A Plug For The Arts….And The Art Of Unplugging

Arts By The Lake Summer Camp

I shudder to think how many hours my teenagers spend googling, on Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Snapchat…the list goes on. It’s scary really, and kind of depressing. More often than not, I find myself pontificating on my soapbox: “When I was your age, I was up in the morning, off on my bike and gone for the day. The wind at my back, the sun on my face, every day produced a brand new adventure, and what adventures we had! We didn’t even have computers, let alone I-phones or Samsung Galaxy tablets, we relied on Long Bay Summer Campour imagination!”

I would then quote the great Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”; and might add Twitter and Flickr.

Sadly, these words would fall on deaf ears; mainly because the kids had their Beats by Dr.Dre headphones on. My children find it impossible to believe that a previous world actually existed without social media. But I remember, and I so long for that world again.

I have been searching for summer camps and activities this summer; a place where my children can tear themselves away from what I believe is certain slavery to social media; despite the obvious and undeniable benefits. I want them to know the world from whence I came. I want them to trade in Googling for Gauguin; Volleyball instead of Vine, Tap dance instead of Twitter, Song instead of Snapchat.

Long Bay Summer CampI think I have found the place where my children will be able to enjoy those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, without the bombardment and nonsense that accompanies social media. I’m told that they may not be happy at first with the rule that all electronic gadgets must be handed in before camp, (although I will be elated). However, I’m also told that they will quickly forget about their Apple I Phone SE 64 GB (in Rose-gold colour no less) or their Samsung Galaxy Tablet 32 GB Android (with Helsinki Prime) after 15 minutes on the grounds of this Utopian 350 acres of campgrounds and awe inspiring wilderness.

Arts by the Lake it is called. The name itself evokes an immediate sense of calm and tranquility for me. But this is the interpretation of a middle aged Long Bay Summer Campadult. To children (aged 9 to 16 years old), this summer camp, (which is in its ninth year of operation), means so much more, even without their beloved gadgets. A typical day at Long Bay Camp, nestled on the shores of Bob’s Lake in Westport Ontario, encapsulates not only arts, dance, music and musical theatre, but also volleyball, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, paddling, guided canoe excursions and so much more. Flickr is what you see in the campfire at the end of the day, when tired, (but happy) campers assemble, laugh, talk (yes talk!) and sing together, and not online for a change.

Long Bay Summer CampI’m told by a return camper and her mother that a typical day is spent swimming prior to a home-cooked and nutritious meal. In fact, the campers can smell the mouth-watering aroma of flapjacks and banana muffins during their morning “polar bear swim”. Campers are then off to a fun-filled day to include story-telling, guest musicians, artists, drumming, music jam, jewelry making, and so much more. There are classes for the budding film maker, who is mesmerized by special effects. There is an Amazing art race, urban dancing classes and inspired choreography, to include dance styles from classic tap to Fosse to other rock musicals of today. Creative writing is also part of the arts curriculum.

Long Bay Summer Camp“Arts by the Lake” also offers courses on how to record music in a professionally equipped band-ready barn. Arranging songs, past and present is an added option. As I cruise through the website, (yes, there are benefits to googling as I noted above), the options and choices are numerous and might I add, wondrous!

While my children may find that being without their much cherished electronic devices may be some form of ruinous punishment, I choose to think that I will be providing them with rewarding and memorable experiences which they will never forget. I’m also hoping my kids can manage for a week or two without knowing how Kim and Kanye are doing, or where Justin Bieber might be dropping his drawers.

Long Bay Summer CampPablo Picasso has been quoted as saying the following: “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary”. No truer words have ever been spoken, and he wasn’t around to witness the scourge of today’s social networking society. It has also been said that creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected. In all of today’s connectivity, we have never been so disconnected.

However, I think Dr. Seuss says it best: “We are a little weird. Life’s a little weird and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it “love”.

I know my children will love the gift of this camp, despite some trepidation with regard to the removal of their electronics. I also know that the weirdness and complexity of the life in which we live will be somewhat assuaged by the tranquility of summer camp life and the exhilaration of the arts!

 Kelly G. (camp parent)


Long Bay Summer Camp

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