Camp Directors

For almost 80 years, the CCA has worked on behalf of Canadian camps to help grow, develop, and promote organized children’s camping across the country.

The CCA represents nearly 800 day and overnight camps across Canada. Each summer, hundreds of thousands of Canadian children (and many others from around the world) spend anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months attending one of our country’s fine summer camps.

The CCA is here to serve you! The CCA has been active in a number of initiatives to support Canadian summer camp professionals, including:

  • Providing funding and support to research projects seeking to examine the value of the Canadian summer camp experience.
  • Providing leadership to an unparalleled insurance program for camps across the country.
  • Partnering with BackCheck to offer a criminal reference check service. BackCheck has generously donated thousands of dollars back to provincial camping associations as a result of this national corporate partnership program.
  • Establishing a national awards program to recognize camping leaders from across Canada.
  • Working with national camp leaders to bring together professionals from across the world for two International Camping Congresses.
  • Advocacy on behalf of camps in working with the federal government on various issues.
  • Establish a task force to look at strategies for media relations in response to frequent requests for opinions on current camping issues.
  • There are plenty of opportunities for camping professionals to lend their leadership in a volunteer capacity to CCA. If you are interested in joining our volunteer team, please contact us.

Be sure to keep up-to-date with the latest in Canadian camping news through our regular emails as well as the frequent blog posts on this website.

Conferences & Workshops!

Summer Camp high ropes Summer Camp conferences Canadian Summer Camps Canadian Camping AssociationEach year, the CCA and/or the provincial camping associations host a number of conferences, workshops, and other development opportunities for camping professionals.

If your provincial camping association is hosting an educational event or conference, please email to have it listed on this page.

International Camp Directors Course (ICDC) CANADA

  • Date: October 21-25, 2024
  • Course TBD
  • Course Language: English
  • Course Fee:
    $950 Cdn per participant;
    $750 Cdn per participant, accredited MCA camps (max 2/camp) (includes all materials, instruction, lodging, meals, bedding and towels)

Register now

International Camp Directors Course

The International Camp Directors Course (ICDC) has been developed as a professional development course for camp managers, directors, and operators. It is equally valuable for any experienced camp staff professional.

This intensive four-day course addresses all aspects of Camp Management in an interactive exchange environment with other members of the camping and outdoor community and builds on the skills and learning of both faculty and participants. The curriculum has been reviewed and revised over the years and, in some cases, has also been adapted to local, national or regional situations and standards, making it a valuable professional development tool for local needs and a bridge to camping at the international level.

All courses are approved and administered by the International Camping Fellowship (ICF) using both local and international ICDC Trainers. Certain courses are designed to provide the most international overview of the camping profession and these courses also offer supplementary training in developing future course instructors (ICDC Trainer).


We have compiled a library of marketing resources from Camp Directors and others passionate about children’s summer camps in Canada.

Camp Tradeshows

What Makes a Great Camp Fair & Expo?

Camp Fairs and Expos have become popular vehicles for both day and overnight camps to reach a broad market.

Why do we have them?
  • Collectively, we can put a professional face on camping and recreation programs for children and youth. Families can “one-stop shop” for their children’s summer program needs.
  • Working together, service providers are able to move from a competitive to a cooperative approach with families. In the bigger picture, it’s not as important that a child attends a specific program but rather enjoys and benefits from a program that is challenging and a good fit for the child. To this end, Camp Fairs and Expos have become remarkable venues for referrals and cooperation between service providers who work to find the very best fit for a child’s interests and abilities.
What etiquette has evolved?
  • Essentially, an environment of support and respect for other programs has developed. This manifests itself in not offering giveaways to families (i.e.: free passes, hats, draws for free weeks, souvenir items etc…) and keeping any artificial noise to a minimum (recorded music, if used at all, shouldn’t be detrimental to those having conversations in neighbouring booths).
What should I bring?
  • Be sure to bring plenty of material for distribution.
  • If you would like to send further information to families that have an interest or include them in future mailings, bring along a clipboard with a blank mailing list form that they can fill in.
  • If you have electrical needs (laptop, DVD player etc…) include extension cords.
  • Invite some enthusiastic senior camp staff to assist.
What else should I consider?
  • Dress comfortably but appropriately … jeans are not suitable.
  • Wear a name tag with your name and title in large print.
  • Camp Fair times are relatively short and it’s a good idea to be prepared to stand and/or walk around at your booth rather than sitting.
  • Be sure to arrive with enough time to set up and, be prepared to remain until closing time.Resist chatting with colleagues. Focus all your attention on the public.

