5 Reasons Why You Should Send Your Kids to Circle Square Ranch
January 18, 2018
Confession time, my kids first time away at an overnight camp wasn’t at Circle Square Ranch. Probably not the best way to start this post, but stick with me for a few moments. The irony isn’t lost when I share that I’m also an alumni staff member, and met my husband at the Ranch. We don’t need to go into how many years ago that was, but let’s just say Sister Act was the hot movie that year, and I was sporting teased hair and a spiffy pair of Tretorn shoes! Needless to say, the Ranch runs deep in our family’s veins.
And now you’re wondering, why I sent my kids to another camp?
Truth be told, I sent them to a camp in an idealistic lakefront setting in the Muskoka’s. (Disclaimer: No, it wasn’t Pioneer Camp Ontario, although I hear good things about it). But there I said it…I sold out. Yes, my girls enjoyed their week away, and it had everything a parent could want for their kids, but I sort of felt like we were cheating on our beloved Ranch. And so, we decided to send our girls to the Ranch the following summer. Before I knew it, it was July and I was driving up the winding road to the dining hall with a tear in my eye, while blasting the nostalgic Steven Curtis Chapman song “Saddle up Your Horses”.
Here are 5 reasons why I decided to send my girls to the Ranch:
1. The People
The staff and volunteers truly do care about being there for the campers. Trust me, they don’t do it for the money, as the summer staff only earn a small weekly honorarium for the joy of working with your kids. From the moment you arrive for Sunday check-in to time that kids head home, every step of the way is clearly communicated and executed by attentive staff.
You can’t beat the location. Sure, it’s not located on a Muskoka lake, but it is conveniently located approximately an hour west of Toronto, and an hour east of London, right off the 403. Updated with newer amenities and indoor plumbing (trust me, this is a big deal), this camp has everything a city-slicker and a traditional camp enthusiast could love.
3. Programs & Activities
There isn’t much that the Ranch doesn’t offer. Programs range from Discovery Camp (weeklong overnight camp), to Day Camp, Horse Speciality Camps, Junior Camp, Girls Camp, Boys Camp, and special Teens and Leadership Camps.
The activities also provide options for everybody including; swimming, archery, high ropes course, horseback riding, arts & crafts, a zip line, a hammock village to relax in, camp wide games, and much more. Did I mention that horseback riding was included in the price?!? Most camps offer that as an extra fee (…just saying).
The Ranch offers various ways for families to save including early bird registration, bring-a-friend discounts, and parents can save up to 50% off a week of camp by volunteering to serve in the kitchen. I actually took them up on that and served as a parent volunteer.
5. Accredited Memberships
The Ranch is a member of the Ontario Camping Association (OCA), The Canadian Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCI Canada), and Ontario Equestrian, and they work hard to ensure safe, quality camp programs.
Sending your kid to camp is a huge milestone, and to be honest, we live in a province with so many amazing summer camps, and the choices are endless. At the end of the day, it comes down to taking into account the five reasons I mentioned, knowing what your child is interested in, going with your mother’s intuition (or father’s intuition, for that matter), and in our case, going where it what feels like home.
So, what was the verdict after my kids experienced a week at the Ranch? They LOVED it! In fact, my youngest prefers the Ranch to the other camp, and my oldest is begging to go for two weeks this summer. You don’t need a lakefront camp to have a memorable summer. If you haven’t done so already, check out what the Ranch has to offer and consider it this summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll even see you during Sunday registration check-in. I’ll be the one donning the latest in hairnet fashion as I gear up to volunteer again in the kitchen.
Nicole Sivyer is a wife and a mom, and has been involved with Circle Square Ranch ever since she was a camper the summer of 1987. When she’s not writing and working as a communications specialist; she can be found running her mom-taxi to shuttle her kids to their activities, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.
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