Frequently Asked Questions

The Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA has three camps. What's different about all of them?

Aside from the obvious - site and activities - our camps are very similar to one another. All three of our directors spend a good part of the school year planning for camp - hiring, developing staff training, researching new program possibilities, attending camping conferences and participating in various directors' training opportunities.

Our camps benefit from a variety of experiences and knowledge brought to the table by three directors, not just one. 

Can my child attend with a friend?

Yes, we do our best to accommodate requests if the campers are registered for the same session, and they are close in age. Registered campers will complete a Camper Mate Request form which is part of the Parent Package available in April.

Can my child attend with a bunch of friends?

This becomes a little more difficult to accommodate for a number of reasons.

Imagine that your child comes to camp without a friend and is placed in the same cabin with six other campers who are already tried and true friends. Chances are, he or she is going to feel a little out of place.

Camp is such a great place to meet new people and try new things; we really value that part of the experience, and often, campers are less likely to benefit from these aspects of the experience if they are part of a pre-established group of friends.

How do I know if my child is ready for overnight camp?

An obvious indicator is your child seems willing and eager to attend. Another indicator is whether he or she is able to manage sleepovers at friends' or other family members' homes.

Your child's attitude toward camp will likely be similar to your attitude toward camp. If you appear hesitant, or if you express doubt in his or her ability to manage well while away, chances are, that's what your child will think.

Involve your child in the decision making process; if you discuss the camp experience and investigate options together, you will be better able to gauge his or her readiness.

If you want to speak to the director of the camp before registering (or before, during or after your child's stay) we welcome your call. Anytime.

What if my child gets homesick?

Our programs are designed to be lots of fun and to keep campers busy. That's step number one in avoiding potential homesickness. When homesickness does occur, it's usually at bed time. Our counsellors are aware of and tuned into the needs of their campers, and the value of a calm and structured bedtime routine. It's important to remember that moments (usually fleeting) of homesickness do occur - but they don't necessarily mean the camper wants to leave camp.

If we feel you can be of assistance we will give you a call to discuss the situation. In extreme cases, campers might return home before the end of the session.

We also provide tips to parents of registered campers about how to help your child to emotionally prepare for camp.

Where will my child sleep when at camp?

Our camps have cabins with bunk beds and mattresses. You will send along a sleeping bag and pillow. Details about what to bring and what not to bring are listed in the handbook for registered campers.

Where are the washrooms? and what are they like?

At all three of our camps, washroom facilities are numerous and located very close to all cabin areas (about 50 steps away). Paths are lit, and campers are asked to wake a counsellor if they need to use the washroom during the night.

How many campers are in a cabin, and what is your staff to camper ratio?

We have one staff member to every three campers. Each cabin has 8-10 campers, and 2-3 counsellors. Two and sometimes all three of the counsellors live right in the same cabin as the campers.

My kids are picky eaters. How can I be sure they will get enough to eat?

We offer a kid-friendly menu based on Canada's Food Guide. Our menu provides a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as pizza, tacos, sandwiches, cold and hot cereal at breakfast and more. Allergies are easily accommodated; registered campers are provided a space on the health form to provide us with details about allergies, etc.

Do you have a behaviour policy? And what about bullying?

Generally, we expect that all campers and staff treat each other respectfully. We believe that each and every camper has the right to have a great time at camp, and nobody has the right to intentionally diminish the experience of anyone else.

During staff training, we discuss the importance of taking preventative action, recognizing a problem, dealing with problems swiftly, and following up with the involved campers.

We need our campers to talk to their counsellors about any situation at camp that makes them unhappy or uncomfortable. This is a point that we want you to be sure your child knows before he or she arrives at camp. We have lots of support staff on duty all the time. If your child does not feel comfortable approaching his or her counsellor, or does not feel satisfied with the counsellor's response, there are many other staff members who will be well-known to your child, and almost always available.

We also ask that campers speak out on behalf of one another. If a child is being bullied, we ask that those who are aware also act to tell the counsellor, or other staff member.

We ask that parents and registered campers read and discuss the Camper Code of Behaviour. It outlines appropriate and inappropriate behaviour while at camp - which you will probably notice is similar to behaviour expectations at school and at home.

Still have questions? Feel free to give us a call (519)699-5100.