Archive for February, 2013

The Bondar Challenge

Posted on February 26, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

Dr. Roberta Bondar is a Canadian icon most widely known for her journey aboard Discovery as the world’s first neurologist and Canada’s first woman in space. Her achievements are outstanding in her varied careers as a scientist, medical doctor, astronaut, author, environmental educator and professional landscape and nature photographer.

In summer 2012, The Roberta Bondar Foundation partnered with the Canadian Camping Association to launch the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge, piloting the experience in 5 summer camps. Modeled after the successful school-based Bondar Challenge, it focused on campers using a camera as a tool and gateway to learning about the environment. Campers are challenged to capture an image in their environment that relates to an aspect of biodiversity and then write a statement to accompany their photo. The program fuses the art of photography with a knowledge of science and promotes a lifelong love of nature, protection of our environment and global citizenship. The winning images and statements will travel with The Foundation’s Travelling Exhibition.

You can view the 2012 winning images and accompanying artist’s statements on the Bondar Challenge page of The Roberta Bondar Foundation website at

Your camp can join the Bondar Challenge in summer 2013.

Role Of The Foundation

The 2013 trainer registration fee of $25 per trainer includes:

  • Unlimited use of the program for summer 2013 by trained staff counselors/leaders
  • Start up camp kits of detailed information about program regulations, judging criteria, competition deadlines, submission guidelines, etc.
  • Training materials for staff counselors/leaders delivering the program including certificates signed by Dr. Bondar certifying completion of the training program
  • Password protected on-line access to all learning tools, program materials, regulations, and instructions for submitting entries to the competition
  • Digital badge for trained staff counselors/leaders completing the evaluation of the program experience at the end of summer
  • Acknowledgment on The Roberta Bondar Foundation’s website as a participating camp
  • Winning entries will be posted on The Foundation’s website

Role Of The Camp

Camps agree that:

  • All staff delivering the program have completed the training provided on-line through The Foundation’s website
  • The program may be run in any number of sessions during the summer but each session must ensure campers have allocated a minimum of 6 hours over at least 2 days for each camper/group who participates (any combination is acceptable to achieve the 6 hour commitment)
  • Access will be provided to necessary electronic support for campers /staff to view images, complete artist’s statements and make submissions online
  • An online evaluation questionnaire on the program experience will be completed

How And When To Register

Individual CCA member camps can apply on-line through The Roberta Bondar Foundation website.

Applications to be a participating camp open March 1,2013 and must be received by 20:00 EST April 30, 2013 to be considered.

It’s That Time Again!

Posted on February 19, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

Criminal Record Checks (CRC) are part of the hiring / screening process in the camping industry.

BackCheck - background service checks for summer camps - Canadian Camping AssociationThe question most Camp employers are asking is, “What type of Canadian CRC should be performed on a prospective volunteer / paid staff applicant?”

To better understand the types of CRC services available, and which one to use for the hiring / screening process, presently the most common Canadian Criminal Record Check (CRC) being performed in the camping industry is either a CRC through the CPIC database, or a CRC that includes a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS):

Name Based CRC: – A search (through the CPIC database) for all non-pardoned convictions, including those of a sexual nature. As per the recently released RCMP Policy, a name based CRC can be performed through an accredited third party company (such as BackCheck) or the local police service where the applicant resides. BackCheck queries the same data base as police services, using Canadian POLICE SERVICES operating within terms of an MOU signed by the police service, BackCheck and the RCMP.

Name Based CRC with VSS – consists of the following:
– Name Based CRC – A search for all non-pardoned convictions, including those of a sexual nature
– Pardoned Sex Offence Query – A search for any pardoned convictions of a sexual nature
– Local Police Indices – Search of local police notes

Presently, BackCheck can do:
– A CRC that covers all non pardoned convictions, including those of a sexual nature
– Local Police Information of non charges or convictions (Through the FIP database)
– Confirmation of details of convictions as listed by the applicant on our consent form

The question needed answered is ““What type of CRC should be performed on a prospective volunteer / paid staff applicant?”

The answer is: either, depending on the age of the applicant, or if a renewal CRC is being performed. In other words, not all applicants will require a CRC with a VSS.

Some Insurance providers (including Nancy Brown Insurance) have made concessions to their clients requiring a Criminal Record Check with a VSS.

What does this mean? A check of the Pardoned Sexual Offender Database (VSS) is not necessary on any individual under the age of 25, or , on people 25 years and older who have previously had a VSS done in the last 5 years for that position and is having another CRC done. Only people 25 years and older who are a) having a CRC done for the first time, or b) their last one done is older than 5 years, will need to go to their local police department to have a CRC with a VSS done. (As per the RCMP CPIC Policy, a CRC with VSS is to only be performed by the local police service that is located in the same jurisdiction in which the applicant presently resides.) The youngest person within the Pardoned Sex Offender data base is 26 years of age so there is no reason to experience the delays and potential fingerprinting associated to a VSS when the CRC and a FIP search returns those components. They are not a pardoned sex offender.

We suggest the following recommendations regarding performing Criminal Record Checks on applicants going forward:

– For all applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 years of age, you can order a CRC (includes local police information search) via BackCheck – BackCheck’s local police information search queries all police service local records systems for serious offences.
Alternatively, you could have the applicant attend their local police service.

– For applicants 25 years old or older that have had a VSS performed in that position and on file at your organization in the past 5 years, you can use the CRC and local police information search via BackCheck.

Alternatively, you could have the applicant attend their local police service.
– The above option is due to the fact that if a previous CRC with a VSS has been done in the last 5 years and the results were “clear” a check of the Pardoned Sexual Offender Database is not necessary. Even if the applicant has any convictions since the last CRC/VSS was performed, the person in this instance would have to wait a minimum number of years from the date of conviction to the date of receiving a pardon, if in fact granted.

