to shape their worlds.

Some parents want to stay in touch through cellphones, while others seek a more unplugged experience. But all camps offer an opportunity for reflection, whether stargazing, sitting by a lake, or talking with a supportive counsellor. There are few places better positioned to help young people think about who they are and their place in this world. When thinking back on childhood, camp memories are often revisited as pivotal moments for personal development.