Does your campground offer great camping experiences all year round? If so you will know that severe weather changes can happen at any time with little warning, whatever the season. British Columbia is home to both the snowiest and the least snowy spots in Canada - ranging between 33cm and 1388cm of snowfall per year. To minimise risk to your campers, ensure that they are prepared with tips on minimizing heat loss and take some precautions to reduce the impact of a change in weather to the campground.
When the weather changes unexpectedly, bringing severe conditions, this can bring additional challenges for the campground. With your campground at risk of losing power, it is important that you have in place an emergency weather plan. You want to be able to ensure that your visitors and staff are safe and ensure that the quality of the visit is not impacted. A simple addition to an emergency pack is a battery operated weather radio so that you can keep up to date with weather changes. Some of the more advanced models will even switch on automatically when there is a broadcast, ensuring you don’t miss a thing.
If you are running a fully catered camp for children, you want to make sure that they are fed regularly and the food is fresh. For this, you need to ensure that the food storage areas are powered and have a backup cooking method. Being a campsite, the latter is obvious - light the campfire and gather everyone around. There are lots of fun and tasty snacks you can prepare and cook on a campfire, keeping the children warm, fed and entertained at the same time.
If the weather changes suddenly, you may find that the original planned activities are no longer suitable for your campers. Make sure you have an emergency plan for rainy day activities for the kids to keep them entertained and happy. These can be simple things like reading a book or getting them to take turns writing a story. You can also build up an emergency collection of board games and puzzles as these are great group activities that can be played undercover from the bad weather.
The weather can change at any time. A little time spent preparing for all eventualities can help the campers be safe, warm, fed and entertained, meaning they likely to go home with happy stories to tell their family and friends.
Many Thanks to Jenny McGee for contributing this blog post!
Objectives, Benefits, Fees & Application
Benefits of Participating
A training registration fee of $130 per camp which includes access to on-line training, access to help throughout the summer from The Foundation’s Program Coordinator and a camp kit of materials necessary for one camp staff member to lead the delivery of the Bondar Challenge. For each additional staff leader delivering the program, an additional $25 fee is required. This entitles leader(s) to the following:
How to Apply
Individual CCA/ACC member camps (registered through their Provincial or State Camping Association) must apply on-line through The Roberta Bondar Foundation website.
Canadians from coast to coast came together to share the positive impact of camps in the Canadian Camping Association's #ThankstoCamp video. Check out Peter Katz's all new music video for "The Camp Song" highlighting these #thankstocamp stories, and to find out how you can join the movement, visit www.thankstocamp.ca
--- Written and performed by: Peter Katz Peterkatz.com @peterkatzmusic
Directed by: Émilie Trudeau
Cinematography by: Gabrielle Raill
Produced by: Raill Design inc. Railldesign.com
It would be a disaster if your campers hated their time with you solely due to being cold. During the 2010/2011 fiscal year, 2,358,896 camping visits were recorded in British Columbia’s parks. Camping is enjoyed by many youngsters each summer and, for hosts and organizers, combating heat loss is as essential as creating and putting up camp signs. As a coordinator, you should be prepared for all weather, including a bitter cold snap and icy rain, and have provisions in place to keep your guests warm and happy.
Why does the body lose heat when camping?
There are five ways heat is lost when camping: Radiation, conduction, convection, evaporation and respiration. When individuals are camping they are away from heat sources other than a campfire and are subjected to varying outside conditions for a considerable period of time. For most people, this isn’t something they are used to and it can take some practice and getting used to to understand that the trick is to prevent heat loss rather than to try to tackle it once it’s set in. That’s where expert campers such as organizers come in as they can share their tips and advice on the best methods to beat the cold.
Staying warm before heading to bed
Before the kids head to their tents to get their heads down for the night, encourage them to warm up. Simple things such as consuming a hot beverage, wearing thermals and additional layers and sitting by the campfire before bed are great ways to warm the body up before hitting the sack. If a child opts not to follow these tricks, then you should do everything in your power to persuade some form of warmth is sought by the camper and, if need be, you may need to check on them during the night to ensure they are comfortable and aren't suffering with heat loss.
Keeping the tent warm
Parts of British Columbia is hit with more than 200 days of rain each year, therefore, the chance of your summer camp being hit by bursts of rain is high. Your campers will need a shelter and sleeping apparatus which is warm, functional and, ideally, waterproof. Good quality tents, padded sleeping bags and an insulating sleeping mat should be the bare minimum that any camp’s guests should have for the duration of their stay. If you provide equipment, ensure these are on your list. Otherwise, send a detailed checklist to parents well in advance of their son or daughter’s visit.
Heat loss when camping isn’t something to worry about so long as hosting organizations do all they can to promote the benefits and methods of staying warm.
Whether you’re posting rules for a programming element, warnings about hazards and out-of-bounds areas, or identifying a building, office, path or storage space- the signage needs for your camp are seemingly endless. Signs are an effective way of communicating directions and expectations to your campers and guests. They serve as a reminder to your staff of the safety considerations and best practices for activities.
Camp signs need to stand the test of time and inclement B.C. weather. They need to be legible and read from a distance; resistant to bending and breaking. Purchasing custom made signs may be costly and difficult to alter or adjust. Some more cost-effective methods for DIY sign production include using a router or paint on wood or renting a laser engraver at your local MakerSpace.
At Ness Lake Bible Camp, near Prince George, BC, it is hard to find a door that isn’t labeled. Over the past few years, Ness Lake has considerably increased their signage around camp and have produced the majority of these signs in-house. Finding an affordable way to produce in-house has streamlined their signage and provides a smoother experience to guests and rental groups. The method they use to make signs is included below.
In-house Sign Making
Materials- Cricut cutting machine (or similar)
- Adhesive vinyl (try asking your local sign shop for roll ends)
- Corrugated plastic
1. Cut plastic sheeting the size of desired sign.
2. Cut Vinyl to the size of Cricut cutting mat. If the mat loses its stickiness you may need to use scotch tape to secure the vinyl to the cutting mat.
3. Use Cricut to cut letters, number and symbols. You will need to use the strongest pressure setting on the cricut to cut through the vinyl.
4. Peel off the paper backing and attach letters to your sign. Start from the middle of the word or phrase to ensure even spacing.
5. Display your sign for the world to see!
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.