Preparing for a Successful Camp Experience
Camp is an exciting and fun place full of friends, adventures, skills, stories, songs, campfires, games and many other things. It’s also a very different place from what campers are used to - a different bed, different washroom, different food choices and a different schedule. Click here for information on preparing your camper for their new camp experience.
Your Camper’s Health
Extended Medical Form
Complete the extended medical information form that was mailed to you and bring it with you on the first day of camp. The more up-to-date information we have regarding your camper, the easier it is to ensure a successful experience. If there information which you feel might need special attention or allow us to provide your camper with a better experience please let us know. For information of a confidential nature regarding your camper please provide a note in a sealed envelope addressed to the Camp Director.
Send all medications in the original bottle with the original information and instructions. Ensure everything is clearly labelled with your child’s name. All medications will be turned in to the Wellness Director upon arrival with the exception of asthma inhalers and, in some cases, epi-pens. Any children that are on special medications will meet with the Wellness Director on the first day of camp.
We recommend you continue with regular behavioural medication such as Ritalin/Concerta if these are taken daily. Should you have any specific instructions please do not hesitate to call the Camp Director to give them more information.
Prior to arrival at camp, please check your child’s head thoroughly for lice. Head lice are very contagious and as campers live in a very close environment, we want to prevent outbreaks of lice. All campers will have a lice check on the first day of camp. If we find that your child has lice or nits (eggs) you will be contacted and you will be responsible for treating your child. Should you require more information on head lice please contact camp or your local health unit.
In Case of Injury or Illness
Due to the nature of our outdoor activities, scrapes and bruises are bound to happen. All of our staff members have Standard First Aid and CPR-C training and are fully prepared to deal with any situation that may arise.
Quiet rest areas are available if a child becomes over-tired or needs extra care. We may request that you pick up your child if they fall ill. In the event that your child requires serious medical treatment, a staff member will accompany your camper to the clinic or hospital, and our Camp Director or Wellness Director will contact you both prior to and following the visit. Our staff will stay with your child until you arrive.
Our group leaders are enthusiastic and passionate about making sure all our campers have an enjoyable camp experience. They are fully trained on how to respond to camper’s individual needs and how to recognize and handle situations in which homesickness arises. Many of our Senior Staff members have years of camping experience and are able to identify and help manage homesickness.
If your child is persistently homesick and it is impacting their camp experience a senior staff member will get in touch with you to let you know the situation and to ‘brainstorm’ possible strategies to help your camper cope.
Our staff are well aware of how to deal with such issues as bedwetting, sleepwalking and night terrors as they are common among our younger campers. If you have any concerns about your child please inform our camps office in order to better help us ensure he/she has a positive camp experience.
Camper Behaviour Policy
YMCA camp staff are highly trained in providing quality care and will try several methods to correct campers undesired behaviour; parents will be involved when possible.
If a situation arises where a camper threatens the safety of another camper or if a camper shows a complete disregard of camp rules, the child may be dismissed at the discretion of the Camp Director. The parents/guardians will be responsible for any costs associated with the camper’s dismissal for behavioural reasons and no refund will be given if the dismissal is due to behavioural reasons.
Possession of illicit substances
Smoking, the consumption of alcohol and/or the use of non-prescription drugs are not permitted on YMCA property. Any camper or staff member who disregards this policy will be automatically removed regardless of circumstance or degree of participation.
The camp program is a busy one that uses all parts of the day. Visits can be very disruptive to campers prone to homesickness (or to other campers in the group). Camp is also a great place for kids to build their independence and self-reliance. It is preferable that campers do not receive visitors during their time at camp.
If a visit is absolutely necessary please call the camp office in advance to arrange a time that works best for both you and your camper. All visitors are required to sign in at the office. Campers may not receive visitors under the age of 19 without a parent/guardian present. Parents are welcome to take a tour of camp on first and last day of camp.
