What Is It?
Olympia Sports Camp or OSC is an overnight summer camp for kids in Huntsville, ON (don’t worry, anyone and everyone is welcome to the camp. Kids from all around the world come to this camp). OSC is about 40 years old now and was created by a man named Dave Grace. His mission for Olympia is to Empower each and every camper to be the best all-around person that he or she can be. Which is amazing. He does a “Dave Talk” each week for each of the program and talks about “The Hero Within” and “Let the Journey Begin” which really gives the camper an idea what OSC is about and gives them skills to transfer into your life after camp. Dave is the reason why this camp works. He is very hands on with the whole camp. He hand picks the staff, you can see him around the camp grounds all the time and is just the kindest and wisest man you will meet.
When you go to OSC, you are there for a whole week and you stay in cabins with other campers your age and similar sports (unless you request to be with friends or my case, teammates). As a cabin, you go to all the meals together, go to events together, and can even go into the talent contest with them. Another part about the cabins is that each cabin has 2 or 3 counsellors in there with your kids. The counsellors are there to act like leaders to your kids. The best part about it, the counsellors are all about 16-21 years old. Before you freak out, it works out very well. The counsellors and all the workers (who are normally older) at OSC are all sensitive, respectful and fun, if they weren’t that, Dave wouldn’t have hired them. By having the counsellors closer to the age of the campers, it creates this bond between cabin mates and the camp that can never be broken. It is amazing.
Also, I know the name is “Olympia Sports Camp” but they don’t only do sports. OSC has over 90 programs. Each program is set up like a school day, so you have about 5/6 hours of skills and games work then the rest is free time and meal times. I know may seem like a lot but it so worth it.
Some of the programs that OSC has includes: artist journey, artistic gymnastics, athletic conditioning, basketball (big man and tall lady programs too), catholic leadership, bronze medallion/cross, digital photography, football, glee camp, lacrosse, self-defence and the list goes on and on. I wanted to list a few for you so that you can see that it is everything from sports to leisure to possible career practice.
The ONLY downside of this camp is the price, but the price is worth it. BUT you can get awesome savings throughout the year (mostly around Christmas time). On average, 1 week of camp (Sunday to Saturday) for a program is $1030.00, that includes the food, cabin, an OSC top, water bottle, bracelet & dog tags, with 5-6 hours a day of skill work with the fun of a summer camp. Also, coaches and teachers from around the world to give your kids to grow. Oh, and you get to meet professional athletes and coaches throughout the week as well. Like I said, the price is worth it. There is some “extra” money that you may want to put aside too for your kids to be able to use the tuck shop throughout the week (it is like a store on the site that sells snacks and ice cream) and other OSC clothing. On the note of the clothing, they are really good quality, I went to this camp for the first time when I was 12 and I still have my sweatpants, jersey, hoodie, and top in like perfect condition.
If you want more information, here is the link for OSC site: https://www.olympiasportscamp.com/
Why I LOVE this Camp.
I had fallen in love with this camp when I first went when I was 12 years-old. I went every year after that until I tore my ACL in grade 11 (even then I was working my butt off to try to be recovered enough to go). It got to the point that my parents stopped asking me if I wanted to go and just booked it (still asked just in case but they always knew what my answer was going to be).
