Posts Tagged ‘Directors’

Engaging Your Camp Alumni

Posted on April 24, 2017 by Jeff Bradshaw

Jeff Bradshaw, Past President of CCA and Owner/Executive Director of Camp Wenonah, shares his model for engaging camp alumni. Jeff has close to three hundred alumni actively involved and contributing to the Wenonah camp community. Former staff members enjoy staying connected and camp benefits in many ways. 

Camp Wenonah (Muskoka, ON)

One of the challenges that most camps seem to have is the daunting task of engaging alumni.

As a younger camp that just celebrated our 20th anniversary, we had the unique opportunity to carefully plan for an alumni association from scratch. After consulting with many of our colleagues in camps across Canada, Friends of Wenonah (FOW) was born.

We discussed the pros and cons of various ways to begin an alumni program and then settled on something that we believed would work for us. And it has worked for us VERY well ever since. We currently number close to 300 on our FOW roster. That’s 300 active alumni who are involved in many aspects of our camp community.

It’s important to note that our alumni association is staff specific. With few exceptions, most of our long-time campers graduate into staff roles. We also struggled with the idea of creating an alumni group with all campers that attend camp each and every year, but we just couldn’t get out heads around how to engage thousands of people in a meaningful way. Recent camper alumni do continue to receive our annual newsmagazine (the Wenonah Warbler) each January.

Rather than automatically becoming a part of our alumni group after working a year or two at camp, it made sense to us to include only those who have had a strong connection to camp and a desire to stay involved with Wenonah.

Our current criteria include three years on staff (full Summer and/or Outdoor Centre seasons) and a minimum age of twenty-one. We did create some further criteria: a significant contribution to/support of camp AND, significantly and importantly, a demonstrated interest or intent to remain involved with Wenonah in the future. A FOW invitation is not a foregone conclusion.

We do our best to keep groups (staff years, leadership groups etc…) together− at times deferring invitations until a whole group can be FOW members together.

An official invitation is sent to each year’s class of FOW inductees and then a follow-up email is sent to the full FOW membership introducing the new group with pictures and biographical information.

There’s no membership fee or related costs to be a FOW member. We host a FOW Weekend each year at camp on the Victoria Day holiday weekend – a great opportunity to enjoy camp with camp friends for three days. As well, there are numerous gatherings of FOW members on a regular basis throughout the year and in all sorts of places literally now around the world. Many FOW members get involved in short term projects with camp including: facilitating leadership canoe trips for one week in the summer; working with introductory periods at camp as the Director or a staff member; counselling at our youngest program (WEEnonah, a three day session for five to seven year olds): new staff interviews; Women’s Weekend leadership; work with specialty groups (we host a national bereavement camp program) assisting with opening and closing weekends; marketing and promotional assistance throughout the year (Camp Fairs and home visits); work on Committees and Task Forces; New Camper Open House weekends and much more!

We typically send fifteen to twenty mass emails annually to update everyone on what’s happening with camp and in everyone’s lives.

Most significantly, with FOW members living in seventeen countries on five continents, there is a real connectedness that occurs through this group. There have been FOW folks at camp with us stretching back (in many cases) now for decades. What many people have realized is that when they leave camp, they can still have a very real attachment to it through FOW.

There are so many positives. Our alumni are not only aware of the evolution of our camp’s experience but often are directly involved in the visioning and facilitation of these changes. FOW members are the best Ambassadors possible and, many find themselves now parents of “next generation” campers.

Finally, there is a tremendous sense of community and connectedness that extends far beyond everyone’s years of active involvement with camp. In this sense, camp truly lasts a lifetime.

What Makes a Great Camp Fair & Expo?

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Jeff Bradshaw

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

Why do we have them?

Our Kids Media Camp Fair 2011 - 1

Courtesy Our Kids Media

  • 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?

Our Kids Media Camp Fair 2011 - 2

Courtesy Our Kids Media

  • 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.

CCA Offers Added Value

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Several camp directors have expressed an interest in educating their staff with more news and information about camping. Therefore, at your request, we will add your entire staff team email address list to the CCA database. Please create an Excel spreadsheet with the following information, and email it to Bev Jahnke (

  • Staff member first name
  • Staff member last name
  • Staff member email address

That’s it……..Easier than s’mores over the campfire!

