PHILOSOPHY

FRIENDSHIPS TO LAST A LIFETIME!

We are child centered in everything we do - children come first!  Our programs are inclusive and intentional, ensuring every child is involved and having the time of their life!

Hand in hand, we care, we listen, we support....

Hand in hand, we care, we listen, we support....

Welcome to Sparrow Lake Camp! Celebrating 105 years of camping excellence, Sparrow is a traditional overnight camp focused on providing children with an experience of a lifetime!

At the core of the Sparrow camping philosophy is the value we place on building community. Every summer we bring together a unique group of campers and staff to form a community where everyone is welcome. We are committed to creating an environment where it is safe to explore new boundaries and grow as an individual. The strength of our caring community allows us to protect the emotional and physical well being of all campers as they try new things, take risks and challenge themselves. The commitment to our cause of helping children grow in self-reliance and self-confidence on behalf of all staff, campers and board of directors is one of the reasons for our success.

Sparrow Lake is also a camp committed to providing all children and youth the opportunity to learn and grow in an outdoor environment. As a traditional camping program, ninety percent of Sparrow’s camp program takes place in the outdoors. We encourage all campers to take their time at camp as an opportunity to disconnect from their highly tuned in lives at home, and focus on the friendships and relationships here at camp. We also commit ourselves to educating campers on the importance and beauty of a natural outdoor environment. Through camping, Sparrow works to foster lifelong connections with and appreciation for the outdoors.

At the foundation of this philosophy is undoubtedly the staff team. Our staff team, consisting of fifty-five exceptional individuals, who have mostly been long time Sparrow Lake campers themselves. Our staff return to camp summer after summer because they truly believe in the power that camping can have on the life of every camper. They are young adults passionate about working with children and youth, passionate about providing quality care, and passionate about being a key component of every campers experience. These are individuals who believe their jobs are among the most important out there.

Coming and sharing a session at Sparrow is the start of a wonderful experience and a new chapter in every camper’s life. The friendships, challenges and discoveries made at camp are life changing and serve to truly help individual campers discover in themselves the person that they have always wanted to be.

- Sparrow Lake Camp Directing Team 

 

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The United Church and Sparrow Lake Camp

Being a United Church camp to us means supporting our campers in whatever faith journey they are on in whatever stage they currently sit. That being said we allow and invite those across different faiths (or those without a faith) to join us at camp. Although sometimes not explicitly we do weave the United Church into our camp programming through their 8 Guiding Principles for Faith Formation at Camp. A brief description of each of their principles is below.

  1. Personal Meaning: We teach each camper the value of their own opinion and talents. This is done through our various stage-centric activities (Campfires, Airbands) as well as at the end of each day. Each day the cabins hold a debrief where each camper gets to speak about their day uninterrupted thus showcasing the value each individual has.
  2. Creativity: We love giving campers the chance to create and explore. Aside from having Arts and Crafts and Performing Arts as two activity sessions we also encourage creativity in some of our evening programming with creation of team cheers. Campfires and Airbands are other times that campers get the opportunity to showcase their creativity. Less obvious avenues for creativity include sand castle building at the swimming area and dances for Polar Bear Swim.
  3. Mercy & Justice: Our Vespers and Chapel experiences give our campers the chance to reflect on the community they are building. We teach campers to use their judgement and model empathy and sympathy in daily lives.
  4. Traditions & Rituals: Our Morning Watch, Flagpole, and Morning Games are a routine that turns into tradition. The goal of tradition and ritual is being able to include everyone in activities. Our pre-meal line ups give us the chance to sing fun songs, we all eat together, and we end every night with Taps where we thank each other for a great day.
  5. Environment & Care of Creation: Being nestled along Sparrow Lake we get to live surrounded by the beauty of the Environment. We have the Wonders of Wilderness (WOW) Program for campers to get more acquainted with the natural environment. We learn good stewardship and care through our programming in the environment including safe campfires, cleaning up the beaches, and having reflections where we sit and connect the natural world to our thoughts and meaning of the world.
  6. Sabbath: In the traditional sense we have what is called "Chapel" on Sunday which reflects on values learned at camp. In a larger sense it is a break from the busy daily lives of school and largely programmed lives. We are also a traditional camp in the sense that we use limited technology. Our sessions may have the occasional movie night but we do not allow cell phones at camp to allow both our staff and campers to disconnect and take a break.
  7. Questioning: Cabin culture is integral to any camp experience at Sparrow Lake Camp. It is here where most of our campers and staff build those bonds and safe space to question and have open and honest conversations. Our Morning Watch and Vesper services reflect on values and prompt questions about respect and responsibility that we encourage and welcome in the community.
  8. Leadership: We have three leadership programs that specifically encourage and support the development of leadership. A majority of our staff team has also grown up at Sparrow Lake Camp and are now taking on leadership roles and leading groups. The rest of our campers get the experience to take a leadership role in all of the activities, whether it is leading a song at campfire or helping a friend learn a skill in canoeing. These experiences then get recognized at our end of session Sparrow Awards.
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