In my first summer at OSC, I went for week 5 for basketball. I was one of those kids who got homesick and was awkward at times. I was so nervous about going because it was my first ever overnight camp and the first chance to really play basketball after my ankle injury. I remember the first time driving to OSC, it was a long winding road, covered in thick forest then you pull up to OSC and see all of counsellors being upbeat and welcome to the camp. Let’s just say, 12 years-old me was in awe and felt the energy of the camp. After parking the car and getting my stuff unloaded and found out where I was located for cabins, off my parents and I went. I was in shock with how big this camp was, it felt like the size of a small college campus. It was remarkable, and everyone was so friendly and helpful! Anyways, I got to my cabin, met my counsellor and my cabinmates for the week. My parents and the counsellor could tell that I was very nervous, and the counsellor promised that I will have a good week and that nothing will go wrong. My parents made sure that I had a calling card to be able to call them and my grandparents and they surprised me with a little scrapbook to help me feel less homesick. Then after all of that, we went for the opening ceremonies for the camp. Everyone from the camp comes into one of the field houses and the party really starts. They have all the counsellors leave and have one side of the field house closed and then Dave starts talking about what OSC is and then introduces the counsellors. Let me say, you think that your dog is loud, these counsellors were so loud and crazy that it scared me at first because they were just so energetic and happy to be there. Another part of this ceremonies was the OSC dances. Oh my gosh, those dances are life! OSC has their own song and dance, we dance to Waving Flags, Build me Up Buttercup, 500 miles, and they all have their own dance to it. The counsellors are amazing at getting everyone involved and teaching the dances. After that, Dave goes through the rules of the camp and the schedule of the days and other things as well. Then the week started at OSC. My counsellors had a bunch of ice breakers to do with us, like the Skittles game and things like that. Throughout the week as well, in the evenings, there was movie nights, a dance night, talent show, minute to win it games, speed dating and more. As the week went on, I learned a lot of new skills from different coaches and players but one of the best parts was when I met a WNBA player from Chicago Sky. As a young lady, it was amazing to see and meet a professional female player in the game I love. Then we had a guest speaker, Walker D. Russell, he is one of the best speakers at OSC. I will always remember his talks and they are so moving and powerful and funny as hell. He treats each of the campers in encounters as his own kid. I don’t want to spoil his speech but at the end of it all, he tells young ladies to be strong and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and stay away from bad boys. For the young men (male counsellors include in this) to be respectful to women and if you don’t, he will kick their butts. I loved when I saw him walking up for that session because he is just an amazing man with a big heart. Also, in my first year, I had the chance to meet DeMar DeRozan when he first signed with the Raptors back in 2009. It was just a quick thing, but I will never forget that moment like never. Another part of my first summer at OSC was my first Dave talk. It is a little fuzzy now because it was so long ago, and all the Dave talks become one after all my years of going. But I remember just listening to him and talking about the Hero’s Journey, the clock, knowing when to take the bat off your shoulder, and knowing when to party, I know none of this makes sense to you guys but when you go and see OSC, you will get what I am talking about. It is pretty much talking about the steps you take in a journey of doing something and the ups and downs you go through. Then, the week was pretty much over and we had the closing ceremonies which was bitter sweet moments because it is like a big going away party with awards, dancing and saying goodbye.
As the summers went on and each year I went, we went through the same type of schedule and awesome counsellors and experiences. Each year I got a Walker D talk, Dave Talk and got to meet some amazing players as well.
One year I got to met NCAA Duke star/OKC player, Kyle Singler (two times, now that I think about it) and the first time I met him, I made myself look like a total fool but it was worth it. He came into one of the sessions to do like a chat and some skills with us then after that, he asked if anyone wants to play against him. No one wanted to…so me feeling good and said yeah sure why not. I felt confident walking up and then I got beside him and that is when I realized that I made a mistake. He is super tall and just tall. You could see my face change from being really confident to realizing I was made a mistake and Kyle knew it and was laughing at me in the best way. I ended up playing against him for a good 10 to 15 minutes, it was one of the best times of my life at OSC. My coaches at OSC were proud of me for being the first person to go up and kind of hold my own playing against him. On a side note, other campers went up and played against him after me, but it was 2 vs 1, I don’t think the girls wanted to get blocked like I did.
Another year, I was able to meet Quincy Acy, a former Raptor and now A Sacramento King and it was so funny how I met him. I was a huge fan of Quincy when he was a Raptor, and one of my cabinmates was like “Is that Quincy Acy?” and I kept on repeating “Quincy” while running through the cabin until I got outside and yelled it…I was so embarrassed, but he was really cool about it. He chatted and allowed us to take photos with him before he ran off to do something with the camp. Then the next day, Him and another player named Dwayne, came to our session and worked on skills with us.
