Category Archives: Family Time

Why my Kids Love Ontario Pioneer Camp

It’s always fun to get a kid’s perspective on things, so I thought it would be fun to get my 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son‘s feedback on what they liked about our recent visit to Ontario Pioneer Camp (OPC) in Haliburton.  Also be sure to read our full retell of our awesome weekend at OPC as a family here!

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Why were you excited to go to OPC?

I was excited because I really wanted to meet new friends

I really wanted to go so I could try archery

What did you think when you first arrived at OPC?

I was really happy we were there even though I was tired from the long car ride.  The show at the Crow‘s Nest was cool and so was the campfire with s’mores

I thought that it was going to be fun! I saw that there were cabins and it was really big.

What was your room like?

The room was big and had bunk beds.  I slept on the bottom so I wouldn’t fall out. The bathroom had a shower

Our room was cozy.  It had bunk beds and a desk. Oh and we all got camp shirts!

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What your favourite part of the shows?

The Crow’s Nest is a cool building for shows.  I like the 3 Little Pigs and all the Mommys and Daddys being funny. 

The camp councillors acting silly…throwing balls in each others faces and dumping water on each other.  The songs they taught us were fun.  

What was your favourite thing you ate?

Ice cream sundaes

Pancakes

Note from Mom…The food was awesome and healthy despite their faves! 😉

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What did you think of the following activities?

Archery

It was good.  I think I was really good at it

It was awesome because you get to use a bow and arrow and i’ve always wanted to do that.

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Crafts

I was really excited to do the crafts because I am really really good at crafts

They were cool

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Low Ropes  Course

It was hard but fun

Epic obstacle course

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Rock Climbing Wall

It was really easy because they put gear on you and they helped pull me up

I thought it was really high but really cool.

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Canoeing in the war canoes across Clearwater Lake

It was really peaceful and quiet

Pretty long and there were a LOT of people in one canoe. 

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Fire Blazers game

That was my favourite part because they had water balloons

It was really fun.  Even the parents had fun

Going down the big water slide at the Girl’s camp

It was really fast and I had no goggles on so I got water in my eyes.  It was fun but cold

The water looked too cold for me so I just watched

What was your favourite activity?

I really liked doing the rock climbing and crafts

Archery

Were the campfires fun?

Thumbs up!  Good for roasting marshmallows and I loved the campfire stories

S’mores were yummy.  I thought it was cool that they lit the big fire on the beach by using a flaming arrow

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What did you like about the Beach area?

We could swim and build sand castles.  There were canoes and they set fire works off from a canoe at night time. 

There was beach volleyball, canoes you could ride in and they had tons of life jackets.

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Can you tell me about the Camp Staff…

They were all lots of fun.  Stitch did Gangnum style on stage cause he loved camp so much.  They did a funny show the first night.  They were so nice

They are all funny.  They were kind because you could tell they liked kids a lot.

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Did camp make you sleepy?

YEP…a little bit

No not that much

Note from Mom…Both were asleep the minute their heads hit the pillow!

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What do you love about OPC?

I had a fun time and made new friends

There was so much to do and lots of outside time.  I also liked trying new things

What would you do to show how much you love camp?

I would eat a hot pepper

I would let people throw water balloons at me

What would you like to say to the staff at OPC?

Thank you for inviting us!

Thank you all for being so much fun.  I LOVE camp!

What would you like other kids to know about OPC?

You should go there because it is a lovely place. When they ring the big bell you have to come running because it means it’s time to eat or change activities.

OPC is a wonderful place because it has nice staff, you can make new friends and it’s a lot of fun

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Would you like to go to OPC as a camper?  Why?

Yes because it is really fun and I really liked the beach.  I liked everything

Yes…yes I would!  I really think it would be fun to be with kids my age.

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Ontario Pioneer Camp is #1 in our Hearts!

How often do you get to step back into your childhood and play like a kid?  This past weekend I was given the chance to do just that as my family was invited to be guests at Ontario Pioneer Camp (OPC) in Haliburton!

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To be honest at first I was mostly excited for my kids as they have never been to camp (yet) and I thought they would have a blast.  Well I was right that they had a ton of fun but my husband and I had just as much fun …maybe more!  Sit back and enjoy as I retell our amazing time at OPC and also be sure to read about our kid’s thoughts on why they LOVED OPC!

Right from the moment we were invited I knew this was going to be a special place and a wonderful getaway for our family.  A week or so before we went we received a package in the mail.  Not expecting anything, I was totally excited because really who doesn’t love getting mail, let alone a package!  OPC sent us a camp care package filled with thoughtfulness!

