Five Parent Questions
How do I know my daughter is ready for camp?
Five Camper Questions
Does your daughter enjoy positive overnight experiences away from home? What are her, and your, expectations for camp? Parents set the tone. Your confident attitude about camp will be contagious.
How can I prepare my first-time camper for a great experience?
Talk to your camper about making new friends, trying new activities and the excitement of new experiences. Offer gentle reminders about the importance of co-operation with others and helping out the group. Make sure she knows who and how to ask for assistance, if needed. Above all, be positive!
How do I communicate with my camper?
Before she leaves, plan how you will stay in touch. Pack pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes to make letter writing easier. GBC parents can send letters to campers by mail or fax. Letters by mail are the most personal and valuable communication with your camper.
Will my camper 'eat right' at camp?
GBC meals are wholesome and child-friendly. Our menu has been reviewed by a dietician and meets the standards set by Canada's Food Guide. We have a vegetarian option at meals where meat is served. GBC is 'nut safe' and has a system for protecting those with nut and other food allergies.
How do you deal with homesickness?
It is normal for your camper to feel nervous about being away from home. Discuss this with your camper before camp. Be supportive of her experience and developing independence. It's best not to tell her that if she doesn't like camp she can come home. GBC's program encourages campers to get involved and stay busy. Campers usually feel at home after a few days. During pre-camp training, our staff develop strategies to help campers who miss home. If we have any concerns during the session, we will call you.
What's so great about camp?
The Importance of Camp
Camp is a wonderful adventure! There are new skills to learn, new activities to try and loads of new friends to meet. At camp, you can perform in a play, go on an overnight canoe trip, scale the climbing wall, create a craft masterpiece, kayak, canoe, swim, score a bullseye in archery and more... There are at least a billion ways to have fun at camp, everyone has a favourite aspect -- what will you enjoy most?
What's the food like? Do you have candy?
What are some of your favourite meals? Pizza? Submarine sandwiches? Spaghetti? Chicken fingers? We serve all of these at camp, plus many other tasty favourites. At GBC, there is plenty of food on each table so everyone can help themselves to firsts -- and seconds! You can visit the tuck shop with your section twice a week. The tuck shop sells candy (three items per visit) plus GBC clothing and other useful things like batteries, toothpaste, stamps, bug repellent and flashlights.
Can I be in the same cabin as my friend?
Of course! Please make sure that the request is mutual (you both request each other) and that you are both going into the same grade in September. Cabin groups are announced when you arrive at camp.
Do I get to choose which activities I go to?
The GBC program has a mix of scheduled and choice activities. Each day starts with flag raising and breakfast. In the morning, you go to activities with your section group. At GBC, you can earn levels in many activities, like canoeing, kayaking, trampoline and swimming. After lunch and rest hour, we have choice activity time. Campers choose two activities from options that change every day. You can go to these activities on your own, with friends from your cabin or section, or with someone from a different section. The hour before supper is usually spent at an activity with your cabin group and counsellors. The evening program changes every day. Sometimes, it's a special all-camp game, play or program. Or, it could be an activity with your section or cabin. No matter what you like to do, every day at GBC is action-packed!
What if I don't like it?
It's ok to feel nervous about going to camp for the first time. Many campers feel the same way. New experiences are often scary and exciting all at once, but don't let that stop you! Camp is about making friends and having fun. It's also about learning new skills, like how to get along with others in a new setting. It takes a few days to get used to all this new stuff, so be patient. Give yourself time to adjust to camp and being away from home. Before you know it, you'll be having so much fun, you won't want to leave!
Camp is a unique environment. It is a community of people living closely together, learning by example and depending for success on the presence of excellent role models. Camp staff must demonstrate positive values and make healthy choices. At camp, we learn to lead and how to follow; how to look for risks, keep ourselves safe and challenge our comfort zone. We learn how to be positive role models. This is why we need camp more than ever and forever.
Give an opening to a camper of any age and instantly you get a camp story. Remember the camper who said, 'I love it here at camp!' When asked why, she said: 'At home I don't have a lot of friends and I don't do much, but at camp it's different. At camp, I think I might be cool.' Most of these stories are recalled because camp is about experiences with other people -- how you figure out who you are and what you want to become.
Any camper can tell tales of a staff member to whom she/he looked up to and remembers long after camp days are over. The memory is usually of the positive influence the counsellor instilled on our future. For example: the counsellor who took you kayaking every day because you just couldn't get an Eskimo roll, though you desperately wanted to master the skill.
My camp director often said, 'We become like the things we admire', a guideline that I have never forgotten. We use it with camp staff every year.
Our approach since 1922 at Glen Bernard is to give campers opportunities to build self-confidence and develop successful inter-dependence in a safe, fun and nurturing environment. Camp is a great experience for young people and an investment parents never regret.
Today's campers are tomorrow's role models.
"Camp this year was a life-changing experience for H. I hardly knew what to make of the confident young woman who arrived back from camp! She is secure in herself as a person. She actually said, 'I don't understand why someone would say they want to be Britney Spears. I wouldn't want to be anyone but myself.' I was floored. This is exactly the attitude I wanted her to have going into grade 7. I think it came about in large part due to the canoe trip and to the lake swim -- it astounded me that she took on that challenge.
She seems very prepared to take on the challenges and responsibilities of grade 7 and of looming 'teenagehood'. Although she has always loved camp, and we have valued it, this year was the 'big payoff'. Camp has given her so many of the tools she will need to be successful in life while being happy with herself. Thanks a million."
"Well, here I am in Vancouver, eating humble pie and glad to be doing it! B. had a fabulous time at camp and learned a lot about herself in the process. She found the program demanding, challenging, rewarding and fun. The obstacles she expected to encounter didn't happen or she dealt with them. She made some new friends in unexpected places and renewed old friendships. Thank you so much -- you were completely right to encourage her (and me) and I'm so glad you did."
"I see a broadened, more confident 13 year old at peace in her skin and joyously just K. What more could a parent wish for?
It was a challenge for her to embark on the camp adventure all alone, so far away (and for me!). We felt she was ready and the K. that returned home proved us right."