My last year at OSC was one of my favourite years (and will be for a long time). My first reason is that my cabinmates and I really bonded, to the point that I am still in contact with these girls to this day. Another reason is that this was my first year that I was excited about all the games and extra events to do with my cabin’s mates. For years before that, I was shy and didn’t feel comfortable to do it. Overcoming that shyness had a really positive effect on my trip to OSC. One of the nights we were doing a bunch of games in the field house with other cabins and one of the games we were playing huckle buckle with the boy’s cabins who was the same age as us and that is how I met my boyfriend (he has been going to OSC just as long as I have but he went for Golf and ultimate frisbee). It was a ton of fun to connect with other cabins and I got to met someone who I have now been with for 4, almost 5 years.
Also, that year, I played against an amazing D-league player, I sadly don’t remember his name, but it was good time. I was fired up because I watched him block this little girl shot and I was mad. As soon as he asked who was next, he could see the fire in my eyes and called on me and said, “this is going to be a good time” and it was. We played for a good 10 minutes and it was a pretty fair game (like for a 5’7-5’8 girl playing against a 6’1’’ professional, it was fair). Once again, my coaches were so proud of me and loved that I was using the skills I have learned throughout my time at OSC. My coaches were so impressed that they asked me to join in one the women’s counsellor’s vs campers’ game which was another amazing experience from this camp. The last memory I had from that year of camp was that I got the nickname “Blue” from the counsellors who were in basketball and the ropes team (oh I forgot to mention, there is a ropes, a huge swing and rock-climbing course at OSC too) all because I had the tips of my hair blue. It was awesome to the point, I think I was being called Blue more than Sam.
There is so much more to OSC that you cannot even put into words. It is truly a magical place that help campers grow as a human and in their sport. I cannot recommend this camp more. BUT there is some extra that you should know.
Tips for OSC
- Bring a fan!! The cabins don’t have AC, so they get really toasty (and no internet for the campers too).
- There is a swim test that your child must go through to use the swim area. It is a simple test of swimming a lap in shallow water, then deeper water then trending water and putting on a life jacket. It sounds like a lot, it really isn’t.
- OSC doesn’t like for campers to have technology in their cabins. They want to bring you out of your comfort zone a bit and fully engage in what the camp is.
- Bring a pillow and sheets! I used a sleeping bag, but I was always too warm.
- Bring snacks and sports drinks! It is a lot cheaper than buying from the tuck shop! But do put a bit of money towards there for ice cream. Some days you just need that ice cream cone. Also, you workout a lot at the camp too, you are “training” for about 5 hours a day. You gotta stay hydrated when you are there. (yes there is water there too, don’t need to worry about that)
- Bring a camera and record the memories if you can. Also, bring a note book and pens to write down all the players names you meet and your cabinmates info!
- Bring a sharpie! Every year, I brought one (or 5) to allow the girls who I played, coaches who taught me, and the counsellors to sign my OSC top and the professional I met too!
- Bring fun colours too! Like some cabins will do themes nights when they go for dinner. I had guys coming to our cabin asking to borrow our bathing suit tops and everything. I remember one cabin had everyone in onesies for dinner.
- Challenge other camps to games on free times! It is so much fun to challenge a guy’s cabins to a game of volleyball or whatever and the winner gets to choose what the loser does.
- When you come home, you will be tired but happy (I used to sleep in the car as soon as my parents picked me up). Also, annoy your parents. My mom would hate when I come home from OSC because I would get all the songs stuck in her head. My father on the other hand loved it and joined in with me. Yes, when you hear the songs from the opening and closing ceremonies, you will sing and dance your heart out to them. I haven’t been to OSC in about 4 years, I still remember all of the dances to them.
- Have fun and be yourself. OSC is a place to have fun, grow, and become confident with yourself.
As Olympia says on their site, “The moment you enter the front gates, you’ll be welcomed by Olympia with open arms. Our staff will make Olympia your “home away from home” as you discover new friendships, new adventures, and new challenges and create memories that will last a lifetime.” It is truly a home away from home that you always want to return to. I am 21, turning 22, and I wish that I could go back again.