- How long has Tamarack been around for? Tamarack was a boy scout camp in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but the current co-ed camp began in 1981.
- Who makes up the Leadership team of Tamarack? The Leadership Team oversees all campers, staff and activities at camp and includes Rick and Ellen Howard (Owners/Directors), Danny Goodman (Assistant Camp Director), and Mitchell Pichosky (Camp Administrator/Business Manager). Our Leadership Team also includes our Head Counsellor, Head of Activities, Program Director and Wellness Coordinator.
- How do I register my child for camp? Registering camper(s) is straightforward on our easy-to-use online registration. If a family has any questions regarding any aspect of camp or the registration process, parents are welcome to call or email our office or to speak to one of the Camp Directors.
- How do I pay for camp? The Camp fee can be paid by cash, cheque or VISA/Mastercard. There are a few different payment schedules that families can choose that best meet their needs.
- Are there discounts available? Our website makes clear the various discounts available which include: Pay By Cheque/Cash (i.e. not by credit card), Early Registration (for registering by mid-October), Alumni (for children of alumni staff), Referral (for referring new campers), Loyalty (for a returning camper), Pay in Full and Sibling (for the second, third, etc. camper).
- What kind of electronics are allowed? Tamarack has a “No Screen” Policy which essentially requires parents to ensure that their campers have a break from technology and an opportunity to be independent. Campers are allowed to bring music and camera devices that do not have Wi-Fi for use at certain times.
- Can I send packages? You can send a package in the equivalent of a 10 x 13 envelope that contains little or no food (i.e. gum, hard candies, magazines, letters, etc.). Please do not send excessive amounts of food at any time as the campers are well fed and food in the cabins creates a mess and can attract animals.
- What happens if my child is homesick? We work hard to make every camper comfortable and feel at home. We support and encourage them and, if need be, seek advice from parents as our “partners in camping”. Please never tell your child that he/she can come home if homesick. In the vast majority of cases, campers who are homesick, with encouragement, become “camp well”.
- What happens if my child wants to extend? While subject to availability, we welcome campers to extend their stays at camp because it means the campers are happy and want more Tamarack! Please try to keep your children’s summer plans flexible so that they are able to extend.
- How do I communicate with my child while at camp?
- Bunk 1 – This is a service whereby you can write a letter even once a day that we will print off and deliver to the applicable camper, usually within 24 hours.
- Letter/postcard – Campers still love receiving “snail mail” and letters and postcards are the only way campers can contact you. Please send sufficient stationary and postage.
- No phones – Campers are neither allowed to have and use phones nor to receive calls from you. We want your campers to enjoy being independent and self-sufficient. We will contact you if necessary (and within 72-96 hours regarding a new camper update).
- How does my child get to camp?
- Coach bus – We provide air-conditioned coach bus transportation to and from camp at the beginning and end of regular sessions (we do use school buses for certain camp trips).
- Drop off by parent/guardian – Parents/guardians may drop off or pick up their camper(s) from camp as long as the office is notified in advance and there is agreement as to timing.
- International campers ideally arrive on regular starting dates and leave on regular departure dates of Tamarack sessions. We recognize that some campers, however, will (with agreement of the Camp) require customized dates of arrival and departure (for which there is an extra charge for airport pickup and drop-off). Campers are supervised from the time they arrive until the time they depart.
- Who are your staff and where do they come from? Many of our staff grew up at Tamarack, including having been trained under our leadership program. Other committed and excellent staff have been with us for multiple years and we are also happy to welcome new staff every year to enhance our team. Our staff are thoroughly interviewed, reference checked and provide police checks (as applicable). We have many Toronto/Canadian staff, but are delighted to welcome various staff from around the world, including England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain, Mexico, South America, etc.
- What qualifications, certifications and experience do your staff have? The main qualification that all staff must have is a love of nurturing and supporting children. Our waterfront staff require various up to date swim qualifications and other activity staff require certifications and/or experience teaching in their designated activities. We also encourage as many staff as possible to be qualified in Standard First Aid/CPR-C.
- What type of training does the staff get before and after the campers arrive? The staff all participate in up to a week of training to ensure they are prepared to deal with various campers, behavioural, safety, supervision and other issues. All staff also review our updated Staff Manual thoroughly prior to beginning work. Staff receive ongoing formal and informal evaluations and the Camp regularly meets with the staff individually and as a whole to do further professional development and to review common issues that arise.
- Who makes up the Health Team? Doctor, 2 RNs or RPNs, 2 Health Care Providers, all overseen by Ellen Howard, Camp Director, who are at camp and always on call.
- What do I do if my child has medication? Labelled prescriptions and over-the-counter medication are sent in advance with baggage (or on the bus) to our Health Team which follows instructions and organizes the dispensing of such medication to each designated camper.
- What happens if my child has to sleep overnight in the Health Centre? If the Health Centre deems it necessary for your camper to spend the night out of necessity or an abundance of caution, parents will be informed by one of our medical personnel.
