COVID-19 Resources

The OCA continues to follow Public Health guidelines.

In March 2020 the OCA Board struck a COVID-19 Task Force to share the most up to date information and resources on COVID-19. The Task Force members included OCA Board member and Health Committee Liaison Bev Unger, Health Committee Co-Chairs Michelle Colomvakos and Nancy Vandenbergh, consultant Thomas Appleyard (co-author of Ontario’s pandemic plan), OCA Vice President Mark Diamond, OCA Executive Director Joy Levy, and OCA President Jeff Bradshaw.

On June 30, 2020 the Task Force disbanded and the creation of working groups were established to continue OCA efforts related to COVID-19. In addition, work relating to already established OCA committees were followed up on by the appropriate committee. As overnight camps were cancelled for 2020 and some day camps were opening on a smaller scale, the Task Force met as necessary; members included Jeff Bradshaw, Mark Diamond, Bev Unger, Joy Levy and Thomas Appleyard.

In September 2020 the OCA COVID-19 TASK FORCE – 2021 was struck to develop guidelines for the safe operation of our camps and outdoor education centres in 2021. The Executive Committee members include Jack Goodman (Camp New Moon) as Task Force Chair, Jeff Bradshaw, and Joy Levy. There are three sub-committees: Overnight Camps, chaired by Dana Zosky (Camp White Pine); Day Camps, chaired by Sari Grossinger (Camp Robin Hood); and Outdoor Education Centres, chaired by Marika Chandler (Outward Bound Canada).

Resources:

