Information for Parents

What do I need to know to get ready for Camp?

Registration

When you register your child for camp there is a $100 non refundable deposit. We understand that life can sometimes get in the way of our best made plans and we are happy to refund camp tuition payments (or credit your account for next year) if your child cannot attend camp. As a small camp administration fees add up and we are therefore not able to refund the tuition deposit.

Tuition Payments

We endeavour to make camp as affordable as possible while providing the best possible experience for your child. Families can pay camp tuition in as many instalments as they like by etransfer to [email protected] and I will update your account manually. If you would like the convenience of having your camp tuition divided monthly until camp and charged to your credit card please note that this option will incur a service charge. Lump sum tuition payments on a credit card will also incur a service charge. No charge is incurred for camp registration deposits made on your card.

Arrival and Departure

Campers will arrive at camp between 1pm and 2pm on Sunday the first day of camp and picked up between 10am and 11am on Friday/Saturday the last day of camp. Please let the camp know if other arrangements need to be made for your child’s arrival or departure. We are always happy to help if you give us notice and let us know what we can do. PLEASE read pre-camp information emails carefully and DO print out the driving directions to camp.

Homesickness 

Camp is wonderful, but it doesn’t always feel that way instantly. Many children go through several days of homesickness until they adjust to camp. Homesickness is natural. It happens to young children and older ones too, and not only to first-time campers. It’s important for children that we acknowledge the reality of those feelings, and take positive steps to help them get through that stage. Camp leaders are trained to deal with homesickness by giving children close personal attention, helping them make new friends and get engaged in fun new activities.

Before Camp

• Homesickness can happen to anyone. If your child knows that, it causes less anxiety.

• Don’t say: “If you don’t like camp you can come home.” Children who are having difficulty adjusting to camp will then compound the problem by not giving it a fair chance and focus instead on going home, since you offered that option.

• Do say: “If you feel homesick, tell your leader. Don’t hide it.” Help your camper to know that we want to support him/her, and we can’t do that as well if we don’t know when he/she is having a hard time.

• Before your child goes to camp, explain that getting the big people’s assistance is different from at home. At home, we may tell our children to never to talk to strangers. It’s different at camp, and they need to know that well in advance, in order to feel safe and emotionally comfortable with these different circumstances. Discuss how camp is a safe place where they go by themselves, and why it’s ok at camp to interact with “strangers” who will soon become their friends.

• Avoid statements like: “I’m going to miss you terribly.” You don’t want to make your children feel awful about leaving you. They need to feel loved, but not to fear you’ll be desolate in their absence.

• Be sure to mention the not so great realities of camp too. There should be no surprises when your child discovers outhouses, mosquitoes, and that you have to make your own bed at camp.

• Give your child lots of information. If you need more information from us, just get in touch! Explain that there won’t be any phone calls to or from home. Boost your camper’s “emotional readiness” for camp by explaining that at camp, the best strategy is to turn to those new friends, your leaders, and the camp director when they are struggling.

• Involve your child closely in every step of getting ready to go (the planning and the packing).

• Take a deep breath and accept that “Kidsickness” happens to all parents. Call me if you need to. I have been there.

Once Your Child is at Camp …

If you get an “I hate camp” letter, don’t panic. It’s common for campers (especially new ones) to write a letter saying: “The food sucks! Camp sucks!” This is normal. Complaining to parents empowers children. They often do reveal more to their parents. If you get a very negative letter, please call and alert us, but also be aware that matters have most likely improved dramatically since the letter was written.

Cancellation Policy

Bear Creek Outdoor Centre reserves the right to change programs for any reason deemed necessary to Camp Directors. In such cases, we attempt to accommodate campers in other existing programs. If we cancel a program and are unable to provide a viable program alternative, we will refund your money in full.

Trip Evacuation Policy

In the event that a camper needs to be evacuated from a canoe trip (or camp), costs of travel as well as medical costs are incurred by the camper family. Camp directors endeavor to include parents/guardians in all evacuation and medical decisions. In the event that parents/guardians are not available or are not in agreement, BCOC directors or agents are authorized to make emergency medical and safety decisions for the welfare of campers. 

Code of Conduct

We strongly believe that every person has the right to feel safe, both physically and emotionally at camp.

BCOC reserves the unrestricted right to dismiss a camper whose conduct or influence is detrimental to the best interest of the camp in the considered opinion of the directors. Such conduct or influence includes, but is not limited to: any observation or discovery (Camp reserves the right to search personal property) of the use or possession of weapons, drugs or drug-related implements, stimulants or intoxicating beverages, bringing food on to Camp, leaving Camp grounds, Camp activities or off-Camp activities at any time without official approval and supervision, damaging or defacing of Camp property, smoking, possession of cigarettes, refusing to participate in camp activities, not complying with camp rules or procedures, inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate intimate behaviour, and omission or misrepresentation regarding the medical or mental history of the Camper. We do not assume a legal obligation to administer prescription medicine and failure to do so does not excuse the Camper from following rules or appropriate behaviour. Any of the above conduct may subject the Camper to dismissal. In such event, there will be no refund or adjustment of any part of the Camp fee. The Camp is not responsible for Campers when traveling to and from Camp.

Camp Photos and other postings on the Web

We are concerned about the Bear Creek Outdoor Centre public image when it comes to postings and images on the Internet. We ask that all campers screen their own photos and their postings to ensure appropriateness before putting them on the web. We look forward to parental support with this! Additionally, we will be taking photos at camp and also posting photos taken by others on our own website. Please notify us if you don’t want your child’s image on our website.