Top Ten Tips to Maximize Success at Camp Tradeshows

Posted on January 6, 2014, by CCA Communications Committee Anne Marie Rabasca, Expo Manager of Our Kids Media, offers sound advice to successfully engage prospective parents at upcoming camp tradeshows.

  1. Register early To ensure that you’re able to secure the space you want and maximize your exposure to potential leads, make sure that you register early. “Prime” booths go fast and location does matter. Booths near the front doors are desirable because they provide easy access to everyone who enters. Booths at the ends of aisles are good because you have access to front and side traffic due to the “corner”. Or perhaps you want to be near/far from your competitors. Act fast so as not to be disappointed.
  2. Promote your participation Whether you use social media, newsletters or your website as just a few of the ways to reach out to your clients, don’t neglect them as a means to get the word out. Utilize all of your avenues to promote your participation and let everyone know where you’ll be and when! Tradeshow publicity sites, parenting websites, newspaper ads, radio, etc. are all additional ways to spread the word.
  3. Design a smart booth As much as your budget allows, make your booth inviting – something that makes people want to stop and learn more. Use your promotional materials to create a strong presence! While it can be tempting to pack your booth with a lot of information, keep it short, bold and concise. You only have a few seconds to attract a visitor – don’t scare them away with too much too soon.
  4. Place orders for any rentals Once you’ve determined if you will require A/V equipment, special lighting, furnishings, etc. make sure to order them at least two weeks ahead of time to be sure that the rental company has enough to go around and that you receive any shipments, or that you’re able to pick – up, in enough time for trade show day.
  5. Make travel and staff arrangements Determine who will represent your camp at the booth and make travel arrangements accordingly. Staff your exhibit with trained, knowledgeable, approachable people; the image you project at the trade show is the image attendees will have of your business. Make sure the image presented is the one you want to linger in their minds!
  6. Print banners/brochures Unless you have a top-notch printer and you do all your printing in-house, then give yourself plenty of time to print out banners and brochures. Print style on banners should be simple and easy to read from a distance – avoid too little or too much information/writing. Consider investing in good graphics – if you need to cut back, don’t let this be the area! Exhibitors spend thousands on booth and travel expenses. Give yourself at least one month. Look at your logo, see if it needs tweaking; design your slogan for your banners; and plan what brochures you will be handing out. Don’t leave your printing to the last minute – allow time for corrections/reprints if needed.
  7. Packing List – Miscellaneous Box Again, don’t leave this until the last minute – at least one week before the tradeshow, jot down all the items that will be coming with you to the show and a few days before the show, review it and make sure you have everything ready and then check them off the list when you are packing up. Bring the packing list to the event so that you can add to it once you are at the show, as you may find that you overlooked something that would have been great to have that day – make notes for the next show.
  8. Generate Leads When speaking with families, ask them to provide you with their contact details so you can send them a complete information package, or suggest they sign up for your newsletter to stay informed of upcoming events.
  9. Follow-Up Families are busy so be sure to follow up with your leads. Send them a personalized thank you note and invite them to any upcoming events or information sessions.
  10. Evaluate Most often, the success of a trade show is measured by the number of quality leads versus the number of leads, and it’s estimated that 77% of tradeshow attendees are qualified buyers. How many were you able to reach? Evaluate the effectiveness of your exhibit and plan for adjustments next time around. Be objective. Think – what would I have liked to see if I was the attendee? How critical would you have been? Remember, if you can think of something that someone else could have done better, chances are someone thought that about you!