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On the day we were leaving, the kids were up at the crack of dawn asking if it was time to leave yet and I only heard that asked about 40 more times that day.  😉 Finally we were overpacked and ready to go! With a little pit stop at Webers for dinner along the way (thanks to the certificates OPC gave us in our care package) we rolled into OPC after dinner.

VWK Roadtrip

We were welcomed with big smiles from the OPC staff and let me tell you, those smiles and their enthusiasm never wavered through our entire weekend!  I truly think OPC hit the jackpot when they secured their staff.  Every single one of them were fabulous and helped to make our weekend a great time.

Day #1 – Getting to know OPC and their staff

Once were all checked in and settled in our room we went to meet up with the other blogger families in the dining hall.  The kids would have been happy to spend all of their time here on the ping pong table, Ed’s alley and playing the games but OPC had a night of fun planned for us.

VWK OPC first night

We went to a show at the Crow’s Nest that night that was full of humour, goofiness and even required a lot of audience participation much to my chagrin. I am not one to jump up and volunteer but I wanted to make the most of this opportunity so I agreed to participate in an eating competition.  It was absolutely hilarious to try and move an Oreo that was stuck to my forehead into my mouth using only my facial muscles to get it there!  I could hear my children laughing and cheering me on from their seats and I knew I was making the cool Mom category today.

Next stop….bonfire with s’mores!  The kids were in their glory stuffing their faces with marshmallows and s’mores and the camp staff was right there getting sticks, cooking marshmallows and telling stories to the kids. The kids could have stayed here all night but there were games and nachos waiting for us in the dining hall.

Day #2 – Rise and Shine Campers…it’s going to be a fun and busy day!

Saturday was jam packed full of activities!  Once they filled our bellies with a yummy breakfast we got to try our hand at archery, climb the awesome indoor rock wall, make some crafts and try out their low-ropes course.  Now let me tell you, the kids were excited about all the activities but I think the kid in every single adult came out as we tried to master all of the activities as well.  What a fun time to put the worries of your everyday life aside and have some good true fun!  I loved how the kids cheered on their parents as they tried out the activities and you could see pride in both the parents and kids eyes as they watched each other complete the activity.  We saw fear turn to courage, uncertainty turn to pride and most importantly we saw families having FUN!

VWK OPC Activities

In the afternoon we got to spend some time on their beach where you could play beach volleyball, go for a swim, take a family canoe ride or just relax and take in the beauty of where we were!  Once again the staff was there checking us in to the beach area so that everyone was accounted for, getting us out on canoes, teaching the older kids to kayak and even showing off their volleyball skills.

At one point in the afternoon they loaded family by family into their huge war canoes and we paddled across the lake to see all the different areas of OPC.  It was amazing to see all the camps, cabins, dining halls and certainly one of the coolest things was their worship area, Chapel Point, which is a point where all the camps come to meet on a Sunday morning to worship the Creator of their beautiful surroundings.  We made our way to the Girl’s Camp where we were given a tour and the kids got to go down this awesomely fast water slide into the lake.  Now some watched (yes I watched) but others braved the speed and cold waters below and said it was a great thrill!!

After dinner we were split into two tribes based on our bandana colours, put on war paint and were challenged to defend our camp’s fire.  What a blast this was!!!  Kids and adults were to sneak up on the other camp’s fire and throw water balloons on it to try and extinguish it.  I think at one point this game was all about the adults as our competitive sides came out and felt the need to win.  In the end I don’t even know who won but there was a lot of laughs, some really soaked people from an impromptu water balloon fight (which I may or may not have started) and a great bonding experience.

Back to the dining hall where we all indulged in a late night snack of make your own ice cream sundaes and then off to bed.  I think the kids lasted all of 15 seconds once their heads hit the pillow this night.  Fun times = exhausted children 🙂

Day #3 – Our time at OPC comes to an end and nobody wants to leave

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When we woke up on the last day I felt a bit of sadness knowing we had to leave this wonderful camp, the great staff and blogger families we had met.  We all met for a another yummy breakfast, got in a few last chats, pictures and a couple last games of ping pong and Ed’s Alley.  As we packed up our room, I listened to my kids talking about all the fun things they did, all the friends they made and how they can’t wait to come back.  Their conversation ended with a pinky swear to each other that they would come back together without Mommy and Daddy and have a great adventure!  My heart melted at that moment as I knew they had seen, as I had, what a super special place Ontario Pioneer Camp is.

Summary of my Rambling Thoughts…

  • Ontario Pioneer Camp was amazing
  • Their staff and recreational facilities are top notch
  • Food was delish
  • My kids (and their parents) can’t stop talking about it to everyone
  • Nobody wanted to leave
  • We can’t wait to go back!
  • Your kids will LOVE this camp!  Register them now
  • Ontario Pioneer Camp was named as one of the Best Camps in North America  and we can see why

Would I send my kids to Camp?

