I grew up watching Circle Square on television. It was a Christian children’s program that was probably a little cheesy but I remember enjoying it. When I learned that Circle Square Ranch was a summer camp that I could actually attend, I knew I wanted to go. My older sister was the first to go to the ranch. She went to their camp in Severn Bridge, which is no longer in existence. It had a true Western feel to it and I knew I wanted to go!
When my turn came around, I was registered at the Circle Square Ranch that was in Kitchener, Ontario. My camp didn’t have the Western town, but we slept in covered wagons, which was a fun and unique experience. I loved horseback riding and had my first attempts at canoeing, rock climbing and archery. The campfires were a spiritual bonding time and I developed some great friendships. I made great memories at camp, and I want my children to have their own camp memories.
When Eric was eight years old he went to camp for the first time. He went to Circle Square Ranch in Arden, which is another gorgeous ranch with a Western town theme.
Eric loved his first visit to camp and was excited to go back the following year. I don’t know what he enjoyed most about his camp visits, but when I picked him up he was always filthy, happy and anxious to return another time. Arden has a beautiful lake for the kids to swim in and do water activities in, and they have all of the traditional Circle Square Ranch camp activities.
Years ago, the Kitchener camp I attended was relocated to Brantford. Last year I registered Kellen and Avery for the junior camp at the Brantford Circle Square Ranch. This was a 5 day camp for younger children where they slept in covered wagons. Kellen is never excited about trying new things and he was very hesitant about going to camp. Avery was the complete opposite and couldn’t wait to go. At the end of the week we learned that while they both had fun and had some new experiences, camp is not for Kellen. He didn’t enjoy the horses or sleeping in a covered wagon and he felt he had to get up too early every morning. He did go ziplining for the first time ever, and I’m glad he tried it. Avery had the time of her life. She loved horseback riding and trying new things, and she cried when she had to leave her friends. She made me promise she would be able to go back.
Avery returned to Circle Square Ranch in Brantford this year, and she loved it even more than the first time. This year she attended Discovery Camp, which is a week long camp. She stayed in a cabin instead of a covered wagon, and she tried some new activities like climbing a rope wall and ziplining.
While Avery was at camp I could sign into my Circle Square Ranch account and view pictures from camp. Each day they posted new photos and I would scour them for some pictures of my daughter. While I realize that a photo does not necessarily convey exactly how a child is feeling, it was nice to see her taking part in activities and enjoying herself. Some of the photos from her week at camp are shown to the left. I love that I got to see a picture of her on the zipline. She was nervous and excited to do this! There were photos of her with other children as well, but of course I can not share them without the permission of the other parents.
Avery was feeling a little homesick through the week, and we received a couple of calls from her counselor. She told us what was happening and asked if we would like to speak to Avery. I did, and she seemed fine after a short talk.
On the last day of camp we arrived to pick Avery up and I could see her up on the hill waving to us. We made our way up to her and the first thing she said was “Can I come back next year?”. She definitely had a good time.
We spent a few hours touring the camp, wall climbing, shooting arrows at archery and visiting the horses. Avery said her goodbyes and there were lots of tears. It brought me back to my camp days when I felt the same heartache when I had to leave my new friends. It’s bittersweet, but I’m glad that she made new friendships while she was there.
When Kellen saw that Avery got to sleep in a cabin instead of a covered wagon, he was kind of jealous and said that maybe he would like to go to camp again. I’m hoping he will give it a try again next year. Griffin still has a year or two before he will be old enough to go, and he can’t wait. He wants to try some archery!
I love that we have this family tradition of going to Circle Square Ranch, and I hope it will continue for years to come. It is worth every penny to watch my children try new things and develop independence. And when I see a face like this, I know she’s had a great experience.