PEI

'A chance for families to connect with each other': Family camp at Camp Seggie

Camp Seggie in Rice Point, P.E.I., is offering family camp this year — an opportunity for parents to join their children at summer camp.

'There's just something really powerful about being unplugged'

Putting down electronic devices and getting outdoors gives campers of all ages a chance to 'wake up to the relationships and people around you,' says Camp Seggie's Bob Terpstra. (Camp Seggie/Facebook )

Camp Seggie in Rice Point, P.E.I., is offering family camp this year — an opportunity for parents to join their children at summer camp.

"Family camp is just a chance for families to connect with each other," said Bob Terpstra, executive director of Camp Seggie. "To get away from their busy lives, get away from the iPads and the phones."

Seggie used to offer family camp, but hasn't for the last decade or so. 

"We're trying to bring back an old tradition," said Terpstra. 

Families will play games together, have campfires and "meet other like-minded families who want to spend time investing in their families and who love the outdoors," he added.

'Focusing on people rather than devices'

Seggie prohibits children from using phones or video games, but adults will be permitted keep their electronics, Terpstra said. 

Families can participate in archery tag at Camp Seggie. (Camp Seggie/Facebook)

"We think the value of being in camp, unplugged, is just a way to kind of wake up to the relationships and people around you and the experiences that are amazing without technology," he said. 

"There's just something really powerful about being unplugged and focusing on people rather than devices." 

Families can stay in one of Seggie's cabins or bring their own tent or camper, and take in activities together — including a huge water slide, pool, rock wall, and archery tag.

"We'll also have a time where the parents will have time to themselves and go into sessions," said Terpstra. Bill and Rinda Dean, both certified family counsellors and pastors, will coach parenting skills. 

Faith-based programming

Most of the programming is faith-based, so if you're agnostic or atheist this camp might not be for you — although Terpstra stresses everyone is welcome.

'Family camp is just a chance for families to connect with each other,' says Camp Seggie's Bob Terpstra, with wife Hannah and children. (Submitted by Bob Terpstra )

"We never push any type of theology or doctrine on anybody — we just basically share the gospel," Terpstra said. "Bill and Rinda are great, they're very sensitive to people who don't have a faith, talking about family." 

Seggie is a traditionally Baptist church camp, although the majority of campers who attend have no faith, he said. 

'Serving families'

Bookings for family camp have been a little sparse so far, Terpstra shared, with about 20 people to date, but many more expressing interest. 

"We're realizing that this might take a few years to build up again, back to what bit once was in its heyday," he said. "Even if it's one of those things we don't make money off the first few years, that's OK — we want to be serving families and providing value to them even if it takes a while to build up the program." 

The camp costs $150 per adults, $75 for children 7 to 17 years old, kids from three to six are charged $50, while those under three are admitted free. 

Each family will get their own cabin and communal meals prepared by a chef.   

Parents will get the chance to participate in Seggie traditions like silly utensil night. (Camp Seggie/Facebook)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara has worked with CBC News in P.E.I. since 1988, starting with television and radio before moving to the digital news team. She grew up on the Island and has a journalism degree from the University of King's College in Halifax. Reach her by email at sara.fraser@cbc.ca.

now