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Many of our camp staff are 3rd generation campers who learned Leadership Skills right here.

Updates from Camp Couchiching

June 2022

June 15- We are emailing Overnight Camp Families with our:

  1. Family Information Package. This package includes our packing lists, arrival and departure details, medication and how to email your Camper/LDP. Click here to see our Overnight Camp 2022 Family Information Package.
  2. A request to log into your CampBrain (database) account to complete your Health Form: Use this link: https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com/
  3. A request to update a Health Update form (one per Camper/LDP) in the database portal: https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com/. You will need your child's vaccination details to complete this form.

May 2022

May 11- Overnight Camp- sent also via email

Hello from Camp Couchiching! We are busily preparing for Overnight Camp and wanted to share some exciting updates for you:

  • Our Camp branded clothing and "merch" items will have a reveal on social media and online sales will start at the end of May on this website: http://www.positiveidentity.com/couchichingcampers/. Families will be able to choose to pay to ship to your home. You can ship to Camp at no cost and these items will be given to your Camper/LDP on their first day of Camp.
  • The Family Information Packages are being finalized and will be sent to your home in early June via email. These packages included your packing lists, arrival/departure details, how to contact your Camper/LDP and more specifics on how to prepare for Camp. 
  • Please find our Overnight Camp Wellness Plan (details have been updated in June in the Family Information Package- found here). Please note that we work to be a safe place so some things in our Wellness Plan are required while other things are recommended. In addition, we have different, more strict, requirements for our staff team then we do for our guests. We have many doctors, nurses, nurse practioners and therapists who will be at Camp, and available to us remotely, to help guide us through wellness successfully.
  • We are very excited to announce that our Wellness Staff Team at Camp has expanded to include more social and emotional supports for Campers/LDPs & our Staff Team too. We are partnering with mental health specialists and we are incorporating more consideration of this in our staff training. Having more established opportunities to access this support is a great thing for everyone.
  • Because we are having Campers/LDPs dropped off at our Camp Hub rather than everyone coming into Camp, we want to provide 3 Open House opportunities to walk around our facility, meet some staff and do some activities. There is no RSVP for these events and you can come multiple times if you wish to. 
    • Sunday May 29 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.
    • Sunday June 12 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 21 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. 
    • ​Please have people attending one of our Open House events use this COVID screening tool before coming on to our property- click here for screening tool.
  • Please watch our Instagram account, @campcouchiching, for many great photos of enhancements we are doing around Camp this year. We've worked to gain grants to complete many of our projects. Special attention is being paid to our Wind Program Area in both sailing and windsurfing this year.
  • We are getting requests from families who desire to settle their Camp Account balances. Please login via our database, Camp Brain, and navigate to the Overnight 2022 season. There you can see your details which includes a Financial section. Clicking on the Financial section will bring up the ability for you to see what's outstanding and make any credit card payments. If you wish to pay by e-transfer, please send the funds to accounting@campcouchiching.com with the password of campisgreat.

 Thank you for your continued support of Camp Couchiching!

 Sincerely,

 Your Friendly Camp Staff Team

P.S. We are sending this to the parents/guardians of the Campers & LDPs so will you please extend our excitement about having them come to Camp directly to them as well please :)

March 2022

March 18- Everyone from 2021

Did you know your campers' fees can may be able to be considered as part of your income tax preparations:

    1. Insights from Turbo Tax regarding child care deductions- click here 
    2. Insights from Canada Revenue Agency regarding deducting child care expenses- click here 

Here are instructions should you want to go into our application site to find your family's invoice any time.

    • Please go to https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com/
    • Sign in using your email address and password attached to your account
    • Under “View My Applications/Registrations/Donations” look for the programs you had children/youth registered in for 2021
    • Click on the red “View Registration Details” button for the applicable program and year.
    • On the right hand side of the screen look for the “Financials” box. Within that box click on “Download Printable Season Account Statement”

March 8- Learning Centre, Day Camps & Overnight Camps

The government has provided new guidelines for Camps to follow. We have been informed that these are expected to change again prior to summer operations however our day camp for March Break camp will continue to follow the December 21 guidelines. Click here for the March 1 guidelines.

For programs operating the week of March 21, we will allow families to make their own choices for masking for their children however our staff team will continue to wear masks indoors and when we cannot keep 2 metres of distances outside. We reserve the right to change our decision on this based on illness in the local community. We may change this decision for some programs, like keep indoor masking for our summer overnight camp, but not require masking for our summer day camp.

March 8- Day Camp

Applications are now open for returning families. This includes returning families who have been with us in the Learning Centre, Overnight Camps and Day Camps. Applications for new families are accepted after 5 p.m. today. Day Camp details can be found by clicking here.

March 3- Day Camp

  • Emails to returning families about the opening of Summer Day Camp programs are going out today. Returning families from day, overnight camp or our Learning Centre programs will have a prioritized application block from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday March 8, after that time the programs will be open to the public. Day Camp details can be found by clicking here.

