Warmer weather and slower schedules mean summer is a great time to explore, learn and have fun. From outdoor adventures to intensive retreats to honing skills and cultivating passions, summer camps in and around Squamish offer something for everyone. Find some inspiration below.
Camp Summit is a sleep-away adventure camp that takes advantage of the natural beauty found in the Sea to Sky region. Located 20 minutes from downtown Squamish in the Upper Squamish Valley, kids aged four to 17 take part in hikes, mountain biking, bouldering, high ropes courses, arts and crafts and overnight camping trips. Geoff “Parky” Park, its senior director, says many campers come back year after year, giving it a “real family feel.”
The camp has an online registration form at campsummit.ca.
Blackcomb Glacier ski and snowboard camps
Who says you can only catch sweet air on the mountain in winter? The glacier on top of Blackcomb Mountain can be skied year-round, and camps like Momentum Ski Camp and Whistler Blackcomb Summer Snowboard Glacier Camp offer kids and adults alike access to snowy conditions in mid-July with world-renowned coaches.
John Smart, director of Momentum, says he thinks it’s the “phenomenal lineup of coaches” that makes the experience stand out. Skiers have the chance to be mentored by Olympic medallists to improve their mogul skills, slope-style or big mountain skiing.
Everyone takes two gondolas before boarding a bus to the glacier near Seventh Heaven each day.
Kids nine and up are welcome in the camps, and so are adults during the adults-only and family weeks.
Remember to lather on the sunscreen, since rays reflected off the snow can be intense.
Skiers interested in Momentum can find a link to register on their website and snowboarders should call Whistler Blackcomb at 1-800-766-0449.
Squamish Youth Sailing and Kayaking Camp
Kids can get out on the water and learn to sail in a safe and fun environment at this day camp. Trevor Chelswick, who started the camp with his father, says children as young as seven can learn to steer their own boat within the first couple of days, and it can help them gain a sense of confidence.
“It’s cool to see how quickly the kids progress, especially with the winds in Squamish,” he said. “It’s not a daycare.”
Youngsters start in the more sheltered waters of the Squamish harbour, but can get out into Howe Sound once they become more advanced.
Sessions run between July 2 and August 24 and links to register can be found on the Squamish Yacht Club’s website. Kids seven to 14 are welcome.
This camp already has two locations in Montreal and San Diego, and this summer they’re offering a new one in Squamish.
Mariano Liu, the camp’s founder, said they wanted to focus on putting together something new and fun for teenagers since many summer camps in the area cater to younger children.
Children 10 to 17 will be guided on overnight expeditions to some of the region’s most rugged and beautiful scenery. They’ll camp at Alice Lake, see the three splendid Joffre Lakes and summit Panorama Ridge.
In between, they’ll enjoy other activities like kayaking and mountain biking.
“We wanted to share the love of the Sea to Sky [region] with the rest of the world,” Liu said.
Ecolart prides itself on being an international camp and usually brings in many youth from overseas who want to learn English while participating in their adventure programs. Local campers can choose to sleep-away or stay at home in between expeditions.
Participants use Quest University’s facilities when they’re not out camping in the backcountry and can also go on excursions to Vancouver and Whistler.
Register at campecolart.com.
Paradise Valley Summer School of the Arts
For one week in July, this camp offers budding artists an outdoor studio to practice new techniques with experienced mentors guiding them.
“They do a lot of art, probably around five hours a day,” said Bev Myrtle, who helps run the camp.
It’s a week-long sleep-away retreat at the Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale that has kids hiking and canoeing when they put their paintbrushes down.
Myrtle says learning from artists in nature rather than in a classroom is what makes it a special experience for creative kids.
This year the artist-in-residence for junior artists ages eight to 12 will be M.E. Sparks and kids 13 to 18 will work with Justin Ogilvie.
Attendees can expect to draw, paint, sculpt and create mixed media pieces.
Online registration forms can be found at gordonsmithgallery.ca.
