In July 2016, BC Childcare Licensing introduced amendments to its Regulations that impact summer camps as well as day camps that operate outside of the summer season. These amendments were made to:
1. Help parents better recognize licensed community care facilities
2. Provide more flexibility and choice for parents by addressing the ages and qualifications for children attending camp programs
3. Provide distinction between summer camps and other types of day camp programs
Since 2007, the Childcare Licensing Regulation has exempted summer and day camps from licensing provided that children and camps met certain parameters. Those parameters have been eased somewhat to allow younger children to attend camp programs.
According to a Ministry spokesperson, the Ministry was interested in separating regulations for summer camp from those for day camps operating in other out-of-school periods during the course of the year. They also wanted to ensure that younger children in school or kindergarten were able to attend programs with their marginally older peer group.
A Ministry FAQ states that:
1. A child may now attend unlicensed summer camp the summer (July/August) before they start their grade 1 school year. The age of children was changed to 6 years or older on or before December 31. Summer camps operate for no more than 13 weeks during the months of June through September. (Note that this FAQ states two different periods that qualify as summer camp – July/August and June through September. However the regulations themselves state June through September.)
2. A child may now attend unlicensed day camps once they have started their kindergarten school year.
Children must be enrolled/attend a school (including home schooling). The age of children was changed to 5 years or older on or before December 31. Day camps operate only during the months of September to June and only on days of school closure.
The Ministry’s FAQ provides these examples:
Can a child who is 4 and attending Kindergarten go to a Pro-d day camp or Winter Break camp? Yes, as long as the child will be 5 on or before December 31.
Can a child who will start Kindergarten in September, go to unlicensed summer camp in July/August before the school year starts?
No. Children must first complete their Kindergarten year in order to attend an unlicensed summer camp. (Note that according to the Ministry, the age of the child, as stated in the regulations, would take precedence over the actual completion of kindergarten.)
In summary, the Ministry has acted in a progressive manner to address licensing issues affecting younger children and camps, providing opportunity for younger children to attend camp programs - a win for kids, families and camping.
Thanks to diligent lobbying by the Canadian Camping Association, foreign summer staff and volunteers will be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Previously, a LMIA, which costs up to one thousand dollars, may have been required to demonstrate that foreign workers were required and that there were no Canadians available for the job.
This temporary foreign work exception is available to those from outside of Canada because Canadians have similar opportunities to work as camp counsellors around the world. Proof of these opportunities is not required for individual applications, according to the Government of Canada website.
All residential camp counsellor applications should be processed under exemption code C20, even for applicants going to faith-based camps.
Read more here:
This summer, camps have the opportunity to provide campers with a unique and memorable experience. While BC is outside of the path of total eclipse, observers in southern BC will be able to witness an eclipse with 85% coverage. The eclipse can be viewed from Vancouver between 09:10 am and 11:37 with the maximum eclipse occurring at 10:21 am.
HELLO! The Canadian Camping Association is launching #ThanksToCamp, a national platform developed to help promote the true impact of camp on the lives of hundreds of thousands children, youth and families across the country.
Camp is more than just fun, but most people who have not lived through the camp experience might not know that...Until now!
As the Canadian Camping Association’s first national marketing initiative, #ThanksToCamp will need your help to gather powerful camp stories from campers, staff, alumni, and parents.
CCA Marketing to PCA Members (English).pdf
April is Autism Awareness Month!
Preparing to Support Autistic Campers this Summer
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
“Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly referred to as Autism, is a complex developmental brain disorder caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. ASD is characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioural challenges, and repetitive behaviours and is considered to be a lifespan disorder. An estimated 1 in 68 diagnosed children is on the autism spectrum.” (autismspeaks.ca/about-autism/what-is-autism/)
Kids with ASD and camp:
Every child with ASD is different and has different needs. Many children on the autism spectrum are able to participate and are integrated into classrooms, clubs, and activities with typically developing children. Summer camp is a great opportunity for autistic children to gain independence, practice social skills and have FUN. With the right supports, we can help kids with ASD have a successful and memorable camping experience.
How can you help children with ASD and their families prepare for camp?
Evaluate whether the child is ready for camp
This article from the Indiana Resource Center for Autism is a great resource to share with parents who are unsure if their child is ready to come to camp. https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/index.php?pageId=374
Get the Facts
Collect information from the child’s parents about dietary needs, medications, social skills, sensory issues, and what supports the child needs around routines such as bedtime, dressing, hygiene, etc. It is also important to know the child’s behavioural concerns and how they are best managed.
Arrange a Camp VisitIf possible, invite the child and their family to come out and tour the camp.
Explore Support Options
Some children may require one-on-one support or increased supervision in order to have a successful time at camp. Additional supports may take the form of an older sibling or family friend, an external support worker hired by the child’s family, an additional leader in the child’s cabin or a shadow provided by the camp.
How can you help autistic campers to have an awesome experience this summer?
Communication in Key Setting clear rules and expectations is important for all children. For kids on the autism spectrum especially, it is helpful to give lots of warning for upcoming transitions and changes. For kids who have difficulties with executive functioning (processing how to get things done) it is helpful to break tasks and routines into smaller pieces, using “First, Then” phrases.
Make a PlanGive the child a basic schedule, make a to-do list that you check off throughout the day, or make a “good day game plan” with goals for the day.
Beware of Overwhelming Conditions“Most camps make certain assumptions about what children like to do. In fact, they often design their programs around their needs and interests. Experiences such as being in a big group, loud noises, making messes, competing in teams, sharing a room, and arts and crafts are all found in a typical summer camp. However, those who have sensory processing or communicative issues will finds these activities difficult to participate in.” (icare4autism.org/news/2015/05/thinking-about-sending-your-child-with-autism-summer-camp/)
Kids with ASD may struggle connecting with other children or knowing how to appropriately interact with them, which puts them at risk of being excluded by peers. Cabin leaders and other camp staff can help to include the child in group discussions and social activities. They may also need to alter some games and activities so that all children can succeed.