February 2022

Feb 11- Overnight Camp

  • We extended our Keener Bonus & Early Bird Bonus until Feb 14. We heard from many people that you are super busy right now and wanted to extend this for you. Keener bonus is an application before Feb 14 and your camper gets a custom camp tshirt at camp. Early Bird bonus is pay your fees in full and get a small discount on your fees.

Feb 9- Overnight & Summer Day Camp

We are busily working forward and looking towards an excellent summer at Camp Couchiching.

  • Overnight Camp is about 60% sold out with some sessions being more full than others. There is still some room in all levels of our leadership programming in both months. Details about those who have requested camperships will go out soon.
  • Summer Day Camp is expected to be open for applications in March but we will have details, dates, ages and fees posted in February so you can begin to make plans. We expect day camp to "sell out" quickly due to the number of requests we are getting and that we will only have 40 spots most weeks.

We will not know what Public Health requirements will be in place for July until the Spring and we expect that to be late Spring. We are requiring our staff team to be fully vaccinated and we've been told to expect some requirements for smaller group cohorting, some masking and social distancing but we don't have any of those specifics. If we have to put in public health measures that your family doesn't feel is protective enough or feels they are too protective then we will be very flexible about our refunds in these situations. It's a challenging time to operate without being able to share all the specifics.

Here are the current guidelines that Camps have to follow which we expect to change before July (note, we received directions on how to operate Camps in 2021 only days/weeks prior to the arrival dates so predicting how we'll have to operate months out is very difficult):Dec 21 Covid 19 Safety Guidelines for Camps

October 2021

Oct 26- Overnight Camp

Save the date for Monday November 1 at noon for the grand re-opening of Camp Couchiching's Overnight Camp registration. 

New & Improved for 2022:

  1. Sailing, Boardsailing & Canoe Trips are back for 2022!
  2. The ages for the Leadership Development Programs, both levels, is shifting to a year younger. The LDP1 program will be for those youth born in 2007 and the LDP2 program is for those born in 2006. The traditional pattern of LDP1 working on instructor skills and LDP2 working on counselling skills will remain.
  3. We expect to still have some Covid restrictions in place for 2022 but we won't know what these are until next Spring.
    • We will have more campers and leadership participants, of a broader age range, in 2022. We expect to be able to offer spaces to our international families too.
    • Camp expects to have some sort of vaccine requirement for eligible participants. We will be requiring all staff members to be fully vaccinated. We are looking at best practices from other organizations and tracking what public health is suggesting.

September 2021

Sept 20- Overnight Camp

We had such a blast in August with our campers and LDP! It was joyful to be back in our, limited, overnight camp mode! It was very unique and magical!

Families who have carried over fees with us- we have spots saved for you in the same sessions you had in 2021. You have until mid-November to change your mind without any risk of being waitlisted for a program. 2022 dates for campers are currently listed here: Summer Overnight Camper Dates & Rates & these details for our Leadership Programs can be found here: Summer Overnight Leadership Development Programs

Families who don't have fees on account with us OR who are new to us- we will open up our applications for you soon soon and will communicate it out via our social media channels and email.

Looking ahead regarding vaccination mandates, as of today we are not aware of what the provincial/federal government and local health units will be requesting for campers to attend camp and their vaccination status. This may be different from domestic families vs international families. We predict this will be clarified in the winter and will be out of our hands with the exception of the task of enforcement.  We will be requiring all our staff members to be fully vaccinated (with "booster" shots too if required) in order to work with us. This past summer, 90% of our staff were fully vaccinated by July and all had one shot.

July 2021

July 28- Overnight Camp, from our Social Media Channels

Getting ready for overnight camp tip of the day! At the first station of drop off at our Community Hub you will:
  1. show your clear screening of the day
  2. hand over any meds, phones and mail/packages
  3. get a name tag
  4. get your bags labelled and moved into our baggage shuttle.
Good byes ???? will be said here for most without the adult driver ever leaving their vehicle. If you wish to discuss meds/health then then you would keep your camper’s meds and go to Station Two for a convo. If no med discussion then you can head out and make space for our next vehicle drop off.
 
Campers and LDP will walk into camp with our staff team members for activities, snacks, & games. We will move everyone into cabins once all have arrived and we verify cohorts.
 
Bags will be dropped off close to the cabins so carrying is only a short distance (with our staff team to help)

July 17- Please find our overnight camp family info package with what to bring, arrival, departure, COVID prevention, etc- click here

July 14- Overnight families are reaching out about the 2 weeks of exposure limitations prior to August 1 which will begin on Sunday August 18. Some think this is a full quarantine or a full isolation and it is not. You are being asked to limit your campers' exposure from individuals outside of their immediate household to the greatest extent possible 14 days prior to arrival at camp. 

If your camper needs a pre-arrival shop during that time, please don't take them with you or let them order on-line or go shopping before Sunday. They shouldn't go to larger family functions or places like Wonderland in the 2 weeks prior to August 1. If they are going out biking with a friend then they should keep their distance and if they can't, pop on a mask. If they are visiting with friends then plan this to be outside. They can still go outside, swim, do activities, etc but, when with people outside their immediate family, try to be outside and keeping a distance. If they can't keep a distance then mask up. If they go indoors then keep it short in duration, mask up and keep a distance. 

