For the third year in a row, Avery packed up her belongings and headed off to Circle Square Ranch in Brantford for a week of fun. She was not alone this year though, because Griffin also went for his first time. Avery was going for a full week of Discovery Camp while Griffin was going to Junior Camp which is Monday to Friday. We opted to add an extra day for Griffin, so he actually went from Sunday to Friday.
Driving into the ranch is always a fun experience. You turn off of the highway and drive very slowly on a long and winding road that is lined with cute signs that say “Keep Going” or “Almost There”. Horses and barns can be seen along the way and it feels like you are miles from any cities. The camp staff are ready with instructions and directions for camp arrivals so there’s never any confusion as to what we do next. We headed off to the main building to register the kids, hand in medications and do the required lice check. While it may feel a little awkward to have the kids’ heads checked for lice, I appreciate it because I don’t want them bringing home any surprises.
Next we head off to their cabins. The junior campers sleep in covered wagons. There are 8 bunks (4 bunk beds) in each wagon and there is a counselor assigned to each wagon. Griffin chose his bed and was introduced to his counselor, and then he basically said “See ya” and forgot about us in seconds. Okay, hopefully he didn’t actually forget about us, but I expected some sort of teary goodbye from the child who used to cry for 6 hours straight at day care. It was a pleasant surprise!
Next we were off to Avery’s cabin. The Discovery campers sleep in these buildings and for the second year in a row she was in the top left section. She chose the exact same bunk as last year and then had a much more difficult goodbye. We’re not sure why it was so hard for her, since she loves camp and wanted to go back, but she struggled with her goodbyes and had to eventually be left with her counselor to distract her. I’m happy to say that I was told she recovered quickly after we left and really enjoyed herself at camp.
Circle Square Ranch is a Christian riding camp. The kids all learn how to ride horses and take part in adventure activities like low ropes, high ropes, rock wall climbing, rope climbing, ziplining and archery. They swim and play games through the week too, and they have a focus on faith and God.
I love that when they go to camp they discover games and activities that have nothing to do with electronics, batteries or buttons! This simple ring toss game is a popular one at Circle Square Ranch and Avery has mastered it!
On Griffin’s last day of camp we got to watch him in a little rodeo just for junior campers. Afterwards we went to his cabin and gathered his belongings, said our goodbyes and went to the main building to sign him out. He made some great friends and had a fabulous time, but he chose not to try many of the activities like high ropes, ziplining and rock climbing. He did try low ropes, horseback riding and he absolutely loved archery. He was not a fan of the bathrooms at camp. The junior campers use their own bathrooms that are in a nearby building, and they are a little more rustic than the bathrooms the older campers use. He was not impressed, but it was his only real complaint.
On Avery’s last day of camp there was a BBQ for families and we had the chance to walk around and see some of the activities. Avery demonstrated her awesome rope climbing skills (above) and took some turns at archery too. Her favourite camp activity is ziplining and she tried everything.
Both kids loved the theme dinners through the week. We were given their themes ahead of time and they brought costume items to wear for each meal. You don’t have to spend an elaborate amount of money on these, it can be as simple as a t-shirt or pair of glasses that fits the theme. It’s a lot of fun and the cabins earn points for participation.
I gauge the success of camp by their eagerness to return, and both kids told me that they want to go back the next year. Griffin loved his counselor and wants to make sure that Jason is there again next year (I hope he is!) and Avery just gets more comfortable each year she goes. It’s a great growing experience for them.