Camp FAQ's

Q: My Child Hasn't Had Their 4th Birthday Yet, Can They Still Attend?

A: No. Unfortunately, there are very strict guidelines with which Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue must comply for the management of children in an outdoor setting. These are government regulations. All campers MUST be 4 years old at the start of their registered program. Should paperwork be filled out with incorrect information, such as the child's age, we will have no choice but to remove the participant from the program. A refund will not be issued to those that provide false information.

Q: How long is the Camp day?

A:The regular full-week day camp runs from 9 am to 4 pm. Extended Care is available commencing at 7 am and closing at 6 pm. Extended care must be prearranged.

Please note that before and after camp programs are not typically structured programs like those we conduct during the day.  Campers are provided with the option of free play, to watch an animal-related movie, visit our library or do a craft.

Q: Is transportation available to and from Camp?

A: No, we do not have the option for busing at this time.

 

Q: What is the structure of a typical day?

A: Each day is very different, please check out the program page of the camp you are considering and review the list of different themes and possible activities.  Our focus is for campers to spend as much time as possible outdoors hiking and learning about nature. Campers will interact with our animal ambassadors, however, for the health and well-being of our animals, they do need to have some time off during the day.

 

Q: How many campers are there in a group?

A: Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue has 10 unique programs for kids ranging in age from 4-16 years old. Our overall camper-to-staff ratio varies based on the age from 5:1 to 10:1 for older campers.  Senior staff members are constantly interacting with camper groups, providing on-going supervision and direction to staff every day. Due to the nature of our activities and work with animals all programs have a limited number of spaces available each week.

 

Q: Can the Camp accommodate children with special needs?

A: We are happy to integrate children with special needs, working with animals is a great experience for all children. Each child's individual circumstances will determine whether Soper Creek Wildlife Nature Centre is a good camp choice; if our program is a good fit, we encourage parents to send support staff their child is familiar with to camp with them. Camp is an excellent way for children of all abilities to grow and learn, and being exposed to a broad range of people with different skills and talents is a rewarding and enriching experience for any child. Parents of a child with special needs are asked to call the camp directly to discuss the inclusion of their child at camp.

Unfortunately, as an outdoor facility with natural pathways, we are not wheelchair accessible. It is simply impossible to groom the forest to make it so, as we do sit on protected land. We do offer a wide variety of animal-based workshops that take place in our shelter which can be accessed by wheelchairs. Should you wish to speak to someone about this please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Q: How important is camper safety?

A: Safety is always #1 at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue. Due to the nature of our camp and our daily interaction with animals, we take camp safety very seriously. We continuously evaluate every aspect of camp, including arrivals, departures, exposure to elements, staff qualifications, activities, and animal interaction.

Q: Why can’t I find your address?

A: We do not post our address publicly online. This is for the safety of the children participating in our educational programming, as well as the safety of the animals. In today’s day and age, you can never be too careful. As we run year-round programs for students, and have hundreds of children attend our summer camps, we want to make sure they are safe. By not listing our address we drastically reduce the number of people who know where we are, which reduces the dangers of strangers.

Q: Are there dogs on property and will they be interacting with my child?

A: Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue does have 4 dogs on our property. We do not have any form of attack dogs; none have been trained to attack people or animals. We do have two livestock dogs which are locked up during the day to sleep as they work long hours at night. Legally we are required to post signs informing people of guard dogs due to their breed, especially as they run the property protecting all of the programming animals against coyotes when it is dark. These signs are part of our insurance policy requirement should someone break onto the property at night. The other two dogs are rescue dogs. Bosco is 14 and barely comes out of the house, and Captain America is a 6 year old rotti who is epileptic. He too spends most of his time in the house. The two house dogs are only let out in our enclosed back yard. We have never had any form of issue with any of our dogs. They all must be safe as they are personal family dogs, and there are two young children, 6 and 9, which interact with them daily.

All of our dogs are safe. We have never had any form of an issue with them. If you would directly discuss the matter of the dogs on the property please feel free to email or call us.


Q: Can my child stay for only half the day?

A: We do not recommend program participants stay for only half the day because our full day programs are structured in such a way that the afternoon and morning sessions are intertwined.  Missing the afternoon sessions will result in program participants not participating in animal encounters, animal enrichments, or other activities.

Q: What is the staff to camper ratio? 

A: Our camper to staff ratio is approximately 1 staff member for every 15 campers; ratios are in compliance with the Ontario Camp Association.

