Archive for May, 2013

Introducing Jill Dundas, CCA President-Elect

Posted on May 20, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

Jill Dundas, CCA President-Elect

At the April meeting in Edmonton, the CCA Board approved Jill Dundas’s nomination as CCA President Elect.

Jill, the Executive Director of the Girl Guides of Canada-Ontario Council, is highly qualified to assume this two year role as President, which commences on January 1, 2014. Presently she is the Treasurer for the International Camping Fellowship. Her many years as a volunteer for the Ontario Camps Association earned her OCA’s highest honour, the Dorothy Walter Award of Excellence. Formerly the Director of Doe Lake Girl Guide Camp, Jill continues to enjoy working with committed volunteers through many camp-related projects at the international, national and provincial levels.

As Chair of the CCA Visioning Task Group, Jill is knowledgeable and committed to the future directions for the national association. It is her intent “to continue to work forward on the placement of the national organization within the overall camping industry. This would include the continuation of research to define our industry to the families across Canada, consideration of a ‘camping’ awareness campaign that partners with PCA or individual camp specific campaigns [and] initiatives that benefit camps across the nation.”

In November, Jill will chair the third National Leadership Forum, a meeting of the CCA Board, provincial presidents and provincial executive directors. The purpose is to ensure that annual input is received and a collective direction of movement is defined for the camping industry. This will result in appropriate use of resources across the county and regardless of size, PCAs can be supported to work with their members.

The current CCA Board looks forward to working with Jill.

Your CCA Board of Directors

CCA Board (l-r): Harry Edwards, President; Stephane Richard, NB; Jonathan Nyquist, ON; Donna Wilkinson, SK; Jeff Bradshaw, Past President; Catherine Ross, Communications Officer; Jill Dundas, President Elect; Kathy Koehler, AB
Absent: Pam Chater, BC; Tanya Desrochers, QC; Jane McCutcheon, Treasurer; Roxy Peterson, NS; Malcolm Turner, NFLD; Bob Wiebe, MB

Award Winning Camp Nurses’ Book Available

Posted on May 15, 2013 by Mike Stewart


Camp Director Takes on the Tories!

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Joanne Kates

This article originally appeared in The Globe & Mail on Monday, April 22, 2013.

The Tory attack ads on Justin Trudeau made a few mistakes. The pundits don’t know yet how (badly) the ads will backfire, but we know one thing: Putting Trudeau’s work as a camp counselor first on the list of jobs that render him unsuitable to be PM was not smart.

Especially since more than four million parents in Canada are getting ready to send their children to summer camp, where they will place their children, that which they value most in the world (we hope) into the hands of others for weeks or months. Many in wilderness situations where outside help is inaccessible.

Ask those parents if being a camp counselor is an important and high-skill job.

Consider the attributes of a successful camp counselor. Not that I’m on the stump for Justin, but in order to serve justice, let’s understand how hard – and important – a job that is. It may indeed be a job that builds competencies well suited to running a large and fractious country.

Put 10 young kids in a cabin for a week or a month. It can be a powder keg. Sure, camp is fun and 99% of children adore it; but there are inevitable – and sometimes intransigent – conflicts. Where else in life do leaders learn to mediate conflicts in a group and help sparring individuals find their way to peace so they can live together in harmony? A PM looking to mediate among the provinces – or perhaps even the Middle East – might do well to have some of the camp counselor’s mediation skills.

Sometimes there’s a bully in the cabin. This too the camp counselor has to address. Intervening to stop bullying is a sophisticated skill. Having the guts to stand up and the skill to do it effectively are pre-requisites for a camp counselor. Would that our political leaders were as deft with bad actors on the international stage. They could learn something from the best camp counselors, who know how to sit down with bullies, find out what’s eating them, and both support and require them to fix their behaviour. Bullying is always a relationship problem; would that political leaders had better relationship counseling skills. We might have fewer wars.

Camp counselors have to listen carefully to various stakeholders and balance competing interests. That’s what happens when 10 kids want to do 10 different things at free time. Or when they’re playing a game and they can’t agree on the rules, or on who’s out and who’s in. Or when the kids in the group are at different developmental stages and they have trouble finding common ground. That stuff happens most days, and a good counselor knows to listen respectfully to everyone’s point of view and find the middle ground, the acceptable and respectful compromise in situations of diversity.