- Where is the nearest hospital? We are fortunate that the excellent Bracebridge Hospital is only an 8-10 minute drive from our campsite. While not needed often, our camp driver and another staff member will transport the affected camper (or, where necessary, an ambulance will be called)
- Who watches my child at night? Counsellors and some activity staff assigned to your child’s cabin sleep in a cubicle adjacent to the camper accommodations and are always available and more than willing to help any child who may need assistance. In order that cabin staff get breaks after lights out, staff on a rotational basis sit “night duty” at a fire pit centrally located in the unit where they are always available if needed, but also visit each cabin regularly to check on the campers.
- What is the food like? In a word, delicious! We are proud that our “all you can eat” food is kid-friendly, yummy and meets the needs of those with different diets. There is always choice and a good We are proud of and very much appreciate the feedback (pun intended) that we receive about our catering team and the food they provide!
- What if my child has a food allergy? We can meet the needs of almost any dietary restriction . Our nut restricted environment and menu allows us to provide good and safe food for those with allergies and sensitivities. We are happy to discuss how we can best meet the needs of our staff and campers in this regard.
- Where is the camp located? The Camp is located on a large private property on a pristine private lake in Bracebridge Ontario in the heart of Muskoka, approximately 2 hours north of Toronto.
- What do the cabins and washrooms/shower houses look like? All cabins and washrooms/shower houses are wood structures with electricity and hot and cold running water. We have worked hard over the years to rebuild and renovate our facilities, including having replaced all open shower facilities with individual shower stalls. We are excited to have now built four new camper cabins over the past couple of years and look forward to replacing other older cabins over subsequent summers.
- What activities do you have at camp? We have an amazing array of land (sports, ropes and climb, martial arts, etc), water (water skiing, wakeboarding, flyboarding, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, beach, etc.) and arts activities (theatre, multimedia, cooking, arts and crafts, dance, etc.) with corresponding excellent equipment and facilities. Please click here for a fuller description of the range and types of activities.
- What does the daily schedule look like? An overview of the regular Monday to Saturday schedule can be seen by clicking here and consists of 3 meals, an afternoon snack, rest hours, evening programs, free time and 5 daily activities.
- What is unique about Tamarack’s schedule? Along with each cabin rotating through various land, water and arts activities during 2 cabin periods each day, campers at Tamarack have the unique opportunity to specialize in 2 “choice activities” (Monday to Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday cycle). Campers also receive a daily swim school calibre instructional swim lesson. “Super Sunday” is an exciting change of pace with a sleep-in, buffet breakfast and open activities (themed programs).
- What special programs do you offer? Tamarack World Games is a highlight during First Session where each camper is part of one of 4 teams( France, India, Italy and Japan) during an exciting day of fun competition and spirit. Campers also enjoy a themed Second Session all-day along with various special events such as Carnival Day, Tennis Marathon, 2 Midnight Madness programs, socials, beach parties, dance/music/video shows, musical theatre productions and more!
- Are there any teams my child can join? There are teams, leagues and fun competition within camp.
- Do you have Intercamp competitions? There are sports/dance and other teams that play/compete against other camps.
- What is your Leadership/CIT program like? The Elder leadership program is for 15- and 16-year-old campers (finishing Grades 9 and 10) and provides a great transition from being regular campers to learning to become effective Placements on cabins and activities, leadership seminars, group activities and bonding, a 3-day, 2-night white water rafting trip, and so much more, provide these leadership campers with a tremendous foundation and confidence whereby many become our future staff.
- What does the Swim test consist of?
The swim test is intended to be an attainable test of swimming abilities. The required swimming distance will vary for campers depending on the unit they are in. A camper and staff can retake the swim test as many times as they want. Swim Test
– Enter the shallow water by slipping in from the dock- Front swim 1 box of the swim area in shallow water (approx. 4 lengths or 15 meters)- Back swim 1 box of the swim area in shallow water (approx. 4 lengths or 15 meters)- Get out of the water and walk to another box which is slightly deeper than the first box- Jump or roll into the water
– Tread water for 1 minute ensuring the head and ears are out of the water
- Why do campers and staff members need to take a swim test?
- We want to ensure that each camper has the required level of swimming proficiency necessary to be independent in and around the water and to participate safely and independently in various water-based activities. Campers can attempt the swim test multiple times if not initially successful. Swim staff are happy to assist campers to build success and confidence throughout the summer.
- Describe the instructional swim program?
- Each camper participates in a daily high-quality, effective ratio swim school caliber swim lesson. Camp Tamarack is committed to building safe and proficient swimmers and lifeguards/instructors.
The health and safety of the Tamarack community is always our paramount concern. After consultation with our leadership team, medical team and other experts, along with information and guidance from Public Health and the Ontario Camps Association, Camp Tamarack will require for Summer 2023 that all campers, staff and visitors be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The government-approved vaccinations must be received at least 14 days before the applicable start date of the individual in question and proof of vaccination will be required. Any requests for exemptions will be reviewed and considered by Tamarack’s Directors and medical team on a case by case basis.