Letters from Campers
Active Challenge was such a unique and life changing experience for myself. I was able to thrive with the help of the great team of professionals as well as the support of the other girls. Active challenge equipped me with the tools to live a healthier and happier life style. Going home after this program I was able to use my new found skills to safely lose another 70 pounds on my own. My self-esteem significantly improved due to the support and guidance of this camp. Active challenge provides an environment that is centred on team work which helped facilitate a lot of the strong bonds and friendships I had with the other campers. I would highly recommend this camp to girls looking for a foundation on how to begin their healthier and happier life style.Jessica, 2011
My daughter Emma attended the Active Challenge Camp last summer at the age of 14. She was starting high school in the fall and really wanted to make a change before she got there. I had searched on the internet and came across the active challenge camp. I showed it to Emma and she was really excited about going. It was the right time for her. She was determined and was ready to make some changes for herself.
I was absolutely thrilled that there was something like this available for her. For all young girls just like her. A place where she could be with like minded girls. A place where there was no judging. No name calling. Just nice young girls sharing similar goals and dreams.
I have to be honest though and say that I was absolutely terrified to send her to a camp that was a seven hour drive away from home. She had never been away from home before. She didn't even like to have sleepovers with friends unless they were in her own home. And she certainly wasn't the camping, outdoorsy type! I knew that cell phones were not allowed and was nervous about that. I was worried about not being about to talk to her every day to make sure she was okay. But honestly, it was definitely for the best. She adjusted so quickly. She made fast friends. She's very shy and that was the thing she was the most terrified about was not knowing anyone at camp. But shortly after she got there her and several other girls were swimming and laughing and having fun and that helped put me at ease.
But WOW! Emma attending the Active Challenge camp was the best decision of her life. I wish I could put into words just how fantastic this was for her. How she grew independent. Her self confidence sky rocketed. She learnt so much. She experienced so much. More than just losing weight. She discovered so many wonderful things about herself. She learnt life long skills. She also discovered that she's loves canoeing and rafting and camping. (Something she definitely thought she wouldn't enjoy at all!) Words really cannot express what this experience did for her.
The counsellors at the camp were incredible. They were there for support at all times. They were there for Emma to talk to when she was feeling homesick. They were compassionate and knowledgeable and encouraging. Emma had nothing but good things to say about all the helpers at the camp.
I only have wonderful praise for Jill. She totally understood where I was coming from. She knew I was apprehensive and a little frightened to leave my daughter there for six weeks. She is a very kind and warm person. And upon first meeting her I could tell this was a real passion for her. To help these young girls be all that they could be. To help them discover things about themselves. To help them succeed in not only losing weight but gaining confidence and learn life skills. She was also very understanding when I would send her texts asking about Emma. I am so thankful for Jill. That she created this safe and fun environment for these young girls. She is very compassionate and knowledgeable and understanding. She was always there to listen and to comfort and to encourage. Again, I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for Jill. For this opportunity she has to offer this life changing experience for these young girls.
Emma made some great friends at camp. She emails and texts and facebooks with them now. Emma lost 30 pounds at the Active Challenge Camp last year. She lost a lot of fat and gained a lot of muscle. The inches she lost were incredible! But the most amazing thing was the confidence she gained! The independence she gained! The knowledge about herself she gained! She has kept her weight off and even lost a few more pounds. Emma is actually going back to camp this coming summer! She is determined to reach her goal weight. And she is extremely excited about having fun at camp and making some more great friends! These young girls share a really special bond. The girls themselves at camp are always there for each other too. They are encouraging each other too! They help each other achieve their goals. They help each other through everything. They are totally supportive of each other. They laugh together. They get through their workouts together. They confide in each other. They have fun at their theme nights, at their campfires. These young girls that attend camp together all share a common goal. They also all know how each one of them were feeling. And why they decided to go to camp.
Emma is proud of herself. I am extremely proud of her and her accomplishments. All the counsellors and Jill are extremely proud of every single one of the girls. Like I said before, I am so thankful for Jill. So thankful that she created this safe and fun environment for these girls.Kelly, 2012
It's completely unbelievable to me that it has been 5 years now since I was at Active challenge.
Active challenge kicked off my lifestyle change at such a young age.
I'm sure everyone can relate to me; I went back home from active challenge and gained the weight back plus some more...
Food started to pitch tents everywhere on my body, and slowly I became unhappy with myself again.
I still had the knowledge from active to challenge to fall back on(that's if I wasn't ignorant to it)!
It's magical that even though five years has gone by this place was the start of it all and I'm pleased & thankful to have been able to take part in it!
"The only way we can live, is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change.
The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is of we're exposed.