Ontario Camps Association and Canadian Camping Association

Templates and Recommendations

Lobbying Letters

Ontario Camps Association Member Letters to Camp Community

OCA in the Media

DatePublicationWho is Referenced?Article
October 7, 2020Cottage LifeJoe Richards (Pearce Williams), Stéphane Richard (Canadian Camping Association), Mark Diamond (Ontario Camps Association)Canadian camps plea for funds to ensure survival
September 1, 2020Global News 640 TorontoEric Shendelman (Crestwood Valley Day Camp)School lessons from camp
August 10, 2020The Globe and MailJoe Richards (Pearce Williams), Stéphane Richard (Canadian Camping Association), Eric Shendelman (Crestwood Valley Day Camp)Faced with permanent closing, Canada's camps appeal to governments for COVID-19 aid package
August 9, 2020Global NewsEric Shendelman (Crestwood Valley Day Camp)The new normal for summer camp during the pandemic
August 6, 2020The Peterborough ExaminerJacob Rodenburg (Camp Kawartha), Mark Diamond (OCA)Docks quiet at summer camps this year but will children ever return?
August 6, 2020CTV NewsNatalie Benson (Christie Lake Kids Camp), Mark Diamond (OCA, Camp Manitou)Summer camps face bleak future without government aid: advocates
August 6, 2020CBC Radio Ontario Morning with Wei ChenBrian Shelley (YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka)Part 1
August 5, 2020Simcoe.comBrian Shelley (YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka), Mark Diamond (OCA), Taylor Poulin (Camp Simpresca)Summer camp crisis: Closures loom in Ontario after year without income
August 3, 2020CBC Radio Ontario Morning with Wei ChenJoe Richards (Pearce Williams)Part 3
August 3, 2020CBC NewsJoe Richards (Pearce Williams), Mark Diamond (OCA)Fallen on desperate times, an Ontario summer camp opens its cabins to migrant workers
July 31, 2020CBC NewsSally Gunz (Belwood Lodge and Camp), Mark Diamond (OCA)The end of a summer tradition? Overnight camps struggle to survive COVID-19
July 28, 2020Global News The Morning ShowMark Diamond (OCA, Camp Manitou) What needs to be done to ensure Ontario's camp industry survives COVID-19?
July 22, 2020Citytv Breakfast TelevisionFarmer Mel (YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre)On Location YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre
July 21, 2020CP24 BreakfastEric Shendelman (Crestwood Valley Day Camp)Part 1Parts 2 & 3
July 19, 2020OrilliaMattersAmanda Swick (Wye Marsh Day Camp)Wye Marsh continues day-camp tradition from a distance
July 15, 2020Camp RightsleeveCamp QualityCase Study | Camp-in-a-Box for Camp Quality
July 13, 2020CTV NewsJoe Richards (Pearce Williams)Pearce Williams Camp launches fundraiser to stay afloat
July 9, 2020Go Camp ProRachel Kent (Girl Guides of Canada), Cassie Bloy (Stéphane Richard Development Consulting), Ruby Compton (Ruby Outdoors)Beyond Camp Podcast
June 28, 2020The Catholic RegisterJohn Spatazzo & Karen Hartnett (Catholic Youth Organization), Joy Levy (OCA)Hamilton CYO’s future hangs in balance
June 26, 2020CTV NewsDanial Sprintz (Camp Massad), Stéphane Richard (Canadian Camping Association), James Gagnon (Easter Seals Canada), Corey Mandell (Camp Timberlane)New Normal: What summer camp looks like without campers
June 17, 2020The Hamilton SpectatorJohn Spatazzo (Catholic Youth Organization)CYO has been cut to its core by COVID-19
June 10, 2020Global News The Morning ShowHowie Grossinger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood)Ontario allow day camps to reopen with restrictions - what will the camp experience look like?
June 7, 2020OrilliaMattersRoss McIntyre (Camp Couchiching)Camp Couchiching thinking inside the box to support isolated kids
May 24, 2020CBC NewsKiron Mukherjee (ROM Summer Club), Simon Wolle (Camp Northland-B'nai Brith)Children's camps cancelled or restricted by COVID-19 could mean a bleak summer for kids, parents
May 22, 2020TVOBrandon McClounie (YMCA GTA), Judy MacGowan (Amici Camping Charity)What will low-income families do without summer camp?
May 21, 2020The Canadian PressHowie Grossinger (OCA)Summer camp closures crushing but necessary, industry insiders say
May 21, 2020Toronto LifeJoanne Kates (Camp Arowhon)“It will cost us about a million dollars not to operate this year”: Camp Arowhon director Joanne Kates on the devastating decision to close summer camps
May 20, 2020CBC NewsPolly Hodgetts (Camp Hurontario) Overnight summer camps cancelled in Ontario
May 20, 2020CTV NewsStéphane Richard (Canadian Camping Association)Can my kids go to overnight camp? Depends where it is
May 18, 2020The London Free PressJill Hodgins (Camp Kee-Mo-Kee), Tyler Shaule (Forest Cliff Camps), Howie Grossinger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood)Summer camps waiting, wondering if they can operate – and how
May 15, 2020Global News 640 TorontoBev Unger (OCA)Will parents be able to send their kids to camp this season?
May 15, 2020TVOJocelyn Palm (Glen Bernard Camp), David Latimer (Kilcoo Camp), Grayson Burke (Cedar Ridge Camp) Should Kids Go to Camp This Summer?
May 14, 2020CBCHowie Grossinger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood)Howie Grossinger of the Ontario Camps Association on Summer Camps Across Ontario
May 14, 2020Toronto StarMiriam Paas (Camp Oochigeas & Camp Trillium) Howie Grossinger & Bev Unger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood), Mark Diamond (OCA, Camp Manitou)Can Social Distancing Save Summer Camp: Operator Face a Tall Order if They Get the Go-Ahead
May 11, 2020CP24Howie Grossinger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood)Will COVID-19 Cancel Summer Camp?
May 9, 2020MuskokaRegion.comMPP Norm Miller‘Summer camp is part of our culture’: Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP sympathetic in COVID-19
May 7, 2020Toronto SunPolly Hodgetts (Camp Hurontario), Howie Grossinger (OCA, Robin Hood)Ontario summer camps making plans as they await go-ahead
May 6, 2020CHCHHowie Grossinger (OCA, Camp Robin Hood) Summer camps across the province in doubt because of COVID-19
May 6, 2020Scott Aitchison, MP Parry Sound-Muskoka Parliamentary Session

Financial Support

Government Updates

About COVID-19

Health and Wellness

Prevention

Self-Assessment and Self Isolation

Mental Health

Health Information Specific to Camps

Recalls and Safety Alerts

Activities

Aquatics: Qualifications and Safety

Archery

Challenge Courses

Business

Programming

Fundraising

Specific to Non-Profits and/or Charities

Legal

Briefings

Talking to Children about COVID-19

Education

Other Provinces

Go Camp Pro

OCA Member and owner of Go Camp Pro Travis Allison has created an online community on Slack and MEGADoc for COVID-19 discussion with resources, including what other camps and outdoor centres are using for messaging, and much more. We encourage you to take a visit the below links:

