Camp Pringle is a residential camp operated by the United Church of Canada at Shawnigan Lake about 45 minutes up the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria.
The camp runs overnight programs for children and families on weekdays each summer and rents its facilities to non-profit organizations, schools and private groups throughout the year.
If you’re looking for a safe, wholesome and affordable place to send your kids for a week in the summer, or a venue to hold your own organizational retreat, overnight event or reunion, Camp Pringle is highly recommended and definitely one of the region’s best places to be.
Camp Pringle Summer Camps
Camp Pringle is one of the best residential camps in British Columbia and one of, if not the, best in the Greater Victoria area. It’s not a fancy place with all the bells and whistles, but it’s in a stunning location. It’s also affordable, and has good facilities and a professional staff.
Overnight summer camps offer children an amazing opportunity to experience nature, learn about themselves, be influenced by positive role models and have lots of fun. Camps offer children the chance to escape from their cell phones, video games and other technology and experience a week in nature that they’ll truly remember.
Summer camps at Camp Pringle typically run for about five days each, from a Sunday evening until a Friday afternoon. Camp programs accommodate children from 6 to 17 years of age. In mid-summer there is a Family Camp which is also very highly recommended.
Summer Camp Programs
In recent years Camp Pringle summer camp programs have included the following:
- Day Camps – non-overnight programs for children ages 6 to 10. Activities at these camps are similar to those offered at the overnight co-ed camps, except without the evening and night time elements.
- Overnight Camps – overnight programs for boys and girls ages 6-7, 8-11 and 12-14. Typical activities include campfires, swimming, canoeing, crafts, archery, wide games and faith exploration.
- Ultimate Adventure Camp – a camp for youth ages 10 to 15 that includes canoeing, orienteering, rock climbing, night games, sailing, paddle-boarding and tubing.
- Crew Camps – for youth ages 14 to 16 wanting to gain valuable work and life skills. Half the time participants do fun camp and community-building activities and half the time they learn about leadership and do work projects like washing dishes in the kitchen, painting buildings and doing other valuable work-experience-building activities.
- Counsellors-in-Training (CIT) – for youth ages 16 to 17 wanting to learn about and acquire leadership skills. This is an ideal program for youth wanting to work with children in the future, whether at Camp Pringle, at another camp or in other similar jobs.
- Family Camp – for families wanting to experience summer camp together. This is an all-inclusive program that includes food, accommodations and activities like canoeing, archery and other fun things. If you like the outdoors, spending time with family, having someone else cook for you, having organized activities for your children and the opportunity to choose between a selection of fun summer camp activities for yourself, and all on a very reasonable budget, then Camp Pringle’s Family Camp is highly recommended.
For more information about Camp Pringle’s summer camp programs, click Pringle Summer Camps.
About Camp Pringle
Camp Pringle has been creating “memories that last a lifetime” for children as well as adults since 1950.
Operated by the United Church of Canada, the property consists of 18 acres of waterfront, forest, marshland and open fields. There are rustic cabins with bunks and no electricity, but also dorm accommodations and a fairly modern self-contained lodge. Camp Pringle also has impressive modern dining facilities and a number of meeting rooms.
Camp Pringle is an accredited member of the BC Camping Association which most of BC’s top summer camp organizations are a part of.
Facilities and Accommodations
Camp Pringle has a wide variety of facilities and accommodations, ranging from rustic cabins to fairly comfortable lodge-style accommodations. Being a camp and very affordable, guests provide their own sheets, pillows and towels.
There are about nine cabins which are very basic with bunk beds for about twelve occupants each and no electricity. A wash house with flush toilets and hot showers is located close by.
Except for LIT and Crew campers, most children summer campers sleep in the cabins along with two leaders, one of which is usually a paid university student and the other typically a volunteer high school student.
Branter Lodge offers Camp Pringle’s most modern accommodations. The building sleeps up to 24 people with rooms for between 2 and 3 people each. The building has its own small kitchen area and comfortable meeting room.
In the summer Branter is used for staff accommodations and for the rest of the year it’s rented out to private groups. Having its own kitchen and living area makes it ideal for private retreats and small reunions.
Spencer Hall is the large modern building at the centre of the property that houses the camp’s commercial kitchen, dining room, administrative office and main meeting room. It’s a beautiful building constructed in a modern West Coast-style.
The dining room itself is actually quite stunning, with large windows, an outside deck, views of the lake and a high vaulted ceiling. The views from Spencer Hall are stunning.
Camp Pringle has a professional kitchen staff, the dining room is large and meal costs are quite reasonable.
Downstairs is a large meeting room as well as an outdoor covered area that’s often used for crafts and other activities.
Laura Butler Lodge
Laura Butler Lodge is an older building with dorm-style rooms that sleeps up to about 40 people with up to 6 occupants per room.
Most of the rooms in Laura Butler have bunk beds with mattresses on which people provide their own sleeping bags or other bedding. Laura Butler Lodge also has a couple of small meeting rooms as well as shared washrooms with hot showers and flush toilets.
Camp Features and Activities
Camp Pringle offers a wide range of activities and things to do. On land there is a climbing wall, high ropes course, low ropes course, basketball court, archery range, campfire circles, open fields for games and several acres of forest with trails. At the waterfront there is also a first-rate fully enclosed swimming area as well as a selection of non-motorized boats.
One of the most impressive physical features of Camp Pringle is definitely its waterfront. Shawnigan Lake is a beautiful lake and the camp’s waterfront facilities are fabulous. The view is stunning, the beach is sandy, and the dock facilities rival the best of any camp in the province.
Camp Pringle isn’t a fancy establishment, but compared to many summer camps it’s not totally rustic either. The waterfront doesn’t have motor boats, seadoos, or other modern expensive boats, nor giant inflatable water toys like some high-end facilities might have. It does have canoes, paddle boards and kayaks though, as well as a selection of small older sailboats.
Camp Summer Staff
The other most impressive feature about Camp Pringle as a summer camp, in our opinion, is its staff.
For years the training and calibre of its summer program staff has been first rate.
Each group of campers has a cabin leader that is typically in their early twenties, studying at university and getting paid at one of the most rewarding jobs a young person can find. Also with each group of campers is usually a second leader, a volunteer, who is typically an older high school student and often a past participant in the camp’s CIT leadership program.
If you want to send your kids to a camp with exceptional leaders and staff, then Camp Pringle is a great camp to send them to.
Camp Pringle and the United Church
Camp Pringle is a church camp, but it’s not a bible camp. There is definitely a church element to the camp-sponsored programs, but it’s inclusive, welcoming, respectful and, as to be expected with the United Church, fairly politically correct.
Pringle is the kind of church camp that most people can feel comfortable sending their children to. There is no pressure for participants to convert, become Christian or change their own personal religious beliefs, or at least that’s been our experience.
Whether you don’t go to church yourself but like the idea of your children being exposed to a bit of Christianity, or you do go to church, or you simply want your children to be exposed to a place that teaches religious tolerance, good moral standards, respect for one another and the environment and the value of a little bit of spirituality, Camp Pringle is an excellent place to send your kids (or go yourself).
The majority of children attending Camp Pringle summer camps are not in fact affiliated with the United Church at all – they come from all faith, religious denominations and non-faith backgrounds – but they all come away with happy faces having had “a week that lasts a lifetime.”
For more information about the camp, see the official Camp Pringle website.