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June 23, 2020
Statement from the OCA:
The OCA is founded on the understanding that running a camp is a complex and risk-filled operation. The OCA exists to support and accredit camps to meet high standards of addressing the multitude of risks that camps can face. OCA Member camps know that a scandal or tragedy in any camp hurts the entire industry, and therefore we all have a stake in how camps in Ontario are run.
With the constraints placed on both overnight and day camps this summer, the OCA is concerned about a proliferation in less formal “camp” arrangements arising as substitutes. These are expected to take the form of backyard or driveway camps, or rent-a-counsellor programs. While the OCA recognizes the efforts of those trying to meet the need created with the restrictions on camps, the OCA believes that many of these programs may fall short in their levels of management and organizational infrastructure and/or risk management expertise to run safe and effective programs given the numerous risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the kind of thoughtful rigor that the OCA accreditation process provides, these non-accredited programs raise risks for campers, families, staff, volunteers and potentially for the industry as a whole.
Further, the OCA urges its member camps to be cautious about providing these camp experiences themselves and in particular, developing any relationship with these newly-formed programs, including referring campers and families, or lending support for rent-a-counsellor programs that are not directly under member camps’ supervision. For any member camp who does choose to have a relationship, the OCA strongly recommends being very clear on the restrictions in place, seeking legal advice and advising insurers. For any of these programs that intend to run child care programs instead of camps, the OCA additionally recommends that they review the restrictions on childcare in place and the differentiation between childcare and recreational programs as outlined in the Child Care and Early Years Act.
May 19, 2020
We know you have likely been following the news regarding whether overnight camps will be operating this summer. Unfortunately, today the Provincial Government of Ontario has announced that all overnight camps will be closed this summer. As such, we are sadly announcing the cancellation of our 2020 summer at Northway-Wendigo.
You can read the official announcement here: Provincial Announcement on Closure of Schools and Overnight Summer Camps
We understand this is very disappointing news. We know how much Northway and Wendigo mean to our camp family. It is a place to spend time with old friends and to make new ones; a place to experience growth and independence; a place to learn new skills in a beautiful outdoor setting, without distractions from technology and social media. Most importantly, there is a magic in coming together at camp—that indescribable feeling of joy that comes from being in your special place, with your friends from around the world.
While we know how sad this news is, it is very important to us that Northway campers and staff are safe. The closure of camps will ensure that everyone remains safe while at home, and hopefully flatten the curve even more so social distancing restrictions will be lifted. While this summer at camp is cancelled, we can look forward to a great time together in summer 2021!
Regarding the deposit you have on account for this summer, we have options available for you below. We are happy to be in touch with you individually by phone or email to discuss what you would like to do.
Option 1: A full refund of your deposit
Option 2: Carry your deposit forward to the 2021 season and guarantee your child’s spot in the session they were registered in this year (with 2020 fees in effect for summer 2021)
Option 3: If you would like to help support Northway during this unprecedented season, you can give a portion of your deposit as a gift to Northway-Wendigo.
We are unsure of what permanent changes will be required at camp to adjust to the new normal we will be experiencing in Summer 2021. This may result in increased costs to be able to implement long-term social distancing, etc. A gift to Northway will be used to offset these potential costs.
We will continue to provide additional information, but since this announcement has just been made, we wanted to communicate as quickly as possible with you.
We will also be sending a short message to all campers whose email addresses are in our database.
If you would like additional information you can call 905-468-4455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. If you would like to set up a time to speak by phone, please email to let me know a few convenient times to call, and I’ll confirm a time.
Brookes, Joan, Wilson and Becca Prewitt
March 17, 2020
In light of the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are writing today to let you know about the approach that Northway-Wendigo is taking to keep our campers safe and healthy at camp.
At this time, we are cancelling the scheduled Teas in Toronto (April 26, 2020) and Ottawa (April 19, 2020). While we are sorry not to be able to see everyone who would attend, but it is just part of the social distancing that everyone is being asked to undertake.
In order to ensure a safe experience for everyone at Northway-Wendigo, we are monitoring this issue carefully and will continue to do so. We have consulted with our local public health unit for Algonquin Park, The Renfrew and County District Health Unit and we are working with the Ontario Camps Association to ensure we are following best practices.
We will continue to monitor closely the updates from Public Health Ontario, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization.
We are proceeding with all our regular planning to ensure we are properly prepared for the start of camp, as we have in the past. We’re remaining hopeful for the customary start to camp on July 1st.
We will keep in touch and communicate any new information to you regarding Northway-Wendigo’s summer as early as possible.
Please email or call any time if you would like to talk about camp.
The following websites can provide further information, and you can check with your own local Public Health Unit for information in your local area:
Health Canada: COVID-19 Website
Public Health Ontario: Coronavirus Resource Site
World Health Organization Information for Members of the Public: Information for Members of the Public
We realize that helping your children cope with the uncertainty around COVID-19 can be challenging. They may be worried about what they are hearing in the news—worrying about themselves, their friends and you, their family. The links below are for 2 articles on the Canadian Pediatric Society’s website. They might be of interest to you.
By Kassia Johnson, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Kassia Johnson is a developmental paediatrician in Hamilton, Ont., a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Early Years Task Force, and a mother of two.
By Dr. Robin C. Williams, CM, MD FRCP
Dr. Robin Williams is a Past President of the Canadian Paediatric Society, and a former Medical Officer of Health for Ontario’s Niagara Region. She is currently Chair, Early Years Task Force, Canadian Paediatric Society
Brookes, Joan, Wilson and Becca Prewitt