Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Creating Summer Family Traditions at Taylor Statten Camps in Algonquin Park

Taylor Statten Camps SignEvery year for the past five years, Nanna, Poppa, Uncle Andrew and The Zoo gather for a Family Tradition in Algonquin Park. For five nights, we brave drafty cabins, night visitors (think mice, bats and bears) and toilets that are a 15-minute walk along a nature trail.

We enjoy home-cooked meals prepared by someone other than ourselves, have our laundry done for us, the opportunity to enjoy more activities than we have time for, and sing songs that only our camp friends know the words to. There’s something romantic about getting back to nature if only for a short time.

Speaking of romance, my parents actually met while staff members at the camps and I’ve been going to September Camp* (almost every year) since I was three. If you do the math, you’ll see that The Kids were 5 months old when they attended camp for the first time where they enjoyed their first bite of food in the Dining Hall.

September Camp is a Family Tradition.

This year, was the best so far. The Kids were in their element and it was contagious. Within the first 12 hours, they’d tried more activities than I’d done in the past 14 years. I’m not exaggerating. One huge benefit was that they were old enough to really engage and participate in the kids program. They loved hanging out with staff members who gave them their undivided attention, play with kids their own age and get a chance to do activities that they might not otherwise.

September Camp 2014 - Artemis at Pottery

Artemis spent a lot of time doing crafts, drawing on the beach and at the pottery shack. She even got to bring home her artistic creations.

September Camp 2014 - Max in the Water

Max spent a lot of time down by the water. He loved being pulled around in a water raft while being serenaded and spent so much time in a canoe that Nanna and Poppa bought them both their own paddles.

September Camp 2014 - Max Paddling

For the past year, both of them have been talking about the horses they rode at September Camp the previous year. They remembered their colours and their names! Turns out that the same horses were there again this year** and they got to ride them several times.

September Camp 2014 - Max Riding a Horse

There were nature hikes disguised as cats.

September Camp 2014 - Nature Trail

And running on the beach like no one was watching.

September Camp 2014 - Running on the Beach

Evening activities included games night (with CANDY!), sing songs and always a campfire with marshmellows.

September Camp 2014 - Artemis Sleeping

All the early mornings and fresh air seemed to have a way with everyone and afternoon naps were a daily occurence.

September Camp 2014 - Family

Do You Have any Family Traditions?

* Which isn’t necessarily held in September. It begins the day after the Summer Camp for Kids ends.
** Well, not exactly but I’ve been trying to lie to The Kids more. Yes, you read that correctly, more…

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52 thoughts on “Creating Summer Family Traditions at Taylor Statten Camps in Algonquin Park

  1. Amy Lovell

    Went here as a child was a blast!!! Although to this day I swear a water armadillo rubbed against my foot while swimming in the lake!

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    I simply love it when there is this sort of family tradition and it can be carried on down the line. The kids had so much fun they were exhausted :-), a time they’ll never forget.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Ali,

      A family tradition can be something as simple as “Sunday Pancake Breakfast” or a walk in the park. We are fortunate to have a place where all of us can go and the financial means to do it.

      Besos, Sarah
      Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
      Sarah recently posted…I Should Lie More To My KidsMy Profile

      Reply
  3. Lynda Cook

    sounds like a great place and something not just for kids but for the whole family, and to have someone else do the cooking and washing is a big bonus!!!

    Reply
  4. Rob Brydon

    Our family tradition is for each of us to make a Christmas Ornament each and every year and put our names, the year made and then paint them. We put all of them from the current and past years on the Christmas Tree for all visitors to see, the first year was hand prints and they go one from there.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Rob,

      What a great tradition! A family friend used to give my brother and I an ornament every year. She also did it for The Kids their first Christmas. It’s bitter sweet because she had one made for Alexander before he died. I will cherish it forever. Unfortunately, we don’t put up a Christmas tree… http://www.journeysofthezoo.com/2013/12/non-traditional-holiday-tradition.html

      Thanks for all your support and Good Luck!

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…I Should Lie More To My KidsMy Profile

      Reply
  5. Elva Roberts

    I loved the fact that your meals were provided -giving Mom freedom from the kitchen chores.
    Our traditions are: having a family barbeque on July 15, which happens to be my husband’s birthday; and a family get-together on Christmas Eve -both at our home. Any family member on PEI is expected to come and we usually have a wonderful time, chatting and getting caught up on family news.

