Summer fun 4 families: Heading off to camp

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Going to a summer, sleep-away camp is a favorite childhood pastime for many Western New Yorkers, and the Buffalo Niagara YMCA’s Camp Weona is one of the popular choices.

Camp Weona, located in Gainsville, is open to children 7-years-old through 17-years-old.  Camp leaders say it’s a great opportunity for children to disconnect from their gadgets and reconnect with each other, and with nature.

“There are close to 150 acres of land out there so they have a great chance to learn about nature and go kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, and some ropes courses,” said Communications Director Kathy Romanowski.

All new this summer, something geared towards the young equestrian.  Weona offers a Wrangler Horseback Riding Camp for children interested in learning about horses on every scale.  They will muck out the stalls, get in the ring, learn how to ride the horses and then take them out on one of the many trails.

If a week-long camp seems like too much for your children, there are weekend camps available too. These are for people who want to try things out and see how they like it, before committing to a longer stay.

Financial assistance is also available. According to Romanowksi, “Last year, we were able to send over 350 children to camp, just through the help of financial assistance. So if people are struggling a little bit financially, we have a way to help them out”.

Camp officially starts on June 29 and runs through August 9 with weekly sessions, but you should make your reservation as soon as possible.

There are two open houses to allow interested parents and children to see what the camp has to offer. Those will run on May 18 and June 1, 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. each day.

For more on how much each session costs and how to apply, visit the camp’s website.

For the more adventurous teenagers, Teen Treks offers a unique summer experience involving bicycle trips.

Local high schoolers can bike around Lake Ontario through a 21-day camp that takes them through Niagara Falls, Toronto, and the Thousand Islands Region.

At Niagara Falls, they will take the Maid of the Mist boat tour and hike the Niagara Gorge.  They will then bike past the lake freighters on the Welland Canal, and swim at Confederation Water Park in Hamilton, Ontario.

The next stop on this trip is Toronto, where campers will visit the Toronto Islands, the largest urban, car-free community in North America.  They will then continue east around the lake, following bike paths and back roads to scenic beaches and provincial parks and staying at the historic Tibbetts Point Lighthouse hostel.

This trip starts and ends in Buffalo, and requires parents to sign a waiver because of the adventurous nature of the journey.

This 21-day trip costs $2,295 and requires campers to bike approximately 30 to 50 miles each day.

It is only open to high school students, grades 9 through 12.

There are two sessions available for this particular trip. The first begins June 28, the second begins July 19.

For more on price and availability, visit the Teen Treks website.

Sail Buffalo offers another unique camping experience.  This is a day camp for children 8-years-old to 18-years-old. Sail Buffalo will accept anyone without any sailing experience and, over the course of one summer week, make them into a beginning sailor. Camp leaders will also take a teen that has completed one or more weeks of the program and bring them to the next level of sailing, including racing and leadership.

In sailing, instructors start by teaching theory and explaining what they will practice that day.  Sailors then head out into the harbor to turn theory into practice.  Over the week, campers learn terminology like rigging, hoisting, trimming, steering, tacking, jibing and much more. They will then sail in front of Buffalo’s Inner Harbor, see Canadian waterfronts, the Buffalo Skyline and learn important life lessons as they discover the world of sailing.

Sail Buffalo is located inside the Historic Lighthouse Park at 2 Fuhrmann Blvd, Buffalo, N.Y..

The Teen Sailing Program is taught in one-week sessions, Monday through Friday.  Hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. with late pick-up arrangements available.  Campers can enroll in one or more weeks, with multi-week discounts.

Tuition for a one-week program is $75 per day, per student.  There are discounts available for parents with more than one camper signing up together.  To find out how to enroll visit Sail-Buffalo.com or call 716-432-6589.

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