It’s that time of year again when we send our kids off to camp so that they can improve their skills and enjoy the things they like to do.
Not just kids. Adults too.
A great example is the guitar camp that has been running in the area for the last 21 years and the youth camp has been going for 16 years.
Organizers Karen Diemert and Melanie Monds can barely contain their excitement as they talk about the pair of camps.
Both are situated at Camp Caledonia on Tyhee Lake. They are all inclusive and the fees cover meals, accommodation and instruction
The adult camp runs five days, while the youth is four. The numbers at the camps have been impressive and they don’t seem to be slacking off.
“They have averaged around 30 at the adult camp, but last year was 36. The kids camp has been 20-25,”said Diemert.
“At the camp, kids are broken up by skill set, not by age. They spend their time learning skills and they write an original song. In the evenings we have an open mike session and games,” she said.
Performers like Hannah Pow will be there and traditional camp games will be part of the experience.
“We will also have a drum instructor and learn some sound engineering. Not just the hand drum but the kit drum as well,” said Diemert.
There will be some recording in the classes and the instructors can play ukulele, bass and guitar.
In the adult camp, the campers can pick classes that they will attend throughout the week.
“We offer three classes each day and that same class runs each day. They sign up for what they want to do within or outside their capabilities. If they want to, they can challenge themselves. They stay with that class for the duration,” said Diemert.
For example, there will be a ukulele class, a blues class and a fretboard class.
“It’s a variety. There is a beginner guitar class, a songwriting class, an acoustic guitar class,” she said.
This year there will also be a lot more on slide guitar.
The drum classes were requested by some students and it is felt that they will help the players with learning rhythm.
It’s not all learning and practising though.
“In the evenings we have fun things like karaoke and special dinner nights. The instructors will be the dinner band,” she said.
Diemert explained that some of the special menus have been cuisines such as Hawaiian or medieval-style feast. For example, the campers get a plate and, like in the middle ages, no utensils. The food is presented banquet style.
“For the youth camp, it is 11-18 and we try to accommodate across the spectrum of activities so we are mindful of that,” said Monds.
Over the years, both camps have produced musicians who have gone on to become professionals such as Eli Larson, Sheryl Hofwebber, and Marie Perry.
“It can be a stepping stone to become music professionals and not just performers,” said Monds.
She feels that the camp is an opportunity to develop a variety of skills that are not just applicable to performing music but also which can help in a persons life in general, for example confidence, learning how to play a different instrument or something totally different like the drum kit.
The Youth Camp will run Aug. 7-11 while the Adult Camp will begin the afternoon of the 11th and run to the 16th
Diemert said that they have had campers from as far away as England and Germany in the past. She said that they enjoyed their participation tremendously.
While the camp is designed around musical learning and development, the traditional camp experience is a big part of the week for all campers. For example, swimming and kayaking have been available and there are qualified lifeguards on the staff.
Most of the instructors have been through the camp in the past. As a result, they understand what the campers want to get out of their involvement. The experienced musicians will include Mark Thibeault, who will instruct Intro to Soloing and Express Yourself; Ben Brookes on Rhythm, Rhythm, Rhythm and Know Your Fret Board; Danny Sklapsky who will teach Easy Songs for Beginner Guitar; Taylor Poffenroth who will instruct Drumming and Allan Cormier with Ukulele Basics.
For specific information on registration, please check the website bvfms.org. Registration forms are also available at Mountain Eagle Books.