Posts Tagged ‘Staff’

Great News for Camping!

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Jonathan Nyquist

After nearly three years of hard work and lobbying, our CCA government relations committee is excited to report the following, newly created Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt permit category for staff working at camps:

All foreign workers who wish to secure a temporary work permit as a camp counsellor should be processed under this recently created category.

You may also find it useful to review information on the web-pages listed below. These resources are included as links in the new camp counsellor work permit policy and they provide additional information regarding potential work permit fee exemptions for international camp staff and employers utilizing this new category:

The process of securing this policy has been a major undertaking and these new guidelines will pave the way for addressing our future needs for foreign camp staff. It will also support our ability to continue to create high-quality, diverse staffing teams as well as develop camp communities that encourage the exchange of cultures. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the many government policy makers who listened to our case, believed in our cause and helped guide and support us through this hard fought endeavour. The following MP’s, Ministers and their respective office support teams went above and beyond to help with this initiative and advocate on our behalf:

Minister Ahmed D. Hussen and previous Minister John McCallum, MP Michael Levitt, MP Anthony Rota, Roland Parris – previous Senior Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, MP Marco Mendicino, MP David Graham, MP Anthony Housefather, MP Jamie Schmale, MP Ralph Goodale, MP Rodger Cuzner and Minister Patty Hajdu.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Mark Diamond and Jonathan Nyquist who co-led this initiative, as well as the following members of our Association who dedicated a substantial amount of time on this matter: Barb Gray, Jonathan Pivnick, Adam Kronick, Sol Birenbaum, Leon Muszynski, Craig Perlmutter, Stephane Richard and Mike Sladden.

We also appreciate the efforts of our very competent lobbying company, Tactix, for their exceptionally skillful guidance and support throughout this process.

If you have any questions regarding the exemption then please feel free to reach out directly to Jonathan Nyquist:

Take care and happy camping!

How Do We Treat Each Other?

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Dr. Christopher Thurber

How do we treat each other? was the question the leadership director at one of North America’s oldest overnight camps asked the staff one evening. It seemed to be an inane question, given the label of “brotherhood” that the staff had given itself for decades. But the silence in the room suggested legitimate soul-searching had begun. The leadership director, Tom Giggi, was also silent, prompting even more serious reflection. (One of Tom’s strengths is asking good questions; another is his ability to wait for thoughtful replies, rather than answering himself for the group.)

Back when I was a camper, I worshipped my cabin leader. At a camp with strong internal leadership development, it was easy. The prestige of becoming a staff member, borne in part from the competitive selection process, coupled with the pure kindness the staff exuded, meant that most campers at Belknap grew up wanting to become cabin leaders. But now Tom was asking us to peel back the outward layer of kindness and examine its internal purity.

My thoughts drifted to a version of that question I’d been asked by my division head, Mark Goodman, back in 1984, my leader-in-training year. It was my first time working at camp for the full nine-week season and the first time the fabric of kindness that ostensibly bound the staff into a brotherhood started showing tears near the seams.

“Why is Saul being excluded?” Mark had asked me, speaking then about one of my fellow LITs. My defensive response included a litany of Saul’s foibles. “Well,” I began, “he can be kind of annoying. I know he loves camp, but his over-the-top enthusiasm comes off as insincere. And he’s constantly asking questions he knows the answers to, just to make conversation. And he’s clingy. Sometimes people want to be in smaller groups during nights off, but Saul is always there glomming on.”

I went on for several minutes and Mark just looked at me, patiently nodding. Eventually I realized that I hadn’t answered Mark’s question at all. I’d answered the related question, “What don’t you like about Saul?” but not “Why is Saul being excluded?” Mark was still silent. I swallowed hard, then spoke.

