Archive for May, 2010


Posted on May 31, 2010 by spreston

The Steering Committee for the International Camping Congress 2011 is already hard at work planning for a spectacular event in Hong Kong in November 2011. Following on the tremendous 8th International Camping Congress in Quebec:  “In Living Colour” in 2008, the theme of the 9th ICC is “Camping: Gateway to Quality Life”. Associated with the Congress program, we will visit some of the beautiful campsites run by members of the Camping Association of Hong Kong, experience the delights of the city itself, participate in cultural events, join pre-Congress training opportunities like the International Camp Directors Course and then join post-Congress tours elsewhere into South East Asia.

Discover another dimension of the world of outdoor experience. The Gateway to Quality Life is open. Mark your calendars to put you and your associates in Hong Kong from November 4-7, 2011. Watch the ICF website ( and the ICC website for updates on presenting and participating.

The logo is styled after a Chinese signature stamp. The central symbol represents camping. Others (left) represent ‘Hong Kong’ and bottom right: ‘Quality Life’.


Posted on by spreston

Recently, Kids in Camp, a new Ontario charity whose purpose is to make camp available to kids from all backgrounds, invited former campers to recall what camp meant to them.

Their words are worth pondering by camp counsellors at the start of a new camp season. The message is strong and clear: never underestimate the huge influence you will have on your campers and the influence camp will have on you, the leaders.

Adam van Koeverden, Olympic Gold Medalist, Canadian Kayak Team wrote:
I went off to train for a sport that seemed obscure and weird before a camp counselor showed me how to do it for the first time.  For kids nowadays, there are too many reasons to stay indoors: television, video games and the computer. My experiences at camp were entirely formative: I knew right away that I loved the forest and being outside, and once I got my balance in a kayak, I realized that it was a heck of a lot better than video games too.

Tom Alderman, ex-CBC-TV Journalist said this:
I was 11 or 12. There was an occasional activity called Hobby Hub, which included “Newspaper.” I turned up and was the only camper to do so. “You and I will put out a camp newspaper,” said the counsellor, who, I learned, had once worked part-time for a news service. Sounded like fun. I’d get to wander around camp with a notebook, talk to people who wouldn’t ordinarily bother with me and write about what they told me. At the end of the week, the paper would be printed on the office gestetner and distributed to campers and staff – and there, for all to see would be my words and my byline. Who could resist? I knew, after the first week, that this was my thing.

From Jane E. Kelly, Madam Justice, Superior Court of Justice
It [camp] taught me how to be tolerant, how to express your opinion in a most positive way and how to lose a game of Capture the Flag without any hard feelings thereafter.  Camp was such a success for me that I stayed for ten years.

I stayed in camp until I started law school.  I wondered how on earth I was going to get a job on Bay Street if the only job that I had ever had was a camp counsellor. It soon became clear that this was not going to be a problem. Most of the people who were doing the hiring assured me that the things that I learned at camp were far more valuable than selling Big Macs.  They were right.  I got that job on Bay Street and twenty-five years later, I am a Judge in the Superior Court of Justice.

How do I apply what I learned at camp while I sit on the bench and judge others?  Well, first of all, I am courteous to those in the courtroom as the staff at camp were courteous to me.  I listen and I do not judge the case before I have heard everything as the director did when I was busted with my two buddies in the kitchen at midnight.  I hope that I show the same respect to the litigants that the director showed to me on that night.

Retired Camp Director Mickey Johnstone agrees that camp teaches valuable life lessons.
At camp the kids share a tent or cabin with several other kids so they learn about
sharing, independence, responsibility and the importance of building relationships. They learn to be less self-centered and to care about others. Many of my friends who are now in their 70’s and 80’s will tell you that they spent many years trying to make money only to find out in these elderly years that what is so important to them is not money at all but people, especially their family and friends.  There is no other place as great as camp to learn life skills, to learn about relationships, to move out of the ME and into the WE. Think about it: WE is a prerequisite for the workplace where we spend so many years of our lives and WE certainly is a prerequisite for a successful marriage.

The Honorable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament, Yukon
There is a proven theory in sociology that goes like this:  in many cases in life, when a child has nothing and by rights you’d expect him  to end up in jail or a failure in life, simply one significant other person in their life can get them through and as successfully as everyone else. As a director of a camp for underprivileged children, I saw this happen so many times, with the camp and the caring staff being that “significant other”.  Campers  experienced what life could be and went back, sometimes to a desperate situation, energized to survive it and to discipline themselves with the efforts needed, to build a good life and relationships for themselves and eventually their families.

Graeme C. Clark, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Canada to the Organization of American States
Looking back, some of my earliest lessons learned in managing people came as a result of my time at camp. Cajoling a finicky camper into trying a new dish; motivating boys to keep their cabin reasonably clean and tidy; reaching consensus among a group of counsellors as to when individuals got their time off; pointing out performance issues to a CIT with tact but also so that there could be no room for doubt as to my message; or dealing with the requirements of a demanding (and rightly so!) camp director who was always pushing his staff to be the best. These lessons in leadership and personal diplomacy have stayed with me and informed my own trajectory as a public servant, a manager and a diplomat.

