Basic Information for Parents

Welcome Parents!

This page is meant to offer you access to some documents you need for camp (left sidebar), to answer some commmon questions (see below) and just be a generally helpful introduction.

If you are thinking about a Keewaydin summer for your son or daughter, we know this is an important decision and want to help by providing as much information as possible.  Below is a list of FAQ’s, but we know we cannot adequately cover everything here and would love to speak with you directly about our program and talk about everything from the right socks to wear to the chances of seeing northern lights on Temagami in August.   So, please, read down and/or pick up the phone and give us a call (802) 352-4709.

 

FAQ'S

What is the staff to camper ratio?
For our younger campers, 10-13 years old, the ratio is 2 campers to 1 staff.  As campers grow older, their skills increase and they grow stronger, the ratio changes until on our longest trips, 17-18 year olds, it is 6 campers for each staff.

How many kids are in a cabin?
We call them sections.  Most sections are 6-8 campers and they do stay together, with the same staff, on trips and in camp, for the whole summer.  

How do campers get to camp?
Most of our campers fly to Pearson International Airport in Toronto where they are met by our staff and drive north to the shores of Lake Temagami in a chartered bus, stopping along the way for a quick dinner.  Once off the bus they hop into motor boats and travel the final ten miles up the lake, usually arriving on Devil’s Island by about 7:00 p.m.  Just in time for a quick swim and a snack, before going to bed.  Parents are also welcome to drive to Pearson International Airport to meet the bus and staff.

Can I come visit?

Absolutely!  We have a family lodge, Ojibway (http://www.keewaydin.org/ojibway-for-families/about/) at the north end of the island just for this purpose.  There are three prime times to visit:  To drop your camper off in June; at Midseason, when all of the base camp sections paddle in and participate in camping, and cooking competitions, canoe and swim races and perform skits, and tell stories at campfires.  the final time is at Endseason when all sections paddle in and again there are camp competitions and campfires that are thrilling, funny and inspiring. Both Midseason and Endseason offer opportunities to hear trip stories and watch your child function as part of a section, and share in the experience of a Lake Temagami visit.

What is the food like?
In base camp, campers get three hot meals a day made in our kitchen with the freshest ingredients available.  On canoe trips, all meals are prepared from scratch by campers and staff and cooked over an open fire.  Breakfast is often bacon, dried fruit and hot cereal, lunches are often macaroni and cheese, gorp (trail mix), tuna wraps and/or bannock (a baking powder bread) with peanut butter and jelly. Dinners can be a wide range depending on the staff and the tastes of the section.  Some standards are pasta with red sauce, honey lime chicken with rice, pizza, burritos or whole grain stews.  If the fishermen are lucky, the catch of the day will be breaded and cooked up over the fire.  Dessert is often bannock, cakes if there is a birthday, or pies when there are berries to be had.  

What about food allergies?

Because we make everything from scratch we are able to adapt our menus to suit all campers’ dietary needs.

Vegetarians?
No problem.  Some of our staff our vegetarians and all are prepared to cook in that manner on trip and at basecamp.

I see you have boys and girls at camp.  Are the trips Co-ed?
N0.  Boys go with boys and girls go with girls and each are led by trained and qualified staff of the same gender, many of whom are graduates of our Hudson Bay Trips.

How do I communicate with my child?
Letters! Despite all of the advances in communication, letters and postcards remain the best way to communicate with your child when at camp.  We ask them to write a postcard home after each trip (we supply the postcard and the stamp).  We encourage parents to send letters as well, the news from home, and the familiar penmanship are always embraced.  Campers return from trip always eager to see if they have received any mail from home. Magazines, articles and fun pictures are encouraged, bags of candy and cookies are not (too much attraction to the mail room for little critters).  We do have a phone, but it is for emergencies.

How bad are the bugs?

Not too bad.  The black flies usually are done for the season by mid-June. We do have mosquitoes and other biting flies, fortunately our trips are out on the water where the bugs are not bad during the day and we tend to be in our snug, bug proof tents when the biters emerge at dusk.  Of course we do see them on portages, and hope the encounters are brief and discouraged with insect repellant.

What should my Camper NOT bring to camp? 

No electronics … no iPods, cell phones, game machines. Actually, these are okay on the bus, or plane, ride, but they’ll be locked in the camp safe on arrival. No using a cell phone as a camera.
No highly valuable items to camp, things like expensive watches or heirloom pocket knives or expensive clothes or sunglasses.  No inappropriate knives. Choose a small folding or sheath knife. Also, you don’t need to worry about sending extra food, we have plenty and they eat well on trips.
 
What kinds of things are OK to bring to Camp? Camera … binoculars … books … canoe paddle  … sunglasses … fishing rod …journal - check our packing list, it is pretty complete.
 
What about important documents and cell phones, etc?
Passports, birth certificates, airline tickets, wallets and other documents will be put in an envelope and placed in our safe at the camp office for the summer.   If you drop your daughter or son at camp personally, you can drop those items off at the office.

What about Medical Emergencies?

All of our staff are trained in Wilderness First Aid, an 80 hour medical course and are certified in Wilderness Lifesaving a life guarding course for wilderness situations.  If a camper needs medical attention, we have a doctor in camp at all times who can see campers while in from trip or serve as a consultant by phone.  Our staff carry satellite phones and Spots (Satellite GPS Messengers) for emergencies.
 
Medications – What should I do?
DO send prescription meds to us in the original containers and specific instructions written on the health form. If you send over-the-counter meds as well, be sure to give us specific instructions. Campers with an albuterol rescue inhaler may keep it with them.

Do they bathe?

Yes, some campers even swim every day they are at camp and win fame and awards for their hardiness at the end of season!  We encourage kids to stay clean by swimming and using biodegradable soap Dr. Bronner’s is the best) while out on trip.  When kids return to base camp, the first thing they do after putting away their gear is head to the shower house.

Do you do their laundry?

No.  They do it themselves with scrub brushes and soap.  We make sure they stay clean and healthy while out on trip.  More importantly, we insist they have clean clothes to return home in and when they are around base camp.

How is the fishing?
Pretty good!  Walleye, northern pike and bass are the typically species around Temagami. The longer trips find trout to be abundant in the northern regions.

Help!  I am really going to miss my child!  What should I do?

First, don’t worry, it is natural.  We all miss our kids.  Second,  they are having the time of their lives and making friends, having adventures and growing in ways that will form them for years to come.  They will be busy and they are with staff who are mature and making sure they are taken care of.   Third, be sure to check out our website.  Despite our remote wilderness base camp, when campers are in camp, we will post pictures from their trips so you can begin to see more about the fun they are having.  Finally, they will write.  Promise.