Over the course of their camp experience campers will be exposed to a wide variety of activities and experiences. They will receive individual instruction in new skills, take part in cabin group activities and participate in games and theme events involving the entire camp. In all our programs we emphasize creativity, imagination and adventure in a safe, fun-filled atmosphere designed to encourage growth and the development of self-confidence.
Activities at camp are challenge-by-choice – campers will never be forced to do an activity in which they feel uncomfortable but they will be encouraged by their leader to try new experiences. Group Leaders and Section Directors work to design program options which are safe, active and appropriate to the age level of the group. Activity areas offer instruction where campers proceed at their own pace and the lessons are structured to allow time for campers to accomplish their goals within the timeframe of the session.
Each cabin group usually has 10 campers and is assigned 2 group leaders who provide 24-hour supervision. The members of the senior staff team and program staff team are also available to provide support to cabin groups and individual campers who may be struggling with the challenges of being away from home.
The principal unit of activity at camp is the cabin group. We have found that activities focused around a small group of peers encourages the development of close friendships as they take part in activities and meet challenges together. We do our best to foster an atmosphere of co-operation rather than competition. If we do run an activity containing some element of competition, we focus on challenging campers to achieve their own goals, rather than encouraging them to measure their accomplishments against the achievements of others.
Day Camp Groups
Each day camp group usually has 10 campers and is assigned one group leader who will provide care during the day. Members of the senior staff team are always on hand to provide support to campers who may be facing challenges in the camp environment.
During each day the group will take part in activities together, giving campers the chance to build bonds and make friends.
- It is not necessary to go out and buy every item; many outdoor stores have good used equipment or offer rentals and this is a good way to ensure that your child has the right equipment.
- When packing make sure that your camper has a hand in the process; this will make them more aware of what was brought to camp, which will make packing to go home that much easier.
- Your camper will be very active and that camp can be rough on clothes, for this reason we recommend that campers do not bring expensive clothing to camp.
- Please label everything with the camper’s first and last name.
Each camp program can vary - please consider the activities that your camper may participate in and the length of their stay.
- Sleeping bag - warm, preferably synthetic fill
- Pillow and pillow case
- Flashlight with fresh and extra batteries
- Bowl, spoon and cup (for out trips only)
- Sleeping pad (for out trips only)
- Water bottle
- Supply of underwear for the session
- Supply of socks for the session both thin and thick for hiking
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 5 T-shirts
- 2 long sleeve T-shirts
- 3 pairs of pants (sweatpants are warmer than jeans)
- 2 warm sweaters (a warm sweater and a fleece jacket)
- Waterproof rain suit (camp activities continue in the rain)
- Rubber boots
- 2 pairs of shoes (1 pair with laces and rubber soles, 1 pair that can get wet)
- 2 sets of pyjamas
- 2 towels (1 large, 1 small)
- Hat (for sun and rain)
- Toque (optional)
- Biodegradable soap, biodegradable shampoo (in plastic containers)
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Brush or comb
- Insect repellent - non-aerosol
- Sunscreen: minimum SPF 30
- Lip balm (optional)
- Laundry bag (breathable, to keep dirty clothes separate)
- Camera and film (disposable camera recommended)
- Self-addressed, stamped postcards, paper, pens & envelopes
- Sheet for mattress, extra blanket
Do not bring:
Matches, firearms, knives, hatchets, tobacco, video games, toys, cellular phones, portable radios, iPods, laptops, hair dryers, expensive watches or jewellery. Food, candy and gum should also be left in the city (they attract animals both large and small). YMCA Camps will not be responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Luggage need not be expensive - back packs are ideal, hockey bags, duffels, old suitcases and big laundry bags are fine. Do not pack items in garbage bags as they rip easily and can be mistaken for garbage. Include a sturdy backpack for any potential out trips or day trips and don’t forget to label your luggage as well!
Our camp programs will continue despite the occasional rainy day and for your camper’s comfort and well-being, they should be well prepared for the weather. Rain suits and sturdy, well sealed rubber boots provide the best protection. Don’t forget to label the boots as they often look the same!
