FAQ – Everything you need to know

Attention Returning Staff

How old do I need to be to work/volunteer at an Easter Seals camp?
Applicants must be 18+ years of age. Staff training begins early – mid June (depending upon your position). We require staff to be there for the training. If you are still in High School you should clarify with your school if you are able to change your exam times if you were offered a position at camp.

What certification or experience do I need?
You need an interest in or previous experience working with children/youth. You do not have to have any experience working with children/youth who have special needs as Easter Seals Ontario will provide you with the training you will require. All staff are to be certified in CPR or First Aid before their contracted start date. Those applying for waterfront positions must have a current NLS certificate.

What will my responsibilities be at camp?
Most staff members are either counsellors or program specialists. As a Counsellor you will work as a member of a cabin team. There will be between 8 – 12 campers and 4 – 6 staff in each cabin group. Together your team will be responsible for providing all of the care for the camps, this can include; dressing, feeding, bathing, toileting and transferring, getting to know your campers, solving camper concerns and being a positive role model. Being a counsellor is one of the most rewarding, but potentially challenging, jobs at camp.

Program Specialists are expected to plan and lead a specific camp program. There are four activity periods each day and you may run a program in all activity periods. When not programming, you will be assisting in your assigned camper cabin. ALL camp staff are involved in camper care.

Regardless of your position at camp, caring for someone else’s children is a big responsibility. Easter Seals Ontario requires the staff to be ready to accept the challenge that each day can present.

Do you accept staff or volunteers with disabilities?
Easter Seals Ontario encourages everyone to apply. Working as a counsellor can be a strenuous job, and we expect that any person working at camp will have the ability to supervise and provide for the safety of our campers. Applicants who require attendant care are required to provide their own attendant care.

What are the other staff members like?
Easter Seals staff members are university/college students or recent graduates from across Canada. Easter Seals Ontario hires a small number of international staff each year. There are approximately 70 staff members hired at each camp.

What are the campers like?
Merrywood Camp enrols 72 campers and 64 campers attend Woodeden Camp each session. All of the campers have a physical disability. The most common disabilities are cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. All campers have a means of communication either verbal or non-verbal. The campers come from all over Ontario. Easter Seals is very proud that over 80% of our campers return each summer.

Are there any policies restricting my social activities?
Camp is a child’s world, so your adult conversations and activities need to be curtailed. Children are very observant! Smoking, the consumption of alcohol and the use of drugs is prohibited on camp property and while you are working and on your paid time off. Easter Seals Ontario strictly enforces this policy and has no tolerance for any infractions. If a staff member is caught with alcohol or drugs on site, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs their contract will be terminated immediately.

What is Pre-Camp?
Pre-Camp is a time to prepare for the campers arrival. It is a time to learn the camp routine, get to know each other and to become a working community. This is an intensive week that will take all your energy and concentration. It can also be lots of fun! There is scheduled ‘free time’, but mostly you’ll be in camp working, getting to know each other, learning your responsibilities, planning for the summer and, of course, having fun together. Good preparation means that when the campers arrive, you will be ready. Take some time before you arrive to think about things you can share at camp – stories, games, funny costumes, skits, and songs to teach the group.

Where do I live if I work at camp?
Summer housing is provided for everyone who works at an Easter Seals Ontario camp. If you are a counsellor, you may live in the camper cabin on a rotation basis, the rest of the time you will live in staff housing. These rooms hold 2 – 8 staff in bunk beds. As Easter Seals camps are overnight camps, all staff live on-site.

Do I get any time off while working at camp?
Working at an overnight camp is very hard work and it can be very tiring. You are ‘on duty’ almost 24 hours per day. Most days you will have scheduled free time. The camp sessions are 10 days long and you will have 2 – 3 days off between sessions. Camp employees are encouraged to leave the campsite on their time off. Food is not provided, but there will be an opportunity to go into town to purchase some. If you have a wedding or special event, you should contact the Camp Director prior to the start of camp to request this time off. The Camp Director will do his/her best to accommodate your request.

When do I get paid?
If you are looking to make a fortune, working at a summer camp may not be for you! However, Easter Seals Ontario salaries are competitive with other summer camps. Salaries are based on the position applied for. You will be paid on the 15th and 31st of each month, either via direct deposit or by cheque. You should bring enough money to make it until the first payday, which will be June 30, 2017 for program staff and July 15th, 2017 for counselling staff. You will also receive 4% vacation pay added to each cheque. In addition to your pay, you will receive room and board.

Will I have e-mail access and cell phone coverage?
There are some computers at each camp for staff to use and many staff bring their own laptop computers. Both camps have high-speed Internet access. Cell phone reception is good, with some areas of camp having better coverage than others. Cell phones are to be kept in the staff cabins and can only be used during free time..

If I have any questions, whom do I contact?
You can contact the Easter Seals Ontario Recreation Department directly at 416-421-8377 or 1-800-668-6252 ext. 369 or via e-mail at camp@easterseals.org.