Sunshine Coast families seeking summer day camp options for youth will have access to a homegrown recreation program where participants help set the agenda, thanks to a 17-year-old entrepreneur and outdoorsman.
Julian Bailey is a Grade 12 student at Elphinstone Secondary School who in 2021 launched Camp Linwood, a camp experience geared for eight- to 12-year-olds. The week-long camps were held on the grounds of the Linwood House retreat centre in Roberts Creek operated by his family.
“At last year’s camp we hosted a mixture of sports activities, water games, and discovery activities,” Bailey said. “So on the sports side, that includes soccer, baseball, badminton, and bocce ball. We also have a pond on our property, so we went out with nets and we caught some bugs and frogs. That was a big hit.” The weekly complement of eight registrants also trekked area hiking trails.
Bailey’s training in first aid and experience in childcare prompted him to design an ideal youth camp, inspired by his own passion for outdoor recreation.
Bailey is an amateur mountain biker and rock climber.
“My goal going into it was I wanted to make sure that every camper had a great time,” Bailey said. “I really wanted to run a camp that was like some of the best summer camps I attended when I was growing up as a child.”
With last year’s kid-friendly recreation opportunities limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bailey spotted an opportunity. Camp Linwood became a small-scale program where the campers chose each day’s activities from a list of options. He enlisted his younger brother Jack as a co-counsellor. Registrations quickly reached capacity limits.
“Though this camp may seem like it was just fun and games, I have to say it also worked my brain power,” attested Cody, one of the 2021 campers. “With the young guys running the camp, it made it more enjoyable because they could understand my ‘slang’ and things I am interested in at my age.”
To promote Camp Linwood, Bailey learned web design skills and launched an online platform for promotions, accompanied by outreach on social networks. His father, himself an entrepreneur, provided assistance with marketing strategy and finances.
Bailey has now updated the website to describe the camp’s 2022 program, which begins in late July. This year, Bailey’s co-counsellor will be Ari Melville, a friend and classmate from Elphinstone Secondary.
“I’m hoping now with my experience that I can lead an even better camp going into this year,” Bailey said. “I originally had it more structured with specific things we’re going to do, but I’m going to continue letting the campers vote and choose activities, according to the system that I implemented last year.”
Bailey, who also writes music and plays guitar with a local band, plans to add creative arts activities to the 2022 Camp Linwood itinerary—including a marshmallow and toothpick tower-building competition.
More information about Camp Linwood and registration details are available online at camplinwood.ca.