PLAN FOR CAMP!
Ontario needs camp.
Join us on May 8 in writing a letter to Premier Doug Ford
to tell him why.
Learn more about Camp Letter Writing Day.
On April 12, 2021, a campfire was held to light the path back to camp. Please: WATCH & ACT
Watch the recording and take action to support camps
(choose a button below).
Learn more about the plan here.
We need two things:
Write your MPP and Support us on Social Media!
Since the spring of 2020, the Ontario Camps Association has been advocating with government, public health officials and key stakeholders to protect the interests - and health - of the nearly one million children in Ontario who participate each summer in day camps, overnight camps and outdoor education programs.
Those efforts continued through last year, and have been amplified in 2021, as we continue to seek provincial approval to operate camp programs this year, responsibly and carefully.
The OCA is the official voice of the accredited camp community and we are confident that our call for camp is being heard. However, we believe that now is the time that the government hears the voices of our camp community: the parents, the staff, our campers and our alumni.
But, we need your help. We need your leadership. Your advocacy. Your commitment.
Like adding logs to a campfire, your advocacy efforts (tweets, posts, and letters) will help light the path back to camp.
Support the plan in two ways:
We need your voice!
There are four important things you can do:
1. Show everyone you want to go to camp and, for the rest of April, change your profile pics and Zoom backgrounds to one of the choices below!
2. Write a letter to the government and give it to your parents to send!
3. Sometimes the sounds that children make can be the loudest and most persuasive (think Greta!) Make a windchime that "sounds a wakeup alarm" for the adults in your neighbourhood that kids need camp!
4. Follow all the rules! If we wear our masks now, then we will make going to camp safer! Be careful out there!
Change your profile pics!
Write the government!
Make a windchime!
Members of the media are invited to contact Executive Director of the OCA, Joy Levy, to arrange an interview by completing the form below. Please visit this link for the most recent press releases and OCA appearances and this link for the Campfire Event's Media Advisory.
Our Executive Director will reply to you shortly.
Use this as a Zoom Virtual Background!
Use this template to update your profile picture on all your social media accounts!
Write a letter or draw a picture in the space provided to the government!
A parent can help you send it!
Contact your MPP
Premier Ford, his Cabinet Members, and provincial public health leaders must understand that now, more than ever, kids need camp.
But, we need your help.
We need your leadership.
We need your advocacy and commitment.
And we need you to speak in your own loud voice!
Send an email or letter right now to your local MPP!
Key Phrases and messages to consider (choose what works best for you):
Declare your relationship with camp.
“As a parent of a 10-year-old who has been a camper for three years…”
Share what camp means to you or your child.
Describe the emotional and social impacts of the pandemic and the 2020 season cancellation?
• Are they frustrated? Lonely? Isolated?
• Do they crave time in nature?
• Long for camp friends?
• Need the physical exercise and fresh air of the camp environment?
Explain why sending your child to an OCA accredited camp is important and/or your support for the OCA.
• OCA has been the provincial stewards of camps and outdoor education centres in province for nearly 100 years.
• OCA memberships requires programs to meet more than 600 health and safety standards to ensure the safety of campers and staff.
Announce your support for the OCA’s plan for camp and its efforts to ensure the responsible and careful operation of its programs this summer.
• Recognize that summer camp programs operated safely last summer without increased transmission in the U.S. and Canada.
• Endorse the OCA-led guidance provided to public health and the government for day and overnight camps.
Acknowledge that you support the operation of camps and outdoor education programs this summer only if COVID-19 conditions allow (acknowledge that camps can and should not operate if conditions worsen, but given appropriate pandemic conditions you support the operation of camps this summer)
Encourage the government to support the equitable provision of COVID-19 testing programs for camps (it’s key that we remind the government that camps can and should operate equally for all programs and all participants of all socio-economic statuses. (We must create a province-wide rapid testing program that provides fair and equal supports for all in the camp environment.)
