Sprout Leaders

Sprout Leaders Create a Safe and Caring Environment

Our small camp size and a low camper to counsellor ratio allow your child to explore.  All of our counsellors have Standard First Aid Training, enthusiasm and many years of experience working with youth and  leading them in the great outdoors.

Here are Sprout Summer Growing Camp’s Counsellors:

Kelly McKinney: Camp Founder and Counsellor

Kelly has worked with youth & community in Hamilton for over fifteen years, teaching dance, serving community centers and teaching in outdoor and edible education. She has spent many seasons working at local organic farms and started dreaming about Sprout Camp some years ago in Plan B’s beautiful strawberry patch. She graduated with honours and practicum scholarships from Queen’s Outdoor and Experiential B. Ed program and got to travel to the U.K., Ottawa & Collingwood to learn to create “Forest School”. Ultimately, Kelly is passionate about creating engaging learning opportunities in our urban environments. And she loves to have fun with the campers!

Certification:-B. ED  in Outdoor and Experiential Learning~ Queen’s University
-Wilderness First Aid Certification
-Bronze Cross & National Lifeguard Certification
-Class E License (required for driving with School Boards) w Ministry’s Safety Bus Driver Course
-Forest School Practitioner Certification- Archimedes Training, U.K.
-Amethyst Award for Emerging Contribution to Outdoor Education ~ COEO (Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario)

Here are some of the places you’ll see at Sprout  Camp:

McQuesten Urban Farm: is an 3+ acre farm in the east end of Hamilton, supported by the City of Hamilton, charities, expert staff and dedicated community volunteers. This neighbourhood-led initiative was a direct response to insecurity in a ‘code-red’ food dessert. The farm is in it’s 6th full season and it’s the perfect place for campers to reconnect to nature and our food systems. Kids love learning at the farm, helping farmers plant seeds, harvest crops, make snacks and do crafts. Kelly has worked at the farm as a community ‘engager’ and teacher since the farm’s inception. She has developed programming there like, camp, workshops, family dinners, and educational tours, connecting with thousands of youth and families.

Melrose United Church: is a homebase location on Locke St. & Homewood. It is where campers get dropped off and picked up each day and where we start and finish daily adventures. Some of our favourite things about Melrose are: the lawn for games and crafts and BIG TREE, a butternut tree that provides all the shade and cicada sighting we need. Melrose is a great spot to catch the #6 Bus, taking us to the forest and farmers market. Thank you to Melrose for hosting us year after year!

Lawn Bowling Clubhouse: is a homebase location in Westdale’s Churchill Park and a space for the whole community to enjoy. The Clubhouse is perfectly situated for the best Sprout Camp activities- exploring gardens, forests, cooling off, kite flying…- and we dont even have to cross a street. Thank you to the City of Hamilton & friendly neighbours for hosting us in this jem of a space!

Plan B Organic Farm:

Farmed by Rodrigo & Alvaro Venturelli and Melanie Golba, Kelly’s first farm teachers.  The leaders at Plan B feed over a thousand families a week, while supporting the land, community and 15 family farms through their long time CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Program. There are many lessons to learn here! We like digging for potatoes and making waffles!

Simpler Thyme Organic Farm:

Farmed by the most gracious Ann Lanigan & Bill Orosz this is where Sprout Campers learn and taste permaculture, forest gardens. We play with other kids (Ann) and community, then for a turn on the trampoline (one at a time). We learn how to hold the chicks carefully, and yes, we can go for a dip in Simpler Thyme’s saltwater pool. What a day.

Our Adopted Southam Park: Through the City of Hamilton’s ‘Adopt a Park Program’ we will are able to learn, play and add to the gardens at Southam Park. Located at the bottom of Upper James and Inverness, this quiet space has a deep grove of trees and garden beds. The park overlooks the city and connects to the James St. Stairs and the Bruce Trail. We are thankful for the Adopt a Park Program and the opportunity to create memories at Southam.

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