All soap products used (shampoo, soap and conditioners) must be biodegradable as our water is treated and returned directly to the ocean. We need your help to protect the environment and our water system works best and operates cleanly when all soap products used are biodegradable.
- Appropriate clothing for weather conditions (jacket, rain wear, etc.)
- Plastic bag for wet clothing/swimsuits at the end of the day
- Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30 is recommended)
- Comfortable footwear (an extra pair on wet days is helpful)
- Water bottle
- Backpack or small day bag with your camper’s name on it
- Water shoes (or strap-on sandals with a secure heel strap) for kayaking
- Peanut-free snack
- camp will not be responsible for loss of prescription glasses
Please read the following information carefully, as it contains some important information. YMCA Camp Elphinstone has implemented a new procedure for campers and staff luggage. With the widespread issue of bed bugs in the lower mainland, we have built a new heat treatment room to ensure prevention of bed bugs. All bags will pass through this space before campers move into their cabins. This heat treatment will heat bags to 125 degrees Fahrenheit/ 52 degrees Celsius, which will ensure that any bags or luggage that possibly contain bedbugs and eggs will be killed prior to moving into cabins, eliminating any concerns of bed bugs spreading to our cabins, or your home. To allow for bags to be heated, we will need you to ensure that all items that should not be heated are packed in a zip lock bag and are placed on top of your camper’s luggage. The following items should not be heated, as it could cause damage: plastic (toiletries), electronics (which should be left at home), candles, wax, medicines, photographs or pictures, cameras, food, cosmetics, pop cans, aerosols. Please make sure zip lock bags are well labelled with your camper’s names. We appreciate your support in this matter.
Lost & Found
We do our best to keep campers and their possessions together but every year we have many unclaimed items with no identification. Labelling all items makes it easier for us to return any items found during/after your camper’s session. All items will be held in the camp Lost & Found, and may be picked up during regular business hours until the end of September. All unclaimed items will be donated to a charitable organization in October.
Food at Camp
Camp is an active place and good meals are important to help keep energy levels high! With this in mind YMCA Camp kitchens offer nutritious, filling and ‘kid friendly’ meals. Residential campers receive 3 meals a day in addition to a snack before bed and day campers receive lunch each day. Fruit is available all day for campers needing something extra, and day campers are welcome to bring a (peanut free) snack.
A possible menu for the day could include scrambled eggs, sausages, toast and fruit for breakfast, make-your-own sandwich with soup and salad for lunch and chicken stir fly with rice and salad for dinner.
Our camps are able to accommodate special diets, please ensure that any dietary requests are made well in advance.
Contacting Your Camper at Camp - Cell Phone Policy
We understand that sending your child to camp, whether it is the first or the fifth time, is a huge leap of faith (and not just for the camper!). We understand that both parties will long for contact we have several strategies in place to help everyone and, most importantly, to ensure a successful camp experience for your camper.
To help develop each individual camper’s independence one of the most important strategies that we ask for your support on is not allowing cell phones at camp. If we allow campers to have cell phones they make it a habit of calling home over disagreements or small things that upset them. Instant communication encourages campers to call the ‘parent rescue squad’ as opposed to letting their counsellor work with them to triumph over their challenges. It breaks down the relationship with their counsellors and their cabin group, and shows the other campers that it’s okay to break rules.
At Camp we focus on building strong relationships within each cabin group which better equips counsellors to deal with a variety of situations and to have a greater positive impact. If a challenging situation involving your camper does arise we will communicate directly with you to get your advice and support.
For information on how to contact your camper while they are at camp you can view a copy of the Information Guide relating to your camp.
Our goal is to constantly improve each campers experience and our facility and we appreciate your comments. We will be sending you survey information after your child’s camp so please take the time to let us know your impressions of your child’s camp experience.
Look for the new brochure and information on the web in December! Registration begins early in the New Year and early registration ensures a space in the program of your choice!