What Is Summer Camp And What Will My Child Do There? 
Why Should I Send My Child To Camp Winston? 
What Is Camp Winston’s Philosophy? 
My Child Has Special Needs In Addition To Neurological Disorders; Can He/She Still Come To Camp? 
How Do I Prepare My Child For Camp? 
What Does It Cost To Send My Child To Camp? 
What Kind Of Medical Care Is Provided For My Child At Camp? 
Who Will Look After The Daily Needs Of My Child? 
Where And What Will My Child Eat At Camp? 
What Are The Facilities Like At Camp? 
Where Will My Child Sleep And Who Will They Live With At Camp? 
How Do I Register My Child For Camp? 
Can I Call My Child Or Can They Call Me While They Are At Camp? 
Can I Visit My Child At Camp? 
Is Your Camp Accredited?

Q. What is summer camp and what will my child do there?

A. Camp Winston is a summer camp for children with complex neurological disorders. It is a place where children can participate in all kinds of activities and learn new skills in a residential camp setting. But more importantly, participating in these activities teaches children problem solving and social skills that they will be able to use in their everyday life whether they are at school, home or play. At camp your child will be given every opportunity possible to participate in the activities. At Camp Winston each camper is challenged at his/her own level and given the chance to achieve personal goals.

Q. Why should I send my child to Camp Winston?

A. There are many good reasons to send your child to camp, but the short answer is that it will be good for both of you. Your child will be in a place where he/she will receive care from skilled and experienced counsellors. Camp Winston will offer your child a chance to discover his/her independence, build self-confidence and establish new friendships with peers. Many of our campers do not know other children with similar diagnoses so Camp helps to connect children with others like them.

The experience will also have tremendous benefits for you. It will provide you with a 2-week break from the care and supervision of your child so that you can spend time with your other children, your spouse or even have time for yourself.

Q. What is Camp Winston’s philosophy?

A. Camp Winston operates a summer recreational program for campers with complex neurological disorders such as learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourettes Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders. We believe in creating a physically and emotionally safe environment where campers are nurtured, respected and challenged to develop both their social and recreational skills. Through our non-denominational and non-competitive program, we foster self-esteem, age-appropriate independence, decision making and negotiation skills.

Our emphasis is on teaching our campers to negotiate sensitively between group and individual needs to create a peaceful and respectful environment where self-esteem can grow. We attempt to teach skills and attitudes that can be generalized successfully to many environments.

Q. My child has special needs in addition to neurological disorders; can he/she still come to camp?

A. We assess each child on an individual basis to determine if there is a good fit for Camp Winston. We can accommodate many different needs (and have done so over our 22 year history) and we will work with you to ensure your camper has a successful experience at camp.

Q. How do I prepare my child for camp?

A. This is a great question and one that does require some thought and preparation. First off, all new campers are visited by two Camp Winston staff members BEFORE camp so that your child will recognize a couple of familiar faces when he/she arrives at camp.

If your child has never been away from home, start with some overnight visits (if possible) with friends and family to see what it will feel like to sleep in another location. Nothing helps children prepare for being away from home than…being away from home.

Q. What does it cost to send my child to Camp?

A. The fees for Camp Winston are $6,000.00 for the two week session. Limited subsidies are available through the Pine Bay Foundation. We strongly encourage families to fundraise to help offset the costs of camp.  Please check the Fees And Subsidies page for details.

Q. What kind of medical care is provided for my child while they are at camp?

A. We have a registered nurse on the camp property at all times and a doctor on call. As well, all of our staff members are trained in First Aid and CPR. We are a 25 minute drive from the local hospital.

If your child requires medication, we ask you to send it with them to camp. Our nurse will ensure that all medication is given at the appropriate time. You can call to speak with the camp nurse at any time.

Q. Who will look after the daily needs of my child?

A. Your child will be cared for by a team of committed and well trained staff. Many of our staff work and/or study in the field of special needs and they are extremely dedicated to our population. Some of our staff have neurological disorders themselves and can relate to our campers on a very personal level. Each staff member is interviewed by our Camp Directors and screened with a police check and personal references. In addition to camp training, each staff member is trained in Non-Crisis Prevention & Intervention, CPR and First Aid. We have a very high return rate for our staff and the senior staff members have been at Camp Winston for many years. We have a 1:1 ratio of camper to staff to ensure all needs are met.

The minimum age of our staff is 18 but the average age is in the mid-twenties.

Q. Where and what will my child eat at Camp?

A. The Camp Winston dining hall is our main gathering space with lots of room for all campers and staff. It provides plenty of space for everyone to enjoy both the food and the social experience at mealtime. We serve nutritious food that is properly prepared and dietetically sound at each of the three daily meals. Virtually all food is made from scratch as we seek to avoid the additives in processed foods.

Meals are served family style with an emphasis on table manners, appropriate table conversation, trying new foods, and general dining etiquette. We do not have assigned seating in our dining hall. This provides our campers the opportunity to sit with friends or siblings in other groups and have a break from their cabin mates if they so wish. Many children choose to eat with their cabin mates when given a choice.

We believe its best to serve healthy food to keep our busy campers and staff properly energized. Breakfasts include meals like French toast, scrambled eggs, hot and cold cereal, and pancakes with sausage. Lunches are often things like grilled cheese sandwiches, chili, macaroni and cheese, and various soups. Dinners include meals like spaghetti, roasts, hot dishes, and stew. Dessert is sometimes served after lunch and dinner; fruit is always available. In addition to the three regular meals our campers also get a bedtime snack. Any time campers are hungry they may ask for healthy food.

Twice a week campers and staff get to choose two treats from our tuck shop. This is bad for physical health, but great for feelings!

Q. What are the facilities like at Camp?

A. Camp Winston is situated on 6 acres of property on Sparrow Lake, just north of Orillia. The buildings are close to each other and the site is easy to navigate. We have a Dining Hall, Gross Motor Room, Arts & Crafts and Drama room as well as other programming spaces. There is an open field for sports, a barn for indoor play, a beach and a wonderful shallow waterfront – perfect for swimming and learning how to navigate a canoe. We also have a boathouse with a large dock for fishing and motorboating.

Q. Where will my child sleep and who will they live with at camp?

A. Campers sleep in large residence buildings. These buildings are equipped with full washrooms including running water, flush toilets and showers. Campers typically sleep 4 to a room. Counselor rooms are typically next door to the campers’ rooms and staff members are available day and night.

Q. How do I register my child for camp?

A. Unfortunately, we have a very long waiting list at Camp Winston. If you think your child may be a fit for our program, we strongly encourage you to put your child’s name on our Waiting List  – even children much younger than camp age. We will contact you to let you know when a spot has become available. Once we have secured a spot for your child, we will send you forms to be completed you, your child and your child’s teacher. Our package also includes a packing list, directions and all other information you will need to prepare for camp.

Q. Can I call my child or can they call me while they are at camp?

A. Yes, each day between 6 and 7 PM campers have a chance to use the phones to call home. If you would like to know how your child is doing you are welcome to call the camp and speak with the Director. We encourage you to write, fax or email your child. Receiving communication from home is a great treat for campers and something that they get excited about. Emails, phone messages and faxes for children are given out at each meal.

Q. Can I visit my child at camp?

A. You are welcome to drop off or pick up your child at camp but there are no visiting days during the session. Camp is a chance for campers to live independently from their parents for 2 weeks and a visit during the session would be disruptive to the program and your child’s time at Camp Winston. