Since 1932, when Kilcoo was founded by Charles F. Plewman, thousands of boys and young men from Canada and around the world have shared a certain magic on the shores of Gull Lake in the Highlands of Haliburton. Kilcoo helps to build self confidence, social responsibility and appreciation of others, but the magic really takes place when the sum of all the experiences and friendships come together to create a most special time and feeling in our campers' lives. So please, browse through our web site, and hopefully you will catch a glimpse of what the magic of Kilcoo Camp is all about.

We believe that the greatest gift you can give your child is the experience of camp.

Kilcoo in Action

(Click here to watch a video interview
with David "Lub" Latimer, Director

Grade 8 Speech: Matthew Wheler

By: Matthew Wheler

There was once a happy fisherman reading under a palm tree in a small Brazilian village. As he was reading, a rich businessman approached him and asked how long it takes to catch fish every morning. "Oh, just a short while." said the fisherman. "Then why don't you stay longer at sea and catch even more?" asked the businessman. "This is enough to feed my whole family," the fisherman said. The businessman then asked, "So, what do you do for the rest of the day?" The fisherman replied, "I wake up early in the morning, go fishing, come home and play with my kids. After that, I have a nap and later in the night I go to the village and sing and drink with my friends."

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. "From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible."

"And after that?" the fisherman asked.

"When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish."

"And after that?"

"Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company. Then you can move to a big city and become wealthier than you could ever imagine."

The fisherman continues, "And after that?"

"After that you can move to a small village with your family, read all day and overall enjoy your life." replied the businessman.

The fisherman was puzzled, "Isn't that what I am doing now?"

This story explains that you don't have to be rich and famous to love your life. This is one of the valuable life lessons that I learned at camp and I definitely wouldn't have ever heard it if I never went to camp. It has had so much of an impact on my life and I want to explain to you why I think everyone should have this opportunity and want to go to camp. Today I will also be informing you of all the benefits of going to camp like making memories, independence and health.

Health is an important attribute for all children's day-to-day life and camp is where many people are healthiest. Camp gives kids a break from electronics like phones, laptops, TVs etc. This allows people to be more social. According to UCLA researchers, kids that went to camp have much better results on reading people's emotions. They did a study of 2 kids. One went to camp with no electronics and one stayed home all day with electronics. After a five days both of kids were shown images of nearly 50 faces and asked to identify the feelings of these people and the student who went to camp scored much higher than the child that stayed at home. This shows how going to camp makes you more social and you can understand how people are feeling.

Camp is like a break from reality where you're relieved of all your stress. These days we are stuck at desks, in cars, and staring at iPhones and computers. The natural light and time away from screens will do amazing things for your stress level mentally AND physically. At camp you don't have electronics and it allows you to do other things like build fires, swim and go canoeing. A part of camp where I feel I have no stress is Trip. Trip is a place where you canoe all day, make meals over a fire, set up tents and do that every single day for a week or 2. But the best thing about Trip is doing all the things you wouldn't EVER be allowed doing anywhere else. Like throwing knives, making torches and then battling each other with the burning sticks and standing on top of a 15-foot cliff while your counsellor says "ehh, its not too shallow. Who wants to go first?" These activities let you have fun without electronics and overall camp makes you less reliant on social media and school and gives you time to relax.

Making memories is my personal favourite parts of camp. It is what shapes your life and gives you all the funny and interesting stories you carry on and tell people forever. A memory I will never forget is going to camp for the first time. I remember being 8 years old and walking up my cabin stairs. So nervous I could hardly drag my tiny legs up the 4 steps. I was thinking of all the other things I would rather be doing and how homesick I would be. But right as I walked into my cabin (number 2) and seeing all my cabin mates who I am still friends with to this day, I felt all the nervousness flow out of me. At that moment I knew I was ready for one of the greatest 2 weeks of my life. Camp gives you fun and memories and that's why I love it so much.

One of the most important things you learn at camp is independence and confidence especially if it is a sleep-away camp. But what goes hand and hand with those is homesickness. It is a horrible feeling but overcoming it makes you feel so good and you get to enjoy the other amazing things camp has to offer. Camp also teaches kids to be more confident. In the last generation parents have been overprotective of their children. You might have heard crazy stories that happened to your father or grandfather but nothing close to as crazy happened to you. Camp can give you all your crazy memories because there is no parent around to "bubble wrap" you. This allows you to try new thing and at camp there are tons of different activities you can do. I myself have learned at least 100 new things. Some of these are rock climbing, archery, canoeing and fending for myself at meals. Camp is a great learning experience and gives kids the independence and confidence they will need for the rest of their life.

Therefore for the reasons I stated earlier in my speech, you should have at least thought about going to camp or maybe you're going to go home and the first thing you do is fill in an acceptance letter to go to camp. I don't know, but what I do know is that camp changed my life and I wish for it to have the same affect on all of you. Overall camp made my life so much better and it also makes it healthier, gives me more independence and makes memories that last a lifetime. Thank you. ;)