And the only way we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out in the open. Do it. Throw yourself"
C. JoyBell C-
This is a quote that I live by and by far is my favorite.
Thank you Jill & Active challenge staff.Lit T
Wow, I miss camp so much... Just like to thank everybody...you all have NO idea how much you have helped me throughout the year, I've lost over 50 pounds, I haven't been this small since I can remember. You've all chained my life! Thank you so much, every single one of you are amazing!Xo- Rylie K.
I feel like every time I lose more weight I must share it with you lol.
When I came to camp in 2008 my starting weight was 287lbs. Today I am 164 and still losing. Thanks again to all of you! I am finally not over weight anymore, and my BMI is NORMAL!!! When I came there my body fat % was around 65? Now it is under 40!
Love you guys!
Thanks for helping me start my weight loss journey of 123lbs!Nikki
Oh goodness do I ever miss everyone. It had to be the best experience of my life. Im getting ready for college, and without the confidence Active challenge gave me I might not have ever made it this far. I just can't tell you all how extremely grateful i am. But I can say, thank you. ♥ I love you all.Elizabeth
I didn't realize how much just 1 month at this camp would change my life forever. It was 4 years ago now that I went to this camp, and living a healthy life is always an everyday challenge. If I recall correctly I lost about 30 pounds at camp and went on to keeping weight off and shedding more. I am now a whopping 5"3 and weigh 119... a healthy weight range for my height and age, I feel better then ever, and camp was the start of a whole new life. Throughout the years it was a constant battle of up and down, but now everything has just become a normal part of life and its super easy to maintain! Keep at it girls. Results will show for sure. :)Taylor
My Summer at Bear Creek
I have to say that this summer has been one of the most amazing summers of my life; in fact it has been the most amazing summer of my life! Bear Creek for me was the chance of a lifetime! I will never forget the people I met there and the experiences we shared together. I wake up missing camp, just like I woke up home sick the first few days at camp, because camp really became our home. We made it the best place to be and that's why I miss it so much. Going to Bear Creek was the one of the most wonderful things I ever did and I feel so lucky that I got to experience everything that came with it! The counselors were fabulous! That's all I can say. Words can't describe my thanks to you! Campers, well you guys made the camp too! We had one heck of a time girls! And Jill, this camp you have has truly made the biggest difference in my life and I thank you. Honestly if you get the chance to go to a place like this I say GO FOR IT! 100 percent! You will not regret it; it's the chance of a lifetime so take it!Amanda H.
How are you? Just a quick note to say hi and thank you again for facilitating Amanda's transformation this summer. She really connected with so many wonderful young women and tells me how much she misses camp. Just thought I would pass it along...
Take care... we will be in touch.Lisa
The first question you mostly ask yourself when you consider going to "fat camp" is "is it worth it?" Well let me tell you from my experience at Active Challenge it really is!!
My mom asked me if I was interested in going to Active Challenge because I had been complaining about my weight for long time. She always told me if I just ate healthy and exercised I wouldn't have my issue. So I would try it for like a week or 2 and then get bored, see no difference and go right back to my old-self. Finally, I put my foot down and decided to do something about it so I agreed to go to Active Challenge.
I went for 2 months with my little sister and together we worked our butts off. For 2 months straight there were no slip-ups. You ate healthy because that's the food that was made. You exercised because that's what you were there to do. But at the same time it also showed me and my sister that eating healthy and exercising weren't that bad. When you think about eating healthy you don't think pizza, lasagna, and chocolate ice cream. But truth be told eating heathy does not mean you cant eat all the foods you love, now it just means eating less of them all at once.
As far as the exercising goes its just like hanging out with your friends and rockin out to your fav up-beat music. I am not trying to make it sound easy because most of the time it's not. You'll miss home, your friends, your boyfriend, and believe it or not your parents. But in the long run it's so worth it for the month or 2 to leave them behind and do this for YOU! They will still be there when you get back, and when you do get back you will be looking and feeling WAY better than you did before you left!
Active Challenge is so much more than just eating healthy and exercising though it's a chance to be put in a sanctuary far far away from society and to be with other people who share the same issues and concerns as you do. The issue you have with yourself will almost for sure be brought up by someone else before you even open your mouth.
Also, the people who work there are amazing! They are all so supportive and always there to talk to you about anything. It's also super fun! It was the first time in my life I had gone on a canoe trip, or went white water rafting, or kayaking or saw my first sun set from the top of a mountain, or met the amazing people that I didn't know were in the world who were JUST LIKE ME! So before you decide to give up on yourself realize that there is a place that can help you accomplish your dreams and that's at Active Challenge.Raven R. Age: 17
I just wanted to write a quick email to let you know how proud I am of the girls and what praises I am saying about Bear Creek! I am so amazed at their weight loss, nutrition knowledge and fitness achievement. None of this would be possible without YOU!
