Vancouver summer camp gets chivalrous

The director and co-founder of Academie Duello has been surprised by the children whove attended the schools annual Knight Camp summer programs, which launched seven years ago.

Sure the kids come for the swords and swordplay and everything theyve read about in books, said Devon Boorman. But then they start to connect to the knightly virtues and begin to identify them in each other. The Virtue Circle has turned out to be one of the most popular parts of Knight Camp.

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Boorman said in the past there were some violent knights but the majority were noble and embraced virtues such as mercy, integrity, mutual respect, courage and fair play. Its these virtues Boorman tries to instill in children attending Knight Camp.

They also enjoy learning how to make armour, create their own battle-ready shields and paint them with their own coat of arms, sword play, how to command a siege and courtly dancing. Knight Camps run weekly throughout July and August beginning next week and are open to boys and girls aged eight to 14. For more information, visit academieduello.com.

There are dozens of summer day camps available across the city this summer, including at most of the citys community centres. Check with your local centre for more information.

For children with a talent or passion for gymnastics, Jump Gymnastics is offering day and weeklong summer camps. Director Jennifer Hood says summer is an ideal time to get children involved in physical activities.

The concept of a fair weather fan is no different for kids, said Hood. The best time to learn to enjoy sport is under blue skies and warm sunshine.

Hood said summer is a time to find out what your child is naturally good at, whether thats team sports, ball sports or solo activities like biking or running. For more information visit jumpgymnastics.ca

The YMCA also offers summer day camps that offer fun physical activities through which campers learn about themselves, increase self-confidence and make new friends and memories in a safe and caring environment. Registration for 2013 summer camps is open at MyYMCA.ca, 604-939-9622 or vanymca.org.

Meanwhile, Atlantis Programs and Pedalheads offer swimming and cycling programs that safely promote kids health and development. During the last 25 years, the groups have taught more than 140,000 children to ride and swim using specialized teaching methods combined with small classes. Visit alt.atlantisprograms.com.

For children with an interest in the environment, FUN Camps offer a hands-on environmental leadership program. The goal is to teach children that caring for the environment and exploring natural areas can be fun and interactive. In Vancouver, camp members meet at the Graduate Student Centre at the University of B.C. Visit funsociety.ca.

The Vancouver Aquarium is offering AquaCamps this summer with fun educational experiences for children. The camps are filled with hands-on activities, animal observations and crafts, as well as time to run around outside. Children will learn about local and exotic animals, life cycles, food webs, adaptations, ecosystems and sustainability. Visit vanaqua.org.

sthomas@vancourier.com

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