Encourage the government to consider a vaccination program for camp staff- similar to the call to vaccinate teachers and childcare workers.
Remind government leaders that these actions are urgent - that kids and parents need greater certainties about the summer and something to look forward to and that parents, camp operators and staff need sufficient time to prepare and budget for a summer at camp.
Tell government leaders that for your family, camp matters now more than ever.
THE PLAN FOR CAMP
What is #planforcamp?
Representing 450 accredited day and overnight camps and outdoor education centres, the Ontario Camps Association (OCA) created #planforcamp to prepare camps, families and the government to be ready for summer camp operations for the 2021 summer season.
The #planforcamp project includes government advocacy to open and sustain Ontario camps, cooperation in safe, professional health planning for camp operations, and communications to the general public, to camp families and to OCA members in support of the responsible return of camps this season.
Ontario youth continue to suffer from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, not just because of the current surge in cases and intensified lockdown conditions, but also because of the lack of clarity about when these conditions will finally end, and what the future, including their summer, might look like.
The #planforcamp means that this summer, children and youth will return to the experiences they deserve and the places they belong. The plan advocates for and prepares camps to reopen, with responsible, competent and healthy operating plans approved by public health.
The OCA #planforcamp prepares summer camps to “catch” Ontario’s youth at the very moment when they might need us the most. A return to camp, a nature, friendships, physical activity and human connection, is needed now more than ever.
While we’re certain that no camp professional, parent, camper or friend of camp would call for us to operate in today’s third-wave conditions, we’re also certain that with continued community effort to stop the spread, improved testing programs, accelerated vaccine rollout and continued government efforts, it will be safe to reopen camps in the province.
How does the OCA #planforcamp?
To accomplish this task, the OCA struck a Task Force to work with the provincial government to fulfill three initiatives:
Develop protocols or “guidance” by which camps can operate carefully and responsiblyAccelerate access to vaccines for frontline and essential camp staffCreate equitable access to testing for all camps, campers, and staffEnlist camp alumni to speak up for OCA camps and the value they bring above and beyond the obvious fun of the summer experience
What does #planforcamp mean for Ontario families?
The OCA encourages parents/guardians, campers, and camp staff to actively #planforcamp to happen this summer. Register at camp, apply for jobs at camp, be prepared and excited for camps to open. Plan to be part of the most extraordinary and rewarding summer camp experience ever.
Provincial leaders, camp families and the general public trust the OCA. To be OCA Accredited, our camps and outdoor education centres meet an accreditation process to ensure the adherence to more than 600 professional standards designed to ensure the health and safety of campers and staff.
What does #planforcamp mean for Ontario camps?
All OCA member camps have a #planforcamp to operate safely and responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The OCA Guidance Document (pending Government approval) is informed by extensive research and overwhelming evidence, describing the success of camps in other countries operating successfully in the midst of the pandemic last summer.. A special Field Guide is in development which will assist camps as they operationalize their specifc camp safety plans. These documents have been co-authored by experts from the OCA’s COVID-19 Task Force, with input from The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto (SickKids).
Based on our extensive efforts, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is listening.
What does #planforcamp mean for the Ontario government?
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) is working closely with the OCA COVID-19 Task Force leaders. They recognize the value of camps and the need for children to return to camp this summer as pandemic conditions improve.
The OCA is also working collaboratively with the Office of the Premier (PMO), to ensure that all necessary pathways are cleared for camps to operate. This includes rescinding the regulation that still has overnight camps ‘closed’, the only industry we believe that has been forced to close for more than a year. The reversal of the closure order is required in order to become part of the Ontario ‘Response Framework’.
And, there’s more: intensive discussions are underway with the Ministries of Education and Health, as part of our effort to secure provincial support for COVID-19 testing, which would allow all camps an equal opportunity to optimize safety for staff and campers.
We are leaving no stone unturned.
What is the #planforcamp timeline?