Bear Creek has delivered what our goals were for both girls and I can't thank you enough!!Cindy
My July at Bear Creek
Four years ago, I weighed 135lbs. Three years ago it was 140lbs. Two years ago I weighed 146lbs. One year ago I weighed 155lbs. At the end of June this year, I weighed 167lbs. Now getting to the end of August, I would not be surprised at all to be in the 170s, because I kept gaining no matter how much I didn't want to. However, that's no longer the case. Around my bedroom are stashed diaries only partially filled. I found three, one dating back over four years ago. One thing that every single journal had in common was the math. I had math calculations in every one to see how many pounds I could lose with this certain calorie deficit in this certain amount of time. Usually I tried to make the highest deficit I could get away with to see results fast. One other aspect all of the journals had in common were the negative thoughts I had about myself. It breaks my heart to read the things I used to say to myself. I wrote the following passage to myself when I weighed only 135lbs (a perfectly healthy weight at my height) and was approaching my grade 8 graduation (which I wanted to lose weight for): "I've had it up to here with this (swear). You have been wanting to get thin since September and it's gotten you NOWHERE! You're so (swear) UGLY AND FAT and if you really want to be beautiful you CAN DO IT. Remember that at the end of this road is the body YOU WANT. If you say no and quit, fine, but you're saying no to a perfect BODY." Afterwards I laid out a fitness and nutrition plan that I followed for only two days. Isn't that the saddest thing you have ever read? That's how I treated myself. I was so full of self-loathing and guilt. I was also never really concerned with health or the real reasons why I wanted to lose weight so badly. This self-destructive state of mind set the foundation for my weight struggles for the years to come. I tried everything I could: I didn't eat, over exercised, tried Atkins, and ate anything as long as it was under a certain number of calories (ie. eating 1200 calories of ice cream and nothing else). Health was never a factor in my decisions. Losing weight was all I cared about, and the more I wanted to lose weight the more weight I gained. Emotional eating and bingeing are my struggles to this day, and they are what caused my constant steady weight gain. I was just so depressed, hopeless and utterly powerless.
It was out of pure desperation that I searched on the internet for any and all "fat camps". When I found Active Challenge I begged my mom to let me go. She was skeptical at first, and I don't blame her. During those four years when I was gaining weight, she had been paying for a gym membership for me. I would go for about a week or two out of three to four months. But I told her I was seriously committed even though I don't think I had even myself convinced. So, she let me go. Well, I went this past July, and I doubt if I could accurately convey how...perfect it was for me. First off, Active Challenge is not a "fat camp" in any negative implication of those words. You go there to get healthy in every aspect, and losing weight is simply a side effect of that. The environment was structured to ensure my success. There was daily exercise of course, starting first thing and it was added through the day. But for most of it, you didn't even realize how much work you were doing because you had all these great girls beside you working just as hard. And also...I had fun! Low ropes, swimming, hiking and field games are among my favourites. However, during free time I would also for an extra jog or swim either by myself or with a friend. I never felt completely winded where I couldn't continue. In fact, the harder I worked, the better I always felt afterwards. I think we never ran out of energy because we got so much time to really rest and sleep. I've never slept so well in all my life, but that was probably because I stopped drinking pop. I was always amazed by the menu. I used to be a picky eater, but vowed to try everything at camp. It all tasted so good. And we got to eat so often that I never got to feel hungry. I was used to eating about 1000 calories when I tried to lose weight before (COMPLETELY unhealthy to do so of course) and always felt so weak because of it. At Active Challenge I couldn't have felt stronger.
However, my July at Active Challenge wouldn't mean nearly as much to me (or allowed me to have such great results) if it weren't for the people I met there. I love all the girls there, both the campers and counselors, so dearly. First, the counselors. There were 6 counselors for our 18 campers, so we each got plenty of personal attention. I personally didn't waste it. There was a counselor to talk about the future with, one to relate to, one to just hang out with, one to ask for nutritional advice, and one to confide in about all my concerns, insecurities, and goals. They were all so wonderful to me, and I can't begin to let them know how much they embody the greatness of Active Challenge for me. I credit the wisdom they imposed on me for why I'm still doing well at home. When I wake up in the morning at home, I look at the clock and know what the new girls (the campers who went for the August term) must be doing at the same time: waking up, going on a hike, having breakfast, etc. It makes me think of the campers I got to meet and spend my July with. Some I got to know better than others, but there wasn't one of them I didn't get to talk to or hang out with, or exercise with, or share the awesome experience with. We all had the same issues, and could relate to each other completely. It was so refreshing to talk about weight and personal issues with friends who could truly relate and understand. When I look back on my camp experience, it always makes me smile to think about the awesome times we had, and how much fun we had too. There are so many hilarious moments where I felt so...happy. After a while, I realized something. I actually felt completely myself at camp. I felt so comfortable because everyone was so supportive. I felt liked, and I actually really liked myself. This was a new feeling by the way. That's the greatest gift I got out of the experience. I now feel so proud of what I've accomplished and the people and program that have helped me enormously.
