Will my child need to be vaccinated in order to attend camp?

We certainly encourage anyone who is eligible for a vaccine to get a vaccine. With the Provincial government announcing that COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandatory for children to attend school, it is unlikely that public health guidelines will require our campers to be vaccinated. However, it is conceivable that public health might have different guidelines for those who are vaccinated and those who are not. We won’t know until we see the 2022 health guidelines for reopening.

What has changed about camp since COVID-19?

Large gatherings were once a big part of camp. Currently, public health regulations encourage maintaining cohorts during camp programming. When this isn’t possible, physical distancing and masks are required. Public health also recommends being outdoors as much as possible. This is nothing new to Kettleby Valley, as most of our activities take place outside. Meals are now served outside when weather allows. Restrictions on the number of campers permitted in our pools has been reduced to 25%. This, along with the need to maintain cohorts has affected our ability to offer swim lessons. the 2021 summer camp season was very successful from our perspective. We learned that, despite the restrictions, the camp experience still offered campers the opportunity to make friends, build resilience and develop independence.

What happens if my child feels sick or gets hurt at camp?

Due to the nature of our outdoor activities, scrapes and bruises are bound to happen. Our Lead Counsellors are certified in Standard First-Aid and can usually handle the needs of their campers. We also have designated First-Aiders who are always available to attend to all campers’ medical needs. The Med-Hut and Med Tent is fully stocked with medical equipment, band aids, ointments, and medications such as Benadryl and Tylenol. If the First Aider feels a phone call home, or further medical attention is necessary, they will do so. Due to public health regulations, campers who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 that are otherwise unexplained, the camper will be required to be picked up from camp.

Can I speak to my child, or my child’s counsellor directly during their stay at camp?

At Kettleby, we have at least one Senior Staff to supervise every section at camp, both day and residential. Their position allows them the flexibility to communicate with parents without compromising the care and supervision of the campers. We cannot accommodate our campers making phone calls home during the day, except in the case of an emergency. You are free to call our office at any time to relay a message to your camper: (905) 726-4275, and parents of residential campers can send letters to their campers by emailing: resi@kettlebyvalley.com. We will always contact you if any issues or concerns arise.

How is camp affected by extreme heat?

Heat warnings are a regular occurrence during the summer. We are well equipped to handle the heat. 2021 was one of the warmest summers on record and at Kettleby Valley, we had exactly zero heat related illnesses – even with mask requirements. We benefit from a property with plenty of natural shade. Our staff are trained to teach campers to protect themselves from the sun by asking them to wear their hat, wear sunscreen, stay in the shade. They are also trained to make changes and adaptations to our regular program when the weather requires. Campers will always participate in a daily swim period to cool off and we never hesitate to spray down campers who choose to participate with the hose.

My child has a learning disability. Can you accommodate for special needs?

Yes. If your child requires one to one care in a school setting, then chances are they would benefit from the same care at camp. We offer a limited number of spots each session.

Does my child need a raincoat?

Yes, Yes, Yes! A cold and wet camper is an unhappy camper. Even if rain is not in the forecast, we always recommend that campers bring a raincoat to camp just in case. Campers will continue to participate in activities on days with light drizzle, and in activities where the rain does not affect the safety of the activity. On days with heavier rain, groups are escorted inside or under a shelter to participate in rainy-day programming. Nonetheless, campers will still need to be outside to move from shelter to shelter, and to get to the bus at the end of the day. Parents who do not send their camper with a raincoat will have the option of purchasing one from our tuck shop.

What if my child gets homesick?

Although it varies in severity, homesickness is perfectly normal and should be expected to a certain degree. We know that talking about homesickness helps and that’s where we begin if a Camper is experiencing any rough patches at Camp. Our conversations are kept short and focus on the positives. Keeping them busy is important. We also encourage Campers who are homesick to write a letter home. The vast majority of Campers respond to these and other strategies that we use. Talking to your child on the phone almost never helps. In 25 years, I have seen all but one conversation end in the camper going home. We understand that it’s hard for a parent when their child is struggling. But being away from home is necessary for the natural development of a campers resilience, confidence and independence.

Can my child bring a cell phone?

