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Sending your Children to a Christian Summer Camp is a Great Idea!
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Our thanks to Keith Hadigate Executive Director of Camp Cherith – Ontario for his help and advice on creating this very valuable information guide.

Christian Camping International (CCI) is a worldwide alliance of Christian camping associations in more than thirty countries. CCI/Canada is our country's largest Christian camping association. Every camp and conference centre that joins CCI/Canada can enjoy resources, national representation, fellowship with other like-minded camps, and many other valuable benefits.

CCI/Canada member camps are all Christian camps, which means they intend to share the love of God to their campers while offering an activity-packed week of fun. But camp is about more than just having fun - camp changes lives! CCI/Canada believes that the values the camp staff can instill in the campers can only serve to positively influence their young lives. While at a Christian camp, kids can learn that they have a purpose in life and that they were created for a reason. This sense of purpose will help them grow towards a bright and positive future.

While your child is exploring new activities at camp, he or she will also have the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. A Christian camp can teach your children that they are truly valuable - a precious creation by a loving God. They will learn the importance of loving their neighbours and treating others the way they want to be treated. They will be not only engage in nature, but also with He who created it!


Christian camp staff view their jobs as an important ministry. They are called by God to show love and kindness to their campers, to provide a good example and be a positive role model. Their sole purpose at camp is to make sure your child has fun, stays safe, and experiences the love of God. Every child is welcome and equally valued, just as God equally values all of His children. This nurturing, inclusive environment is unparalleled, and it's why Christian camps exist! As summer approaches, you may be planning summer activities for your kids. Going to summer camp is the perfect way for your child to experience new activities, grow in character, and most importantly, have fun! If you're wondering about the benefits of summer camp for your child, we've compiled a list of all the best reasons to send them.

Independence and Self-Esteem

At summer camp, the children are lifted from their usual routine. In most cases, their parents and usual friends aren't there. Summer camp gives kids the unique opportunity to branch out and make new friends while learning new things in a positive environment. Camp provides a wonderful environment for your child to grow. They will learn new skills and try lots of activities, but they'll also learn more about themselves and how to interact with others. All of this is done under the guidance and support of positive role models. Camp counsellors are seen less by kids as "teachers" or "bosses" and more as cool, older friends. And these camp counsellors want to help your child grow, learn, and generally have the best time ever!

New Interests

Because summer camp is packed with fun activities like horseback riding, archery, canoeing, rock climbing, arts and crafts, drama and music, kids get the chance to explore interests they never knew they had. Your child might come home with a new passion! And even if they don't fall completely in love with one activity, the chance to try so many different things will definitely enrich their development. There are also many camps which specify in a certain activity that your child might already have an interest in.

Active Lifestyles

Many kids today prefer watching television or playing videos games to physical activity. Camp is an environment where kids can learn to have fun being active. It'll get them out of the house and onto the sports field, or rock wall, or beachfront!

Appreciation for Nature

Most camps are situated in a natural setting. Kids who spend most of their lives in the city will get the chance to explore nature -- a chance they might not get the rest of the year going to school. Many camps offer specific orienteering or outdoor adventure programs, which can be a unique and invaluable experience for your child.

Building Memories

Kids come away from camp having just had the best week of their lives! They've made new pals (who often become lifelong friends), they've experienced all sorts of fun activities, and most importantly, they feel good about themselves! The good memories your child will make at camp will last a lifetime.

Camp Changes Lives!

We have seen countless examples of how summer camp has changed kids' lives. It's what makes us camp leaders want to keep working in this awesome ministry. The growth children experience as they learn to be more patient, respectful, confident and skilled is evident, as many parents can testify.

Making the decision - is camp right for your children?

Is your child ready for camp?

If you have young children, you should consider whether they're ready to go to camp, particularly if it's a sleepaway camp. Some camps offer programs for children as young as five! Some kids have no problem being away from home because they're distracted by all the fun they're having. But others might not do as well, simply because they weren't ready!

Some things to consider: has your child ever been to day camp, which will help them become familiar with camp structure? Has he ever spent the night away from home before? Can she organize her own clothes and make her own bed? Has he ever asked to go to a sleepaway camp? How does your child react when you suggest camp?

What are your child's interests?

