Mention computers and karate in the same breath, and most kids think of the ultra-popular video games Mortal Kombat. But this summer, a new computer camp introduces Squamish kids to the real world of martial arts along with newfound computer skills.
The Hotspot on Cleveland Avenue hosts the Sea to Sky Freenet Association's Cyber Camps, a series of weeklong computer camps with the added component of martial arts training. Beginning Monday (July 18), Cyber Camps encourage kids to develop and enhance basic computer skills, become knowledgeable about safe computer and internet use and explore talents in computer art and animation. And this year, the program coordinators decided to team up with Hotspot's next-door neighbour, the Squamish Martial Arts and Yoga Centre, to include exercise and variety to the day camps.
"Martial Arts teach children to develop self-control and self-confidence, build strength, endurance and flexibility and learn self-defense in a fun and safe environment," said Harbinder Sangha, the association's youth intern community resource worker at Hotspot.
The Sea to Sky Freenet Association is a non-profit charity committed to providing barrier free access to internet and computer technology for all members of society, regardless of socio-economic status.
The full cost of the camp is $129, but the association offers interested campers a free or sliding scale depending on financial situations, and sponsorships from local businesses are helping to offset costs.
"One of the prime motivations for camp is the knowledge that disadvantaged kids who don't have computers at home and available all the time, are further disadvantaged in school when compared to their more privileged peers," said Pam Gliatis, coordinator at the Sea to Sky Freenet Association. "The sponsorships allow us to offer more free spots and still raise some revenue for the overall organization."
Martial Arts Centre owners are also charging a cut rate of under $6 an hour for lessons from youth instructors experienced in coaching younger kids.
The camps run Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Aug. 26 with the martial arts component taking up one hour of the day between 11 a.m. and noon.
Businesses interested in sponsoring a child can call Gliatis at 604-815-4142.