About Our KidsWith more than 10 years of experience, Our Kids proves how the interaction of content creation, engagement and analytics leads to awesome marketing results. Our websites, blogs, mobile apps, and print magazines house hundreds of articles, videos and advice guides on education and child development, making Our Kids Media the largest multimedia publisher and #1 school search resource in Canada. We have launched the Our Kids Marketing Academy to provide you with an even higher standard of service and enable you to be better marketers.Anne Marie Rabasca, directrice des expositions chez Our Kids Media, offre des conseils pour optimiser votre rendement au prochain salon des camps.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing your summer is a stressful business these days. As we compete with more and more summer activities it is much harder to set ourselves apart.
Families choose camp (and hopefully your camp) by relying on two strong factors to make the decision: a referral from people they respect and an emotional connection to the camp, its programs and its people.

Video is a strong mechanism to reach those families on both factors. By creating a great camp video (many, preferably) you give your current camp community something that they can pass on to their friends. Something that they can use to refer your program to them.

By creating great, intentional camp videos you also show families a bit of yourself. Families need to feel comfortable leaving their children in your care, and it is hard to hide who you really are in the medium of video.


Don’t use video as a bullhorn to just tell people how great you are. Teach parents how to choose a good camp; show them how to prepare their child so he/she does not miss home; explain your No-Cell-Phone policy.

Appeal to kids

You can’t go wrong by imagining you’re Sesame Street. Keep the videos short, engaging, full of songs and kid-focused.

Tour a sleeping area

Parents will feel more comfortable sending their kids to you if they know what it is like inside your cabin/tents (also see #6).

Keep it short

Video watchers will give you 60 – 90 seconds of uninterrupted viewing before they start to get bored. If you want them to make it to the end of your 3-minute video you better be really letting your awesome out. Any more than 3 minutes and they’re gone.

Show us your WHY

You want camp clients who feel passionate about the thing that makes your camp different from the other 15 000 camps in North America. Make sure they know what your WHY is. HINT: it’s not your new speedboat. Show off your food. Parents want to know where their kids will sleep and what they will eat. Show off your food and you are farther ahead than 99% of the other camps on YouTube.

Interview your counsellors

Kids who have been to camp will want to see people they know (“Hey! Watch this video of my counsellor from last year!”) and new parents want to see who will be looking after their children.

Plan ahead

I have been using this awesome YouTube video from Camp Ouareau to illustrate this point. You have 2, maybe 3, months to capture all of the video (and photos) that you will need for next year. Make a list of the shots you want and make it someone’s job to complete that list.

Know your keywords

Keywords are those words that people use to search YouTube. By including good keywords in your description and video tags you will draw in more parents who are looking to make a summer camp purchase. Check out the YouTube Keyword Tool.

Support your community

Interview staff or families who are doing stuff outside of camp. Think of it as karma.

Camp Research

A great idea worth emulating!

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Barb Gray, Director of Ontario Easter Seals Camps, knows how to make camping research work for her!

In a note to Dr. Stephen Fine, Chair of the CCA Research Committee, Barb writes:

“I use the data from the University of Waterloo Canadian Summer Camp Research Project when applying for grants to make the proposal more professional by providing quantifiable data. I also use the research findings when speaking to our Board members, Senior Management and fundraising staff as most never attended camp as children and believe that summer camp is a luxury. I use the research findings with case studies of our campers to make the presentations more powerful.

Thanks so much for doing this research and showing the amazing benefits attending a summer camp has for our campers.

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 put it to practical purposes.

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


Social integration and citizenship

Access to a wider social network with closer bonds to more friends and / or staff and with other camp alumni through shared experiences


Environmental awreness

Leads a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle, reduces, ecological footprint, and encourages environmental responsibility


Attitudes towards physical activity

Participates in more physical activities within home, school, and community contexts


Emotional intelligence

More balanced and self-aware, thereby capable of empathy and relating to others on an emotional level


Self-confidence and personal development

More flexible, resourceful, and self-aware, thereby better able to deal with life's challenges

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.