Preparing for Camp…
To find information on what to bring, what to expect and much more review the Family Information Package found on the camp program page your camper is attending.
Contacting your Camper
We use a summer camp email service called Bunk1. It provides free contact with campers (called bunk notes) on a limited basis, and the option to purchase extra bunk notes for families wishing to have more regular contact.
Click here for more information on Bunk1.
The Invitation Code for YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island: Camp Thunderbird is: B1THUNDER
Welcome to the Camp Thunderbird Summer Camp Community
At Camp Thunderbird Summer Camp, our programs are tied together by use of our natural environment, positive and encouraging relationships and human powered recreation. Summer campers learn about teamwork, independence, making choices, social skills, responsibility, ability to take risks and realize personal limits, and finding their place in the world. This allows children and youth to belong, grow, thrive and lead. The benefits of this in life are many but most notable are the increased self-esteem, confidence, creativity, self-sufficiency and leadership skills.
The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island Outdoor Centre and Camp Thunderbird is committed to providing quality outdoor experiences that support healthy growth and development of young people. We invest significant resources to create programs that provide these benefits to our participants without exposing them to unacceptable hazards.
Participants and their families should be aware of the risks involved in participating in camp programs and accept that by participating they are taking those risks. Please take the time to review this summary of risks and our risk management approach. Risks will vary for each program, so we ask that you also take the time to review the information provided about each program.
At summer camp, children and youth spend time outdoors at our Y Outdoor Centre and on off-site out trips. Our youngest campers come to the Outdoor Centre for Day Camp or week-long overnight camps. As they get older, the length of stay can go up to 9 or 12 days, and youth in Grades 9-11 participate in our Adventure or Leadership Development programs.
While at camp, participants learn outdoor skills such as canoeing, kayaking, orienteering, archery, rock climbing, nature and environmental programming, hiking and camping (not all ages do all activities). They also practice group and community living through games, teambuilding initiatives, high and low ropes courses and creative programming. The experience is rounded out by sharing meal times, singing together at camp fire and practicing the “7 Secrets” of Camp Thunderbird: caring, sharing, teamwork, friendship, responsibility, honesty, respect.
Camper wellness is critical to a rewarding experience at camp. Here are some of the things we do to make sure our campers are physically and emotionally safe.
Medical Staff Program
Each week during the summer a doctor or nurse live at camp with their family. Our medical staff support our counselors and supervisory staff in identifying and treating camper illnesses or injuries.
All Camp Thunderbird programs are run according to the British Columbia Camping Association safety accreditation standards. There standards apply to staff, equipment and procedures. More information can be found at http://www.bccamping.org/index.php.
First Aid Training
All Camp Thunderbird counselors are trained in Standard First Aid and CPR C and each cabin counseling team carries a well stocked first aid kits at all times. All of our multi-day off site outtrips are lead by a staff member certified in Wilderness First Aid.
All camper medications brought to camp are checked in with our Wellness Coordinator. Medication taken on a regular basis is kept with a supervisor and given at appropriate times. Emergency medications such as inhalers or epinephrine injections are kept either with the camper, or in staff first aid kits that stay with the group. Any time a medication is given the staff and camper initial a tracking form so there is a clear record of the medication being given.
Over the Counter Medications
Camp Thunderbird stocks basic over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antihistamines, cough syrup, throat lozenges, and upset stomach relief medications. We encourage families not to send these medications to camp with their campers. We will always do our best to make contact with guardians to get permission before administering medications, however if we are unable to make contact our manager may decide to administer the medication under the advice of our medical staff.
Camp Thunderbird’s wellness centre has three beds, a three-piece bathroom and living quarters for staff to stay in. If a camper is sick for a short duration they can rest in the wellness centre and are cared for by a staff member who is always nearby. If a camper is sick for a longer period we may ask that they be brought home to recover.
Challenge by Choice
Camp Thunderbird operates on a challenge by choice philosophy. Our campers learn and grow by trying things that may be new, challenging or even a little intimidating. Achieving something they didn’t think they could do can be immensely rewarding. However we never want a camper to be out of their comfort zone. All challenges at Camp Thunderbird are optional and the decision of how far they want to push themselves is in the hands of the campers.
Camp Thunderbird does not tolerate bullying; all Thunderbird counselors are required to report any incidences of bullying to their supervisor so they can help ensure it is dealt with properly. If bullying does occur we engage all campers involved in working to make sure it does not happen again.
A lot of campers get homesick, especially their first time at camp. We train our staff on how to help campers with homesickness and most of the time it can be overcome quite easily. Many campers leave camp very proud of how well they have overcome their homesickness. If a camper is repeatedly or seriously homesick we will contact the parents to let them know and seek their advice in helping the camper through it.
Camp Thunderbird’s kitchen strives to meet a balance between taste, nutrition, the right portions, dietary needs and food that will be enjoyed by kids and adults.
Dietary Needs (Day camp sleepover and overnight camp)
Camp Thunderbird’s kitchen can accommodate most dietary needs and allergies. At any given time our kitchen typically prepares, in addition to our regular menu, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant and Celiac-friendly menus. We do not use nut products in our kitchen. If your camper has a dietary need or allergy please indicate this on their registration in the section provided. If you have any questions or concerns about your camper’s diet we would love to hear from you.
A typical day of food in the dining hall
Cabin groups sit at a round table together and eat family style. Food is served in large serving dishes and campers control what goes on their plate (and in meals like sandwiches, what fillings they use). Counselors monitor what campers are eating to ensure they are getting the right amount of food.
Here are a few examples of food that is served in the dining hall on a regular basis:
all breakfasts are accompanied by a buffet with hot and cold cereal, yogurt and fruit, as well as juice
Scrambled Eggs and Hashbrowns
Scrambled Eggs and English Muffins
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Homemade Vegetable Soup
Hamburgers with Homemade Vegetable Soup
Macaroni and Cheese with Carrot and Celery Sticks
Beef Burritos (with lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa)
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread and Caesar Salad
Baked Chicken Breast, Rice and Peas
Baked Ham, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Lasagna and Dinner Rolls
Beef and Bean Chili with Corn Bread
Homemade Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
A typical day of food while on out-trip
Camp Thunderbird’s outtrips are 2 to 14 days long and may be hiking or paddling trips. The type of trip dictates how much weight you can carry and how much preparation time a meal can take. Meals can vary from quickly cooking some dried ingredients to elaborately prepared meals with lots of fresh ingredients. Here are a few examples of what food might look like on outtrip.
Cream of Wheat
Bagels with toppings*
Tortillas with toppings*
Crackers with toppings*
Chick pea salad
*Toppings are generally a few of: jam, cream cheese, tuna, cheese, hummus, peanut butter (only on trips that are off of Thunderbird property when no one in the group has an allergy).
Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
Vegetable Stew with Couscous
Macaroni and Cheese
Lost and Found items are displayed outside the dining hall during the session and are available for review by parents on pick-up days. Lost and Found items are kept at camp for 14 days after the session ends and are then donated to charity unless you fill out our Lost and Found request form and a staff member will check the lost and found for you. If the item is found, we will contact you and make arrangements to hold it for you at camp until September 15, 2017 at the latest. This will give you time to get to camp during our office hours for collection. We will not be able to transport items into Victoria or Langford in 2017.
The best ways to help us reduce the amount of lost and found is to talk to your camper about keeping track of his or her things before getting to camp and putting your camper’s name on anything brought to camp.