Contact with Home

Getting settled into camp requires our campers to be where they are (here at camp) as opposed to where they are not (at home). New surroundings, new schedules, new challenges and new people all combine to make the first few days of camp difficult for some campers. Camp is a time of independence and personal growth. We believe this is best achieved unplugged. Please do not send cell phones to camp with your child. We strongly encourage campers and families to write letters to each other.  The camp mailing address is:

Bear Creek Outdoor Centre

3828 Burnstown Rd, Horton Ontario K7V3Z9

If your camper is staying for just a single week of camp we advise leaving a letter or two with the camp director when you drop your child off at camp.

Jill’s Cell Phone 613-889-7262 (email [email protected]) I often carry this with me. It gets decent reception at camp but I am unlikely to answer a call if I am engaged with camp program. Please text and I will respond with the appropriate urgency. I try to make sure is NOT in my pocket when I swim.

Packing List   (Adventure campers)                                                                                             

Flashlight and extra batteries

Daypack (should be comfortable, you will be taking this everywhere, this is to hold water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray and rain gear. it is a small bag)

Water bottle

Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen

Rain jacket and pants

Closed-toe shoes 

Older pair of shoes for the water, mud

Sandals

Rubber boots

Lots of socks, and underwear 

PJ’s

T-shirts

Shorts

2 pr. (min) long pants 

Long shirts

Fleece sweater 

bathing suits 

Robe (optional)

2 beach towels

Sleeping bag and sleeping pad (for camp outs)

Bedding for in camp (pillow, twin sheets, blanket or comforter etc.)

Personal toiletries 

Stationary items and books

Lifejacket (we have a few extras if you do not have one)

Duffle bag, trunk or suitcase (some campers find Rubbermaid style bins or drawers to be useful for keeping things tidy in the cabin)

You are welcome to bring along other things to camp. You may want more warm clothes for the August session, as it tends to be cooler in the morning and evening.

Some optional items may include:

Camera

Mountain Bike (if the child has their own please bring it to camp)

Musical instrument

fishing rod and tackle, water gun

Cards and games

***Please leave personal electronics (games, phones, ipods etc.) at home and PLEASE do not bring food to camp.

Canoe Camp Packing list

If your child is going on a canoe tripping camp they will be spending a little time in camp and more on trip.

A large rubbermaid style bin is the perfect thing to pack in as your child can leave everything they are not taking on trip in this container while they are gone.

We pack trip clothes and sleeping bags etc. in large waterproof barrels and help the kids pack before we leave on trip.

Please make sure that your canoe tripper has the following mandatory items:

Rain jacket and pants

Long sleeve shirts and long pants that are made of quick drying synthetics (NOT cotton)

2 pairs of closed toe shoes: one pair to be wet (old running shoes are great) and one pair to stay dry

1 litre water bottle (at least one), Flashlight or headlamp, sunscreen and bug repellant. Sun hat

Sleeping bag (with compression sack) and sleeping mat (thermarest style)

We will be sending full packing lists out with our pre-camp information but if you have these things everything else is gravy!

ASAP

Dear Parents,

The emotional and physical safety of our campers is our top priority. We are committed to keeping our camp a safe, harassment-free zone. That’s why we have adopted and implemented the ASAP Camp Safety Program for the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse. Our staff is screened and undergoes training on sexual abuse prevention, and we have strict policies in place for preventing and addressing any problematic behavior on the part of staff members or other campers. While ASAP attempts to thoroughly address specific topics, protocols and guidelines and offer effective tools for prevention and intervention, it is not possible to be absolute and include everything involved in identifying and/or preventing child abuse within the training.

With that said, the most important influence in your child’s life is you. Therefore, we urge you to speak to your child about personal safety and abuse before camp begins. 

Here are some points we recommend raising:

  • Your child can always talk to you about anything, even things that make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. 
  • Remind your child that their body belongs to them, and no one is allowed to touch it in a way that feels uncomfortable, especially not in their private areas. 
  • Remind them that if anyone touches them or acts in a way that makes them uncomfortable, they should tell a trusted adult.
  • Teach them that no one is allowed to ask them to keep a secret from you or from camp administration, and if someone does, the child should tell a trusted adult about it—even if they promised not to.
  • If your child doesn’t know accurate, specific names for their private areas, now is a good time to teach them—this could help them accurately report an incident and get immediate help. 

It’s a good idea to remind your child of this conversation a few days after camp begins, and make sure both you and your child know who to contact with any concerns. 

Be aware that sometimes children are afraid to report when something has happened, even if they have been encouraged to do so. Keep an eye out for any unusual behavior and let us know if you’re worried something is going on. Rest assured that we’ll also be watching carefully and will investigate if something doesn’t seem right. 

If your child does report an incident of abuse: listen, be supportive, commend and honor the child for telling you, assure them it wasn’t their fault—and then be in touch with us right away. You can also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse hotline at 1-800-422-4453. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.

Remember: abuse flourishes when there’s silence. 

To protect your child against sexual abuse it is critical to keep the lines of communication open. The conversation about personal safety and healthy boundaries should ideally be an ongoing one that incorporates more age-appropriate information as your child grows. If you’d like more information on this, we’ve included some helpful resources below. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Jill Baxter, Camp Director

To read more about protecting your children:

https://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/tip-sheet-8