Here are some frequently asked questions about summer camp.
Still have questions? Contact us at 1-800-361-2267 and we will be happy to help.

 

Life at Camp

 
Each day at camp offers new and exciting opportunities for campers to be challenged. This is what a typical schedule looks like at our different sites though there is variation each day.

Sample Schedule

Please note that the schedule may change slightly each day and is slightly different for each age group & program.

  • 7:30 am Wake Up
  • 7:45 am Morning Swim (optional)
  • 8:30 am Breakfast
  • 9:30 am Worship & Teaching
  • 10:30 am Activity Choice One
  • 11:30 am Activity Choice Two
  • 12:45 pm Lunch
  • 1:30 pm Free Time
  • 2:30 pm Activity Choice Three
  • 3:30 pm Afternoon Game
  • 4:45 pm Quiet Time
  • 5:30 pm Dinner
  • 6:30 pm Free Time (usually water options)
  • 8:00 pm Evening Program
  • 9:30 pm Snack
  • 10:00 pm Bedtime (Adventure Camp campers will have earlier bedtimes)

Pioneer Camp has an experienced team of trained cooks who prepare delicious and nutritious meals during camp. Vegetarian options are available at all meals. Campers with specific or complicated dietary requirements should
consult with camp prior to their arrival. All dietary restrictions should be indicated on the online application medical form.
We work hard to strike the delicate balance between having enough amenities to make a camper’s stay comfortable and still preserving an authentic outdoor experience. Our five and six year old campers live inside our Lodge with electricity and en suite washrooms. Our older campers sleep in chalets that do not have electricity, but that are located near washrooms with hot and cold water, showers, flush toilets and electricity.

Facilities - Chalet

Our campers and staff love our chalets! Imagine the frame of a cabin – a wood floor, shingled roof and built-in wooden bunks with mattresses. Add the canvas sides of a tent that open for fresh air and views of the lake and you’ve got a chalet. These structures offer a unique experience of comfort and stability together with the opportunity to be close to nature. All campers sleep in these structures, except our youngest campers (five and six year olds) and some of our teen campers (Leaders In Training). Chalets are clustered in groups also called “Sections” or “Villages” to enhance community.

No. In extenuating circumstances or if a camper is at camp for an exceptionally long time, laundry can be sent out to a local laundromat for a fee.
 
For children prone to bed wetting, please pack 2 sets of sheets and blankets rather than a sleeping bag. A laundry fee will be charged to the camper’s tuck account every time bedding is sent for laundering. Please make sure that sufficient money is left on deposit in the camper’s tuck account. We would strongly urge you to consider supplying “Pull-Ups.” Parents find this to be a very good solution as they can be used discreetly, are cost-effective, and are much easier to deal with than wet clothes and sheets.
Yes. Campers must take good care of their things, as we cannot be responsible for the breakage, theft, or loss of any items. Items that do end up in Lost and Found will be set aside to be picked up on the final day of camp.
 
If you claim lost items, your credit card will be charged for shipping and handling. You may recover lost items by using the online camper e-mail page to send a message to the individual camp office. Please do not phone the general camp office.
 
Items not claimed in the two weeks following your camper’s session will be donated to charity.
InterVarsity Pioneer Camp is a Christian organization that welcomes campers and families from all backgrounds and religious beliefs. Pioneer Camp provides a non-denominational Christian environment for children and youth. This means that we hold core beliefs of the historical Christian faith and that we clearly present Christian faith to campers, in age-appropriate ways. Campers are invited to consider issues of life and faith from a Christian perspective and to decide for themselves. Pioneer Camp staff and volunteers are followers of Jesus and seek to share God’s love through
conversation, relationship, activities and all the day to day fun of camp.
Pioneer Camp is owned and operated by InterVarsity who has been operating summer camps and year-round outdoor educational programs since 1929. We operate nine summer camps across Canada under the names of Pioneer Camp and Circle Square Ranch.
Pioneer Camp is an accredited member of the Ontario Camping Association (www.ontariocamps.ca) and a member of Christian Camping International – Canada (www.ccicanada.org). These organizations provide accreditation standards for children’s camps as well as networks for professionals in the camping industry. We also hold memberships in the Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association (www.orca.on.ca), the Ontario Sailing Association (www.ontariosailing.ca), and the Lifesaving Society of Ontario (www.lifesavingsociety.com). This means that our activity instruction is given in accordance with the curricula and standards set out by these organizations. Our challenge courses (high and low ropes) are developed and constructed in accordance with the standards of the Association of Challenge Course Technologies (www.acctinfo.org).
 
 

What to Bring

 
Beside all the normal camp clothes, there are extra items to bring depending on your child’s camp session. Please see our Packing for Camp section for detailed lists.  A few weeks prior to your child’s camp session we will send out a Final Instructions email with all of the details you need to know prior to your camper’s time at camp. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 
Campers should bring enough clothing for the week.

