Text: YMCA Summer Day Camp. Welcome to our camp community. Parents Guide. Image: five kids in a swimming pool.

icon of parent and child

Welcome

Packing Information 

Pick Up & Drop Off 

FAQ

Hello there!

Thank you for choosing Y Day Camp!

Whether it is your camper’s first or fifth time at camp, we have created this guide to include everything that you need to know to feel prepared and comfortable so they can focus on number one— having fun! 

Together, let’s create an exciting, and memorable summer!


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Welcome!

We are very excited to welcome back our campers to over 45 camp locations across Greater Toronto this summer. We know it has been another tough year, and our staff teams are well equipped to ensure campers get the most out of their camp experience and ignite the potential in all.


a young girl running in the woods

    All of our staff:

  • Are 16+ years old
  • Have a clear Police Vulnerable Police Check
  • Participate in a minimum of 45 hours of training prior to the first day of camp
  • Review specific health and safety trainings, including cleaning procedures
  • Have experience and a passion for working with children and youth
  • Kinder campers (ages 4-5) ratio of 1:8
  • Junior campers (ages 6-8) ratio of 1:10
  • Senior campers (ages 9-12) ratio of 1:12
  • Leadership 1 & Leader in Training participants (ages 11-12 & 13-14) ratio of 1:12
  • Counsellor in Training participants (ages 15-16) ratio of 1:15

    Value Beads play an important role as a sign of character and personal achievement. Beads at camp provide recognition and promote positive behaviour and are worn as a constant reminder of what we value in our camp community.

    Throughout the week, beads are awarded to individual campers for demonstrating our Y Day Camp values of kindness, inclusiveness, respect, integrity, optimism and well-being. Ask your camper how they earned their beads!

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Packing Information

Each day your camper should be dressed appropriately for the weather, and bring the following along in a backpack:

Raincoat

Raincoat

(to enjoy every day, rain or shine)

Sunscreen

Bug Spray and Sunscreen

(to reapply throughout the day)

Swimsuit

Swimsuit and towel

(for swimming and boating)

healthy lunch

A hearty and healthy lunch*

(use reusable containers to reduce waste)

snacks

Two healthy snacks*

(to keep energized all day!)

Hat

Hat

(sun safety is important)

Refillable water bottle

Refillable water bottle

(to keep hydrated)

Running Shoes

Running Shoes & Sandals

(to stay active all day long!) Sandals must have a back strap for waterfront use.

*nut-free

We strongly encourage you to label all your child’s belongings to help prevent lost items.

    We strongly encourage families to label all of their camper’s belongings (first and last name) to prevent items from becoming lost.

    We ask that campers please leave electronics and other valuable items at home. The Y cannot be held responsible if they are lost or damaged during the camp day. This includes eye glasses so please ensure you send your camper with case.

    We suggest that campers wear comfortable clothing that can be easily washed. Remember that campers have a lot of fun during the camp day, and tend to get dirty while playing outside, completing art projects, or conducting science experiments.

    The Y will provide all equipment campers require to take part in their camp programs. If your child is attending either the Outdoor Adventure or Paddle and Pedal program, they are welcome to bring their own bike helmet. If they do not have one, they will be provided with one.

    Your camper will be very active in our Day Camp programs. In order to participate fully all day long, campers require healthy lunches and snacks. We encourage no food sharing at camp so please ensure your camper comes with at least two snacks and a hearty lunch to fuel their camp day.

    When you plan your camper’s lunch, please keep in mind that there are no refrigerators or microwaves available at camp. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

    • Choose an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack to keep lunches and snacks fresh all day.
    • Use reusable containers to cut down on waste and litter at our day camp locations, any disposable packaging or uneaten food will be sent home daily, as part of our “Boomerang Lunch” procedure.
    • Fresh drinking water is provided at all day camp locations — please send a refillable water bottle and we’ll remind your camper to keep hydrated throughout the day.

    We are a nut-sensitive environment. Please keep in mind when packing your camper’s snack and lunches that we have many campers with nut allergies. Please do not send any nuts or nut products to camp.


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Pick Up & Drop Off

When do I drop off my camper?

Our camp day begins at 9:00am. You may arrive up to 10 minutes (8:50am) before drop off to join in the line for sign in before your child enters camp.

When you arrive at camp, you’ll follow signs to the designated sign in entrance, and once your camper(s) has been signed in, they will join their counsellor and the other campers in their group. You will pick your camper up at the end of the day, at the same place you dropped them off. Please bring photo I.D to sign out your camper(s) at the end of the day


a young boy smiling between trees

    If you have registered your camper for extended hours, you can drop your child off any time between 7:30am – 9:00. The sign in directions above apply however, if you are dropping at 7:30am that is the earliest arrival time, staff will not be able to sign in your camper(s) before that time. A pre-package snack will be provided in both the morning and afternoon programs. Please bring a re-fillable water bottle as drinks are not provided.

