Archive for April, 2014

New Partnership between CCA and Foodbuy Guarantees Savings on Food and Other Purchases

Posted on April 27, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

Harry Edwards, CCA Past President, is a new and enthusiastic supporter of Foodbuy:

“I would recommend the Foodbuy program to any camp large or small. The process to join the Foodbuy program is simple, flawless and pain free. We have been on the program for two months and have realized several thousands of dollars in savings on purchases plus we have received rebate cheques from national brands.”

Please click on the image below to learn more about Foodbuy’s services and for contact information.

Please reference the Canadian Camping Association when inquiring.

BackCheck Webinar on Vulnerable Sector Checks

Posted on April 25, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

Screening for the Vulnerable Sector: Solutions to Backlogs and Frustrations
May 1, 2014 – 2:00pm EST

Along with a much-publicized backlog, there is growing confusion and misconception surrounding Vulnerable Sector Checks (VSCs) and their requirements. Do you really need a VSC? Are there other options available that provide similar or superior information on your candidates?

BackCheck invites you to join Chuck Walker (Senior Advisor – Public Safety Information Management) and Rod Piukkala (VP, Police Service Technologies), both former senior police executives, for a panel discussion on Screening for positions within the Vulnerable Sector. During this webinar, the panel will provide answers and insight to many common questions:

  • What types of Criminal Record Checks and results are available in Canada?
  • What exactly does a Vulnerable Sector Check include and what does it miss?
  • Who needs a Vulnerable Sector Check?
  • What is the Pardon Sex Offender Database?
  • What are Local Police Information (LPI) Checks?
  • What are the alternatives to Vulnerable Sector Checks?

This webinar offers 1 CPD Hour Credit towards recertification.

Register now to become the Vulnerable Sector expert for your organization

Celebrate National Camp T-shirt Day May 1, 2014

Posted on April 24, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

Outdoor Environmental Education Course offerings from Faculty of Education at UBC Summer 2014

Posted on April 23, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

Plan your Camp’s Canada Day Activities with Historica Canada!

Posted on April 21, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

They have a new name, but the same great programs! Historica Canada provides free, bilingual educational programs to help your campers learn about the “True North, Strong and Free”!

BackCheck Announces an Enhanced Police Information Check for CCA Members

Posted on April 16, 2014 by Mike Stewart

BackCheck.caAll CCA members using the BackCheck service will now receive at their same price, an expanded BackCheck product, which includes the usual Criminal Record Check and in addition, the newly enhanced Local Police Information (LPI) results. This is the most comprehensive check ever delivered by BackCheck.

Rod Piukkala is BackCheck’s representative for Canadian camps. You can reach him by phone (647 981 5133) or email (

For more information, please download this information sheet on the Enhanced Police Information Check.

CCA Awards Honour Leaders in Camping

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Catherine Ross

The Canadian Camping Association is proud to announce the recipients of its 2013 awards! Award winners represent camping associations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

Donna Wilkinson, Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award

Donna Wilkinson, Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Donna has been the face and voice for camping in Western Canada over the past 20 years. Her experience at the CCA Board table includes being a Saskatchewan PCA Representative, the Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Camping Association, the CCA Secretary, a CCA President (2001-2003) and a CCA Past President. Donna continues to serve on the CCA Board as a tireless advocate for camping across Canada. Donna tackled, singlehandedly, the enormous task of updating the CCA Operations Manual, She provides history and insight for so many issues that affect camping across the provinces. . Donna spearheaded the seminal standards gathering in 2003 in Saskatchewan, which brought together Standards Chairs from across Canada. She is a certified Trainer for the International Camp Directors Course and has conducted numerous leadership workshops to help educate many young camp leaders. It is fitting that we honour our longest standing partner at the CCA Board table by awarding her our highest recognition. .

Peter Gilbert and Bruce Hodgins, Jack Pearse Award of Honour

Bruce Hodgins (left) and Peter Gilbert (right) receive the Jack Pearse Award of Honour from CCA President Jill Dundas

Peter and Bruce have demonstrated their consistent devotion to camping through years of volunteer work on committees, Boards and through projects. Together, Peter and Bruce have celebrated, recorded and preserved the history of camping in Canada. Cross Canada Centennial Canoe Trip In 1966/67, Bruce and Peter assisted with Kirk Wipper’s project: a cross-Canada canoe trip to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. Campers in every province committed to paddling a section of the route, which the planners laid out from coast to coast. Society of Camp Directors Writing Award Program In 1989, Professor Bruce Hodgins was a founding member of a committee whose purpose was to develop an annual writing award program with the objective of attracting to the Camping Collections at the Trent University Archives academic papers relevant to organized children’s camping in Canada. The collection would provide an ever expanding literature base for researchers studying the camping movement. Bruce chaired this committee from 1996 till 2010. Peter took over the chair after many years on the committee. Ontario Camps Association 75th Celebration From 2006-2009, Bruce chaired a committee with Peter as a key member to plan and execute the Ontario Journey to celebrate OCA’s 75th anniversary. As a culmination of the event, they published The Ontario Journey, which recorded the various historical trips (hiking, sailing, kayaking, canoeing) taken by campers from many camps across the province. In addition, as a professional architect, Peter has shared his knowledge with the camping community through numerous conference sessions and articles.

Bronco Cathcart, Award of Excellence

Bronco started working at Sasamat Outdoor Centre in April 1992 as the Facility Manager. He became the Executive Director in 2008. ”Days of Caring”, started in 2002 as a volunteer work day to help spruce up camp, has become an annual event. He has been instrumental in the growth and development of the Centre. Bronco has been a member of a variety of committees through the Association of Neighbourhood Houses. He has been a leader in the BC camping community for over 20 years, as secretary then president on the BCCA Board and as a session leader sharing his knowledge and expertise at the annual BCCA/FCC conferences.

