Archive for February, 2014

Camp Research Project: Purpose, Findings and Practical Applications

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Dr. Stephen Fine

The Canadian Camping Association, as a federation of camps across the country, is experiencing a variety of challenges: rising costs, shrinking youth market share, increased government scrutiny and regulation, and risk management issues.

Validated research is a powerful instrument for addressing and protecting this common interest because today more than ever before there is a vital need to back up our claims with evidence based research.

We now possess authoritative confirmation of our industry’s value through the findings of the CCA/ University of Waterloo (UW) “Canadian Summer Camp Research Project.” The next steps are to now effectively broadcast this information,  keep it in the public view, and to put it to practical purposes.

The research proved that camp provides development in five key areas:

Canada Kids Camps Research Benefits Development

Additionally, in the survey of over 1400 parents from across Canada, the overwhelming (or statistically significant) response was that lessons learned at camp successfully transfer from the camp environment to home, school and neighbourhood settings. Parents reported that they saw either a change for the better or an enhanced and continuing positive attitude in their children.

We do not intend to allow this study to languish. So, this is what we are now doing in order to assist you as camp professionals:

  1. The first resource soon to be available to camp directors and administrators will be a series of briefing papers. These are short, concise overviews of the findings related to each of the key development areas. These will offer insight to parents as to what outcomes a camp experience can reasonably provide for their child.
  2. The second resource will be information packages that will be of use to provincial camping associations or camps themselves. Individually keyed toward the purposes of public awareness, government lobbying, or the seeking of funding or sponsorship. These will be based on the CCA’s proven camp benefits backed up with findings from comparable research studies.
  3. In the longer run, staff training initiatives and program development based on CCA/UW research findings will be piloted at CCA camps in an effort to provide elements of intentionality to existing programs.

Camp Directors Report on the 2013 Roberta Bondar Challenge

Posted on February 17, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Bondar Challenge Canadian Camping Association

“Hoppin’ Around” by Brianna Ramagnano of Camp Wenonah was the first place winner in the 2013 Bondar Challenge.

In 2013, thirty-two camps across Canada participated in the Roberta Bondar Challenge, a program that encourages an appreciation of nature through photography. All participating directors praised the many benefits of the program for both campers and staff. Visit the Bondar Foundation’s website to view the 2013 winning photos, learn more about this amazing program, and register YOUR camp for 2014.

“The program was a total success…the goal of connecting kids to nature through photography was clearly met. We set up an outdoor evening slide show to showcase the many pictures…these were educating and motivating other campers to participate in 2014. The program provided a tremendous leadership opportunity for three of our staff.” – Jeff Bradshaw, Camp Wenonah

“About 80 campers participated and the benefits were incredible! We found campers asking questions about the small wonders that they were seeing through the camera lens. The resources included with the program are first class and the staff found it a relatively easy program to teach.” – Patti Thom, Camp Tanamakoon

“Canoe tripping and connecting kids with physical disabilities to nature are both key comments in the Camp Awakening program. So when presented with the concept of the Bondar Challenge we jumped at the chance. We are extraordinarily proud of our award winning camper and plan to re-apply in 2014.” – Tracy Morley, Camp Awakening

ChariTREE Foundation 2014 Tree Planting Program

Posted on February 10, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

Canadian Camps Tree Planting Environment NatureLast summer, campers in over 75 camps across Canada planted a total of 20,000 trees! Once again, for the sixth consecutive year, Andrea Koehle Jones, Executive Director of the ChariTREE Foundation, is offering free seedlings to all Canadian camps. You can join this excellent program that gives your campers the fun of planting their very own tree while beautifying your campsite and improving the environment for us all. This program is open to all Canadian camps, including those that planted trees in previous years.


By April 1, 2014, 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 accesses the trees from nurseries in each province; different native seedlings are chosen based on the province and growing conditions, as well as seedling availability. 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 (trees will be available for pickup sometime during the last two weeks of June). Andrea’s commitment is to deliver the total order for each province to one location, which is chosen by the 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. As a participant in the program, your camp agrees to:

  • Go online promptly and acknowledge the receipt of your trees directly to Andrea. Andrea needs this information to seek future donations. 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 visit their website.

Provincial Representatives

British Columbia Margo Dunnet (

Alberta Kathy Koehler (

Saskatchewan Donna Wilkinson (

Manitoba Liz Kovach (

Ontario Nicole Markowitz (

Quebec Tanya Desrochers (

New Brunswick John Savage (

Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island Derek Mitchell (

Newfoundland and Labrador Malcolm Turner (

An Unprecedented Collaboration of Canadian Camping Leaders

Posted on February 3, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Canadian Camping Association National Leadership ForumIn November, 27 leaders in Canadian camping including Provincial Presidents, Executive Directors and representatives of every province met in Toronto for the third National Leadership Forum.

Facilitated by Jill Dundas, CCA President Elect, this capable and committed group collaborated to frame the future direction for the Canadian Camping Association.

The gathering began with a report on the status of current programs and a commitment to continue to provide current services: CCA Insurance, tree planting, the Roberta Bondar Challenge, BackCheck, Awards Program, Research, and website, Facebook and Twitter communications.

The participants then drafted an ambitious plan to support the camping industry with several exciting new initiatives:

  • Creating a national database of Canadian camps
  • Collaborating with the University of Dalhousie on a research project to study camper resilience
  • Establishing a CCA lobby/advocacy committee to work directly with a government relations firm to produce a semi-annual audit of federal and provincial legislation affecting camps
  • Developing a comprehensive communications strategy
  • Planning a national conference for 2016
  • Gathering statistical information annually through the provincial membership renewal process for marketing and lobbying.

The CCA Board is charged with finding the volunteers and financial resources to implement these programs.

We want to hear your comments, suggestions and/or offers of assistance! Please feel free to contact Jill Dundas, and be part of the exciting future for Canadian camping! You can reach Jill by email at

Discover Your Adventure at the Our Kids Camp Expo

Posted on February 2, 2014 by Erin McLaughlin

Our Kids Camp Expo Toronto 2014It’s almost that time again – summer camp time! When families think of camp they usually just think ‘fun’, but a camp experience for a child is so much more than that. Camp is a life campus. It helps kids build lifelong skills, like problem solving, leadership and confidence. In a world full of iPhones and iPads, camp alleviates nature deficit disorder and teaches kids the value of unstructured playtime as well as the importance of staying active. It also encourages young minds to learn outside of the classroom and provides a unique opportunity for kids to simply be themselves.

The Our Kids Camp Expo can help you find an amazing summer camp for your child with the chance to speak one on one with many different types of camps all in one day. This festive event will allow you to explore day and overnight camps and after school programs that specialize in a range of programs including arts, sports, technology, special needs or an overall traditional experience.

Whether you’re looking for a gender specific camp or your child has a particular interest you want to help them develop, the Expo is the perfect place to check out the options and get your questions answered. Learn all about the benefits of camp, how to pay, how to prepare, what to pack, and how camps deal with safety and homesickness.

If your family is interested finding out what the camp experience is all about, the Expo will have camp staff and current campers on hand to talk about their day to day activities, what they continue to learn and what they love most about camp. Be sure to bring the whole family to see the live animal shows and participate in camp activities, games and crafts! Plus, in support of the Kids in Camp charity, which seeks to send underprivileged kids to camp, Our Kids will donate $1 on behalf of each attending family.

Date and Location

Sunday, February 23, 2014 – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm Roy Thomson Hall: 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, Ontario

Receive FREE admission to the Camp Expo when you pre-register.

For additional information, please contact 1-877-272-1845 or