Kinark Outdoor Learning Center Brings Camp to Your Home » Minden Times

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By Stephen Petrick

Can’t make it to the campsite this spring or summer?

Don’t worry, the Kinark Outdoor Learning Center can bring the fun of camping right to your home.

The center, which helps children with disabilities cultivate a love of the outdoors, is continuing its Camp in a Box program this spring.
For $50, the Learning Center will send families a box containing games and activities that can be used to mimic the experience of wilderness camping.

The contents of the box may include the materials needed to build a bird feeder, go animal hunting, or make nature-themed crafts.

“These are just fun little activities and games that help build new skills and can strengthen family bonds,” said Chelsea Brown, program supervisor at Kinark Outdoor Learning Center, located at 1766 Queen’s Line Rd. in Minden Hills. .

The Camp in a Box program began last year when it became apparent that another “COVID summer” would likely limit the ability of local families to get out and experience traditional camping. Brown said boxes prepared by staff last year were sold out. The program was so well received that staff decided it should continue this year. Kinark is preparing to relaunch the program this month.

“People really liked it; it was a great way to connect and do virtual activities that were, in a sense, offline,” Brown said.

In fact, if there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that groups like the Kinark Outdoor Center have been forced to discover new ways to serve families. Brown said many of the center’s virtual programs should stay in place even as the pandemic abates because they’ve been successful in bringing new families to Kinark Center programs (even if not in a physical sense). Some families in the area, she noted, may still not be able to get to the center in person, due to transportation issues or other barriers, which is why the Camp in a Box program is so important.

“Our philosophies are about allowing people to try new things; take a break from the routine,” she said. “The (Camp in a Box program) gives the chance to experience these camp activities in a safe space.”

As a virtual program supervisor, Brown is busy planning a number of activities. The Kinark Outdoor Center also hosts an online respite program. For $25 per hour, a child can virtually connect with another adult and do virtual activities.

The center also offers family programming, which includes a monthly trivia night and special events, often holiday-themed. A virtual St. Patrick’s Day party is scheduled for March 9.

There are also programs for young people, which include a nightly “escape room” event, coming March 23.

For more details visit kinark.on.ca/koc.To register for Camp in a Box, or for more information on Kinark programs, email Brown at [email protected]

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