Student stories

Building community at Vikes summer camps

Jayme Forrest

University of Victoria

By Jamie Forrest

In the summer months of 2017 I was able to work as a Vikes Summer Camp Leader for the University of Victoria’s (UVIC) summer camps. These summer camps are located on campus, mainly within the two athletic facilities, CARSA and McKinnon. The UVIC summer camps are a great way for children to get involved with the university, experience the beautiful facility of CARSA and most importantly have a fun, exciting, safe and positive time over the course of the summer.

There are nine weeks of camp for children ranging from the ages of four to thirteen and a wide variety of different camps to choose from. The camps range from varsity lead sport camps to adventure and summer fun camps. All summer camps have a unique aspect about them making each one exciting and a great time for the children wanting to participate.

Vikes summer camps are a great way to bring the surrounding community together, I was able to witness first hand all the friendships made between not only campers but parents, leaders and staff members. Although, the bulk of the campers do reside in Victoria there were also a lot of children visiting from across the world who participated, learned something new, improved on their English, and made some Canadian friends.

My role working for UVIC in their summer camps was as a Senior Leader. As a Senior Leader I would organize the activities and run them throughout the day for the children, deal with any problems that might occur throughout the day, and handle any medical concerns. One thing I really enjoyed about this position was the fact that each day is completely different, with the exception of a few favourite camp games.

With each day being different made this job exciting and fresh throughout the whole summer. Not only was each day different, but each week was also different, I never did the same camp two weeks in a row. Each week I would get a new group of children, with the exception of a few, and be doing a new set of activities throughout the entire week. As a summer camp leader it is necessary to know each child within your camp, their allergies, what their wearing each day, who their friends with and more just to ensure their safety, that being said this job can be very exhausting because when you’re at work its hands on at all times.

I really enjoyed my time working directly with children, I believe it is a necessary step before joining the recreation and health world, a place where there are a lot of children. Working with a variety of children with ranging capabilities is also a great tool for the future, there will always be people who disagree, don’t understand or need some extra help and through this job I was truly able to gain the skills to mediate, problem solve and be the best leader I possibly could. All of these qualities relate closely to what I have learned so far within the Recreation and Health Education program and ones I wish to take forward with me in my final year of school. 

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