Well, I suppose I ought to say what I accomplished while at camp (though the weight loss is only a small part of what I've taken from the experience). During the four weeks at camp, I lost 13.4lbs (which I'd gained over the course of year), 3.1% body fat (which brought it to the lowest I'd ever seen it), and so many inches off my waist that my body composition rating raised from "fair" to "good" to "very good". Since last year (when I weight the same I do now) I've lost 8lbs of fat, replaced it with muscle, and lost 11.5 inches! However, while I'm very proud of these results, I certainly do not deserve all the credit. The hard workers at Active Challenge have turned me from a girl who couldn't follow a healthy fitness plan for more than a week, into a girl who came away with the "Most Determined" award. Thus, I can't let them down, or myself. No pride I have now will compare to the pride I'll feel in 6 months...or 12, when I tell them all how well I'm doing. And while I'll never be overweight again, I would still love to see everyone again next summer.Allison P.
Hi Jill- Just wanted to say a big thank you for all that you helped Anna accomplish at her stay up there in the wilds of Canada! She has had a life altering experience that far exceeds the loss of inches and pounds.We are so pleased to see the positive changes in her and are so happy that we chose to send her to Active Challenge.Lynda H., Virginia
This month has been the best month ever at a camp that has many challenges and many beautiful sites. This place has opened up a window that I thought was locked shut and has given me the will and power to change my life and my ways of living my life. I like how this camp has only girls with the same problem and I like how you dedicate your time and life to this lovely camp. Jill, I like that this is your dream, because without your dream many young women my age and younger would be having troubles with their lives and struggling through it all, so thanks.Megan P. 16, Ontario
Thank you for starting off my dream lifestyle for me. This camp has taught me so much that is useful now and in the future. Not only has this camp been fun, but I am also losing weight, being active, eating healthy, and making friends, thank you so much for making this happen. You guys are such nice, kind-hearted people, you have no idea how much this camp has meant to us, and changed us, you have an amazing staff and camp.Bailey O. 16, Ontario
Wow…What a dream come true! You are an inspiration not only to me but to all the girls here at camp. This has been an experience I will never forget! At first I was so nervous about making this change in my life, but now I can’t imagine my life without this amazing experience. Just being here I have seen so many results in myself. It is not just the 17lbs that I have lost, it is the increased energy and happiness that I got back! I have you to thank for all of it! Your dream, your dedication and time has changed me in so many ways. I just can’t thank you enough.Nicole B. 17, Ontario
Dear Jill, This is a very simple way of expressing my gratitude and to tell you how much fun I had this summer. It was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life and I will definitely take a different road to spend the rest of my life. But this time the road will be less bumpy and full of beautiful scenes and I will enjoy every moment of it. Thank you.Anda K, Montreal, QC
I came to camp not really knowing who I was…eesh this sounds corny…and now that I have been here for a month, I am a little more sure of what Scarlett is all about…thank you girls.Scarlett W., Ontario
There have been moments I will always remember, and people I will never forget.Daniella P. 15, Ontario
My Experience at Active Challenge
In the summer of 2007, I took part in a program called Active Challenge. It's geared to help young women live healthier life styles. They offer a one and two month program. I did the two month program. It not only taught me how eat right and exercise daily, it also helped me gain confidence. Not only in my physical appearance, but it built my self-esteem as well.
I came to camp 206lb at age 15 and I had never been away from home for longer than two days. This proved the biggest and hardest challenge to overcome as I was so homesick. I was in tears everyday for at least three weeks straight, but hard work and perseverance paid off and at after two weeks I lost 11 lbs. The cool thing was that Jill was always there to talk to no matter what. She's very easy to talk to as well as all the staff.
I think I made my biggest changes on our outing trips like canoeing, hiking and white water rafting. These outings helped me the most because they put me out of my comfort zone even more and forced me to trust people that I was just getting to know. Although the second month was similar it was a better month for me. I was more willing to let go of my worries and just have more fun (which I did). Both months had amazing people - campers and counsellors. If it wasn't for the counsellors pushing me I wouldn't have accomplished what I did. What really astonished me was that I lost weight (29lbs by the end of the two months) and had a blast doing it.
If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of Active Challenge, do it - the memories will last you a life time.Shelby S.