Before this weekend I would have said nope they’re not ready.  As it turns out it was probably Mommy that was not ready.  After this experience I would send them to OPC in a heartbeat.  I think it gives children maturity, courage and a great sense of camaraderie.  You could tell the staff loved what they did and had a true passion for working with kids.  OPC you will see my kids in the near future!

From one parent to another trust me when I say that your kids will have the time of their life at OPC, will be well taken care of and NO they will not want to come home when their time at camp is over!  Check out what Ontario Pioneer Camp has to offer for your child (Ages 5-17) and you will keep sending them back year after year!

Things I learned at camp…

I know that we never stop learning but there were things I learned about myself this weekend that surprised me so I can only imagine what a child can learn and walk away with after a week at camp!

Trying Something new

I am not one to normally step out of my comfort zone so when they asked for volunteers at the camp show the first night I was NOT the first person to raise my hand.  After some encouragement (ahem finger pointing) from my kids I did get up there.  Little did I know I would be sticking an Oreo cookie to my forehead and trying to move it into the mouth by only using my facial muscles.  It was a hoot and I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone!

I AM Courageous

So I strapped on some climbing gear and decided to climb the rock wall.  The kids are doing it and i’m not afraid of heights so it should be pretty easy.  Boy was I wrong!  As I neared the top something came over me and I started to shake pretty bad and the first thought that came into my head was “I’m out!”.  How easy would it have been for me to come back to the stability of the ground and say I tried it.  From the ground I could hear my kids cheering me on as well as my new camp friends telling me “You can do it”.   In my heart of hearts I knew I could do it and persevered until I hit that bell at the top.  Although still shaking when I made my way back down, I was proud of the courage I found deep within with the help from my supporters on the ground.

You CAN make camp friends as an adult 

Going into this weekend I knew only one other family that was going.  From the moment we got there we were meeting and talking to all these new “blogger” families and instantly knew these were good people.  I enjoyed meeting all the parents and their fantastic children and by the end of the weekend we were all hugging each other goodbye.  The staff was the same way, we felt like we knew them when we left and we were very sad to say goodbye!

Coffee can NOT combat the tiredness of going to camp as an adult

I am not a child and do not pretend to be able to fully keep up with the energy that one has. I did think that the copious amounts of caffeine I consumed would keep me awake and raring to go all weekend.  I now know that there is nothing that can keep you awake after a fun-filled day at camp.

Mosquito repellant works

In our camp care package from OPC we received bug repellant.  Thankfully we brought it along as with spring time comes mosquitos.  Although the mosquitos were a swarming, we each only came home with a couple of bites.  So thank you OPC for thinking ahead for us and sending us bug spray!

Memories last a lifetime

We are so grateful that we were given this opportunity to visit OPC.  We took a ton of pictures and met great people but in the end each and every one of us left with great memories that we will always remember!

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Goodbye OPC!  

Thank you for welcoming us with open arms and sharing your wonderful camp with our family. See you soon!

That blah time between Fall and Winter

So it’s chilly enough outside that the kids need to bundle up when they go outside but the fun white stuff isn’t on the ground yet.  With this in-between weather I find it harder to get the kids out for fresh air as they seem to be at a loss for what to do.  Summer toys are all packed away, Mommy says I can’t stick my tongue to anything metal and the extra puffiness of the winter coat throws off the balance while riding bikes.  Fun times!!

I have decided not to push outside time during this bleak nothing weather but a few weeks ago I found myself asking for it to please let it snow soon!

For some reason I think girls are easier when it comes to entertaining themselves.  My 5 year old will colour, paint and cut paper into a million little pieces onto my kitchen floor for hours.  She can swing on the playset in the backyard until her face is red and numb.  I have even taught her the fine art of unloading the cutlery from the dishwasher.  Perhaps next week we can work on perfecting her mopping skills.

My 7 year old son is thankfully in school full time because he is much harder to keep off the electronics. He does have a fond love of reading and LEGO is one of his best friends…well until his little sister enters the room like King Kong and destroys the creations.  Bratty (but extremely cute) little sisters is a whole other post!

We have found that night time family walks to look at Christmas lights is getting us outside time right now and I must say I LOVE it!  It’s a time that we are all together without the distraction of the phone, tv and chores around the house.  We walk hand in hand and get to talk and giggle.  We get to hear silly made up stories, we vote on our favourite lights of the night and we just enjoy being together.  Our kids ask when we are heading out for our walk which makes my heart smile because I know they enjoy it as much as we do.

So that Blah time between Fall and Winter….thank you for getting my family out for our nighttime silly walks that we all truly love and look forward to.  I can’t wait for what fun the snow will bring but perhaps it can hold off until Christmas Eve!