Gene Krahn, Award of Excellence

Gene is the Executive Director of Pines Bible Camp and has been involved in camp ministry in British Columbia for over 21 years. He and his wife, Vicky, have been running Pines since spring of 1995. What gives them the most joy is seeing the growth and change in people as they experience God through Pines Bible Camp’ s ministry. Gene demonstrated exceptional leadership after a tragic event at camp. During a severe windstorm on July 20, 2012, which felled or damaged a thousand trees, destroyed buildings and caused significant damage, sadly, despite the efforts and courage of all staff, a camper died accidentally when a tree fell on his cabin. Gene showed incredible, compassionate leadership as he cared for the family of the boy, his staff and volunteers. Shortly after the storm, the task of rebuilding camp began. Gene worked tirelessly to prepare camp for the following summer. He succeeded. In addition, he put ”Pines on the road”, a program of day camps run in several nearby communities starting on August 13, 2012.

Mike Nelson, Award of Excellence

Mike’s journey in camping began in 1968 as a maintenance person. He then moved on to program director, Assistant Director and after five summers, Camp Director. Two years later, Mike moved to the Yukon. However after fifteen years, he returned to Calgary and assumed the position of full time Managing Director for Camp Cadicasu. In the years that followed, Mike served as the president of the Alberta Camping Association and the Canadian Camping Association. In February of 2006, the camp’s main building and dining hall burnt to the ground. While they debated rebuilding or relocation, Mike ran the camp for two summers using a temporary kitchen and two large marquee tents . In 2008 the camp acquired a lease in the Kananaskis and began to rebuild. Two years later in the new facility, the camp ran at 95% capacity, a testimony to Mike’s leadership. After retiring in 2013, Mike served as Director Emeritus for Camp Cadicasu and plans to continue on the board of directors. Mike has been a blessing and a gift to the camping community. He brings wisdom and compassion and has impacted the lives of many.

Don & Carolyn Sedgwick, Award of Excellence

Don and Carolyn Sedgwick are the owners of Sans Souci Riding Centre, Ste-Clotilde, Quebec and over the last number of years have been pivotal in the happiness and development of many children from around the world. There is an immediate sense of calm and serenity when you step onto the Sans Souci grounds. Selflessly and tirelessly, Don and Carolyn have worked to benefit their campers and staff. They have created a loyal community whose devotion to the camp and the program extends beyond their camper and staff years.

Mental Health Issues at Camp: A Growing Challenge

Posted on April 7, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, anorexia, bulimia – statistically it is likely that someone at camp will be struggling with one of these mental health issues. Are you prepared?

Mental Health professionals are encouraged that society is becoming more aware, informed and accepting of mental conditions, but we are still years away from being as open and knowledgeable about mental health as we are about physical health. Cheryl Bernknopf, RN, BScN, Professor of Nursing at Seneca College (Toronto) and a camp nurse with thirty years of experience, offers some practical advice for camp leaders:

First, the camp must determine if it has adequate personnel resources to serve campers and staff with mental health issues. Some camps are contracting with mental health experts to provide this service.

If the camp accepts campers with these special needs, preparations are necessary.

  1. Gather complete information on the camper’s condition with adequate lead time for the health care staff to communicate with the parents if there are questions about the condition, the triggers or the treatment. Share this information with staff on a need to know basis.
  2. Inform the family on the realities of a typical camp day. Will their child be able to cope? Together discuss strategies that will enable the camper to enjoy the experience.
  3. Insist that the campers have been on the same medication at the same dosage for at least three months prior to camp. Reactions to new medications can be unpredictable, thereby posing an increased, unknown risk.
  4. Advise the parents that it is NOT advisable to take a holiday from medication. Campers need to be at their best initially to settle into camp and establish relationships.
  5. Educate your staff on mental health conditions. Train them to acknowledge campers’ feelings; to recognize signs of distress; to be sensitive and tolerant and to have strategies to handle specific situations. Stress the importance of close supervision.
  6. Proactively, identify a safe person (e.g. counselor, camp nurse) whom the camper can talk to at any time if they need help and a safe place to go (within sight of supervising staff) if they need time out. Establish a private signal for the camper to indicate without drawing attention to himself that he is taking time away from the activity.
  7. A safe counselor must clearly understand that their role is to listen attentively and stay calm. They are not trained therapists. They do not offer advice. If the camper becomes agitated the counselor should accompany the camper to medical help. The camper needs to know that the counselor will be documenting the conversation and sharing the information with someone else who can keep them safe.
  8. If a camper has trouble talking about their feelings and problems, suggest that they may prefer to write them down.
  9. Enlist the help of sensitive cabin mates.
  10. Be clear about what is unacceptable e.g. refusal to take medications. Be discreet in the method of dispensing medications so as not to draw attention to the camper.
  11. Check in with the camper regularly. Be proactive to avoid social problems.

Camps should be aware that:

  1. There are parents who do not divulge a child’s mental health condition for fear that the camp will not accept them. Camps must communicate clearly with parents that to withhold vital medical information could put their child at risk. For the safety of the child and the camp, full disclosure is necessary.
  2. Staff may withhold medical information for fear of not being hired or being ostracized by peers. They may be more willing to make full disclosure if they know that only the health care staff will be privy to their medical information. Their privacy will be respected unless their job performance forces the medical staff to inform the director.

Establish a procedure to enable staff to take an unscheduled break if one is needed.

Experts identify four factors for good mental and physical health

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy balanced diet
  • Meal times with family
  • Face to face time with friends

Does this sound like camp?