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How many campers are in each cabin?
At Camp Couchiching there are two different types of cabins that can be found in "the loop". These two cabins are described as either "The Back Cabins" or "L" shaped cabins, both having a different number of campers in them. On average an "L" shaped cabin sleeps between 7-10 campers living at any one time. "The Back" cabins (usually home to the older campers) can accommodate typically 10-12 campers in a session.
What are the cabins like?
Currently we are in the process of renovating our "Back" cabins to create a living space that the campers can feel at home in. We hope to continue renovation at a steady pace so our "L" shaped cabins can be updated as well. As stands, all cabins are equipped with a sink, a washroom and cubby space for camper's storage. If you are further interested in what to expect of the cabins, there is a virtual tour that you can take on the website that illustrates what to expect.
Do campers choose their activities?
Yes. Campers do get to choose the activities that interest them, whether it be adventure, or sailing that tickles their fancy they have the option of choosing what they wish. The way this process works is that you and your child will receive a pamphlet of "interest sessions" (activities) that they are available to take part in. Each activity is either listed as "skill set" or "leisure". A skill set activity (sailing, canoeing, adventure, instructional swim, kayaking) allows your child to participate and have fun, while at the same time obtain a skill/level. On the pamphlet you and your child will choose four or five "interest sessions" that interest them. Upon arrival to camp your child's top four interest sessions will be given to them on a schedule. This is NOT their official agenda. They can choose to change any interest session the first day, OR choose to see and experience the first day of interest sessions to get a feel for if they like them or not.
How many campers are in each interest session activity?
Interest sessions group sizes vary from activity to activity. If an activity is on the water, activity groups are typically smaller and if individual instruction is required (Swimming Lessons) group sizes decrease once again. We have seen classes of 20, but we have also seen classes of 5.
What if my son or daughter gets homesick?
Homesickness is a regular condition that effects all kids while they are at camp. As a result, at Cooch our approach to dealing with it is to support each camper in how they feel, and yet their participation in camp. We also recognize that every child is different and although we don't encourage parents to speak to their kids directly, we do often look for support and suggestions from parents while your child is at camp.
Homesickness is common, and our staff team have been trained on how to deal with it. It may help to consider that many of them have even been homesick as campers themselves. With constant activities to participate in, the drain of homesickness typically fades within the first few days of camp.
How old is your staff, where do they come from, how are they trained and what are their qualifications?
At Cooch, we boast of having a one of a kind staff team. Our youngest staff group are candidates who have already spent two successful years within our leadership programs. At 17, they make up our "Program & Service" staff team. From there, staff age ranges from 18-30…with a few special cases (age undisclosed) along the way.
Most of our staff grow up in the camp community as campers, they know what makes a summer unforgettable, and how to adapt for each and every child's personality. Just like our community, our staff team is very diverse, with most coming from Ontario, and a handful from abroad. In recent years we've welcomed back staff from Austrailia, Spain, Hungry, England, Scotland, Ireland and France. In terms of qualifications, all staff hired must have their standard first aid CPR, and all staff from Ontario are asked to come to camp with current "NLS" (lifeguarding level) to oversee any activities related at the waterfront. Other qualifications supported at Cooch include; Wilderness 1st aid, Ropes Course Certification, and WHIMIS training.
Do you have a nurse on site?
Yes! During Summer Camp, there is always a nurse on site. The health and safety of campers is taken extremely seriously at Cooch. Our nursing staff live in the Health Centre and are available on call 24 hours a day.
My son or daughter takes daily meds. Is that an issue?
Nope! Our camp is typically staffed with two heath professionals. If your child takes Medication of any kind our nurses will oversee that they are getting the required medication that they need. Your child's medication is kept safely in the dispensary located in the Health Center, and is only administered by one of the nurses themselves. Parents are welcome to come in on the first day and meet our nursing staff to discuss your child and their needs.
Are you nut free?
Camp Couchiching strives to be nut and peanut sensitive as possible. We do not serve any nut products at camp, and refrain from "trace" products as well. Our tuck shop is nut free, and all care packages that come into camp are opened with the camper in the office to ensure no nuts come into camp. We remove the nut products found in care packages to a local food bank. As part of our focus on integration, children with nut allergies are welcome at Camp.
My son or daughter has a friend at camp. Will they be in the same cabin?
