Lithuanian Summer Camps
Since the early 1950’s, children in the Lithuanian-Canadian community were sent to summer camps to get relief from the summer heat. Planned and staffed exclusively by volunteers, programs for the campers included recreational, cultural and educational activities.
Toronto area Lithuanian youth had a choice of 3 camp locations which were a few hours drive to the north:
Camp of the Good Shepherd (1959-1974)
- Owned by Lithuanian Martyrs’ Church, Mississauga ON
- Located in Springhurst (Wasaga Beach, ON)
- Originally used for youth from the parish
- Also used by the Vytis sports club
Franciscan Fathers Camp (1955-1982)
Continued as Camp Kretinga (1982-current)
- Owned by Resurrection Parish, Toronto ON
- Located at Wasaga Beach ON
- Used for youth of the parish for Camp Aušra, basketball camp, camps for young families, camp for the Lithuanian Catholic Youth Association (Ateitininkai)
- Currently used for Camp Kretinga for all youth of Lithuanian heritage
- Owned by the Lithuanian Scouts
- Located near Huntsville ON
- Consistently used by the Lithuanian Scout organization
There were also a variety of 1-2 week camps to choose from:
General camp, sports camp, basketball camp, camps for young families, camps organized by specific organizations such as the Lithuanian Catholic Youth Association (Ateitininkai) or the Lithuanian Scouts
In the Montreal area, Lithuanian youth had Camp Baltija (1962-1997), located in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. It was established by the Montreal Lithuanian Canadian Community. In earlier years, smaller camps were organized near Winnipeg Manitoba, Calgary and Edmonton Alberta.
Attending any one of the variety of summer camps gave youth the opportunity for recreation and to develop their Lithuanian cultural heritage. It was also a chance to develop new friendships with Lithuanian youth from across Canada, the United States and from overseas.
Camp Aušra 1962-63, Franciscan Fathers Camp
Camp of the Good Shepherd approx. 1960-1965, Springhurst
History of Camp Kretinga, OMNI TV program “Toli Arti”, 2002
Ąžuolas-Gintaras Leadership School, 1965 m. Camp Romuva
Film Editor Aleksandras Valavičius, LMAC
Films are from the LMAC archive collection.
Lithuanian campfire songs – recorded Aug. 4-6, 1963 at the Lithuanian Girl Scout Camp.
OMNI TV program ‘Toli Arti’ Lithuanian language program 2002-2003. The host was Stasys Kuliavas and the creative team was comprised of: Vac Verikaitis, Raimundas Laurinavičius, Inga Pivoriūtė, Simonas Sližys and Sonata Laurinavičienė.
Camp Romuva film: Scouts get ready to meet the Scout Leader, the original camp gates, Scouts form a procession as a solute the Scout Leader as he leaves the camp, Scouts depart for a 24 hour hike, flags L to R: Lithuanian Scouts Association, USA, Lithuania, Canada, Great Britian, Lithuanian Girl Scouts Association, Scout ‘Akademikai’ uproot a tree stump to carry it to the campfire.
We thank dr. A. Dalydė for donating the Camp Romuva film.
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