    Please ensure you are picking up your camper at the time their program ends. The end of the camp day is 4:00pm. If your camper is registered in extended hours, the last time to pick up is 6:00pm.

    If you will be more than 5 minutes late, please call the camp location directly to inform staff on site so arrangements can be made to care for your camper until you arrive.

    We understand that from time to time you may be late due to an unavoidable circumstance, but please be aware that any campers who are consistently picked up more than 5 minutes late will be removed from the Day Camp program.


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FAQ

    If you require someone other than the contacts stated on your camper’s registration form to pick up your camper, please inform the Camp Director. Authorized pick-up individuals must be 16 years of age or older. We will ask anyone we have not met to identify themselves with government-issued photo ID before they can sign out your camper. If someone arrives at camp to pick up your camper without your prior authorization, we will call home for verbal permission before releasing your camper.

    Your camper’s safety is very important to us. Campers under the age of 12 must be signed in and out by an authorized person who is at least 16 years of age and is listed on the registration form. During the registration process, there is an opportunity for parents to give permission to any campers that are 12 years old to walk home unescorted at the end of the day.

    If you know in advance, it is best to make arrangements with the Camp Director ahead of time as your camper may be busy with activities when you arrive. This way we can have them ready as it may take some time to prepare them to leave for the day.

    Our camp staff team reflects the incredible diversity of the Greater Toronto Area, and many staff speak other languages in addition to English. While we cannot guarantee that staff in your camper’s program will be able to speak a specific language besides English, we can guarantee that our staff will do their best to support all our campers!

    Any items that are lost at camp are collected each day and kept in the camp office. If your camper loses something, call the Camp Director and they will try to locate the item. All items are kept until the last day of camp and are then donated to a local charity. Unfortunately, the Y cannot be responsible for lost items. Our staff will do their best to ensure campers keep their belongings in their backpacks, but sometimes things are left behind. Please check daily to ensure your camper is coming home with all of their belongings.

    Yes! Your camper’s safety is of the utmost importance to us. They will remain in their camper group for the duration of the day and be supervised by a staff member at all times.

    If your camper is going to miss a day of camp, please call or email the camp staff at your camper’s location. The camp contact information will be in the email you will receive the Thursday before your camper’s registered program begins.

    We encourage all parents to apply sunscreen rated SPF 50 or higher to their camper each morning and send them with a hat to wear when outdoors. Please send a labelled bottle of sunscreen to camp each day. Our staff will remind campers to reapply throughout the day, as well as after participating in any water-related activities.

    Camp programs continue to run, rain or shine!

    Please take the time to review the daily weather forecast each morning and prepare your camper for the day (e.g. rain boots, rain jacket, warm sweater, etc.). Camp staff also review the daily weather report and make decisions to ensure our campers are safe. Most private and YMCA Health & Fitness Centre locations have adequate indoor space for campers to take shelter during inclement weather. At our outdoor locations, we use a combination of tents and permanent structures to take shelter as needed.

    All camp staff complete extreme weather training before camp begins and know exactly what to do if the weather turns. In the event of severe weather such as a tornado or hurricane, outdoor campers will be bussed to an indoor location based on our short-term evacuation plans. Your camper’s safety is always our priority!

    In the event of a thunderstorm, we will adapt programs to ensure campers are safe. Please note that no water-based activities, including but not limited to boating, swimming and water play, will occur during or immediately after a thunderstorm.

    In the event of an extreme heat alert, alterations to programs will be made to ensure campers are safe. Activities will be moved into shaded areas, inside, and more water-based activities will be played. As always, campers will be reminded to reapply sunscreen and drink water frequently throughout the day.

    If you are considering sending insect repellent along with your camper to camp, we recommend you follow Health Canada’s guidelines:

    • For campers ages 4 – 12 years: choose a repellent with less than 10% DEET, and apply no more than three times per day

    Insect repellent should be applied after sunscreen, and reapplied after swimming. Our staff will remind your camper to re-apply their insect repellent. Don’t forget to label your camper’s insect repellent!

