Skip navigation

Summer Day Camps: More than just Child's Play

Stephanie Vellios

Stephanie Vellios grew up across the street from the Guildford Recreation Centre. Growing up, money was tight and with only one car, driving to other recreational opportunities was not an option for her family. Participating in summer day camps through the City of Surrey was an affordable solution for her parents and provided her with a wealth of experiences that have led her to where she is today; a recreation programmer for the City of Surrey.

"I wanted kids to feel empowered to be imaginative, creative, and most importantly, to be themselves, just like I did when I was at camp.”  - Stephanie V. 

“What I remember most from camp was being able to do activities that I loved. One of my favourite camps was the Musical Theatre camp where we performed scenes and songs from the musical Annie. I made great friends during camp but also became more confident in my singing, dancing and acting skills. Camp gave me something to look forward to. I remember going home each day and practicing the routines I learned so that I could show my camp leaders how much I had improved the next day.”

Beyond having fun and meeting other kids, Stephanie found that the camp leaders were always welcoming, kind and encouraging of her passions and dreams.  “Having those experiences as a child helped me gain confidence and be proud of who I am.  As I got older, I realized that I wanted to give those same experiences to other children, which is why I decided to become a camp leader.

As a camp leader, it was important to Stephanie to create a positive environment for the kids. “I wanted kids to feel empowered to be imaginative, creative, and most importantly, to be themselves, just like I did when I was at camp.” She also learned valuable skills like how to think quickly on the spot and solve problems, build rapport with the kids and learn how to work on a team.  “I now see things from others’ perspectives and try to be creative and innovative in my work; all skills that I still use today.

“I applied to work for the City of Surrey as a recreation programmer because it felt like home. In a way, I have come full circle.”