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The Wellness Weekend Interview

How did you come up with the concept of summer camp for adults?

The Wellness Weekend was really Marcy’s brainchild! As a kid she loved sleep-away camp… and as an adult she loves fitness! The idea was to create a getaway that combines the two: summer camp and wellness. She approached me to see if I would collaborate with her via MGPT to bring the two ideas together… and a partnership was born. 🙂 We’re well into planning our second year as co-founders of the Wellness Weekend, with tons of new plans in store.

In your first year you had over 80 people, including men and women, with ages ranging from 28 to 80 years old, at a variety of fitness levels. How did you make it work for such a broad range of participants?

What makes the Wellness Weekend special is that we don’t dictate a single definition of wellness. We made sure to offer tons of activity options so that attendees could participate in whichever felt right to them. As Marcy says, “the weekend is about what Wellness means to YOU.”

Wellness means the healthiest life you actually enjoy living.

Would you say that the Wellness Weekend is about roughing it? What should participants expect?

Travelers these days are looking for an experience; something a bit more real and raw. They want to get out of their comfort zone… but just a bit.

The wood cabins and comfy mattresses at Camp Wingate hit that sweet spot for us. It’s definitely a departure from luxury hotels and spa weekend, but it’s not pitching a tent in the mud, either! It’s a return to the simplicity and fun of childhood summers.

Camp Wingate was the perfect location for us. Only an hour outside of Montreal in Saint Adolphe d’Howard, the camp is in the countryside, but not too far.

Guests sleep in wooden cabins and bunk beds generously “decorated” by kids tagging their bunks with coloured markers. Every cabin is outfitted with new mattresses and attached bathrooms. Besides; you hardly notice the bunks when you’re on a private lake, surrounded by those beautiful Laurentian woods, and with incredible amenities like tennis courts, stand-up paddle boards, rock climbing walls, soccer pitch and baseball diamond.

Is the Wellness Weekend only about exercise? What else is there to do?

Fitness activities were just one aspect of the weekend. For some, the weekend was an opportunity to rest and restore. Some chose to read a book, catch up on some Z’s with an afternoon nap, or book a massage. Others opted to bask in the sleep-away camp vibe with bead bracelets, chilling on the dock with new friends and singing around the campfire.

Additionally there were knowledge-based activities. Participants could attend informational talks from our experts on subjects ranging from nutrition to responsible investing, from organic skin care to neuro emotional technique.

Should participants already be fit in order to attend the weekend?

There’s no fitness level required. Many participants are there to unplug from pace of their everyday lives, to read, nap or and relax.

The fitness activities were led by coaches from MGPT, where we specialize in customizing classes to a wide variety of levels and abilities. This talented team was on hand for the Wellness Weekend, doing what they do best. We offered all our signature classes: Strength, Sweat, Tall & Toned, Animal Flow, and Kickboxing, at various times throughout the weekend.

We also offered variety specialty classes for the Wellness Weekend only, including Dirty Dancing, Yoga, acro-yoga, intro to Indian Clubs and outdoor trail runs. There really was something for every fitness level.

What’s makes this “The wellness Weekend” as opposed to a “fitness Weekend”?

Wellness is about taking a holistic, 360-degree view. Physical fitness is one piece of the puzzle, but there are many other aspects to feeling whole and healthy. Food, stress, sleep, family, relationships, work and finances can all play a role in your physical, emotional and psychological well being.

We invited experts from a variety of disciplines to share their knowledge and expertise with us. We had nutritionist-dietitian Jennifer Abdulezer on hand to discuss food. Gabriel Flores, our financial advisor expert talked to participants about how to invest responsibly for a long healthy life. Dre Laura Benhaim, chiropractor and N.E.T. specialist was on hand to meet one-on-one with guests who wanted to explore the connection between emotional and physical stressors. Skin care specialist Sharon Newman was there to help us learn about the real ingredients lurking in cosmetics and beauty products.

All these things, together with being in nature, connecting socially, and eating catered, fresh food contributed towards a well-rounded feeling of wellness in mind, body and soul.

What have you got in store for next year? Any changes?

The Wellness Weekend 2020 will be returning to Camp Wingate, Sep 11-13th. We’re keeping the stuff you loved, and adding more. Expect the MGPT coaching crew to be there, plus the team of knowledge experts you got to know at the Wellness Weekend 2019.

For WW20 we have more summer-camp inspired activities up our sleeve, too (did someone say colour war???). We’ll have a wider range of educational talks from our specialists, as well as more sports-specific activites, from soccer and canoeing to tennis and baseball.

Where can we learn more or book???

Check out the website www.wellnessweekend.ca to book individual bunk beds or grab a dedicated cabin for you and up to 10 friends.

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