Camp Is On No Matter What. Tell Everyone Today!!!

by Eric Shendelman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

To all camp owners, directors, programmers and administrators:

Does anyone think that you honestly believe camp is not happening this summer? Well you all need to start thinking differently from today onward. For those naysayers you need to start thinking like camp people think. This may turn out to be the longest ‘Rainy Day Program’ you have ever planned but you’ll plan it nonetheless. Let me explain further. This came to me this morning as we prepared to send out a note to camp families regarding summer 2020 at the day camp I work with. The thought of telling campers and parents that there may or may not be camp this summer with 3 months to go did not sit well with me. I thought Really? Seriously? I said, “NO this is Not going to happen today my friends. NOT TODAY and NOT EVER!!”

I have been to camp in some capacity over the last 49 years consecutively (I am almost 52) and I am not willing to accept the idea that I won’t be there this summer. Some may say, “what do you mean by camp is on no matter what?” Very simple (sort of).

It is March 23, 2020 and most kids will be working from home today in an e-learning environment. Sounds awesome!! I wish all of the students and educators out there the very best in the coming weeks as we all ‘settle’ in to our home environments. We are all hoping that some good will come out of this. Covid 19 numbers are growing, we all have questions about our future, our finances, our families and our friends. We need some good news today.

Camp does that!!!! Let me digress a touch. In 1992, I was the Program Director at Camp Winnebagoe in Hunstville, Ontario Canada. It rained for the first 3 weeks of camp that summer as some of you may remember. I was responsible for fun and special programs at camp. How does one do that in the rain? When I say rain, I am not talking about rain for a little bit each day, I am talking about hard rain all day, every day for 3 weeks – STRAIGHT!! With no relief in sight, a creative team of people with me and a bunch of time, we came up with the most creative, indoor and fun programs we could possibly come up with. It didn’t matter how silly or different the ideas were, everything was a possibility. In fact, when the rain stopped on that fateful day in late July 1992 and the sun started shining, the camp administrators were shocked to find out that campers wanted to extend their time through August.

At the end of that summer, I remember telling the camp director, “Hey I had a great time, I love you but I am DONE!!” It almost killed me but it got done. The key is it GOT DONE!! It always gets done no matter what. For those that have been in the industry for many years, you clearly understand what I am talking about. We have weathered many ‘storms’ over the years and we will weather this one. No matter what you are reading, what you are listening to or talking about on Facebook Live or Zoom or whatever social media outlet you are using, It is the right time to start telling your creative team to get to work like Santa’s little helpers. We need camp this year, campers and parents need camp this year and you all have it in you to plan it NOW. Plan as if there will be no camp outside this summer. If we are fortunate to go back to our sites and be outside interacting with friends and breathing in that amazing summer air, we can use all of our innovative, new and creative plans for a rainy day. We can share ideas with our colleagues locally, nationally or even globally. The most creative camp minds can unite and share the burden of planning so all camps can benefit. This could be the biggest and best online conference we have ever had. I know this sounds crazy, but I say we go for it. I say we update our families that have registered and tell them that we are in the process of planning the best summer ever ‘rain or shine’.

Do you see where I am going with this. We are CAMP people. We are part of an amazing creative group wondering what to do. You should only be thinking one way right now. This is the time to get even more creative. In 1992, if I was given a 3-month head start on something different, on something unexpected, the possibilities would have been endless.

Now is the time. Now we create stuff that has never been created. If I were to start right now, I’d create 39 days of camp in a box. Will they be delivered to every camper’s house? Will lunch be included? Yes, there are many other challenges and questions that will come up (too many to list here) but you and your team will figure it out. Why? Cause you always have. If you are a new camp and this is your inaugural summer – well lean on those that can help. Everything is on the table!!!

Covid 19 won’t take camp away from us, our families and our friends. Let parents know today that CAMP IS ON NO MATTER WHAT? The ‘WHAT’ might be so awesome you’ll be talking about summer 2020 for years to come.

Have fun, play safe, stay home and enjoy every camp day

Shendy (AKA Eric Shendelman)

Eric Shendelman is a Director at Crestwood Valley Day Camp in Toronto, Ontario Canada, owner of Shendy’s Swim School Inc. and Past President of the Ontario Camps Association.

Camping in Ontario

Parents

  • -If you are a parent looking for updates, contact your camp directly.