Prep & Pack - Camp Merch - Food Service - Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions


WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CAMP?

Simply put, camping experiences have the power to be a momentous catalyst for positive life change for young people. While we offer skills training in many areas (including swimming, canoeing, and sports) what we really hope to teach our campers is life skills that they will carry with them.

Every experience at camp is an opportunity to practice patience or determination, to discover previously untapped talents, to improve social skills, and to learn about hard work and perseverance. A child sent to camp may come home knowing the j-stroke or how to start a fire in the rain, but they will also come back with more confidence and a deeper understanding of their capabilities and strengths. 


WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO THE SLC STAFF HAVE?

Staff are personally interviewed and selected to ensure all staff are child-centerd, caring, responsible and nurturing individuals. Each staff member is required to have a current Standard First Aid and CPR Level C and provide a Police Record Check. All of our lifeguards have current NLS credentials. A majority of our staff are also certified in a range of Outdoor Adventure certifications including, but not limited to, swimming, ropes, and boating.

 During our week long training session our staff gain knowledge and skill in health and safety, appropriate supervision, child development, behaviour management, activity facilitation, and all necessary hard skills needed to fulfill their job requirements. Most importantly, our staff develop the tools needed to ensure every camper has a safe and positive summer!


WHAT'S THE STAFF TO CAMPER RATIO?

Depending on the time and situation our ratio ranges from 1:4 to 1:6. With our Pee Wee Program we aim for a ratio of 1:4. During bed times and more strenuous activities our goal is to lower the ratio closer to 1:3 when at all possible. 


WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE TAKEN AT THE WATERFRONT?

Our waterfront area is staffed with qualified NLS lifeguards who have been trained on emergencies both in the waterfront and out in our boars. All campers and staff must wear Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) when out in a sailboat, canoe or kayak.

All campers are assigned waterfront numbers that allow us to have accurate head counts at each of our water activities, which they have to provide at the sign in board before entering our roped off beaches. On the first day campers perform a swim test and all campers that pass our swim test sport a bright wrist band for the remainder of their session.

Our swim area is sectioned into shallow, shallow-deep, and deep to allow for proper supervision and the ability to ensure only those who pass the swim test pass certain depths. All staff are trained on emergency waterfront search procedures which they practice repeatedly throughout the summer.


CAN I MAKE CABIN MATE REQUESTS

Cabin mate requests can be filled out on the final page of the Camper Health and Information Form. These requests are taken into account but are not guaranteed. We strive to ensure that campers are placed in cabins with those of a similar age range, if the two campers have requested each other we do our best to make sure they are placed in the same cabin. With that being said there are many opportunities at Sparrow Lake Camp where they can choose to spend time together without being in the same cabin.


HOW DOES SPARROW LAKE CAMP PROMOTE CHRISTIAN BELIEFS?

We recognize that the role of Sparrow Lake Camp in Christian education can mean different things to different people and we respect the fact that not all of our campers come from the Christian faith. This means that our approach tends to be more ecumenical as we value each and every camper and what they bring to camp. This being said, the camp is part of the United Church of Canada and uses the beliefs of the Church as a foundation for our philosophy and approach. Our staff and campers sing grace before each meal and on many nights hold a Vesper, where we reflect on some of the values we hope to share with our campers. Some Vesper themes include respect, friendship, positivity, and communication.


WHAT IS YOUR NUT POLICY?

It is impossible for us to guarantee our site is completely nut free, however we make conscious decisions not to bring nuts on site and do not provide any nut based products. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid products that "may contain traces of nuts". As well, we try our best to ensure campers do not bring nut products to camp and will safely dispose of them should any come on site. 

The decision to not designate ourselves as "nut free" was made in consultation with Anaphylaxis Canada. All our staff are trained in responding to anaphylaxis and we have Epi Pens located throughout camp. Campers with life threatening allergies are also encouraged to carry their Epi Pens with them at all times.  


DO YOU HAVE A TUCK SHOP?

Our camp does not have a Tuck Shop. Our staff do our best to ensure all campers eat three full meals daily as well as a snack every evening. Throughout the day campers are welcome to grab a piece of fresh fruit should they need a snack. If you would like your camper to receive special treats you are more than welcome to send them a care package or pack them with snacks. These snacks will be stored out of the cabin and staff will ensure they have access to it at appropriate times.