 

Q: How many children are in a group?

A: There may be up to 15 participants in each group.

 

Q: Are the program participants supervised at all times? 

A: Yes, program participants are never left unsupervised on Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue property. Our staff have received a background check, have had extensive training, and are all either CPR or First Aid trained. Our camp directors are full time staff.

 

Q: Can you tell me if my child’s friend has already signed up for Forest School Programming? 

A: Privacy laws do not allow us to share that information. Please reach out to that child’s parents for this information.

Q: Will my child interact with any of the Soper Creek Rescue animals?

A: Throughout the year, program participants will have opportunities to have up-close encounters with many of our animals in the presence of Soper Creek Wildlife Educators. We also provide biofacts (pelts, bones, skulls etc.) that the children may touch to enrich their experience. Any animals in rehabilitation are located in a separate area of our property not accessible to program participants unless in a specialized program.

Q: Will the programming ever close due to weather conditions?

A:  Programs will not be closed due to weather or environmental conditions, unless there is a safety risk to the program participants. If that decision has been made to end the program, all children’s’ parents will be notified by email or phone.

Q: What happens to my child during a storm?

A: During a significant weather event the safety of your child is a priority. Should there be thunder &/or lightning, children will be kept under our large, wooden picnic shelter which meets safety regulations. If the weather event is still occurring at the time of pick-up, we ask that you come to our picnic shelter to retrieve your child upon your arrival so we can keep the group under the shelter.
Should there be a period of extreme cold during winter programming access to the medical building will be available. This heated building will give program participants a break from the cold and a chance to warm up.

Q; Are drinks made available for my child during the day?

A: No. Children are encouraged to bring bottled water.
Children should bring their own reusable water bottle labeled with their name. Refilling is available.

Q: Can my child bring snacks from home?

A: Yes.  The program participants are active all day, so extra healthy snacks are encouraged. Two time slots throughout a programming day are alloted for snack time. If your child requires more breaks because of a health condition please add all the information into their file or email in advance.

 

Q: Are lunches provided for the full day programming?

A: No, program participants are expected to bring their own lunch.  Please be aware that lunches are not refrigerated, although they are kept in a shady place.

Q: How does Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue utilize the photos taken of the program participants?

A: We like to take photos of our program participants as they are partaking in animal encounters and other program activities.  These photos are used for promotional purposes.  For the safety of our program participants, names are not included with the photos. A photo release waiver is signed for your child upon registration. A private Facebook group has also been created in recent years so parents of program participants, ONLY, are accepted into the group to view the group photos from the duration of the program. The link is included in the registration email.

Q: Is there a dress code for programs?

Yes. All of the programming is outdoors. Please be sure that your child is dressed in play clothes according to the daily weather report. Program participants will receive their camp shirt or hat (if purchased) the first morning. Closed-toed shoes are required for all programs.
Flip-flops or crocs are not allowed as they can lead to injuries.

Q: When do I drop off my child for programming?

A: Morning drop-off will begin at 8:45 a.m. programming staff will let you know where the drop-off and pick up area is. Early drop off is available but must be arranged prior to the start of programming.  For summer camp the drop off is like school, a kiss-n-ride system. For other programming throughout the year please use our parking lot and a staff member will meet you at the green picnic table located in the parking lot area.

Q: When do I pick up my child from programming?

A: Program participants must be picked up by 4:00 p.m. Please indicate on the first day of camp the names of the adults who have permission to pick them up. Camp staff will let you know where the pick-up area is. Only those listed on the pick-up list will be able to pick your camper up. This is for the safety of your children. Late pick up charges will apply if the child is picked up well after 4:15. Late pick up is available but must be arranged before the start of the program.

Q: Are the staff at SCWR First Aid Certified?

A: Yes, all of the camp staff, directors and permeant staff are First Aid Certified and CPR trained.

 

What are your COVID 19 Policies and Procedures?

Our staff have been working on amazing programs all year round and can't wait to share them with you. Due to the new regulations that have been put out by the Ministry, we have had to make some changes as to how the programs can run. If you would like to check out the Ministry's website you can find the 3-page document that we are using as a reference for what needs to be done here.

 

GROUP SIZE:

Each group will have no more than 11 campers. This means we will have 1 staff member to 11 children of the same age range (unless specified for the program you enrolled in). If you have siblings or friends that you would like to keep together please ensure you have filled this out on the online registration form. There is a specific section called same group request.

