Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big-time fun for great-big family

Camp the perfect outlet for 'go-go-go' children

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Talin Lucero comes barrelling down the slide in his front yard headfirst. He dive-rolls as he exits the plastic tube and stands up, wobbling, to finish the dismount.

"I'm OK. Yup! Always happens, I land on my --" he trails off, walking back to the play structure.

Chloe Lippens' kids are full of energy, and, among the seven of them, seven-year-old Talin may have the most.

"They're very go-go-go. Ty's a goalie for hockey and Talin is always practising football and hockey," Lippens said. "We have lots of kids, we need to keep them entertained."

Lippens' kids also play soccer every summer and take dance lessons with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Nine-year-old Ty Lucero danced in the RWB's The Nutcracker last winter.

Needless to say, when Talin, Ty and 13-year-old Aliyah Argel went to Circle Square Ranch for a week of camp this summer, it was a slight relief for Lippens. Not everyone went to camp willingly, however.

"I was kind of forced to go this year, but I did enjoy myself," Aliyah admits. She even plans to revisit the ranch next year and maybe become a camp leader-in-training the year after that.

After her third year at Circle Square, Aliyah knows her way around and does a good job of describing the ranch's atmosphere.

"There's a Teepee Village and a Western Town, and the difference is that Western Town is basically the Old West, so we sleep in horse wagons. In Teepee Village, they sleep in teepees," she said.

There's also a wide range of activities to help keep the kids occupied. Talin enjoyed high-octane archery, while a brave-faced Aliyah rode Clydesdale horses.

"I've never been afraid of horses, I think they're gentle creatures," said Aliyah.

Meanwhile, Ty mellowed out by collecting rocks from a stream. He was looking for blue stones, his mom's favourite colour.

Lippens is glad her kids found an outlet for their energy, at least temporarily, but she is mostly happy they got to experience the joys of camp.

"We're very grateful for the Sunshine Fund. If I was ever in a situation where I didn't have all the kids and was financially able, I'd probably donate to them to help kids later on," Lippens said.

If you'd like to help send kids to camp, send cheques to the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund at 302-960 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0R4.

You can also donate in person at that address, the home of the Manitoba Camping Association, using cash, Visa or MasterCard. Or you can go to mbcamping.ca and follow the CanadaHelps donation link. Tax receipts will be issued for donations.

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2014 B4

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