Frequently Asked Questions
On this page
What is the value of camp?
What qualifications do the staff have?
What is our staff-to-camper ratio?
What safety measures are taken at the waterfront?
Can I make cabin-mate requests?
How does Sparrow Lake Camp promote Christian Beliefs?
What is your nut policy?
Do you have a tuck shop?
Can I call my child while they are at camp?
Can I send my child with a phone to camp?
What is the camp's policy on visitors?
What does the camp do if my child is missing home?
What if my child gets sick at camp?
What is the camp's policy for dealing with lice?
What is your camp fee policy? Do you give refunds?
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?
Through their interviews, staff demonstrate the value they see in being responsible, child-centred 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 boats. 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?
As part of the United Church of Canada, Sparrow Lake Camp is empowered to take its own approach in helping kids connect with faith. We respect and celebrate all children equally - regardless of their beliefs, or their family’s beliefs - and know that each child will find their own way to live the life they were given, and to connect with the world around them.
At the same time, it is our hope that each child who attends Sparrow Lake will grow and learn some of the principles behind our programs, and take those with them on their personal journey. We believe these concepts lay the foundation for a flourishing life:
Personal meaning - that each camper can discover more about themselves and the amazing power inside them
Creativity - that each camper sees the world as an inspiring place filled with possibilities for exploration and creation
Mercy and justice - that each camper can connect with others in a way that is fair and loving
Inclusive traditions - that each camper feels part of the larger community through our campfires, Vespers, cheers, and songs
Environmental care - that each camper learns about the natural world to which we all belong, and in turn will learn to care for it
Reflection - that each camper can experience a time away from the chaotic way of life that is engrained in our society
Questioning - that each camper will ask questions about everything from the everyday to the mysterious
Leadership - that each camper can learn to serve others
We put these principles in action through our programs each day - as opposed to explicit religious instruction. We sing a fun grace before meals, and most nights hold a Vesper, where we reflect on values like friendship, optimism, communication, and family.
As pioneers of camping during the early 20th century, the United Church was instrumental in promoting the idea of kids being in the outdoors, working and playing together as a group, learning and caring for the environment, and so many other things that central to what camp has come to mean across North America.
All are welcome at Sparrow Lake.
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. We do provide our campers with 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
c/o Sparrow Lake Camp
1437 United Church Camp Lane
Severn Bridge ON
CAN I SEND A PHONE WITH MY CHILD TO CAMP?
Sparrow Lake Camp is a camp that values being "unplugged”. 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 "reconnect" in a different way and take a break from typical daily life and not be dependant on technology.
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.
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 application deposit of either $300 for a one-week session or $500 for a 2-week session is required if registration is not paid in full. The full balance of the registration is required by May 1, 2019. Any application after this date requires full payment. Payments may be made by Visa or MasterCard.
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 $200 of the deposit, as administrative fees. If there is less than 14 days before the start of the session a partial refund may be provided with discretion of the Executive Director. 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.