Cell phones can get lost or damaged during our active days and nights. They can also be a disruption to our program and undermine our ability to care for your child effectively. Remember resilience, confidence, independence? These qualities are hard to foster when mom and dad are a a few keystrokes away. We’ve also had situations where parents become concerned when their child doesn’t respond to their text. Being unplugged from our phones improves mental health, allows time for meaningful connections, and teaches us to do something else other than scroll when we have a moment to kill. There are so many good reasons to leave cell phones behind that I’m running out of space in this field. Please encourage your camper to leave their cell phone at home.

Can we see the Camp beforehand?

Yes. Prior to 2020, we held an Open House in June. It remains to be seem if we will be able to do so in 2022. Currently, arrangements can be made for a tour by contacting our office.

How many people are in each cabin?

Our Cabins can hold as many as 8 campers. For our younger campers, our counsellors reside in the same cabin as the children to ensure a higher level of supervision.

At what age does your program start?

Children who have completed Junior Kindergarten will fit right in to our Day Camp. Our overnight camp is for children who have completed grade 3 and up. Our two-week overnight camp sessions are for campers who have completed grade 5 or higher.

Are the day camp buses always on time?

Not always – but we do our best. We are happy to be able to offer door-to-door busing from Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Maple and some parts of Vaughan, in addition to our corporate locations in Markham. We have had two great years with Landmark Transportation, with only a handful of disruptions that has caused a bus to be late. Mechanical issues, traffic delays, weather, unscheduled washroom breaks and campers who are not ready when the bus arrives can all cause problems with our service. We know that some of you have work or other important things to get to. Please understand that we will do everything we can to continue to provide great busing service to and from camp.

We always do our best to contact you if the bus is going to be more than 15 minutes past your pickup time. Feel free to call the office (905) 726-4275 if you have any questions.

Why does my child’s group number change from week to week?

Campers are assigned to groups/cabins based on the gender they identify as and the grade they have completed in school. We do our best to accommodate any requests to be in the same group as a friend also attending that week. Since the campers change from week to week, your camper’s group number may change based on the amount of campers older or younger than them. Rest assured, we will always place your camper in a group with campers no more than one year younger or older than them.

What is a typical day during your day camp?

All buses arrive around 9:00 am. Following announcements, Campers head off to their first scheduled activity. Every group swims once each day. Groups take part in other exciting activities such as Canoeing, Climbing Wall, Ropes Course, Nature, Arts and Crafts and Archery throughout the week. Groups are scheduled for lunch between 11:30 am. and 1:30 pm. At 3:30 pm, we have final announcements and by 4:00 pm the buses are back on the road and heading for home.

What is a typical day during your Residential program?

For our residential program, wake up is at 7:30 am. After morning circle, Campers file into the lodge for breakfast. From 8:30 to 9:00 am, campers get ready for their day by packing their day bags and tidying their cabins. Following morning announcements, Campers head off to their first activity. The activities offered include Canoeing, Climbing Wall, Ropes Course, Drama, Nature, Arts and Crafts, Paintball, Axe Throwing, and Archery. Campers are scheduled for lunch between 12:30 and 1:30 pm, followed by more activities.  At about 5:00 pm begin to gather for dinner at 5:15 pm. After dinner, ‘Resi Campers’ are back in the pool for their second swim of the day and then it’s time for EVENING PROGRAM. Whether it’s a Camp classic Campfire or Capture the Flag or a Kettleby Valley Original, the Campers finish the day with a bang. Lights out is between 8:30 and 9:30 pm.

If my child doesn’t like the lunch being served, will they be offered an alternative?

We offer meals, such as grilled cheese and chicken nuggets, that are traditional favourites with children. Similar to the way we encourage our campers to try a new activity at camp, we urge our campers to broaden their boundaries and try new foods. Its not uncommon for our campers to try something new like “sloppy joes” and love it! If you’re signing up for our day, go over the menu prior to the session. If there is something that you feel your camper won’t eat, feel free to send extra snacks on that day.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding our food.

What is your Camper to Staff Ratio?

Our Staff to Camper Ratio never exceeds 1 to 4. In many cases it is lower.


About Kettleby

With over 60 acres of outdoor space, Kettleby Valley Camp provides a unique setting which is truly one-of-a-kind. A place that many campers, former campers, staff fondly refer to as their favourite place in the world.


Address: 609 Kettleby Road,Kettleby, ON L7B 0C9


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