There’s no end to the fun and exciting activities we do here at Camp Bow-Isle. Most are right here at camp, but sometimes we go elsewhere on the island, or even take the ferry off the island for senior outtrips.
Archery: Taught during both Junior and Senior sessions, archery enables campers to practice accuracy, consistency and discipline. Once everyone has learned the proper way to use a bow and arrow, we offer archery during lake time most afternoons for those who want to practice their skills.
Beach Day: Head down to the shore for a day filled with sand, surf, and plenty of awesome fun! If you’re feeling lazy, stretch out and soak up some sun, read a book, and enjoy a picnic lunch with your fellow campers. There are also tidepools to explore full of cool ocean critters, you can paddle a kayak with a counsellor around Tunstall Bay, or try your hand at sailing a Hobie Cat.
Boating: Each camper will have the opportunity to try their hand at sailing one of Camp’s Hobie Cats with a staff member in Tunstall Bay. It’s a great way to learn some of the basics of sailing in some of the most beautiful marine waters in North America.
Campfires: Held once or twice each session, campfires include singing, and games, being silly, and having marshmallows or s’mores. Sometimes we even have stories (but not scary ones!) The evening always begins with raucous songs and chants, and wraps up with quieter songs and hymns. Campfire night is something we all look forward to enjoying together.
Caveman Cookout: A highlight of any Junior session, the caveman (or cavewoman!) cookout gives campers and staff the opportunity to get in touch with their primitive nature. We don swimsuits and get all gussied up in ferns, moss and dirt from the forest floor ~ this is what summer camp is all about! Once everyone washes their hands (it’s a must!) we have an outdoor barbecue and then play games before cleaning up on the slip-and-slide or in the camp lake.
Canoeing: Whether we’re paddling canoes on the camp lake, taking them further afield to Killarney Lake here on Bowen Island, or plying the salty waters of Howe Sound in the Big Red Canoe, campers will learn proper paddling strokes and the importance of wearing a lifejacket when they’re on the water.
Crafts: Crafts at Camp Bow-Isle might include making nametags or picture frames out of found objects, painting t-shirts, tin-can lanterns, or even twig furniture! Sometimes we bake and decorate cookies or make stepping stones or friendship bracelets. Craft time at Camp Bow-Isle allows campers the freedom to create what they want.
Games: Pirates & Cargo, Anti-I-Over, Three Sticks, Fugitive, Quidditch, Gaga ~ These are just a few of the games we play here at Camp Bow-Isle, and are they ever fun! We play games in the afternoons before jumping in the lake, in the evenings after duties, and a whole lot in between. Our staff know plenty of games to play with tent groups and with the whole camp, and we all have a terrific time playing them together!
Hiking: There are so many great trails around Bowen Island, we could never hike on all of them in a summer. But we have a great time trying! Younger campers may climb Duncan’s Hat or Shepherd’s Rock while older campers might hike to the top of Mt. Gardner. We all hike across the island to Tunstall Bay on Beach Day, and we all walk together into Snug Cove on Town Day.
Kayaking: Camp Bow-Isle has a fleet of kayaks that are a terrific complement to the canoes on the camp lake. Campers learn kayaking skills individually, and then apply these skills during lake time or during exciting rounds of kayak polo. The kayaks also come with us to the beach, where we can take them exploring the shores around Tunstall Bay.
Knot-Tying: Our progression of knots includes the figure 8, bowline, butterfly, and more; we use them for setting up a taut-line and making a tarp shelter. Teaching campers how to tie different knots and then how to apply them is what our knot-tying session is all about. Our staff have used these skills to tie down loads in the back of trucks when they move away from home and set up laundry lines once they get to their new place!
Orienteering: Knowing how to use a compass and read a map are good skills for any outdoorsman. At camp, we show campers the parts of a compass and how to read it, and then set up an orienteering course for them to follow. Older campers may also have the opportunity to use a GPS unit to do a camp-wide scavenger hunt. Fun stuff!
Outtrips: Junior campers take a one-night outtrip on Bowen Island. They learn how and what to pack, and talk about the importance of leaving no trace in the wilderness. Accompanied by their counselors, they often hike right out of camp to their overnight destination, having dinner and breakfast off of a camp stove, and sleeping out under the stars, under a tarp, or in a tent. Senior campers take their outtrips away from Bowen Island, either canoeing or sea kayaking to their destination, or hiking up one of the many mountains outside of Vancouver. Seniors spend two or three days backpacking, and then one day doing something entirely different ~ mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and sailing are a few of the things we’ve done in recent years.
Rock Climbing: A short hike up the side of Mt. Gardner will bring campers to Shepherd’s Rock, where we do rock climbing and rappelling with senior campers. Anchored with bolts and belayed by staff using current techniques, there are four climbs and one long rappel at Shepherd’s Rock. Campers often go for the day, enjoying the view as they eat their picnic lunch at the top of the climbs.
Ropes Course: At Camp Bow-Isle, we have low ropes course elements, or initiatives, built all over camp for campers of all ages. In addition, we have a high ropes course for the oldest juniors and for senior campers. Built and inspected regularly by Project Adventure and AdventureWorks, our ropes course enables campers to practice trusting each other and God as they strive to do their very best. Staff are trained in current belaying techniques, and a qualified ropes course supervisor is always on hand.
Swimming: There’s nothing as refreshing as a dip in the camp lake on a hot afternoon. At the beginning of each session, campers are encouraged to take our swim test, which involves swimming across the lake and treading water for a minute. Those who pass are issued a swim license, which they wear for the remainder of the session. Those who don’t pass or who choose not to take the swim test are welcome to swim with a lifejacket during lake time or on beach day. The staff also wear lifejackets to encourage safety, and a certified lifeguard is always on guard when campers are at the lake or beach.