    Reply
  6. Wanda Tracey

    Our family tradition is very much like yours.Our family gets together every summer and we all camp together for at least a week in one of our national parks or along the St.Lawrence.We swim ,fish and have bonfires and just a wonderful time too.I enjoyed your pictures and am so glad your family had such a good time.

    Reply
  7. Lori Bazan

    Family traditions is what memories are made from. We use to also go down to the Lake as a child I the good times from my youth are still with me now!

    Reply
  8. Karen Evans

    Family Traditions are important and can be such fun. I was a single mom of 2 back in the late 70’s and although we didn’t have much money, my daughters would love it when we played “Treasure Hunt”. I would leave clues in my home and yard. Written in paper, they would all be numbered, because if you accidentially found clue 18, when you were looking for clue 4…you had to put clue 18 back. I lived out in the country, and the neighbours children would join in the fun. One person would win/find the treasure….but everyone would get a bag of surprises. My daughters are doing “Treasure Hunts” with my grandchildren and everyone is loving it. Thank You 🙂

    Reply
  9. Lee-Ann

    I would love to start a summer family tradition. Will have to be next year though..especially since it snowed today!

    Reply
  10. Ronald G

    We have a family tradition also, though it is not as wonderful or inclusive as yours..we get the whole family out to the cottage for the August long weekend

    Reply
    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Ronald,

      A family tradition can be something as simple as monthly ice creams and doesn’t even need to be with family 😉

      My Mother’s side of the family (cousins, aunts/uncles and kids) used to get together every August long weekend and it was a highlight of my year. Unfortunately, people have gotten busy and my Aunt is no longer able to host it so we haven’t gotten together for four years. Hoping to change that next year.

      Otherwise, have any openings at your family get-together?

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Share Your Child’s Milestones and Photos with Loved Ones @HiMamaSocialMy Profile

      Reply
  11. Maria Medeiros

    Truly lovely pictures!!!! Sometimes we have movie nights, also we go and have ice cream nights. I wish we had more time. its sad we have to work too much and not enough time to spend or make family traditions. I love your post. lovely.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Maria,

      We are so lucky that my husband works for himself so we have more time as a family. However, we make sacrifices in exchange for that time. Life is all about balance and having fun and it sounds like you have that. Thanks for all your support and kind words. I appreciate it.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Death Should Come with a ManualMy Profile

      Reply
  12. Kate Hearn

    We don’t have any travel traditions or anything like that, but Sundays are family day in our home. We get up and have a huge breakfast, then each of us gets to pick an activity for everyone to do. Does that count?

    Every Christmas eve we have a huge family get together just to get a chance to see everyone because Christmas day is pure chaos. That has been happening on my dad’s side of the family since I was little

    Reply
    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Kate,

      That absolutely counts as a Family Tradition. I know how fortunate we are that we get to vacation as a family every year. Without my Parents support, we wouldn’t be able to go.

      Every Sunday we have pancakes and spend the day working outside (we have a huge property) or inside playing games. My husband and I try and stay off our computers too. Try 😉

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…The Phoenix Has Risen… AgainMy Profile

      Reply
  13. AlwaysARedhead

    A few years ago we went on vacation to my uncle’s farm, it was a lovely time but I also knew it would probably be the last one with our kids. My children are young adults now, they have summer jobs and just can’t take a week off to go away. It was fun time, but sad, my realization the kids would be starting their own traditions.
    AlwaysARedhead recently posted…Day One of my self-imposed writing challengeMy Profile

    Reply
  14. Alayne Langford

    I have always wanted to go to Algonquin Park! The funny thing is that a couple of my children have been on school trips and absolutely loved it! My son looked out the window one day to find a Moose staring back at him!! Talk about memories of a lifetime!! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Ronald G

    What a tremendous assortment of entertainment..our family tradition is to gather at the cottage every long weekend in August

    Reply
  16. Christy E

    Looks like a ton of fun! My sister & I and our spouses try to go to our aunt’s cabin every year. It is a bit remote and no electricity so it is extremely relaxing

    Reply
  17. Mishelle

    Our family traditions got shaken up by a divorce so the kids and I create new ones and the old parts we liked! Right now our b-days have them, the b-day person picks the meal we all share (breaky, lunch or dinner) and what we eat then we watch movies together. No matter the day (school or weekend) we also do it.

    M

    Reply
  18. Nena Sinclair

    Looks like a great time! Here in Manitoba, our September has been cold and wet, so it wouldn’t be much fun camping! We had a late spring and an early fall 🙁

    Reply

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