We have to legally follow these policies in order to operate. This may have been placed in the guidance in April when we had 4,000 cases of Covid a day. They may seem very restrictive when cases are under 200 per day, double vax rates are up and Ontario is about to go into Step 3 early. We've been told these probably won't change in the next few weeks. These guidelines are the same regardless of vaccination level and date.

There are thousands of kids at Camp right now and they scaled back some activities before they left for Camp. Ontario is doing very well without any significant Covid outbreaks at Camps. These would typically occur within the first 5 days. We have to do our share to scale back and keep everyone safe.

We have to get back to Camp to let our campers have a shot at joy and normalcy. We are super excited!!!!

July 13- Overnight Camper Families- Booking Your Complimentary PCR test for as close to 72 hours prior to Camp. Please note that check in with your testing location for the times of results as we'll need the cleared results for your camper(s) to enter camp.

  • Use this provincial website to find a location near your home which hosts the free testing program for campers: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations
  • Note that most of our staff are finding it easiest to get their tests at Shopper's Drug Marts (see screen shots below) or at a Regional Assessment Centre. Here is a list of participating regional assessment centres given to Camps by the Ministry of Health on June 24:
    • Participating Assessment Centres
      • West- All ACs will support pre-overnight camp testing, as only larger cities in West region have pharmacies supporting testing
      • North- All ACs will support pre-overnight camp testing, due to lack of pharmacy testing access
      • East- The ACs in Kingston and Lennox & Addington; the ACs in Almonte, Kemptville, Brockville; The Ottawa Hospital, CHEO, Queensway-Carlton Hospital, Hôpital Montfort (excluding Heron site)
      • Toronto- Region has numerous participating pharmacies, Toronto Community ACs will provide testing for the summer months for overnight campers
    • Shoppers Drug Mart Web Shots for Testing
      • Website: shoppersdrugmart.ca
      • Look up Public Asymptomatic Covid-19 testing, campers attending overnight camps are eligible for free testingsdm public asymptomatic testing.png

Once you receive your camper's results then please send this to wellnesscoord@campcouchiching.com. When we verify the result, we will send you a booking link to book your arrival time into Camp on August 1. We will have a team of medical professionals and camp staff ready to screen you and help you into Camp. All drop offs and pick ups will be done at 6536 Rama Road, our Hub building, and the one adult dropping off (don't bring the family please) won't be coming into camp and, if possible, they won't be coming out of their vehicle.

July 13- Health Forms are now ready for updating for Overnight Campers at https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com- please see this screen shot for where to find these for updating:

Where to go for overnight camp health form.png

July 10- The 3 & 4 week overnight camp programs in August are now available for youth born in 2009 to apply. The government is allowing us to put more people in cabins than we had been previously told and more staff have come forward to help us out. Maybe your camper can join us?

June 2021

June 3- Overnight Camp Families

Hello Overnight Camp Families Both Cancelled & Registered!

It has been a conflicting time to make decisions. We realize that decisions will be good news for some but will disappoint others. It is difficult to be in an industry that is typically full of joy-giving to not be able to provide experiences to everyone. We have worked hard to try to provide something for each of our traditional community supporters. 

Here is our update for June 3, 2021:

  1. We have completed our period of consideration for an August overnight camp program and are excited that we will be able to offer new smaller sized sessions of overnight camp programs lasting 2, 3, or 4 weeks to campers who are currently enrolled in our 2021 overnight camp program, born in 2005-2008 and who will have had at least one vaccine 14 days prior to August 1. August 1 will be our only date of arrival. Youth born in 2007 & 2008 can choose 2-week sessions or longer. Youth born in 2005 & 2006 can choose 3 or 4-week sessions. To keep this message’s length shorter, we will send a different message at the same time to families with campers born in those years and we are in the process of placing this message and the specifics of the program available for 2005-2008. Registration details will be in the email we send and posted on our website. Registration for this program will begin next Tuesday at noon.
  2. July will have us hosting both family experiences and day camps. We held off opening registrations for family experiences until the consideration of “what will August look like” was complete. Registration for family experiences will open next Thursday at noon. Our current families will have first options at the July family experience bookings until June 14 then we will open to our alumni, and their friends. Details on the family experiences can be found here (and this is where the registration portal is): Program Dates & Rates (please note that most of our inbound messaging is about getting these programs open, we expect them to be popular!).
  3. LDP 2 families have been communicated with and many of their youth have converted into our Summer Intern program for part or all of the summer. We are ready to provide secondary school credits, volunteer hours, qualifications and leadership sessions to this group and we are PUMPED to welcome them at the end of June.
  4. LDP 1 families have been communicated with and although the July program was cancelled, we have over 20 people joining us on August 1 for the LDP1 program that month. We have the staff getting ready for this program. We will not be able to get the “big” canoe trip in but if it's possible, we will try for some “closer to camp” day excursions. They’ll now be joined by overnight campers rather than families/day campers at Camp which is different from what we let people know before.
  5. We are still hiring program staff aged 17+. Please let people know and they can email lexi@campcouchiching.com.
  6. If you carry fees over with us, you have until January 12, 2022 to withdraw and be eligible for up to your full current fees. After that time, either the 2020 or 2021 de-enrollment fees will be attached to your withdrawal. It’s so weird to consider 3 years of policies all at the same time but we have a good trail of notes to help us stay organized (thanks Angie!).
  7. We’ve attached a PDF of our de-enrollment process (which is the same as it has been for the past 2 weeks in emails and the same as what is posted below. Many thanks to all the families holding fees over with us for 2022, we didn’t know that this would be THE most popular option for our families and we are so grateful! PDF- click here De-Enrollment from 2021 OVN Camp June 3 2021.pdf

Thanks for your support, patience and understanding!