“Saul is being excluded because the rest of us LITs are excluding him.” Mark nodded, almost imperceptibly. I took a deep breath. “Now I’m thinking that one of the reasons Saul is clingy and over-the-top is because we’re not including him like we should be.” Mark’s eyes widened a bit. I continued: “You think if we treated Saul differently, he might change. You want us to include him more.” Finally, Mark spoke. “That would seem like the kind, campy thing to do.”

And so began a new chapter in my understanding of how camp helps people grow. It’s a social microcosm that serves as a proving ground for almost every interpersonal transgression and its positive opposite. The dialectics of bullying—befriending, gossiping—confronting, rejecting—accepting, prejudicing—understanding, hating—loving, and, yes, excluding—including, all infiltrate camp at different points in the summer. The key is to leverage the collective strengths of your staff to create a positive community. To do that takes regular, honest reflection and discussion.

Every staff group (indeed every group of human beings anywhere) will have conflicts and will, at times, mistreat one another. Having come to terms with that truth, camp professionals can prevent burnout, breakdown and belligerence by facilitating at least one pre-season and one mid-season discussion that begins with How do we treat one another?

What followed the pregnant pause in the lodge the night Tom posed that question to the staff was a great discussion that included:


  • Silly habits that had grown into traditions unintentionally hurtful to others
  • Greater awareness of others’ needs and ideas about providing support
  • Increased motivation to be inclusive, for the good of all
  • Sincere appreciation for the genuine kindness staff do show one another
  • Renewed sensitivity about how the hierarchy among staff can become a barrier to candid communication

Most of the staff left the in-service training that night encouraged by the group’s insights and armed with two or three concrete new practices that were generous, inclusive, and more in line with the vision of leadership they had romanticized as campers. Only now, that vision of pure kindness seemed closer to reality. One staff member summarized it well: “We were doing some things to ourselves that we never would have tolerated having campers do to one another.”

In pre-camp, plan a time or two to have your staff discuss their behind-the-scenes treatment of each other. Does the way they treat each other after hours, during time off, and away from campers truly reflect the values they purport to embrace as a member of your camp?

This article originally appeared in the Week-Ender blog, a product of Camp Business magazine. To subscribe to this content, visit

SterlingBackcheck Expands Service with New Positions of Trust Check

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Catherine Ross

Rod Piukkala is Vice President with SterlingBackCheck. He introduces the new Position of Trust Check (PTC) program for those camps requiring vulnerable sector checks in his letter below.


SterlingBackcheck_Logo-01Transparent - CopyFinally, a solution to meet your often unmet needs…another SterlingBackCheck industry innovation!

SterlingBackcheck announces a holistic alternative for those employers and organizations who currently utilise or require Vulnerable Sector Checks for applicable staff and volunteer positions. This information is also important for individuals who lead or volunteer their time in the community and the organisation requires a Vulnerable Sector Check.

Please see the attached quick read collateral pieces and the program highlights below.

Position of Trust Check (PTC) highlights :

  • Results mirror the same three part check provided by Local Police Services (Our Canadian Criminal Record Check and E-PIC checks are completed in 1 business day or less, which enables “clear” individuals to continue in the process allowing you the option to await the PardonCheck processes).
  • Built to process clear individuals quickly – while slowing the process and raising a flag in the case of potentially problematic applicants significantly improving on-boarding times for a high percentage of clear applicants
  • Eliminates potential risk of police department paper document alteration / forgery
  • SterlingBackCheck will not charge your Company or Organization for positive “PardonCheck hits”, applicants are referred to their local police service if we are unable to complete
  • Eliminates applicant travel (cost and time)….all Online
  • No fingerprint requirements for the Position of Trust query
  • Human Rights and Privacy Act compliant process
  • Verifiable and reusable certificates available (results from a work related PTC may be re-used in the volunteer community and vice-versa)
  • Services delivered by SterlingBackCheck in co-operation with our Canadian Police Service partner(s) and DIRECTLY with the Parole Board of Canada.
  • Consistent process, consistent pricing, and consistent results
  • Position of Trust check is required once in a lifetime…
    Where your organisation utilises ongoing Canadian Criminal Record Checks and E-PIC (max. every three years) – individuals should never require another Position of Trust Check in the future. This makes “renewal” with a CCRC/E-PIC check (only) much more convenient, lower cost and very fast!

