family,  Health

Dear Mom Camp Series – April – #MuskokaWoods

Dear Mom: This month for our third post about Muskoka Woods I am not going to hound you, or remind you about signing me up. I know you are looking after that and I can’t wait. Soon I will start my end of school countdown. I am getting so excited. I am going to let you talk this month here because I know you have a lot to say and I know you are still thinking about whether Ainsley can manage overnight camp yet or not. So, over to you and Tada! 
(I always wanted to say that.)
Your daughter,

Last May, the girls and I spent a weekend at Muskoka Woods. It was one of the greatest experiences we have had here on my blog The weekend was epic hands on fun from start to finish. It was also a chance to quiz the staff on important things that all Moms care about. Like: Are you peanut free? How do you manage life threatening allergies? Are you near a hospital? How do you handle children with special needs? How much does this camp cost? What do you do if a camper hurts themselves? What do you do when, or if, a child gets home sick? What are the staff ratios? Click on the link here to my first weekend at Muskoka Woods camp to read the answers to all those questions.

The skilled staff answered all my questions and then some. I was impressed. But, what struck me most about Muskoka Woods was the world class, accomplished staff. Many were incredibly educated, energetic, bright and worldly. Some were stunning athletes. All spoke to the parents politely, the children respectfully and it was remarkably apparent they each had high regard for the camp, the world, the environment, children, and the future. My youngest child still asks about Brillo and Tippy.

This year I am posting all about camps and choosing camp for your child and ways to save money at camp. We are covering all the angles. My regular readers know last year was the first time Payton ever went to overnight camp. It was a milestone for the whole family and a gigantic step for her. I asked my daughter, who can be extremely social, every year from the time she was six if she was ready to go to overnight camp and each year the answer was No. That was before we went to Muskoka Woods camp. I have no way of knowing if her mind was swayed entirely by the great experience we had there, but what I do know is that for the first time ever, shortly after that weekend, she told me she could do it, and she wanted to do it. So she went for one week last summer to camp and she loved every second of it. She was comfortable; she was ready and she grew stronger, and more independent.

I am a parent by adoption, and a parent of children with special needs. Why do I mention that here? Well, because I strongly believe that parents don’t raise children. Communities raise children. Parents guide and get front row seats for the highlights, and sometimes even the dark moments too. But for families to succeed, and children to meet their full potential, it takes a village. I think sometimes adoptive parents understand that more than others because of the ways in which our families are built. My job is to try and surround my kids with support, scaffolding and great role models. That’s exactly why I like camp. It’s precisely why I would choose Muskoka Woods every year, over all other options available. The staff at Muskoka Woods made camp the type of experience you as a parent want to encourage your child to embrace and enjoy and experience annually.

This is one of my favourite quotes about children. It’s kind of how I view the camp experience in the context of their little lives.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth….
Kahlil Gibran

This video is my daughter Ainsley soaring through the sky on the big swing at Muskoka Woods. If that’s not a metaphor for conquering fear, overcoming obstacles and succeeding in life then I don’t know what is. The camp is fully staffed with a doctor and nurse who deliver medication as needed. And staff assured me there was one on one support for kids with special needs. What’s more important than that? Well, the smiles on my children’s faces. The fact that Ainsley excelled, flew and built on all of her strengths while we were there. The experiences that Muskoka Woods provides are priceless.

For more information you can visit the web site or email Prices vary and are on the web site under the parents toolbar at the top of the page. The week long experience for a child ages 7-9 is called WILD and the average weekly camp is between $900 to $1100. There are also test drives for apprehensive campers or parents to test out the camp and see if the child can manage a whole week. For a test drive the campers would come for three nights and four days and the cost is $549. 

The Dear Mom Camp Series runs until June.
Disclosure: I received compensation for posting. My opinion is always 100 % my own.
You can read the first two posts here:

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.