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 (

Order of Canada Awarded to Canadian Camp Director, Jocelyn Palm

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Catherine Ross

Jocelyn Palm receives the Order of Canada from David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada.

On November 21, 2013, Jocelyn Palm received the Order of Canada for her outstanding contribution to the lives of thousands of individuals, many communities and our country.

Jocelyn Palm is an extraordinary leader in lifesaving and aquatic safety, a visionary and practitioner in youth development and a tireless advocate for women’s health. Over more than 40 years, Joc has exemplified an unwavering dedication to “desiring a better country” through her work with the Lifesaving Society, Glen Bernard Camp and Women’s College Hospital.

In 1968 she became the first Executive Director of the Ontario Branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society and subsequently the first Executive Director of the National Lifesaving Society. Joc established national and international standards for aquatic safety. She wrote the definitive National Lifeguard Service (NLS) textbook, which today remains the official text for NLS candidates and instructors. She revolutionized lifesaving education with the introduction of victim recognition and “situational training” which balances judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. This situational approach to lifesaving education is now standard methodology throughout the Commonwealth. The Society’s national Water Smart® drowning prevention campaign was developed and launched under Joc’s watch in 1987. Since then, the number of annual drownings in Canada has fallen dramatically. Our country is extremely well regarded today in the international lifesaving community due to her leadership and hard work.

In conjunction with her work for the Lifesaving Society, Joc also researched and developed injury prevention programs with Dr. Charles H. Tator, a Toronto neurosurgeon. Beginning in the 1970s, Joc and Dr. Tator collected data on diving injuries, and armed with this information, determined that they could make a difference with targeted injury prevention programs. Together they developed specific recommendations on advising young people about avoiding spinal cord injuries, which included the production of a video, Sudden Impact.

In 1977, Joc became the owner and director of Glen Bernard Camp. She has been and continues to be a mentor to thousands of young campers and staff members. She has also made significant contributions to the camping community as President of the Ontario Camps Association, President of the Canadian Camping Association, President of the Society of Camp Directors and speaker at provincial, national and international camping conferences.

Joc is a visionary who has brought to life many youth development opportunities. Twenty years ago she was teaching young people about the importance of environmental stewardship, long before “green” was the latest buzzword. She not only continues to mentor tangible solutions in environmental sustainability through programs and facilities at Glen Bernard, but she has designed these opportunities for people of all ages, so that everyone can learn and take ownership of this important issue.

Joc’s dedication to helping others learn and improve their quality of life is evident in her work with Women’s College Hospital. She has devoted countless hours to furthering this hospital’s mission of delivering exceptional health care for women and their families.

She created the Women’s Health Matters Forum & Expo event. For 12 years, this two-day public consumer conference allowed up to 20,000 women each year, of all ages and class, to benefit from access to the latest health information and research. She continues to work with hospital officials and related organizations, such as the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre.

Joc is successful in her life’s endeavours, and most importantly facilitates success in others too, especially our youth – tomorrow’s leaders.

International Camping Congress 2014 – Antalya, Turkey

Posted on October 7, 2013 by Mike Stewart

The NEXT International Camping Congress (ICC) is being held in Turkey in 2014! .

Be sure to bookmark the ICC 2014 website to keep up-to-date with information. There is already some TERRIFIC information about this exciting event posted on the ICC 2014 website.

Pre- and Post-Congress events are expected to include opportunities to tour the rich cultural heritage of Turkey as well as participate in specialized and specific training and business opportunities that are unique to International Camping Congresses.

The Congress itself takes place at a beautiful resort located on the magical shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Start planning now for a Congress like every other AND like no other!International Camping Congress 2014 Antalya Turkey Canadian Camping Association

Congratulations John Jorgenson!

Posted on September 9, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

John Jorgenson - National Research Committee - Canadian Camping AssociationJohn Jorgenson of Camp Tawingo (Huntsville, ON) was recently elected the incoming President-Elect of the International Camping Fellowship.

“Jorgi” is a former President of the CCA, and has served as a long time volunteer and Board member with the ICF and Ontario Camps Association.

Congrats Jorgi!

The New Necessity – Proactive Government Lobbying

Posted on May 7, 2013 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.

National Camp T-Shirt Day – Spread the Word!

Posted on April 23, 2013 by CCA Communications Committee

It’s time to remind all your campers and staff that May 1, 2013 is the Second Annual National Camp T-shirt Day – the day they proudly show the world what camp they call home!