To discuss specific applications and circumstances please contact me directly via email or phone . We can NOW meet all your needs with a customized process. This service can bring order to the chaos you may be facing!

Please call me and we can discuss in greater detail.

All the best,


Phone: (647) 981 5133

Dear Parents & Guardians Alike

Posted on October 21, 2014 by Tamsin Andrews

Dear Parents and Guardians Alike,

Please send your kids to camp.
For your benefit. For theirs.
For the camp and for the campers there.
Please send your kids to camp.

AOuareau-climbingt camp, they will be a part of a community all their own. They will become emotionally attached to burnt rope on their wrist, and have a song for any occasion on cue, and forget how to shower or flush, and think sunscreen is moisturizer. And they won’t bat an eye at the thought that it is weird.

They will fight over who gets to set the table, and 7:00 a.m. no longer sounds absurd to wake up to on a summer morning. They will learn to do things on their own, and they will learn to rely on others. They will learn how to survive on their own for two weeks, and they will learn how to help each other through it.

They will grow up on summers away from TV, and forget Facebook exists. They will relish the joy of sleeping outside, swatting mosquitoes at campfire, swimming everyday. They will savour the feeling of pushing water behind them with a paddle, the curl of earth under their feet as they scale a mountain, the whoosh of air behind the tail of an arrow as they fire. They will forget about appearances, relish tan lines, recognize the beauty of a smile over anything else.

They will strive for a job that fulfills them and pushes them over the final paycheque. Or maybe they will labour all June for money to balance the counsellor job. Or they will leave the camp behind with a heavy heart. Either way, they will learn to pick a job they love over the paycheque they want.

They will branch out further in life, used to leaving home. They will know how to lose track of time, knowing time only by activity change. They will appreciate downtime, but love flurries of activity. They will be there for one week, two weeks, a month, but it will end up influencing their lives.

So please send your kids to camp. Send them so they will learn to set tables and make beds and wake early. Send them so they will know how to be a leader, paddle a canoe, weave a bracelet, and sing as loud as they can. Send your kids to camp so they will learn to love, learn to love themselves, and learn to love others. Send your kids to camp because they will realize who they are, or who they want to be.

And prepare yourselves for a year of camp stories, and for a flurry of songs. Prepare to learn names of kids you’ve never met. And for your kids to have a need for sunshine, a need for campfires and companionship.

Because camp is an infectious melody, and a life-changing time, and a crazy, indescribable summer.

Send your kids to camp.
For your benefit, for theirs.

Please, send your kids to camp.

Your friendly neighborhood camp kid

CCA Moves to Comply with Federal Legislation for Non-Profit Organizations

Posted on September 29, 2014 by Catherine Ross

On September 10, 2014, the CCA Board approved a motion to bring our association into compliance with Federal Legislation for non-profit organizations. The proposed By-Laws and Articles of Continuance are posted in the Members’ Section on the CCA website.

The revised by-laws permit two classes of membership in CCA: Federated Members (Provincial Camping Associations) and individual members appointed by the CCA Board as Executive Officers.  Camps that are members of a Provincial Camping Association retain ALL previous benefits such as continued participation in the insurance program and permission to display the CCA logo.

A special meeting of CCA Members by conference call will be held on Wednesday, October 8 at 12pm Eastern time to address this motion.

Please refer any questions and/or a request for conference call details to Jill Dundas, President at

Update on Temporary Foreign Worker Permits

Posted on May 26, 2014 by Jill Dundas

If you have been experiencing delays in the processing of your Temporary Foreign Worker Permits please see the information below:

After speaking with senior people at Service Canada and our contacts at the Prime Minister’s Office, we have received an extremely positive response from senior government officials that applications are in process and that resources are being diverted towards completing LMO’s, STS’s, etc. in order to avoid any distress to camp employers.