Your Camp Couchiching Team

P.S. Our medical staff alums were a HUGE factor of us being able to operate an overnight camp in August. We did a shout out to this group as “not having enough medical staff” was one internal barrier and they totally stepped up. We will have drs, nurses, and various therapists helping us set up our pre-arrival, arrival day and in camp procedures for screening, testing, monitoring plus they are also coming to camp in August to support us. We’re so grateful!

June 3- Day Camp Families

Hello Day Camp Families,

We are pleased to finally have our move forward decisions made for Camp Couchiching and therefore we can update all of you. Thanks for waiting over the past month on this news.

We are pleased to confirm that we will be able to offer Day Camp for the following weeks only: Monday July 5- Friday July 9; Monday July 12- Friday July 16; Monday July 19- Friday July 23; Monday July 26- Thursday July 29* short week notice. We will not be hosting any August day camp programs.

Our rates for day camp are $285/week and the short week has a rate of $230/week. These programs are tax exempt. We do have a small amount of money put aside to support camperships/financial subsidy. We will support one week per camper and if there are funds & spaces available we will then circle back to offer more time and space.

We apologize for families hoping for August dates at Camp Couchiching. There have been significant ups and downs about operating Camps. We have just made a final decision this week that we will operate our overnight camp, for teens, during the month of August. With the consideration of protection of people coming and going, and a difficulty having enough staff members, we don’t feel we can host both our day and overnight camp on site as we typically do. So we are dividing our summer up with our Day Camps get July and Overnight Camps getting August. We understand that this will be disappointing for some of you and we are sorry.

August families can log in to our database and book into the available spaces in our July programs. We have cancelled out your August programs. We will not advertise our Day Camps to the public for a full week so you have some time to do this however there is high demand for our programs this summer. Here is the link to our database: https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com/

Please note that the registration may seem full and you have to go on a waitlist but we expect some people currently holding spots with us have made other arrangements so we expect to be able to address some of the waitlists. We won’t have unlimited numbers on our waitlists.

Families have until June 15 to complete their pay in full. We will send one more reminder for payment in a week’s time. After June 16, we will start releasing spots to the people on the waitlist.

If you wish to cancel your July dates, please email info@campcouchiching.com and we will do that for you.

If you wish to pay your fees by E-transfer, please send that to accounting@campcouchiching.com and use the password daycampz

Again, our sincerest thanks for your continued patience and support. We are sorry we can’t be all things for all dates to all people.

Your Friendly Camp Staff Team 

May 2021

May 27- Overnight Campers & LDP

Despite Doug Ford's announcement, camps in Ontario remain closed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and we do not have official guidelines how to operate. 

Here are a few things that we learned this week:

  1. The 3 step roadmap to reopening Ontario information from last week shows overnight camps being able to open in Step 2. Good news to have our industry specifically identified.
  2. We received a draft of overnight camp guidelines last week however they were sent to all the Public Health Units (PHU) at the same time for input. These are being considered and combined by the Ministry of Health in Ontario for the final set of guidelines. The Ministry of Health is working with the Camping Association too. We have been told "soon" so often on this piece of work that we don't understand the meaning of that word anymore.
  3. We heard that we won't have any movement on Camping until the school decision is made but that is speculation not official insight. We waited all day before emailing this update as it felt like the pending school decision was coming any minute. However we promised you an update and wanted to meet this commitment.
  4. Some pharmacies in Ontario will give free PCR covid tests to campers and staff before arrival to Camp. That's good news. That would be a requirement before attending so it's nice not to have to pay for that PCR test. We are working with the Hospital for Sick Children to get saliva based PCR tests, at cost, for the other PCR tests we would require for our staff/LDP throughout the summer and for our campers IF we run some kind of overnight camp in August.
  5. Camp received free antigen testing from the Orillia Chamber of Commerce to help us screen employees for asymptomatic Covid. We will get supplies all summer to keep this program going. We are hoping to find antigen testing for other groups as well through a different program.

We still promise you the consideration of an August overnight camp program however we feel we need final details. We continue to work forward in ways that allows for consideration of various programs in August. Waiting is hard and frustrating and we thank you for your continued support.

We will launch Family Experiences when we know what August looks like so there is more equity/fairness for all families to consider options at the same time.

If you wish to wait along with us for family programs or an August overnight Camp, you don't need to do anything at this time. 