  • Please label all clothing and luggage with labels or indelible markers.
  • Please attempt to bring modest clothing appropriate for physical camp activities.
 
Pioneer Camp is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Please leave the following at home:

  • Cell phones (we have a no cell phone policy, including using it for music, alarm clock or camera, please
    bring separate camera if you want to take photos)
  • All other electronic games, players, entertainment and communication devices (i.e. ipods, ipads, etc.)
  • Knives
  • Valuables (i.e. jewelry)
  • Alcoholic beverages or narcotics
  • Other expensive or potentially harmful items

Please note that the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, or narcotics is prohibited and will be treated as a serious offense. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

Yes, the Tuck Shop is open daily for campers to purchase snacks and souvenirs. It includes things like Pioneer Camp clothing, books, candy, snacks, beverages, stationary, toiletries and CDs. Reasonable limits are placed on the amount of candy a camper can buy. Pioneer Camp clothing is of very good quality and is reasonably priced. T-shirts start at $15.00 and quality sweatshirts begin at $30.
 
Tuck money is checked in at registration. Please make sure to pick-up unused tuck balances on departure. We suggest a deposit of $40 for one-week sessions or $25 per week for longer sessions.
 
 

Arrival and Departure Days

 
Registration begins at 1:30 pm.

 
Please do NOT arrive before this time, as staff will be very busy making sure everything is ready for your arrival. Please check in at the site office of the camp that your child is attending when you arrive. Our camper program will begin at 3pm.
 
Please note that the 252 Crew registration begins at 1:30pm at the Ski Hut and Genesis registration will be held at the Boys Camp Tripping Centre.
Campers should be picked up between 9:30am and 11am. If you arrive early, campers will be in the Dining Hall at Girls Camp and in the lodge at Boys Camp. For security reasons we ask that you please bring photo ID to sign your camper out at the office. Do not forget to pick up any remaining tuck money and/or medication.
 
Adventure Camp departure time is 11am. Parents are invited to a special 10am program with complimentary coffee and a snack. If you have campers at other sites, please pick them up first.
Yes. At sign in, please record the names of the individuals who you permit to pick up your child. Staff will ask for identification prior to releasing campers.
 
 

Communication during Camp

 

Yes. We encourage you to send notes of encouragement to your child while he or she is at camp.

Campers love to receive emails from home. All emails should be composed and sent directly to the sites they are attending. Please put the campers name in the subject line. Campers are not able to email back due to limited resources and the busyness of the camp schedule.

  • Adventure Camp — acoffice@pioneercamp.ca
  • Boys Camp — bcoffice@pioneercamp.ca
  • Girls Camp — gcoffice@pioneercamp.ca
  • LIT — lit@pioneercamp.ca
  • Woodland Challenge — info@pioneercamp.ca

Mail: You can send mail through the postal system but please allow for the fact that mail can take 3 to 4 days to arrive from the Greater Toronto Area. Please make sure to include camper’s full name and camp program.

 

Example: Mary Smith (Girls Camp)

c/o Pioneer Camp

942 Clearwater Lake Road – RR2

Port Sydney, ON

P0B 1L0

Although every camper and situation is unique, Pioneer Camp staff use certain principles to manage homesickness and discipline. In situations of homesickness, caring leaders give campers the attention they need and endeavour to focus the child’s attention on the activities and people that they enjoy at camp. Sometimes writing a letter home helps campers manage their feelings. Though campers often want to call home, this is discouraged as it frequently makes homesickness worse, not better. In cases of severe homesickness, camp staff will contact the parents to get helpful tips and strategies for managing the homesickness, as well as to keep parents up to date.
 
Pioneer Camp staff members are trained to use the utmost respect when dealing with all campers, even those who are acting out. No camper is ever disciplined physically. Only if a camper is in danger of causing injury to him/herself or someone else would a camper be physically restrained. Relevant freedoms or privileges may be taken away for a time until the camper earns the trust of his or her leaders again. If a child proves that he or she cannot function well in the camp environment or if there are significant behavioral concerns, a child may be removed from camp and sent home. Removing a child from camp is at the discretion of the camp director and will result in no refund of camp fees.
 