Squamish Academy of Music — Broadway or Bust
This three-week musical theatre day camp brings together children to put on a fully staged production of a Broadway musical. This summer, they’re working on Music Man.
“It’s a very intensive program,” said director Melissa Braun. “There’s no time for kids not to put themselves out there or fully commit to what they’re doing.”
Each morning, kids rotate through acting, singing and dancing classes with trained instructors. They can improve their auditioning skills, improvisation, and vocal technique while working towards a play to that will impress friends and family. In addition to the main group production, campers also work on individual projects like dance solos and monologues that they’ll present at a review show.
Braun said it’s a treat to watch kids who started as young as seven grow up to become accomplished young adults who may join professional productions in the region.
Youth aged seven to 18 are welcome, and registration links can be found on the Squamish Academy of Music website.
Whistler Sports Academy Day Camp
This sports day camp lets kids hone their skills at a sport of choice every morning and then cool off in Alta Lake every afternoon. From tennis to gymnastics to jiu-jitsu, young athletes of every inclination will find a way to burn off energy with help from coaches.
“If you have five kids, we’ll have something for each kid,” said founding director Jamie Grant.
But no matter what sport they choose, they’ll spend the hottest part of each day kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing.
With 12 different sports specialties to choose from, Grant thinks it’s the variety that makes his camp special. Kids three to 18 are welcome.
A registration guide can be found at WhistlerSportsAcademy.com.
Young people itching for an adrenaline rush can find it at this camp that offers some thrill-inducing action sports. The day camp welcomes groups of kids three years old and up.
One of their most popular offerings is the Try Squamish camp, which gives kids a chance to try rock climbing, mountain biking and trampolining.
“It’s an introductory camp to sample the best of Squamish,” said Airhouse’s general manager Phoebe Harper.**
Another popular option for young skateboarders is to take advantage of the facility’s freestyle park.
With any sport, kids can choose between an AirVenture camp, which is more introductory with games and activities mixed in, or the coaching-intensive RadVenture camp which is focused on athlete development.
Links to register can be found on Airhouse’s website.
Horse Dreamers Camp at Mountain Horse School
Kids at this day camp spend their summer surrounded by mountains near Pemberton learning horse sense on the ground and in the riding ring.
Kera Willis, the camp’s founder, says she wanted to set up “a really small, intimate experiences with horses.”
The camp’s sessions are limited to four participants who are guided by Willis through riding each morning and nature-themed crafts in the afternoon.
The group catches the horses from the field together, grooms them and tacks them up before a semi-private lesson with Willis.
She has two children ride at a time while the other two watch to see what the motions look like from the ground before trying themselves.
“We end up like one big herd through the experience,” she said.
Every afternoon, Willis tries to tune children into the natural world around them. Parents can expect their young ones to bring home handcrafted paper embedded with wildflowers, horse hair ornaments, and homemade fruit leather.
Willis also has lots of experience working with those with autism and ADHD, and welcomes neurodiverse campers.
Registration links can be found on the Mountain Horse School website.
Finally, this organization proves that summer camp doesn’t have to just be for children. It started in 2016 to tap into adults’ nostalgia for summers gone by, with the idea that camp gets even more fun when it’s adults only. It’s friendly for grown-up schedules because it runs over one long weekend every summer. The location, called Camp Potlach, sits along a beautiful stretch of Howe Sound that’s only accessible by boat.
Ashley Moore, one of the founders, says she’s really proud of all the counsellors they bring in because they’re all entrepreneurs “up to cool things in the city.”
Yoga classes are run by teachers from Vancouver and bootcamps may be led by instructors from Equinox.
The weekend offers summer camp favourites including bonfires, “real talks” and team games. There are also things on offer that won’t be found at kids camps like sessions on goal setting and local craft beer.
“People just let down their barriers and had a lot of fun,” Moore said of the 2017 session.
Registration is at Chasecamp.ca
**Please note, this story has been updated since it was first posted to reflect that the Airhouse camps are available for children three years and up and to correct the spelling of Phoebe's name.