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Camp Ontario

A camp for kids living with childhood arthritis

 
photo to supplement event

August 20, 2023


Camp Tamakwa
Algonquin Park , ON


Registration Update: We look forward to welcoming our campers back in person this summer! We continue to closely monitor provincial health guidelines for summer camps and will make adjustments to our plans based on government recommendations, always keeping the safety of our camps as our top priority. Phase 1 of registration for Camp Ontario will open February 15, 2023. Please note:

  • This year, we will be prioritizing campers who have never had the opportunity to attend camp
  • Everyone onsite, including our campers, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Important dates:


Camp Ontario is a five-day overnight retreat for Ontario children and youth ages 8-17 who are living with arthritis. This year, Camp Ontario will be hosted once again at Camp Tamakwa, situated in the beautiful Algonquin Park. Camp Tamakwa is boat access only, but please be assured that the boat landing to and from camp is accessible.

Why send your child to Camp Ontario?

From the beginning, the focus of Camp Ontario has been to provide a place where children with arthritis can come together and participate in fun, barrier-free activities in an environment where their medical and social needs can be supported. 

Our campers get the chance to meet and interact with other children and volunteers living with arthritis. They are given an opportunity to increase their independence, learn new things, engage in social activities and meet new friends. In addition to a wide range of crafts, sports and water activities, the camp also offers the chance for children and youth to learn about their disease and discuss coping skills with peers just like them.

With a mixture of new and returning campers, Camp Ontario promises a life-time of memories and lifelong friendships!

Check out the fun from previous year's Camp Ontario by looking through the photo album!

Camper Information

Check out our Camper-Guide-2022 [PDF] for information on all things camp - packing lists, activity options, policies & procedures! See below for a brief overview of some of the topics you will find in our Camper Guide.

Check-In and Check-Out

All campers will arrive at Camp Ontario on Sunday, August 20 and depart on Thursday, August 24, 2023. Arthritis Society Canada provides bus transportation to and from Camp Ontario from four cities:

  • Toronto
  • Ottawa
  • London
  • Hamilton

Please note: Changes to drop off and pick up locations cannot be made after August 1, 2023. More details on bus transportation and the arrival and departure processes will be provided by email in July - August 2023.

Food Serivces

Balanced meals are prepared and served by the food service staff for each meal. If your child has any special dietary needs that were indicated on their registration forms, these needs will be met at camp. If a camper refuses to eat for an extended period of time, the camper will, unfortunately, be required to leave camp in order to ensure their health and safety.

Packing for Camp

Checkout our Camper Guide to view a detailed packing list.

A Day at Camp!

Your child will be staying for five days and four nights in cabins with trained counselors and kids around their same age. Each day they will participate in activities that usually include a water activity, indoor activity or a fun physical activity. In the evening, kids enjoy more activities or events such as campfire songs, stories and much more!

All camp programs follow a philosophy that allows participants to define success individually, giving them the opportunity to choose the level at which they challenge themselves.

Registration

We look forward to welcoming our campers back in person this summer! We continue to closely monitor provincial health guidelines for summer camps and will make adjustments to our plans based on government recommendations, always keeping the safety of our camps as our top priority. Registration for Camp Ontario will open February 15, 2023. Please note:

  • This year, we will be prioritizing campers who have never had the opportunity to attend camp
  • Everyone onsite, including our campers, will be required to have a minimum of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination to attend camp

Important dates

  • Phase 1: Application
    February 15 – March 8, 2023
  • Phase 2: Conditional Acceptance
    March 22 – April 9, 2023
  • Phase 3: Final Acceptance
    Campers will be notified of their final acceptance no later than April 20th

Please see our registration guide below for more information on this year’s registration process.

Qualifications

To qualify for selection, the following criteria must be met:
1. A confirmed diagnosis of arthritis.
2. Covered by OHIP, Ontario's health care plan, or private health insurance. Proof of an Ontario Health Card or private health insurance is REQUIRED for camp.

How to register

Families will be able to apply online using our secure registration website. Please note: Registration will be online only. The registration portal can be accessed via this webpage beginning on February 1, 2023.

