Camp Tamarack: The Hidden Gem of Our Community
Campfires, legendary games of capture the flag and s’mores: there are few childhood experiences as memorable as a week at summer camp.
Since 1978, Grande Prairie’s own Camp Tamarack has been responsible for creating lifelong memories for young people in our community. The camp deals in authentic, natural, and adventure soaked memories that develop character and leadership in their participants.
Cassie Bloy, also known by her camp name “Emerald”, is the Director of Operations at Camp Tamarack and has been in the summer camp game for 14 years. When talking about the camp her passion is undeniable, “I keep going back because of the kids. Getting to see their growth year after year is…well, you can’t find a more rewarding job”. Camp Tamarack is ripe with opportunity and activities that suit all children, and has been providing a barrier-free camping experience for years. “It is our mandate to serve all kids,” says Cassie, adding that: “Regardless of socioeconomic background, cognitive ability or physical ability, we will work with families to always find a way to say ‘yes’.”
Cassie and her counsellors work diligently to provide a safe and fully integrated experience that benefits all children. “We want all kids to develop and learn the essential skills of connection, empathy and community,” she says. The 70 acre, 55 bed camp is fully accessible for all kids, with paved trails and accessible buildings. “We have predominantly seen campers with ‘invisible’ disabilities access our camp, but we would love to see all ranges of abilities.”
The Alberta Camping Association accredited camp boasts a new climbing tower, zipline and giant swing. As well, Camp Tamarack offers survival skills, fire building, practical and theatrical crafts, games and horseback riding. “We want our campers to be immersed and connected with the natural environment,”states Cassie, adding they rarely spend time indoors except to sleep and eat. “It gives kids the opportunity to get outside and connect to nature in ways they normally don’t have access or opportunity to.” Removing further barriers to attend their camp, they also offer “camperships” to provide financial assistance to help more kids get to camp. This money is provided to the camp from fundraising efforts by the County of Grande Prairie Fire Fighters and usually allows 16-20 kids the opportunity to have a life changing experience.
Camp Tamarack also offers school programs in the shoulder seasons to provide outdoor education opportunities, day camp to multi-day camp, within the school year. There will also be a “Try It Day” July 2018, where kids can go to camp during the day, to get more comfortable with the experience. They then can choose to stay overnight on the Thursday evening if they wish. Camp Tamarack will also be offering a teen leadership program May 2018 where teens age 14-17 years old can develop problem solving skills, communication strategies and overall leadership skills that they can use to volunteer at the camp during the summer. “This really is a resume booster for teens. Getting a professional reference at 15 is a great opportunity,” says Cassie.
Luckily, this picturesque camp experience is located only 7km outside of our city. From sleeping in a teepee and learning how to roast the perfect marshmallow to gaining confidence and making new friends, this camp offers so much for our community. It is truly a hidden gem that has been serving our community for decades and will continue to provide a welcoming and inclusive opportunity for young people for years to come.
Camp Tamarack is ripe with opportunity and activities that suit all children, and has been providing a barrier-free camping experience for years.
imageDESIGN is excited to have helped Camp Tamarack launch their brand new website at camptamarack.ca as well as present them with a cheque for our annual Christmas donation in support of a deserving non-profit organization.