Wildlife, and even wilder fun – Wild Kidz Camp Smithers 2016!

The second BCWF Wild Kidz camp of 2016 took place on the week of August 8th – 12th, this time we were in Smithers BC! After a lengthy 12 hour drive over two days, we were greeted by the majestic Hudson Bay Mountains looming overhead. Smithers was a sensory overload of incredible sights, and experiences! The week would be filled with beautiful scenery, excited children, and fun filled adventures outdoors! There was certainly interest in our camp in Smithers, 25 lucky children were able to register, but we had enough children on the waitlist to run another camp!

Dragonfly taking a sneaky selfie

Our three camp leaders this time were Kasey “Captain Caddisfly” Wong,
Taylor “Dogwood” Stefanik, and Kayla “Dragonfly” Akins. We would also be accompanied by Brian Atherton (Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club president), and our wonderful driver Dave “Spike” Berg, and his lovely wife Beverly! Our colourful team of aptly named leaders were there to make sure fun was being had, and obviously to keep our energetic campers out of trouble! On Monday morning, excited campers (and leaders) gathered at the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club to start off the week!

Monday was a busy day! The morning started off with a quick game of Hungry Wolves, and an icebreaker called Beach Ball Questionnaire to warm up our (then) timid campers. Then the children were herded into our trucks and were driven up to the Twin Falls hiking trail, where they participated in a scavenger hunt, and a short hike up to the scenic falls.

The payoff at the end of the hike

After a quick lunch at the base of the falls it was back to the Club, where two Babine area park rangers (Emily and Chris) gave us an amazing presentation on what they do.Their duties range from keeping tabs on park users, to helping supervise the spawning of salmon! Emily and Chris also brought along some pelts and skulls for the children to examine and feel, not to mention the myriad of goodies they gave out for the kids to take home. The campers were delighted by the BC Parks tattoos, stickers, and moose masks. We then filed outside for a quick game of four corner soccer and then the campers  grabbed some hammers and started assembling bird boxes. After the cacophony of children hammering in nails, the beautiful bird boxes were painted and left to dry overnight.

Tuesday kicked off with a quick field game , and then it was on the road to the Toboggan Creek Hatchery. Terri gave us an in-depth tour of the hatchery’s facilities and educated the campers on the operations of her hatchery. Lunch was had at the hatchery, then we traveled to Lake Kathlyn where Kerry Kilpatrick, from Oscar’s Source for Adventure, taught our campers how to tie flies, Kerry’s friend Steve Hidber came out to teach the kids how to cast as well! Dragonfly ran an educational activity teaching our campers how to use dichotomous keys to identify different plants, and we had a big water fight at the end of the day! The lucky ones had brought a towel and a change of clothes, but not the case for Captain Caddisfly, as he stayed cold and wet all the way home!

Fly tying at Lake Kathlyn

Wednesday was another busy day which saw the children head to the fire department in the morning, Fire Chief Keith Stecko gave the kids a tour of the fire hall and the cool vehicles housed in it. The kids enjoyed the vehicle part the most, as they got to go inside one of their mobile command centres, and sit in fire trucks! Keith also left the children a box of fire safety and awareness goodies to take home! Tyhee Lake was next on the agenda, the kids had lunch and then a quick dip in the water. After lunch, Ron and Joanne Morrison, from Raven Rescue, came by to teach the kids the basics of water safety, and some paddling basics. The kids were taught the recovery position, and how to get back into their boats after falling out. The day ended with a paddling trip around the lake!

The campers watch on as their friends tackle Tyhee Lake
She looks proud of her painting, and rightly so!

Thursday kicked off with a three-legged potato sack race to get the kids moving and energized, after that was a migratory bird game that taught the children the importance of healthy wetlands to the wellbeing of birds. After the two games, we once again boarded our vehicles for our final outing of the week, Lake Tyhee, back by popular demand! The kids worked up an appetite through either playing ultimate frisbee or painting with Dragonfly. After lunch, the activity rotations started. One group would go on an aquatic invertebrate hunt with Dragonfly and Spike, while the other group went on a paddling excursion with Captain Caddisfly and Dogwood. The invertebrate hunt was plenty of fun as the campers discovered the plethora of waterborne insects that populate wetlands, while the paddlers put their newly learnt skills on display while exploring the rest of Lake Tyhee.

The view from Captain Caddisfly’s “office”

The week went by so quickly, that it was already Friday before we knew it! The kids though were stoked about it being range day, and were itching to start firing. Luckily for them, Brian Atherton and Lance Winterhalder from the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club decided to schedule the shooting first! They paid close attention to Lance’s safety talk, and paired up with a firing buddy to watch over. The children lined up side by side, eagerly

The future Olympic shooters line up

awaiting Lance to give the ok to start sending hot lead down range. The other half of the campers were in the clubhouse, where Jon from the Bulkley Valley Bowmen stopped by to teach the kids about archery. We had some campers who enjoyed archery so much, we overheard them ask their parents for bows for their next birthday! After lunch, conservation officer, Flint Knibbs conducted a CSI-esque investigation with the kids. Flint laid out a crime scene where a bear pelt laid in the middle of a field, with potential evidence scattered around it. He then proceeded to teach the campers how to conduct a proper investigation, which included a lesson on using a metal detector! While all this was going on, Nicole Winterhalder from the Club was hard at work in the kitchen, prepping for our farewell barbecue. The campers even brought home some military-grade “Individual Meal Packs” to celebrate a great camp! With Lance manning the grill, and Brian giving the speech, the barbecue went without a hitch!

One final group picture for the road!

It is at this point where we would like to thank the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club for partnering with our Wild Kidz camp, and for closing their facility for the week to accommodate us! Their support and advice was vital to the success of this camp (not to mention our sanity)! We would also like to thank the parents as well, without the parents we would not have had the opportunity to meet all the amazing campers throughout the week!

This camp was held in partnership with:

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And was made possible with the financial support of:


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