    If your camper requires medication during the camp day, please download the Medication Form and ensure you hand it in with the medication directly to a Y staff member. If your camper requires non-prescription medication, please obtain a doctor’s note that includes:

    • Your camper’s full name
    • Name of medication
    • Dosage
    • Expiry date of the note
    • Doctor’s signature
    • Times to administer, or specific signs and symptoms that indicate the medication needs to be administered

    All medications need to be in the original container and labelled with the camper’s name and date of the prescription. All medications are stored in a locked container at camp and can be refrigerated if required. If your camper’s medication is for an emergency (e.g. an epi-pen or puffer), your camper’s counsellor will carry it in their emergency waist pack.

    If your camper has an anaphylactic allergy that requires an epi pen, please download and fill out the Individual Emergency Anaphylaxis Plan and hand it directly to your camper’s staff person on the first day of their program. All epi-pens will be carried by your camper’s counsellor and returned to the camper at the end of the day.

    If your camper is exhibiting any symptoms noted in the “Active Health Screening” document, please keep them home from camp until they are feeling better. If they exhibit these symptoms after attending camp, please email the Camp Director and let them know. In the event that your camper becomes ill during the day, we will call you to come and pick them up. If you are unable to pick up your sick camper, you will be required to make alternative arrangements to ensure they are picked up from camp. Until you arrive, our staff will make sure your camper is kept safe and as comfortable as possible.

    We take the well-being of all our campers seriously! If there is something you would like our camp staff to know about your child before they arrive, please reach out to the Camp Director.

    The email address of the Camp Director and his/her direct cell phone number will be listed on the website for your camper’s camp location.

    Most of our outdoor sites have flush toilets. Depending on the location, campers may have access to outdoor portable washrooms with hand-wash stations, or washroom trailers.

    In all cases, we ensure our washrooms are inspected daily and remain clean and ready for our campers to use! In addition, our staff are responsible for ensuring that washrooms are sanitized between camper groups.

    Unfortunately, no. To ensure the safety of all our staff, campers and their families, we are not allowing anyone into our camp spaces this summer.

    The safety of each individual in the program is of the utmost importance to the Y. Each camper must recognize a personal responsibility to learn and follow, at all times, the safety and other rules established by the Y staff. Any behaviour of the camper that places themselves or others at risk may result in immediate dismissal from the program. If you are concerned about your camper’s ability to integrate in a group setting, please reach out to our integration team at integration.support@ymcagta.org. Campers that require 1:1 support must be registered through our integration team to ensure campers are set up for success.

    Furthermore, if dismissed from the program, families are responsible for the expense(s) arising from such dismissal. No refund will be granted for dismissal or removal of the registrant at his/her request before the end of a program session.

    Through our focus on inclusiveness, respect, and caring — including our unique Y Value Beads program — we encourage all campers to demonstrate the positive character attributes that are associated with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. From time to time at camp, you may be worried that your camper may have difficulty getting along with another camper at camp. Our camp staff are trained to help campers through these types of situations, and will do their best to resolve the conflict.

    Our staff are also trained to identify more serious bullying behaviour, and work toward immediate resolution. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour between campers that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying behaviour is repeated over time and has the potential to very severely impact the victim.

    All situations where a camper behaves in a way that is unacceptable at camp are treated on an individual basis, keeping the families of the campers informed. Our staff will do their best to understand all sides of the situation, and move toward resolution.

    If you or your camper feels uncomfortable about something that is going on at camp, please let the staff at your camp location know immediately so we can help.

    If you wish to withdraw a participant from a program, you can do so by accessing the participant’s Registration History via your My Y account or by submitting your request to withdraw by email to register@ymcagta.org. Withdrawals that are processed online or requested by email 10 days before the start of the program will receive a refund minus an administration fee of 10% per program being withdrawn. Withdrawal requests received with less than 10 days’ notice will receive a refund minus an administration fee of 50% of the cost of the program being cancelled. These requests must be submitted by email to register@ymcagta.org. A doctor's note is required for any withdrawal due to medical reasons. Refunds are not granted for inclement weather. Any request received after the start of the course will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Refunds take 2–3 weeks to process.

Any other questions?

Y Summer Day Camps Customer Service Team
2200 Yonge St, Unit 300
Toronto, ON
M4S 2C6

Email: register@ymcagta.org
Follow us on Twitter: @ymcagtacamps
Y Guide

YMCA Camp Registration Office
Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 6 pm
register@ymcagta.org

Our Mission:The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead, and give back to their communities.
Our Vision: Vibrant communities where everyone can shine.
Our Values:Inclusiveness. We create welcoming places and programs where everyone feels they belong. Integrity. We are truthful, trustworthy, and take responsibility for our choices, actions, and commitments. Kindness. We are caring and compassionate. Optimism. We believe in the strengths and potential in people and communities. Respect. We treat every person with dignity. Well-being. We are dedicated to people’s physical, social, and mental health.