If you have made a decision to plan other things for Summer 2021 then please see the details below. As a reminder we sadly won't have the capacity to host any of our International or Pathways campers except in our day camps or family experiences in 2021.

De-Enrollment from 2021

Here are our de-enrollment details if you desire to withdraw at this time:

Step One-Your household’s current financial status with Camp Couchiching is attached to this email. Please check out how much $ we have on account for your household.

Step Two- Now, let’s figure out what you wish to do. Here are our 3 de-enrollment options for 2021:

  1. Option 1, The Carry Over- We heard from so many of you that you hope to stick with us for Summer 2022! Thanks, we really appreciate your continued support during these trying times! We’ll ensure that we celebrate our 76th year anniversary in real style. If you choose this, we’ll hold the fees you were booked in at and we’ll book you into comparable sessions for 2022. For example, if your camper was scheduled to come in Session 2 in 2021 then we’ll book them in Session 2 in 2022. To activate the Carry Over option, please reply to this email stating, “carry us over” and we’ll act on that. 
  2. Option 2, Refund X &- Ideally for the Camp, we would like to keep the deposit part of your payment as that is the money that helps us pay for the preparation of opening Camp before campers’ arrival in July 2022 (insurance, database, staffing, training, etc). However, we cancelled the programs so are prepared to give back what you desire to receive back. Please let us know how much of a refund you wish. Please see the attachment to help you decide. We can convert any fees that you allow the camp to retain into a donation and then you get a charitable donation receipt for the 2021 tax year for the amount you leave with us. If this is your choice, please reply to this email stating “please refund $x” and, if you wish, “convert what is remaining into a donation”. You have to ask us to convert the funds that you’re leaving with us to a donation, we require this direction from you as a requirement by our accountants.
  3. Option 3, Freestyle- Maybe there is something else you prefer? Maybe you wish to carry over for one of your campers but refund for another? Perhaps you wish to use these fees to pay for a family,  LDP or day camp experience with us? Please reply to this email explaining what you wish with specifics, we’ll call or email to confirm if it’s not straightforward.

 We will process your requests as we receive and confirm the emails. We can clarify details by phone but it’s best for our auditors to have your direction about your fees in email. Refunds will be by cheque (wire transfer for international families) and will be sent out in June.

Thank you for your support of our small charity. 

Sincerely, The Staff Team at Camp Couchiching

May 13- Overnight Campers & LDP

In this our 75th year, we have been eagerly awaiting direction from the government and have been planning model after model that would allow us to safely welcome our campers back to our site for Summer 2021. Unfortunately, we have reached a point, which we never expected to arrive at, where we must acknowledge that we cannot reasonably expect to be able to operate overnight programs for campers and are cancelling all our 1-week, 2-weeks & 1-month camper programs

We apologize for the bold delivery of this news but we didn’t want this significant news to be lost within the email.

There are many factors that play into this difficult decision, not the least of which is that overnight Camps continue to remain closed by our provincial government with no timeline as to when they can open. Overnight Camps have not even received any guidance documents from the government as to how they can open unlike every other industry in Ontario. I participated in writing the draft of the guidelines as to how Camps could operate during COVID in November/December, which were favourably reviewed by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and then sent on to the provincial Ministry of Health and the Chief Officer of Health in Ontario to be reviewed with Public Health in January 2021. The finalized guidelines would have to be provided to us and we would then need time to consider, apply the details and train our staff accordingly. If they come out today, there would still not be sufficient time to be operational for the summer.

Our mission statement starts with, “Excellence in Camping…” and we no longer feel that we can meet this standard at such a late date. We typically need 10 months to prepare for our 2 month operating season. We have waited as long as we could.

We wanted, and expected, to be part of a return to normalcy for your children and family members this year. We miss being an island of play, community and fun with our overnight campers. We wanted to provide them respite and buffer from what has occurred, and was taken away from them, in the past few years. We miss their laughter and joy at our shared summer “home”. We know this news is heartbreaking and that it will affect your family logistically and emotionally. We know how much camp means to all of you and we share in your disappointment at this outcome. 

We remain committed to staying connected and have been planning some unique experiences and opportunities that will allow us to bring that Camp Couchiching magic to as many people as we can this summer.  To this end, we have decided to pivot to a model that offers family experiences at Camp. These "cottage rentals" will also provide all your meals and programming too. Please consider letting your campers bring you to Camp and share in part of the magic.

In the next...

...few minutes, we are messaging our staff team. We will have jobs for them, just different roles (and thanks to a government student grant, more pay!);

...few days, we’ll email families who have a Leadership Development Program (LDP) participant registered with the Camp as we have some in-person & at-camp opportunities.  Our pivot model for those youth in the LDP2 program can move forward regardless of guidelines and official opening of Camps. One aspect of our opportunity for LDP1 will require the government to allow overnight camps to operate and provide us with guidelines. If we have the guidelines by mid-June then we will likely be in a position to  run this one LDP1 program in August for a small group; and

...week, we will circle back to every family registered for our 2021 season with details about opportunities for your family as a family cottaging/resort type experience, and we will also include all the specifics about the de-enrollment & carry forward processes for you to consider. Families that were registered for overnight camp in 2021 will have prioritized booking and some discounts. We hope to welcome some of you back in this program.