Have a great summer!


Posted on May 17, 2010 by spreston

The CCA/ACC Award of Excellence recognizes a significant contribution to camping in a province. In 2009, CCA/ACC accepted four submissions from the British Columbia Camping Association for this award.

BCCA recommended recognizing three community associations for their generous contributions over many years to funding children who would otherwise have been denied the camping experience: The Lower Mainland Camping Bureau (since 1947), the Surrey Association of Community Living (since 1991) and the Burnaby Camping Bureau (since the mid 1980’s).

David Woolven, former Camp Director of Camp Thunderbird, YMCA, and General Manager of Summer Camps for the Vancouver YMCA, is also recognized as an outstanding BC volunteer. For six years, David has done an exceptional job in filling an essential role on the Executive of the BCCA as the Accreditation Chair.

CCA/ACC is pleased to recognize Brenda McFarlane, an outstanding New Brunswick volunteer since 1975. Brenda’s contributions to the New Brunswick Camping Association are varied as a workshop leader, Secretary-Treasurer for nine years, developer of the accreditation process, an accreditation visitor for all NB camps for three years, the registrar for the annual Counsellor Workshop and overseer of the annual auction. Brenda is a very efficient, well organized volunteer who has made the NBCA very proud!

The Jack Pearse Award of Honour recognizes outstanding service to camping across Canada. In 2009, CCA/ACC is proud to recognize the Friends of We Care of Aurora, Ontario. For more than 25 years, Friends of We Care has been dedicated to sending children with physical disabilities to Easter Seals summer camp programs in all provinces of Canada. Having contributed close to $13,000,000 to help over 25,000 children experience the joy of camping has made We Care the largest corporate contributor to Easter Seals.

CCA/ACC’s most prestigious honour is the Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding commitment over a prolonged period to a provincial and /or the national camping association. This year we are proud to recognize, Kirk Wipper, recipient of the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario. Kirk’s lifelong passion for camping, canoeing and canoes led to the creation of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. It is the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and related craft and includes canoes formerly owned by Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Bill Mason. This award will be presented to Kirk in November 2010.

CCA/ACC welcomes submissions in writing for 2010 awards in all three categories. Deadline for submissions is October 31. Criteria for the awards and the submission form are available in the Members’ Section of the CCA/ACC Website. (Username: member Password: ccamping)


Posted on May 11, 2010 by spreston

Nancy Brown of Firstbrook, Cassie and Anderson, authorized insurance broker for CCA/ACC who provides coverage for many Canadian camps, stresses the importance of obtaining police checks.  She asks camps seeking coverage two important questions: Do you do police checks? Do you do reference checks? Nancy cautions that “if you have told an insurance company you do police and reference checks, make sure you do so or you could void your coverage. If any insurance company has granted you coverage for abuse they have done so on the information you have provided them.  Make sure it’s truthful.”

Provincial camping standards also strongly recommend obtaining CRCs when choosing staff members. BackCheck, a corporate sponsor of CCA/ACC can assist in this important step in staffing.

Canadian Camp Directors are enthusiastic about the service BackCheck provides.
An Ontario Camp Director who serves a special needs population writes, “BackCheck was both an affordable and convenient way for us to acquire police reference checks.  BackCheck provided the information we requested in a timely manner suitable to the changing environment of camp.”  And from a Quebec director: “Our camp has been using BackCheck for a number of years.  We are thrilled with their service and professionalism. They make a somewhat tedious process simple.  They are always there to answer my questions.  I am confident in the results I receive from them.  A big plus is how rapid the results come in. Sometimes you need to hire a last minute staff and BackCheck can get their criminal back ground check done in a matter of hours.”

A message from Brian Ward-Hall, Director of Sales, Specialty Markets BackCheck

BackCheck is thankful for the support CCA Member Camps have shown over these past few weeks, and also for your patronage for the past several years.  We are pleased to be partners with the CCA and with the Provincial Camping Associations, and value all of your contributions to Canadians.

BackCheck is pleased to continue to offer our CCA endorsed services, specifically our name- based Criminal Record Check service, to CCA Member Camps.

BackCheck continues to provide two ways for our criminal record checks to be conducted (for offences that have not been pardoned). One being our traditional paper-based process and secondly our online process via (Both processes require physical identity verification.)

The benefits BackCheck delivers are the same as they always have been:

– Forgery-proof results – you can be absolutely sure that the applicant has not altered our results in any way.
– 24 hour turnaround time – local police services from one region to the next will vary greatly in their ability to deliver fast results
– Online results – collected in a single place, where you can audit compliance with your screening program

BackCheck looks forward in assisting CCA Member Camps for the 2010 camping season.