Each group of 11 will have its own activity station for the day. We have broken up the property into various stations. The government guidelines state that each group always be 6 feet apart from each other. Our groups will be hundreds of feet apart and not be interacting with each other, not even for lunchtime. These stations will be their home base for the day. Each night the stations are sanitized which allows the groups to rotate to a different home base the next day.

An example: Living with the Land on Monday (located in the picnic shelter) will then rotate to the Regions of Ontario home base on Tuesday (located in the forest).

INDIVIDUAL WORKSTATIONS:

In an effort to keep physical distancing as outlined by the government, each child will have their own 6 ft picnic table or activity space. The tables have been painted in different colours and your child's first name will be placed on the table.  This workstation will be theirs for the day they are at the specific station and disinfected at night.  At this workstation, they will keep their bags, eat snacks and lunch as well as perform activities like crafts and experiments.  Each child will have their own physical space, unless parental consent is given, for siblings living in the same household to be at the same workstation.

Workstations will be disinfected prior to and following: snacks, lunch, and activities.

INDIVIDUAL HAND SANITIZERS:
Each workstation will be equipped with its own hand sanitizer and craft material.

DROP-OFF & PICK-UP

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue has made changes to our main parking lot to accommodate a kiss and ride style camp drop-off. 3 staff will be managing cars as they come down the road, helping you to navigate through the marked area.

You will be greeted at the drop-off location by a single staff member wearing gloves and a mask. They will electronically look up your child's chart on our tablet. Prior to your child getting out of the car, your child's temperature will be taken via an electronic laser on their wrist and recorded. This is what we do to measure the animal's temperature as well!  So don't worry, it doesn't hurt and is non-invasive.  Any child with a fever, or who exhibits flu-like symptoms will be sent home and not be able to participate in the program.

Parents will be asked to complete an electronic safety checklist certifying that to the best of their knowledge, no one in the immediate family is sick, has had COVID-19, or has been exposed to the virus.  This will be read to you and checked off by a staff member to reduce touching surfaces.

This form will be filled out for each camp session, regardless of your child is in multiple camp sessions.  If your child is in a weeklong program, then it needs to be submitted on the first day of camp - Monday. Should anything change for yourself, your family, or your child while enrolled in any camp, it is mandatory that you keep your child home and advise Stefanie MacEwan immediately.

Once we have all of the information that we need, we will point your child to the next counselor who will take them to their assigned leader and space.

As camp programming starts promptly at 9:00 am we do ask that you drop off anytime after 8:30. Staff will be available from 8:30 - 8:58 am for drop-off. Should you request early drop-off (before 8:30), the process will be similar, just with fewer people.

We cannot stress this enough: We do leave the kiss and ride location at 8:58 sharp, to ensure campers are taken to their activity station for the day to start programming.

End-of-day pick-up will be very similar, as the children will be waiting. Please do not get out of your car, we will bring them to you. This policy is what has been outlined by the Ministry and we have to adhere to it.

 

NEW ADDITIONS:

WASHROOM TRAILER WITH RUNNING WATER AND SINKS:
We now have washroom facilities with full running water and A/C. To ensure that all children have the access to washing their hands we have rented a portable washroom trailer. This two-stall trailer is maintained weekly by a third-party company. Each stall has its own sink with running water and soap and even air conditioning. By providing this, we can ensure that all children can wash their hands as many times as needed. This is in addition to the hand sanitizer they have at their work station.

Washroom trailers will be disinfected after each group's use to ensure that they are safe for the next group.

APPLYING LOTION:
We are not able to supply or apply sun lotion, or bug repellent to children. We are happy to provide them with reminders but staff cannot physically apply on the children.
MASKS:
Staff will be wearing masks when in close contact with your children but during normal activities and programming, they will not be worn unless the staff member chooses to do so. We do not recommend sending your child with one, and the Health Department has made many statements stating that children wearing masks will cause them to touch their face more than normal.  If a mask is damp, wet, or dirty, it is deemed non-usable. Trust me these kiddies are going to be dirty at the end of each day!

FUN!!!

The most important thing about camp is having fun and building memories. We here at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue are looking to ensure that your child is in a safe environment but also that they are having the time of their life. We can't forget that children need adventure and pure joy in their life. I promise you that will never change!

 

LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE

To ensure childrens' safety and physical distancing, we will have limited spaces for all summer programming.

A CHILD'S PASSION HAS THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE WORLD!