COVID has knocked us down but we will rise again. We are meant to be a children and youth overnight camp, this is what we have done for 73 years and will continue doing, with your support, for many years to come.

Thanks for your loyalty to Camp Couchiching plus your patience and understanding in this matter.

May 2 Update- Overnight Camp

Just like on a canoe trip, you expect to paddle most of the time but to continue on, sometimes you have to carry your canoe over the portage. That's us. We're on a portage, waiting to paddle again soon!

We are excited to move a few maintenance staff on to Camp to get our facility ready for 2021. We gratefully secured grant money for picnic tables and large shelters (think of small marquee tents) and to cover the cost of putting screen doors on every building in Camp. We are starting to re-design the flow of entries and exits. More hand washing and sanitizing stations will be in place. Many of the things you saw in stores or schools (when they were open) are what we are putting in place now as this is our first time operating for more than 20 people since 2019!

While we plug away at preparing the facility, we also are working along with the amazing experts through the Ontario Camps Association in the lobbying efforts to try to open Camps up as well and are attending sessions by professionals to learn to safely operate Camp during times of Covid-19.

However, it's May.

We are usually so busy at this time of the year in typical times so it's very strange to be caught in these "doldrums" of not having an exact direction to work towards. Waiting for government's green light to open along with Guidelines on how to operate has been difficult.

The uncertainty of the past few years has been difficult for many. And the uncertainty continues. The financials on any model that doesn't have overnight camp running for the full season does not bode well for the future of Camp Couchiching. Combine that with the fact that we haven't earned program revenue since 2019.

We have some strong Plan B alternatives if we can't run Overnight Camp to earn some revenue, provide employment experiences, deliver a little bit of much-needed camp magic into the world and most importantly, ensure our future.

Our Plan B is to host family cottage rental experiences with an incentivized rate and a prioritized registration opportunity for those who are already registered in our overnight camp program before we open to the public. Some of these would be a week in length, others could be short stays on weekdays or weekends. Most would be for families but are for those aged 18+ only and while most would be pet-free, a few options even allow for friendly dogs. Meals, accommodation and programming would be all in. Kind of like a glamping resort.

We will special considerations for our folks in our Leadership programs and for day camps as well.

Over the next few weeks, we expect to be able to make a firm call on Plan A vs Plan B and can start sharing the specifics on these before opening pre-registration for programs to ensure some kind of operation for Summer 2021. Successful operations this summer will help the future of Camp Couchiching.

Thanks for hanging in with us! It's appreciated more than we can ever let you know. What a trip!

April 2021

We have revised our cancellation and refund policy to allow more flexibility for our families. We know that many families are trying to make decisions during an uncertain time in the pandemic. Final fees will now be processed on Friday July 2 and we have also extended our cancellation deadline to Friday July 2. If you decide to cancel your registration before July 2, we will refund your full fees less $150/camper if you carried over your 2020 fees with us (thanks again!) or $250/camper. The $250/camper charge includes a $175 annual admin fee plus a $75, one time only, Re-Build Fee.

Because we are a charity, you can request the admin fees be converted into a donation to the Camp and then your family can receive a charitable donation receipt for this amount.

March 2021

March 22-Update For Day Camp Families

We hope to offer day camp programs this summer and feel there will be some type of programming. However, we are continuing to wait to understand how our overnight camps will work as we don't have that insight from the government yet. Once we receive that, then we will know if we can bring day campers in/out of our overnight camp community. We have been hearing that they may require us to restrict access to everyone except the participants of overnight camp.

If we can't have day campers at our main camp in Longford Mills then we will put some day programming at a different location in place during July & August. Our best guess about these programs is that they wouldn't be all day, every day but instead like multi-hour drop in programming.

Waiting is very hard, thank you for your patience, we will reach out to everyone who has attended our day programs in the past when we know what's going on.

March 18 Re Overnight Camp- We received an update from Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, David Williams, that Camp is important for the well being of children/youth AND we should be planning for camp..."As you are aware from ongoing discussions with this office, there is generally support for planning to re-open overnight camps for children and youth in Ontario in 2021, subject to specific conditions" for the full article click here. Woo-hoo! We're all on the right track!

March 4 update Re Overnight & Day Camp- We are continuing to build our Overnight Camp using resources from the American Camps Association. Our best understanding from our provincial camping association is that the Ontario Guidelines will be based on the American guidelines then insights how to customize for Ontario/Canada will be provided. Jen remains part of the writing teams to help get these guidelines set for Camps.

Feb 2021 

Feb 4 update- Click here for our Winter 2021 Edition of News & Views from Canoes- remember our Early Bird & Keener discount ends after Feb 10, 2021

Feb 2 update- Our Refund Policy for 2021 Overnight Camp - If we do have to cancel Camp for any reason, we will refund all your funds except for the $175 administration and $75 re-build fee/camper or LDP if you request a refund. You can carry over your full fees on file with us to a future year. If our operations look uncertain around the May 1 timeframe, then we will hold off processing the pending payments on file.