Please note that an application does not guarantee a spot at camp. All applications will be reviewed and officially confirmed via email from Arthritis Society Canada.

When all spaces are filled, we will start a wait list. Even if the camp is full, we still encourage interested families to apply. Cancellations are common throughout the year.

Your Registration Guide 

Costs

Living with childhood arthritis can put enough of a strain on a family’s time, energy and financial resources. Our intention is for camp to be free for all campers across the country and our fundraising team is working tirelessly to achieve this goal. At this point, we are very hopeful that we will achieve our goal, with nothing to indicate otherwise. In the event that we are unable to raise the required funds to cover the cost of our camps, there may be no other option except to implement a registration fee. We will make every effort to notify families as soon as possible in the event a registration fee will need to be implemented. If you are interested in joining our fundraising efforts and supporting Arthritis Society Canada Camps, you can create a personalized Move Your Way fundraiser page under our Camp 2023 Team: https://arthritis.ca/myw/camp2023

We will continue to offer travel bursaries to those who require additional support to attend camp and if the camp fees will present a challenge for your family, please contact us at camp@arthritis.ca. We will do our best to provide additional options for you.   

Medical

Our medical staff team consists of registered nurses a social worker and occupational therapist. These professionals are available 24 hours a day to care for the campers and staff and are an essential component of the Camp Ontario family. All medications are kept and administered by the camp nursing team.  No medications are permitted in the cabins.  All medication times are accommodated at camp. Whether your camper is newly diagnosed or is approaching adulthood, our medical staff team work tirelessly to ensure your camper will get the most out of the camp experience.

The camp medical team is responsible for overseeing the total health care of the camp. In the event of an injury or illness that needs further attention, the camper will be taken to a local hospital. The camp medical team will make recommendations to send campers home, if necessary. If your child needs to be sent home due to safety, behavioural or health concerns, you will be contacted to come pick up your child. Arthritis Society Canada cannot provide transportation home. Unfortunately, the camp’s staff are not able to provide oversight to a child or teen who is threatening self-harm, and parents or guardians will be contacted to immediately pick up the camper to ensure their safety.

If you are a dedicated, caring and enthusiastic registered nurse and are interested in working at Camp Ontario, please contact camp@arthritis.ca.

Head Lice and Communicable Diseases

Head lice and communicable disease are a common occurrence among children and spread rapidly. For this reason, we have a proactive head lice and communicable disease management protocol in place to prevent outbreaks. Please check your child for lice or nits before arriving to camp. Mandatory lice checks will be conducted on symptomatic campers upon arrival at camp. Any child with lice, nits or a communicable disease will not be able to attend camp.

Homesick Campers

Our counselors are trained to recognize the symptoms associated with homesick campers. Efforts will be made to console campers and assist them in developing coping strategies. The following strategies will be used to address homesick campers:

  • Encouraged not to call home until 48 hours have passed
  • If a camper is still homesick after two nights and reasonable efforts by camp staff have been exhausted, parents may be contacted to pick up their camper.
Arthritis Society Canada does not provide transportation home for homesick campers.
FAQ
Volunteer

The heart of the camp – that’s the best way to describe our wonderful volunteers. Every year, Arthritis Society Canada recruits, screens and trains volunteers from all over Ontario to create a magical week for our campers. Volunteer roles include: 1) Camp Counsellor 2) Medical Team Member 3) Bus Registrant. Parents/Guardians are not eligible to volunteer onsite Camp. 

Arthritis Society Canada aims to create a safe and healthy experience for each camper and volunteer. We have designed mandatory training to ensure all volunteers feel comfortable in their positions at camp. This includes training from rheumatologists, social workers and occupational therapists on what it is like to live with childhood arthritis. Many of our volunteers live with arthritis and other rheumaic conditions and create endless opportunities for campers to learn and relate to others living with arthritis.

If you are interested in volunteering for one of our many camp positions, please submit a volunteer application form between February 15 to March 24, 2023! Upon application submission, we will reach out to you with regards to next steps (e.g., Zoom interview, etc.). Please direct any questions to camp@arthritis.ca.

For more information please email camp@arthritis.ca or call toll free at 1-800-321-1433.

Thank you to our sponsor

Organon

SRF

WCF