Alycia Bannon and Janna Tait







This will, no doubt, not be the first time you’ve read that today’s kids are, well, over-managed. But you’ll be delighted to read that two young Headwaters women are doing something about it, launching a trio of wild, rural camps with one rule: be a kid, and play like one.


You share the same philosophy: let kids play again.

Janna: I’m a PE teacher. I’d give my kids a soccer ball and they’d be like, “But there’s no nets.” I’d have to explain to them that they can use jackets and shoes. They’re so used to structure, rules, the hands-on approach.… they’ve lost their ability to just play and create.

Alycia: So I pitched her the idea of a summer camp that would bring back the simplicity of teaching kids how to play again.

Janna: It really attracted me. It was how I grew up, how my parents grew up. It was hard to watch kids losing their creativity.

Alycia: For the first few weeks, we’d say to them, “Okay, free time in the forest!” They’d just stand there. It takes a day or two, but by Saturday they’re really getting the hang of it. Caves, forts…


And now, the parents, too?

Alycia: So many would come up and say, “Man, the stuff my kid did today, I wish I could do that!” That’s how the ladies group started. We’ll go for a snowshoe, tobogganing, or build forts in the forest. And build community. Just because you’re over 18 doesn’t mean you have to stop playing.


The other participant is the nature out here.

Janna: I’m from the Yukon. Untouched wild. I hear Ontario, I think southern city, tons of people, no wild place to play. But coming to this area was a revelation. There are so many untouched places where you can get an authentic, wild outdoor experience.

Alycia: It’s close enough to put peoples’ minds at ease, but it’s wild enough to let your imagination go.