I recently went to a local YMCA camp just outside of my home town in Kananaskis Country Camp Chief Hector teaches you about the mountain environment and how to live in the wild. The camp also has many activities and sports such as archery, canoeing, hunting, fort building and hiking. There is an overnight camp out where you learn how to build a fire and we had fun toasting bagels and marshmallows!
One focus of the camp is the local First Nations and their culture. I love hearing their songs and stories and learning some of their language. The camp is on the edge of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation who consider themselves to be the first people of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.
This was my third year at Camp Chief Hector – they offer day camps for younger kids and sleep over camps for kids my age and older. You have the choice to stay in a cluster (cabin) or in a tipi but this year they had one yurt and I was able to get space in it! The yurt is a big round tent on a platform and it had bunk beds inside for my camp mates as well as two camp leaders. My camp leaders were great guys who were both very interesting to talk to. My camp group was called Negik, which means Otter.
Camp Chief Hector was founded in 1930 as a fun camp for kids during the Great Depression but has become a lot more than that. My dad and my uncle both went to this camp where they were my age. The first tipis were handmade by Stoney Nakoda women and the first canoes were made with birch bark. But unfortunately some of the canoes that were once hand made by the Stoney people are now slowly but surely being replaced by manufactured products.
Some of the activities we did were really fun!!!!!! My personal favourites were canoeing, archery, carving, and learning about the plants and animals. Kananaskis Country is a provincial park that is home to grizzly bears, black bears, elk, moose, deer, big horn sheep, mountain goats, lots of squirrels and chipmunks, and many different birds. During our time hiking at camp we came across some deer, elk and we saw a lot of birds such as eagles, jays, ravens and woodpeckers. We also explore the lakes to look for fish, leeches, salamanders, frogs and insects. Camp Chief Hector is a big outdoor classroom of fun!!!!
During a day at camp we did about 5 activities, for example one of the days we did rock climbing then horse back riding, adventure playground, arts and crafts and a nature walk. Another thing I really like about Camp Chief Hector is that all the food is homemade and always tasty. We always have fruits and vegetables and I love the juicy oranges!! The menu has lots of tasty choices like Chinese stir-fry and rice, pasta with Bolognese sauce and the homemade pizza was really good.
Cheer, cheer for Chief Hector camp, it’s always sunshine, it’s never damp!
We go there to hike and ride, Nakoda tipis are our pride!
We never falter, we never fall, rock climbing mountains steep as a wall,
And when summer comes again at Chief Hector camp we’ll be!
Rah, rah, rah!