When we really think about parenting, we understand that it takes place in the minutiae of daily life – the peanut butter sandwiches and the driving all over town. These temporary summer parents face similar challenges: From early morning till bedtime they have to get children to do things – get up on time, brush teeth, set the table in the dining hall, clear it, make your bed and do your cabin clean-up chore. And this only in the first hour of ever day.

Maintaining order and discipline without descending to authoritarianism requires walking a fine line. How do two counselors put 10 children to bed, teeth brushed, faces washed, kindness reigning, all in under an hour? And without anyone feeling ordered around? Mr. Harper might learn something from camp counselors on this one.

But most important of all, a camp counselor is an optimist. They work ridiculously long hours: They rise before the children at 7:30 a.m. and their work is not done when the children go to sleep. There is Night Duty, there are staff meetings, and sometimes a crying or sick child to attend to in the middle of the night. All this they must do with a smile – for they know the children are watching. Working long hours with scarce resources, little time off and incessant demands on one’s attention is hard – for camp counselors and for Prime Ministers. Camp counselors learn to maintain their positive energy 24/7. Especially when the going gets rough, the people they lead need to see their optimism, else they will not follow the leader.

Let BackCheck Lighten Your Load!

Posted on May 7, 2013 by Catherine Ross

BackCheck.caAre you confused about the need or process for Criminal Record Checks (CRC) and Vulnerable Sector Searches (VSS)?

Contact CCA’s new liaise, Rod Piukkala, of BackCheck, is CCA’s new liaise and is available to answer your questions. You can contact Rod by email ( or phone (647-981-5133).

For more information about the BackCheck program, please click here.

The New Necessity – Proactive Government Lobbying

Posted on by CCA Communications Committee

At a recent meeting in Edmonton, the CCA Board moved to financially support Ontario’s initiative to lobby the federal government on current and future Transport Canada Regulations, which are having and will have a serious, negative impact on many Canadian camps. The Ontario Camps Association hired Global Public Affairs Inc. to schedule meetings on April 22, 2013 of three OCA representatives with MP David Tilson; MP Larry Miller, Chair of the House Transport Committee; the Political Staff in the Ministry of Transport and the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

The federal legislation applies to all camps that use motorized boats over 9.9 HP for any reason but it is particularly demanding for camps that are accessed by water or regularly transport more than 6 passengers.

Current legislation requires the registration of every motorized vessel over 9.9 HP as a Small Commercial Vessel (SCV). The onerous registration paperwork can take up to six months. Registered boats require specific equipment (flares, lifejackets (as opposed to PFDs), communication devices etc).

Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) and Small Non-Pleasure Vessel Basic Safety (MED A3) are now required for operators carrying more than six passengers or operators of workboats greater than 8 metres in length. These qualifications require several days to complete at a cost per individual of between $500 and $1000.

By 2014, Small Vessel Marine Insurance is anticipated at a rate of $250,000 liability insurance per seat for each motorized passenger-carrying vessel. This coverage is separate and distinct from other general liability insurance. Nancy Brown, broker for the CCA Insurance Progam, is working with the OCA representatives on this aspect of the anticipated legislation.

There is mounting evidence that government legislation has been and will continue to be a grave concern for camp operators. CCA, recognizing the need and advantages of being proactive, has added lobbying to the top of the agenda for the National Leadership Forum (NLF) this November. At the NLF, the CCA Board, Provincial Presidents and Executive Directors will consider the viability of retaining a lobbyist to keep camp leaders aware of pending legislation that will affect the camping industry. A national committee dedicated to monitoring legislation with input from a professional lobbyist would enable us to be proactive.

Today we are doing our best to react to Transport Canada regulations. Camp owners in Ontario have made individual contributions to add to the financial commitment from OCA and CCA. The initial costs are estimated between forty and sixty thousand dollars. Financial support from any camp across the country directed to the OCA Executive Director, Heather Heagle, would be most welcomed.

This is a national issue. We need to know what camps in what provinces are being affected negatively by the Transport Canada Commercial boating regulations. We would like to hear your stories. How are the regulations affecting you now? What has been your experience with Transport Canada or other enforcement officers? How will the regulations affect you? Please contact Mark Diamond ( with your stories.