We have been assured by Service Canada in Ontario of their commitment to working with camp employers on an ongoing basis, as they have in the past. Essentially they have made it clear that they are now instructing all staff to process camp applications.

If your camp has already been impacted by delays in processing for staff entry into Canada such that your staff should have entered the country already or are supposed to enter the country early next week, we have been asked to direct camps to send a short and polite email to your Service Canada representative/program officer that thanks them for their time, while acknowledging you know how busy they are as a result of the issues surrounding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. You should also state that you have been made aware that staff resources are being diverted towards processing all camp related applications and as a result you are providing them with names of staff that require immediate action.

You should then copy the director of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Steven West ( on your email.

Please only indicate staff names that are urgent and require immediate processing as we expect within a week Service Canada will be catching up on all other files and we should expect the normal support and service as in past years.

As each week passes if you find that applications are still not being processed then you should keep on emailing your contact and copy Steven West.

If you find you are still not receiving results next week feel free to advise CCA President Jill Dundas ( or Mark Diamond at (

Outdoor Council of Canada announces Leadership Level 1 certification at UBC this summer

Posted on May 23, 2014 by CCA Communications Committee

The Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia is pleased to announce that the Outdoor Council of Canada is hosting their Leadership Level 1 training program at UBC Vancouver in July.

Held on July 19 & 20 this entry-level course, Leadership Level 1 (LL1), is based on experiential learning modules that develop group management and event-planning skills through hands-on activities and case studies.

Participants in this program will receive a nationally recognized certification upon successful completion of this 2-day course.

For more information, please visit the UBC website by clicking here.

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

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.

Camp Counseling: Preparation for Parenting

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Catherine Ross

As a retired camp director, I frequently enjoy visits with former staff and their children. It is rewarding to watch these graduate camp counselors apply the valuable lessons that they learned about being a good counselor to raising their own children. A visit to my grandson’s kindergarten class demonstrated that regrettably not all parents have the benefit of this training.

Last December, I had the pleasure of visiting my grandson, Aidan’s, kindergarten class. His teacher had invited the parents to join the children for a gingerbread-house-making holiday activity. In the classroom, there were six sets of desks shoved together in groups of four to accommodate the twenty-four students. Add that many if not more moms, dads and grandparents and the room was happily crowded and chaotic.

In front of each child lay a stiff cardboard base, a small milk carton, several graham crackers and an ample supply of white icing. When Aidan got started, I willingly held the graham cracker walls to the sides of the milk carton house till the icing-glue stuck. With wild abandon, Aidan then proceeded to decorate his house and surrounding garden with smarties, candy canes, jube jubes, marshmallows and pretzels as he saw fit. I encouraged and praised but resisted interfering with his wild creativity. The end result was neither tidy nor symmetrical, but Aidan was pleased with his efforts. As there was no parent to assist the little girl sitting beside Aidan, I also offered her encouragement. She too produced a unique product.

Across from us, I observed one mother assisting her daughter and a father assisting his son. Actually, assisting is the wrong word. These parents were mostly doing the work for their offspring in an effort to produce the perfect gingerbread house. Most of Aidan’s creation was devoured by him and his sister before the day ended so does it really matter that the candy cane fence was not perfectly aligned?

Regrettably, these parents did not follow a basic tenet of Camp Counseling 101 i.e. ”Never do for children what they are capable of doing for and by themselves with effort.” To act otherwise is to imply, whether one intends to or not, “Perfection is the goal. Your effort is not good enough. Watch how I do it. I can do it better.” Thank goodness for camp where children are encouraged and allowed to do what they are capable of; where it is OK to be less than perfect and where, as they learn at their own pace and by their own efforts, their confidence and self esteem flourishes.

By Catherine Ross, CCA Communications Officer