Upon return from Camp, you will be amazed with how many new friends your son/daughter has bonded with. We at Camp Couchiching strongly believe in strengthening old friendships, but also in creating new bonds. The camp community is so diverse that there is a friend for everybody. Most campers (especially first years) come to camp with a friend from back home, who they have the option to be cabin mates with. To ensure that both friends are put in a cabin together a mutual consent pretty much guarantees that they will be in the same cabin if they are the same gender and born in the same year. If an older camper requests a younger camper, within one year, then we will move the older camper to the younger age group. You can request a cabin mate in the forms handed out with the camp information, or you can call the camp office to ensure that your request has gone through.
What is Camp Couchiching's policy on Life Jackets/PFDs at camp?
At Cooch we take the health and safety of our campers very seriously. It is a camp rule that campers must wear lifejackets to be able to access the docks in all our boating areas. In addition, when swimming outside of our designated swimming area or at our water trampoline, campers must also wear a life jackets. No matter how well the swimmer, they need a lifejacket on at all times. All though we do have enough lifejackets to facilitate everyone, we do encourage your child to bring their own if they feel more comfortable in it.
What is your policy on weak/non swimmers at camp?
No child is forced to swim if they do not want to. All campers are strongly encouraged to partake in the swim test that takes place on the first day of camp, yet if they do not want to take it, they can choose not to (although they will not be permitted to partake in any water activities until the test is completed). Our swim seeks to determine if campers are "water worthy" as well as safe to swim in the deep end of our swim area. The test is comprised of a lap of our deep end, one minute of treading water and 10 water bobs.
What is the tuck shop and how does it work?
The tuck shop is one of the most loved and respected places for all of Cooch's campers. Tuck is another word for "candy". And when we say candy, we mean all different types. We have everything from gobstoppers to nerds, coffee crisps to caramel bars, Sour cream and onion chips to salt and vinegar, as well as a variety of pops and juices. The way tuck works is that every other day each and every cabin is invited to the tuck shop around lunchtime to choose the sweets of their choice. On an average tuck day campers will leave the shop with 2 items; a drink and a candy, both of which is at no extra cost to you. You cannot buy more and all campers are given the same amount.
Do kids sleep in sleeping bags or do they bring bed sheets?
At Cooch we believe that sleep is important for everyone. As a result we encourage parents to send bedding that they feel will help their child gain the best sleep possible. Though a sleeping bag is the norm for most campers, we encourage parents to send with their kids pillows, a bottom sheet, bed sheets and blankets if desired. Stuffed animals and blanky's are also encouraged if your child takes comfort in them at home. Consider not sending the most favourite stuffie just in case it gets misplaced...
How do we communicate with our child while they are at camp?
Whether your camper is a one-week camper, or a one-month camper you can communicate with ease. Located just at the end of camps' road there is a post office, where all our camps incoming mail is sorted. You can send everything from a post card to a care package via mail to keep in touch with your child. We also give you the option to email your children at your convenience with an easy link through our website. With either one of these two options, we ensure that your child will receive any mail that comes our way within a 24-hour period of time.
How do our kids communicate with us?
On your camp appliation you can choose a writing kit, which includes pens, stamps, postcards, and other essentials needed to keep in contact with home. Each and every day the campers cool down during what is called "rest hour". Rest hour is an hour of the day right after lunch that is specifically slotted in to the busy day for campers to relax. During this time, campers play cards, read, and it is the perfect time for a camper to write a letter to home. After they have written the letter they have the choice of either giving it to their counselor to drop of in the Towne Hall mailbox, or doing it themselves.
Does Cooch have a parents day? Can parents visit?
We don't have a scheduled visitor's day. It is not encouraged that parents visit, especially if your child is staying for only two weeks. But if need be you can call the camp office and request for a visit. From there we will set up a period of time that you can see your child during the day but not at camp (it may make other campers homesick). Unfortunately if you just show up during interest sessions when all the campers are partaking in activities we cannot simply let you take your child out to lunch or off campus. One month campers have an option of a mid-month visit if they don't go home for the Changeover weekend.
Does my child have to go on the canoe trip?
No, not at all. If your child does not feel comfortable or does not want to go on the out trip, they have an option of staying at camp and partaking in the days activities. We will encourage your camper to attend but we will never force them to go. Accommodations will be arranged for them, and they will be most likely staying with other campers who have chosen to not go on out trip as well, or another cabin with a spare bunk.
Camp Couchiching supports three methods of transportation to and from camp. Since we are only 1.5 hours from Toronto, many of our families choose to drive campers to camp and pick them up from camp and the start and end of each session. We also offer Coach bussing during the summer months, which picks campers up at a location in Toronto (at Canadian Forces College - 215 Yonge Blvd) and brings them to camp. Our third option is for our international community and supports collecting any campers at the airport and ensuring at the end of a session they are safely brought to their returining flight.