“If I can’t go to Disney World … “

From the mouth of my 4 year old daughter “If I can’t go to Disney World then i’d like to go to Great Wolf Lodge”.  Of course our kids would love to go to Disney World every day but seeing as our money tree still hasn’t started to grow in the backyard they are always bugging to go to Great Wolf Lodge.

This past weekend we surprised them with a visit to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara and they we ecstatic!  When we pulled into the parking lot the squeals from the backseat were near deafening followed by lots of “thank you Mommy and Daddy”.  This was our 4th visit to the Lodge and every time seems to get better and better and mostly I think it is because they are older and can do more.  We booked a cool Kid Camp room which meant they had their own little area with bunk beds and a tv.  The room was very clean (upon arrival), fully stocked with towels and let me tell you that our bed was SO comfy!

All suited up and off to the watepark we goooooo!  So much to do, where to start?  Wooly Mammoth won as the first trip down the slides.  This has always been a favourite of ours as even the little kids can ride with the family as long as they can sit up on their own.  What I love about GWL’s water park is that there are slides where DD (4 yrs) can ride with a parent so she really isn’t very limited at 42″.  Big slides, smaller slides, lazy river, wave pool, big bucket dumps…we did it all over and over and over.  Apparently this is the time of year to go because we never had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes if at all.

Generally we don’t eat all of our meals at GWL as it can be pricey but they now offer a meal add on at check-in which is $45/adult and $20/child for a breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Really it’s a great deal.  I found the food was tastier this time for some reason and there seemed to be so many more options from burgers and fries to sandwiches and salads so everyone can easily find something they want to eat.

Yes the waterpark is the main attraction at GWL but there is also so much more to do outside of the waterpark.

Kids Club is a fun place for parents to go with their kids for some down time and so your skin can unwrinkle!  They can play with toys, colour, paint and for an additional cost they can paint a pillow case or t-shirt, get a tattoo or participate in the pajama party.

DS loved the arcade… well I think hubby loved it just as much as we didn’t see them  for a while!   Much like a Chuck E Cheese, you can play games to win tickets and in exchange they trade their tickets in for small prizes.  What kid doesn’t love this?

Story time is a must do!  Put the kids in their jammies, grab their favourite stuffie and gather round the Oak tree in the lobby for a show and a couple of very animated Robert Munsch stories.  Best part is at the end when they make the kids promise to go right to sleep once they get back to their rooms and the kids actually agree!!!  Truly by this time they are exhausted from all the waterpark fun so generally they fall asleep within seconds of their heads hitting the pillow.

In the morning the kids are invited to do a wolf walk where they learn about the different animals in the lobby, learn to walk and howl like wolves and get to make a wolf craft.  Again, another fun little add on that the kids really enjoyed.

Next time the kids are excited to participate in Magiquest which is a live action adventure game where the kids have a magic wand in-hand and wander around the lodge looking for enchanted objects, learn from an ancient wizard, battle a goblin and outwit a dragon.

Yes a trip to GWL can become pricey but there are always deals to be had which we will keep you informed about on our FB page

4 million stairs climbed (give or take), bad hair day for 2 days straight and exhausted parents but happy children and great family fun had by all …can’t wait to do it again!!

Kids love to swim year round but unfortunately our Canadian weather does not allow for this in the outdoors year round.  Thankfully there are some options in terms of indoor water parks that fit all different budgets and wants.  Some allow you to visit just for the day but they all offer overnight packages with or without food included.  Here are some links to indoor waterpark fun in Niagara.

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara

Massive, 84-degree indoor water park. Splash the day away in over 100,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, including jaw-dropping slides for thrill seekers or zero-depth entry areas for little ones. Outside the water park, the fun continues. Get an ice cream-themed manicure in Scooops Kid Spa before gathering your family in our Grand Lobby for nightly fireside Story Time, the perfect ending to a Great Wolf day.  They have some packages available on their website

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

3 acres of indoor family fun featuring a mammoth play area, the massive 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, enormous 6 storey high    waterslides, the full-sized wave pool, year-round outdoor activity pool and sundeck,plunge bowl, two oversized adult only Jacuzzis and  achildren’s play area.  You can visit just for the day or choose one of their overnight packages.  The Fallsview Indoor Water park features direct indoor connections to three superior Niagara Falls hotels, the Sheraton on the FallsCrowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview Hotel and the Skyline Inn for your accommodation needs.

Waves Indoor Waterpark

Located at the Americana Resort in Niagara Falls – A 25,000 sq foot indoor waterpark complete with a beach entry wave pool,
tube slides, body slides, kiddy pool interactive play structure, whirlpools, lounge areas and food & bar services.  Here you have the option of paying for day use or staying overnight with one of their all-inclusive packages.

Happy Splashing and enjoy the Family Fun!