FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We know sending your child to camp can generate a lot of questions. Take a few moments to read through the information below.

Family Information Packages (including packing lists)

FAMILY INFORMATION PACKAGES 2023

Information in these booklets are updated each year, and all of the information is vital for your camper(s) to have a successful experience. These information booklets include packing lists for each camp. Please read carefully even if you have been to camp before! Life at camp is different from the routines and patterns of home. Taking the time to talk with your camper(s) about their upcoming experience is an important step in preparing. Setting a positive tone and clarifying expectations can really help your child make the adjustment. In doing this, your child will make the most of their Camp Thunderbird experience.

Camp Program
Day Camps Click here for 2023
3 & 5 Day Base Camps Click here for 2023 – updated May 23, 2023
5 Day Quest Camps Click here for 2023 – updated May 23, 2023
9 & 12 Day Quest Camps Click here for 2023 – updated May 23, 2023
Leadership Development Click here for 2023 – updated May 23, 2023
Ages and Grades

All camps are based on the grade completed in June of the current school year. The age range is wide to capture those children who started Kindergarten either at 4 or 6 years.  At this time, we can not accommodate children who have not completed Kindergarten.

Camper Care

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.

Safety Standards
All Camp Thunderbird programs are run according to the British Columbia Camping Association accreditation standards. Their standards apply to staff, equipment and procedures.

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 kit at all times. All of our multi-day off-site outtrips are led by a staff member certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Camper Medications
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, 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.

Wellness Centre
Camp Thunderbird’s health centre has three beds, a three-piece bathroom and living quarters for staff to stay in. If a camper is unwell for a short duration they can rest in the wellness centre and are cared for by a staff member who is always nearby. Campers showing signs of communicable disease will rest at the wellness center until they can be picked up.

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.

Camper Conflict
Camp Thunderbird does not tolerate dangerous or abusive behaviour; counselors will work with campers, supervisors and managers to resolve conflict in a respectful way. If this cannot be achieved, campers will be removed from program and parents will be contacted. Campers who do not or cannot meet behaviour expectations will have to be dismissed from the program.

Homesickness
Homesickness is common at sleep-away camps, especially for first time at campers. 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.

Contacting My Camper

Telephone

No phone is available for campers to regularly make or receive calls while at camp. If you would like to speak with the Summer Program Manager for any reason, please feel free to phone the Y Outdoor Centre.

Bunk1 Bunknotes

Parents can send notes to their children using the Bunk1 Bunknotes system. BunkNotes are printed once per day, but daily delivery is not guaranteed. Instructions on how to send a Bunk Notes are in the Family Information Booklet.

We do not have the infrastructure for campers to send bunknotes home, nor is a phone available for campers to regularly make or receive calls while at camp. If you would like to speak with the camp staff for any reason, please feel free to phone the Y Outdoor Centre.

Food at Camp

Day Campers need to bring a water bottle, snacks and a hearty lunch.  Campers can not share food. We are a nut free camp.  Overnight campers eat family style in the dining hall. More details can be found in the Family Information Packages.

Updating Information Provided During Registration

UPDATING REGISTRATION QUESTIONS

We understand that things change in the time between registration and attending camp. Most information can be updated online at your convenience. Please note, some questions will be locked as camp dates approach.   To do this:
• Log into your online account here.
• Go to “My Account” and just underneath your name and address, you will see a link “Change Answers to Questions”. Click on this link and the Questions and Answers for All Family Members
will appear.
• Choose the camper you wish to review -click on View and Modify.
• Choose the camp you’ve enrolled your camper in.
• Review the answers/make any necessary changes.
• Click Save.
• Log out of your account.

Camp Drop Off and Pick Up

DROP OFF/PICK UP TIMES & TRANSPORTATION
Camper Drop Off Time

Times listed below are bus departure times, and buses do not wait for late participants. PLEASE ARRIVE 15 MINUTES EARLY to allow for health screening and bus loading. Guardians need to stay until the bus departs.


Camp Program Driven by Car to Camp By Bus from the Downtown Y By Bus from the Westhills Y
All Camps 9:00am 8:00am 8:30am

Camper Pick Up Time

Traffic on Fridays can be especially heavy please give yourself ample time to arrive. Late parent/guardian arrival further delays our bus service.Westhills: Bus arrives between 4:20-4:30 and continues downtown at 4:30 sharp. Children not picked up by 4:30 will remain on the bus and travel downtown.


Camp Program Driven by Car at Camp By Bus to the Downtown Y By Bus to the Westhills Y
Day Camp 3:45pm 5:15pm 4:20-4:30pm
Overnight Camp 2:30pm 5:15pm 4:20-4:30pm

Inclusion Support at Camp Thunderbird

Inclusion Support at Camp Thunderbird

The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island has partnered with Island Health to provide additional inclusion support workers to assist in making camp accessible to campers who require support for their mobility, disability, or neurodivergence in order to participate. We have two supported spaces available each week, one of which is in day camp (the other can be day or overnight camp). Inclusion support workers are additional staff to our normal 1:5 or 1:4 ratios and work to provide modifications or adaptations for campers who require support. A guardian/parent phone call with a camp manager is required to discuss care/inclusion planning, and assessment of best fit. Campers need to be able to follow basic safety instructions.

If your camper would benefit from having an additional support worker, please reach out to Hana Kucera at hkucera@vancouverislandy.ca. Selecting the inclusion support worker option during registration does not guarantee availability of an inclusion worker for your selected week – this must be confirmed with a manager. Please email as soon as you have registered.

All Gender Groups - Day Camp

All Gender Groups – Day Camp

Day camp groups are not separated by gender. During the optional overnight, primary/junior campers sleep in tents in the dining hall, and tent groups are arranged based on camper preference, with support from camp staff. Camp staff sleep just outside of the tents. Senior campers sleep in a yurt, supervised by staff.

All Gender Cabins - Overnight Camp

All Gender Cabins – Overnight Camp

Campers and staff stay together and participate in everything together. Cabin/sleeping space is shared (not separated by gender), and all activities are together. There are change room options of all-gender, male and female. Cabins (if equipped) and the shower house have individual shower stalls. Bathrooms around camp are individual stalls (so for any gender).
All staff are trained in inclusion principles, and value respect and care highly. Each cabin has 2 camp counsellors, and we try to ensure that all-gender cabins have diversity of counsellor gender. While not always possible, we try not to have those cabins staffed by 2 people of the same gender.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Did your camper lose something at camp?  Complete the form below. One of our staff members will look for your lost item and get back to you IF they find it. If you don’t hear back from us, it means that we looked and were unsuccessful.

Lost and Found Form

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 15th at the latest. This will give you time to get to camp during our office hours for collection. We do not transport items to Victoria or Langford.

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.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

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