back to imageDESIGN

Grande Prairie's online lifestyle magazine.

archive view articles category:

Camp Tamarack: The Hidden Gem of Our Community

By Katherine Weber

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 as well as present them with a cheque for our annual Christmas donation in support of a deserving non-profit organization.

Katherine Weber

Contributor: Katherine Weber

As a life long resident of Grande Prairie, Katherine is passionate about the people and stories of the Peace Country. After graduating from the University of Alberta, Katherine returned home to begin teaching high school. She sees writing as a way to tell the stories of her home to the world.