CAN I CALL MY CHILD WHILE THEY ARE AT CAMP?

Unfortunately, we have learned through experience that a phone call home often creates or intensifies homesickness. One of the many benefits of sending a child to camp is allowing them to have an independent experience from home which assist in developing skills and coping strategies that are critical tosuccessful independence.

We do acknowledge that sending a child to camp can be an emotional experience for the both the camper and the parent, particularly if it is their first time away from home. We encourage campers to write letters home and we encourage parents to do the same. You can send e-mails to your camper through camper@sparrowlakecamp.com or send a letter or package through the mail. If you send an e-mail please write the campers full name in the subject line.

Our camp address:

Campers Name

c/o Sparrow Lake Camp

1437 United Church Camp Lane

Severn Bridge ON

P0E 1N0


CAN I SEND A PHONE WITH MY CHILD TO CAMP?

Although we do understand the increasing number of reasons for cell phones in the daily life of both adults and children we ask that you do not send a phone with your camper. Summer Camp gives a child the ability to take a break from typical daily life and gain new skills and experiences. 

If a camper does bring a cell phone to camp we ask that they turn in their phone on the first day with knowledge that it will be securely stored for the duration of their camping experience. Sparrow Lake Camp is not liable for any misplaced or broken cell phones or electronics.


WHAT IS THE CAMP'S POLICY ON VISITORS?

We discourage visits from parents and friends while the child is staying at camp, however if necessary for any reason it is required that you notify the camp office to arrange it. Due to the expanse and variability of a child's schedule while they are here we cannot guarantee the camper will be readily available if arrangements are not made prior to arrival.

During sessions we do not hold a Visitor's Day, however we do hold an Open House prior to the camp season should you want to visit the site.


WHAT DOES THE CAMP DO IF MY CHILD IS MISSING HOME?

Everyone misses home; we just all have different coping strategies that we use to deal with those feelings. Missing home tends to manifest itself in a more obvious way for our younger campers who have less well developed coping strategies.

Our counsellors are trained on different coping mechanisms and methods of support in many situations, but particularly with cases of homesickness. All campers and staff feel homesickness to some degree over their time at camp with different ways of dealing with these feelings. Our Leadership Team and other staff are all able to support both the staff and camper further. if needed. 


WHAT IF MY CHILD GETS SICK AT CAMP?

Camp has a Registered Nurse on site while campers are present. They manage the Wellness Centre and are available if campers ever feel ill. If illness persists for a longer period of time they can be brought to a clinic for further treatment or sent home if necessary. We try our best to keep campers on site as long as they are able to participate in camp programming, however in some cases it is better for the child to go home and rest.


ARE THERE WASHROOMS IN THE CABINS?

Our washrooms are located in awash house located centrally in the camp. Port-o-potties are located on site for some program areas that are located further away from the washrooms.


WHAT IS THE CAMP'S POLICY FOR DEALING WITH LICE?

We ask all parents to check their child’s hair at least a week before coming to camp so that there is time for lice treatment if necessary. Upon arrival, all campers will be checked for lice. Any cases of lice will be notified to the parents and we will either treat the case on site or ask for the camper to be sent home depending on the severity of the case.


WHAT IS YOUR CAMP FEE POLICY? DO YOU GIVE REFUNDS?

A non-refundable registration deposit of $200 is required to register your child for camp. If this is provided in the form of a cheque the registration will not go through until the date listed on the cheque. The full balance of the registration is required by May 1. Any registration after this date requires full payment.  Payment of camp fees can be made by personal cheque (before June 1 only), certified cheque or money order to Sparrow Lake United Church Camp. Payments may also be made by Visa and MasterCard up to two days before the beginning of the session.


If a written cancellation request is received at the registration office 14 days or more prior to your child’s departure for camp, the camper fee will be refunded, with the exception of the deposit. If there is less than 14 days before the start of the session a partial refund may be provided with discretion of the Sparrow Lake Camp Board of Directors. There is no guarantee of any refund after the 14 day cut off and further documentation may be required.


If a camper is sent home for camp for displaying inappropriate behaviour, has not complied with camp policies, or is sent home due to a prior illness no refund will be available.


Any N.S.F Cheques received will incur an additional charge of $25.00, and may affect your child’s chances of attending the camp period of his/her choice.