Would your child like to go to a wilderness camp full of day hikes and out-trips on horseback? Or would she prefer a sport-specific camp? Or maybe your child would do best in a camp with lots of different activities, so that he can learn new skills and develop new interests. Either way, it's important to take a look at what each potential camp offers in terms of activity programming.

Does your child have special needs?

If your child has special needs, whether they are physical, mental, or social, most camps can accommodate. Some camps are set up specifically for special needs children, while other camps are willing to work with special needs kids on a case-by-case basis. If your child has special needs, it's important to remember that they CAN go to camp, and they can have just as much fun as any other child!

Will your child be safe?

We can assure you that your child's safety while at camp is always a top priority at our member camps. Staff are to be properly trained to lead and instruct activities, proper safety equipment is always to be used, and the facilities are to be maintained to avoid accidents. Camps are always inspected by safety and health inspectors to make sure everything is as it should be. If you are curious about safety standards at camp, just ask the potential camp if they are accredited with any governing organization, like the Canadian Camping Association and its regional affiliates, which perform regular accreditation inspections at camps across the country.

That being said, there is always an inherent risk when your child participates in any activity. From horseback riding to just good old-fashioned tag, there's always a chance your child may be injured; however, camp staff always do their best to make sure the kids are having fun in a safe environment, and try their best to minimize risk. Furthermore, all camps are required to have a nurse or designated first aid person on property at all times.

How will you keep in touch with your child while he/she is away at camp?

Parents who are accustomed to interacting with their children constantly throughout the day via text messaging or email messaging might have to adjust their expectations. Each camp has a different policy with regards to parent visits and phone calls; however, we think it's best that you keep your contact with your child for the week he or she is away to a minimum. This way, your kids will be able to focus more on having fun, developing friendships, and learning new things. Worried parents who constantly phone camp to speak to their child might create a homesickness in the child that might not have been there otherwise. If you do want the chance to phone or visit, check with the camp for how they go about arranging it.

Should your child go alone, or should you send him with a friend?

There is nothing wrong with your child and his best friend attending the same camp. If your child is nervous about going alone, it might be nice for him to have a friend. However, it is true that kids who go to camp alone tend to make more new friends and are able to branch out more. You shouldn't worry about your child being lonely -- camp staff are trained to make sure everyone is included in every activity and in all conversations at mealtimes and downtimes.

How should you prepare your child for camp?

If your child is going to camp for the first time and you think he or she might be nervous about it, there are a few ways you can mentally prepare them to have a good time. First, always talk about camp in a positive, but casual way. Don't make too big a deal about it, but bring up the things about camp that you know your child will love to help them get excited to go. Also, make sure you don't make promises you know you won't want to keep: for example, don't promise you'll pick up your child and take them home if they don't like it. Assume they'll stay the whole week. If it turns out your child is having a really rough time and is completely miserable, by all means -- come get him! But don't set up that scenario before you even drop him off. If you think your child might have specific issues being at camp, be sure to mention them to his or her counsellor, so that they can be sensitive to those issues.

Before sending your child to camp, you should also make some organizational preparations. Make sure you label your child's belongings. There will probably be fifty of the same disposable camera! Make sure your child's name is on hers! Don't send anything too valuable with your child to camp. No expensive electronics (which most camps won't allow anyway) or jewelry. You wouldn't want to risk these items getting lost.

Before you drop your child off, make sure you've attended to their medical matters. If they're on prescriptions, you'll need to bring an adequate supply in the original container. Don't forget their Epi-Pens or asthma inhalers. All of your child's medications will be stored and dispensed by the camp's nurse or first-aid personnel. If your child has gone off their medication for the summer (Ritalin, for example), it's good to mention it to the camp nurse when you register your child.

What's the biggest thing you can expect when sending your child to camp?

This answer is easy: that they'll have a great time! Camp is such a positive place where kids can get out of their shells, make friends, learn new skills, and become happier, more responsible versions of their already great selves! We can't stress enough how wonderful summer camp can be for a child. We hope you and your child are ready to experience it!

Ready to take the next step in your child's future? Please click HERE to for much more information and advise on Christian camps in Canada. There are about 200 member Christian camps in Canada with several world renowned camps right here in Ontario.

For links and contact information on all 200 click HERE.






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