If you cancel before May 1, then the refund procedure is the same as the paragraph above. If we are running Camp and you cancel after May 1 or the time that we've processed full payments then no refund is available.

All our specifics policies and procedures can be found by clicking here

We are hearing some people surprised that we have an administration fee and that a 100% refund is not available from our Camp. We have had these admin fees in places for dozens of years. The admin fees are the money that the Camp uses to pay for insurance, staffing, the database, website and other year round costs that aren't incurred just in the summer. If you cancel before May 1, we do save on some food and program supplies however that is a fraction of what we spend to keep Camp open. Full refunds haven't been a part of Camp Couchiching's policies for dozens of years. We are a small charitable organization and aren't backed by any large Associations.

Here is our approach to Re-Opening Camp considering Covid learnings: Retro Colors Costing Business - Infographics.png

  • May 20, 2020 (Emailed to Overnight Camp Families)

As you may have heard, the provincial government cancelled Summer Overnight Camps for 2020. While we had a glimmer of hope that Camp could be open in some capacity this summer, we were also preparing for this sad situation.

Camp Couchiching is an independent, not-for-profit camp and over the past 74 years we have taken the spirit and culture of our wonderful summer overnight camp and expanded that reach to a very broad community, seeing over 4,000 kids throughout the year. We are heartbroken to know that we won’t be welcoming your campers this year and imagine that some people in your family will sad as well. As a not-for-profit, managing without any revenue for the foreseeable future will be considerable challenge. But a challenge we are prepared to undertake to bring Summer 2021 to all of you.

Please ensure that there is time and place for the grief that some of your family members may be feeling. We know so much has been removed from them already. It is an additional hardship for us at the Camp to know we’ve caused suffering, since we typically do so much to bring joy to people.

If you are looking for a resource to use while talking to your children about the loss of camp this summer, please consider this: https://www.tinabryson.com/news/video-helping-our-kids-manage-summer-disappointments

Moving Forward

      • We continue to monitor guidance from the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health to determine if any onsite programming is feasible, such as family camp or day camp.  If plans emerge we will share them with you.
      • We will reach out directly to our leadership program campers specifically and will create online forums for them to meet. We are actively working with the school board in the hopes to obtain the secondary school credits that we typically provide.
      • Camp will have on-line engagement and camp clothing is available online.  We will be staying in touch! 

De-Enrollment Process and Options

We have four options available for de-enrollment which we will process over the next four weeks.  Below is a summary and more details are available through your Camp Brain account (the same account you registered for camp with): 

    • Move Your Fees to our 2021 Season
          • Get the benefit of 2020 summer camp rates next year!
          • This is honestly our preferred option as it will help us out financially the most and gets us through the full closure of our year around operations. 
    • Cancel, Donate Part of your 2020 Camp Fees & Receive a Refund for the Remainder
          • We are a registered charity so donation receipts will be extended to you for any amounts donated
    • Cancel and Refund  Other - Tell us what you’d like us to consider 
          • Get your full refund less the admin fee.
    • After reviewing these options and considering what is best for your family, please complete the form to direct us with what you wish for us to do regarding your camper/LDP’s de-enrollment. 

We will process over the next 4 weeks. If you log into our account and the form is completed then we have received it at our end. If you wish to change it after you first enter the details, please contact us to do this. Connect back with us if you haven't had follow up after 4 weeks however we hope to have your requests fulfilled before that time. This process is something we've never done before so we have to be careful as we do it. If we haven’t heard from you by the week of June 20, we will send a reminder email.  

Here are the specific steps which we ask each family to take:

  • Log into your Camp Brain (our database) account which you used to register for camp in the first place https://couchiching.campbrainregistration.com/
  • Click on “2020 Summer Overnight Camp” and click “View Details
  • In the upper right area there is a section called "Forms". Click the form there called “De-Enrollment Options Summer Camp 2020 
  • Please complete the form for one camper in your household. We will follow your directions and will follow up within 20 business days/4 weeks.
    • There is an option on the first form you complete to apply your choice to all campers/LDPs you have registered in a household. By choosing that, you only have to fill in one form per household. 

In Closing

None of us ever imagined we would see a summer without our beloved overnight camp but we know we will be there for you again in the future and the cancellation of our 74th season puts a fire in our belly to be extra awesome next year! 

2021 is our 75th Anniversary season. We will ensure that we’ll run a camp that will be extra incredible, and we hope to spend time with your family members on the shores of Lake Couchiching at that time!

Please keep us in your thoughts and hearts and we'll keep you in ours.

Hello Camp Families!

We hope this message continues to find you and your family in all aspects of good health! We’re sure it’s been tricky to figure out your new “normal” with everything that is evolving. We are seeing so many various things in communities that remind of us of Camp Spirit (painted rocks, shout outs to front line workers, bears and rainbows in windows).

Please extend a hearty hello to all our campers at your homes!

Many of the current restrictions in place at this time may not seem favourable for Camp but we still have a few months so there is still hope! We are still planning that we’ll be on the shores of Lake Couchiching with you in 2020.