For applicants 25 years old or older that have not had a criminal record check or VSS done by your organization in the past 5 years – please have the applicant attend their local police service, where they presently reside to receive a CRC that includes a VSS.

Please Note: When using BackCheck, an accredited and authorized Canadian Police Service contracted by BackCheck will complete the actual record checks.

In summary, you can have a name based CRC done by either a third party (such as BackCheck – which also will perform a local police information search) or, the applicant’s local police service.

To have a CRC with VSS performed, the applicant needs to attend the local police service where the applicant resides presently .

Please check with your insurance company if they will accept a CRC without a VSS under the above recommendations.

The above recommendations are similarly being used and recommended by Insurance providers , such as Nancy Brown Insurance, Robertson Hall Insurance, companies and organizations, such as Ontario Education Services Corporation, and Winning Kids Inc. (the company behind Plan To Protect).

The benefits of using BackCheck’s paperless online Criminal Record Check process is:

– Paperless online format
– Both the organization and the candidate receive the results via a secure, online account
– The candidate may conveniently complete ID Verification online or via Canada Post at one of 5000 participating locations
– The candidate maintains a copy of their Criminal Record Check, which they may share free of charge with other organizations.
– Guaranteed next business day turnaround time in viewing results.
– Forgery-proof online delivery system prevents digital manipulation of records.
– Flexible payment options allow payment by the candidate or organization.
– Results determined by our police partners using the RCMP CPIC database.
– Compliant with Canadian privacy and Human Rights legislation.
– Donation by BackCheck to the Canadian Camping Association for every CRC performed
– Recommended by and a member of CCA since 2006

Please contact Rod Piukkala of Backcheck at 647-981-5133 or for more information or to start using BackCheck’s Criminal Record Check service.

– Submitted by Brian Ward-Hall, BackCheck

ChariTREE Foundation 2013 Tree Planting Program

Posted on February 12, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

The ChariTREE Foundation tree planting program is open to all Canadian camps in 2013, including those that planted trees in previous years.


By April 1, 2013, please contact your provincial representative (listed below) and place your order including the number of trees and the location where they will be planted.

You may chose to plant between 40 and 800 trees. Andrea Koehle Jones, Executive Director of ChariTREE, orders trees that are native to each province from nurseries across Canada; therefore, the seedlings are suitable for growing conditions in your province.

The trees are packed in packages of 20 in cardboard boxes.


You will be notified by your representative precisely when and where the trees are available for pick up in your province (the date will be within the last two weeks of June).

Andrea’s commitment is to deliver the total order for each province to one location, which is chosen bythe provincial representative. Your representative will notify each participating camp of this location prior to submitting your order.

Each camp is responsible for collecting their order from this location or pre-arranging to pay for delivery to their campsite.

The trees may be stored in a dark, cool location for a maximum of two weeks before planting.

For more information, planting instructions and updates visit:

Your Camp Agrees To:

  • Promptly acknowledge the receipt of their trees directly to Andrea (This step is done online Camps that do not meet this obligation will forgo the opportunity to access free trees in future years).
  • Plant their trees with their campers within two weeks.
  • Water the seedlings if the weather is dry.

For more information on Andrea Koehle Jones and the Charitree Foundation please see

Provincial Representatives

British Columbia
Bronco Cathcart (

Kathy Koehler (

Donna Wilkinson (

Bryan Ezako (

Nicole Markowitz (

Tanya Desrochers (

New Brunswick
Dean Stephenson (

Nova Scotia
Roxy Peterson (

Newfoundland and Labrador
Malcolm Turner (

Devices Dilemma

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Mike Stewart

Image courtesy

Matthew Smith, Owner/Director of Longacre Leadership Farm in Newport, Pennsylvania, is introducing a new policy this summer – Anything Goes.  Campers may bring and use any device they choose: a smartphone, music player, tablet, e-reader, laptop, whatever – with one concession.

Learn how the camp is tackling this pressing problem.

Camp Alumni: An Untapped Resource

Posted on February 5, 2013 by Catherine Ross

Image courtesy

In 2011, Cheryl Williams completed her Masters research for Royal Roads University (BC) titled In What Ways Can the BC Lions Society Develop Mutually Beneficial Relationships with Alumni Camp Staff.

Cheryl realized that the alumni staff of BC Lions Easter Seals Camping Program was “an untapped resource as there is no currently formal way of engaging them in the camping programs once they leave their positions.” At camp, staff experience the great satisfaction of working as part of a highly functioning team to make a difference in people’s lives. However, at the end of their time on staff, there was little in place to allow them to continue to make a positive contribution.

The research considered several options for alumni to benefit from a continuing relationship with the camp:

– as members of a camp alumni board
– as fundraisers (persons who volunteer for an organization are more likely to contribute financially to that organization)
– as mentors or advisors to current staff.

Cheryl’s research indicated that millenials (individuals born between 1961 and 1991) are motivated to volunteer through altruism and selflessness; however, other factors are relevant:

– They place a great value on trust when deciding which organizations to support.
– They need to perceive a benefit such as skill development from the experience.
– They desire autonomy to make decisions and act on their own ideas.
– They are more likely to volunteer if someone they know and respect recruits them.

The conclusions of Cheryl’s research will encourage camps that are considering tapping their alumni potential.

– Alumni feel a sense of belonging within the camp community.
– Alumni want to play a role in fundraising and directing the future of the camp.
– Alumni are already engaged and involved – formalization is required.
– Alumni need a formal structure to be involved and need opportunities to develop their skills.

Cheryl is happy to share her complete work with anyone interested. Please contact her at

– Written by Catherine Ross, CCA Communications Officer