Our Caring Staff

 
As part of InterVarsity, we believe that summer camp offers a tremendous opportunity for children and teens to grow and mature emotionally, socially and spiritually. At Pioneer Camp, campers are respected as individuals, challenged and encouraged in all aspects of life, and given the opportunity to experience and develop authentic relationships with peers and leaders. Skill development, social development, personal and spiritual growth are all intentionally fostered by staff and have been hallmarks of the InterVarsity Camp experience since 1929. Finally, and equally importantly, we want every child’s experience to be tremendously fun.
Our overall staff-to-camper ratio is at the most, one to four. At Adventure Camp, the ratio is actually better than one to three. We achieve this high level of care by putting campers in small chalet groups of four to six campers who are cared for by one or two leaders. These leaders are in turn supported by another tier of program and activity staff.
Eligible staff candidates must be at least 18 years old or graduates of Pioneer’s Leaders In Training program (or equivalent). Chalet leaders are commonly between the ages of 17 and 22, with other positions being held by enthusiastic volunteers of all ages.
Pioneer’s volunteer summer staff members undergo a rigorous application and interview process. Following the completion of a written application package requiring three references, staff are interviewed by the director and are required to have a criminal record check completed before they can work with children.
Prior to the start of each summer season, our leaders participate at least one week of staff training on a wide variety of topics varying according to the age of camper that staff members will lead. Common topics include risk management, first aid and emergency procedures, preventing bullying, group dynamics, camper behaviour management, and preparation for activity instruction. Ongoing training and coaching by supervisors and more senior leaders occurs throughout the camping season.
 
 

Health and Safety

 
Yes. Each of the three main camp sites has at least one nurse on site at all times during the summer. Teen campers have access to nurse care at any of the main sites. A camp doctor visits each site daily to give attention and medical care as required. There is no charge for minor medical attention at the camp health centre.
Yes. Because a high level of care for campers is so important to us, the operation of all activities and facilities where campers could potentially experience injury is governed by our risk management manual. This manual clearly details required supervision levels, equipment checks, and operating guidelines to ensure the safe participation of all campers. As well, campers and staff alike are trained to recognize and respond to signals in case of an emergency. This emergency procedure is practised in a drill early in every session.
Medical care is a vital part of our role for your child at Pioneer Camp. Please advise us at registration if there are any changes to your child’s medical information. Pioneer Camp reserves the right to refuse admission to any camper with a suspected contagious condition (i.e. chickenpox, lice). To ensure your child has an enjoyable week and to protect other campers, please have any condition treated completely before coming to camp. If this is not possible, please call and reschedule to another week, depending on availability.

Due to the structure of our program, Pioneer Camp requests that medications required throughout the year be sent with your child to camp. All medication brought to camp MUST be checked in to the nursing staff, including vitamins, puffers and Tylenol. They must be labelled properly with medication name and directions for use. Prescription medication MUST be in the original container with user’s name printed on label. If you want your child to carry their puffer or epipen with them please bring a fanny pack for that purpose. We also request that a second puffer or epipen be checked in with the camp nurse.

Please do not use the week of camp as a break from medication.

All medications left behind after camp will be disposed of after two weeks.

Campers and staff are transported to and from off-site out trips in school buses or vans leased for the purpose. Campers are supervised by Pioneer Camp staff members at all times.
All campers must provide a valid health number and completed medical information on application. Out-of-province campers must have medical insurance.

Details regarding medical/behavioral concerns are to be communicated in writing. Please call to discuss any concerns/special needs by phone.

Should your child have severe food allergies, please contact us at least one week ahead of arrival at camp to help us with menu planning. This will allow us to prepare appropriately to ensure your child has an enjoyable stay at camp. All information regarding the dietary restrictions and food allergies must be indicated on the online medical form at the time of registration. We will make every effort to accommodate allergies, however we cannot guarantee that there will be no trace of an allergen in food served.
Although Pioneer Camp cannot guarantee to be entirely peanut-free, we neither serve nut products nor use them in food preparation. We encourage all staff and campers to refrain from consuming items containing nuts on camp property. Certain products may contain traces of nuts and therefore those with life-threatening nut allergies should consult kitchen staff regarding foods served at each meal and check labels on tuck shop items. All staff are informed of the signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction and are oriented to the use of an Epi-pen.
In the interest of protecting your children, please note that all campers will undergo a lice check on the day of registration. Parents are required to stay until this has been done. If any evidence of infestation is found, the child will be sent home for treatment, nit removal & laundering of bedding/pillows before returning. Please inspect your children the day before to ensure they are lice/nit-free.
Pioneer Camp is a smoke-free facility. Smoking by campers is prohibited.
 
 

Registration & Camper Fees

 
Yes, financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Assistance is at the discretion of the Director. Contact the office for information and a scholarship application. The deadline for applications is June 1. Phone: : 1.800.361.CAMP (2267). Email: info@pioneercamp.ca.
Cancellation Policy for Camper Registration

 
If you cancel more than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will get a full refund less $75/week administration fee. If you cancel less than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will get NO REFUND (includes camp fees, out-trip fees, and transportation fees if applicable) except for medical reasons with a note from a doctor. In that case, you will get a full refund less $75/week administration fee. No refund will be made for dismissals due to disciplinary action, late arrivals or early departures. Withdrawal during camp on physician’s orders will result in the value of fees for the unexpired term being refunded. Please contact camp office for cancellation details for Out-trips and/or transportation fees.
No. You have two options when registering online: Visa or MasterCard or you can mail in a cheque. Paying by cheque will delay the processing of your camp application since registration is not “secured” until full payment is received.
An alternate payment option is only applicable if you are applying for scholarship.