While we continue to closely monitor the situation and work with Public Health, we are starting to wake our property from hibernation with the fewest number of qualified people practicing social distancing, planning great details for awesome programming and care, and connecting with you all through exciting social media interactions!

Because things remain fluid, we are extending our “pay in full” and “no refund” date from May 1 to June 1. This means refund and cancellation policies that typically expire May 1 will continue in effect until June 1 and we won’t process pending payments we have for May 1 yet. We also won’t process any more campership applications at this time.

We are preparing multiple "refund" options if we’re banned from running camps or conditions are so limited that we can’t operate camps this full/part of the summer.
Until we know these situations exist, we continue to have our current refund policy which is if you choose to withdraw your camper/LDP at this time, we will process your request less a $150 administration fee per camper/LDP. We typically need about 10 business days to process refunds.
Should we find out of restrictions or limited conditions that affect us directly, we will be in touch with all of you again. We will need a day or two to figure out how the insight is affecting Camp, but we will reach out to you in a very timely manner.

We post our communication & some other updates to families in one spot on our website: https://www.campcouchiching.com/program-rates-dates/updates/

Please continue to follow us on Social Media (mostly Instagram & Facebook with a few posts on Twitter and LinkedIn) and for artists/designers in your family, please watch your email for some interesting opportunities to participate in some contests to design camp clothing and other “merch”.

Finally, thank you so much for sticking through this with us! More than any other time, youth need camp this summer! We’ll continue in our quest for Excellence in Camping!
Sincerely,
 
Jen Dundas, Executive Director

 

  • April 3, 2020- COVID-19 Update from Camp (only posted here)

Our main task at the moment has been trying to provide meaningful camp content via our Social Media channels. We know that many of our families feel "stuck" at home so we're hoping that our activities and content have helped the timing go by. Alex is doing morning flagpole on Facebook Live every morning at 9:45 a.m. including the bell ringing.

To date, we have not heard from any sources that we can or can't operate Summer Camp or our Fall Outdoor Centre. Most schools/groups are cancelling on us due to Board of Education directives to cancel field trips/excursions so a lot of our May/June business has been depleted.

We continue to monitor government and camping industry resources as to what we should do for July & August.

We are still committed to communicating to Summer Camp families by mid-April regardless of having full insight as to whether or not.

  • March 16, 2020- COVID-19 Update for Families of Overnight Campers & LDPs (sent via email)

Hello Camp Couchiching Families!

Our thoughts are with you during this strange time. On behalf of the Camp Couchiching team, we extend best wishes for good health to you and your families. Please let our campers know we’re thinking of them!

If you follow our social media, we have lots of plans for fun “campy” things to do so please watch over the next few weeks:

  • Facebook: campcooch
  • Instagram: campcouchiching

At this time, we are working with Public Health to determine what our actions should be in reaction to COVID-19 and are following the Ministry of Education to see what they’re stating about any extensions of school into the summer. The entire international camping community is watching, reporting, sharing and we’ve bonded together via social media to share verified fact-based insights.

Currently, our camp has cancelled our March Break program. All of our employees are now set up to work remotely from our homes. Our team will have paid sick time that can cover illnesses as well as paid time to take care of loved ones if required. We are holding off on all larger expense decisions so we can wait to make the most informed and best decision by you, your family and our staff team.

We also wanted to proactively answer the question of “will camp still run in July & August?” and address our current deposit/refund policy.

Camp Couchiching’s main goal is to provide excellent summer experiences for children and youth. We’re a charitable organization and we’re not looking to profit from retained deposit fees. If we’re receiving income, we want to have it because we traded off a great experience for it. We will strive to be as fair as possible as we feel that is part of what being an excellent camp provider would do.

 At this time, if you decide to withdraw from camp between now and mid-April, we will refund your money less a $150 CDN administration fee. This is our standard refund clause for any length of program for Summer Overnight Camp and has been the same for 4 years. We are continuing to receive applications and our summer camp population is growing. If you withdraw at this time and you’ve received an incentive but then you choose to re-register later, you may no longer be able to get the same incentive. The other consideration is that we've sold out of some programs so you may not get back in if you do withdraw and then try to re-book later. 

With all this said, we will make further decisions about cancellations by mid-April which allows camp families two weeks to decide what to do before May 1 which is when everyone’s full fees are due and refunds are no longer available. At that time, we may be able to offer a different refund model &/or incentives. Right now, we can’t commit to what we will do in mid-April as we are still considering our best and the fairest move forward with this situation evolving so quickly.

Thanks for choosing us as your place for your campers to have their Summer Camp experiences! We look forward to doing this again soon on the shores of Lake Couchiching, our summer home.

Sincere wishes for the best health for all of you!

 

Jen Dundas, Executive Director

Alex Roth, Summer Camp Director

 

LastUpdate: 2022-06-16 15:40:53

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"Excellence in camping, fostering individual growth, within an inclusive community."

Camp Couchiching since 1946
Couchiching Community Initiative
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Learn More About Us

"Excellence in camping, fostering individual growth, within an inclusive community."

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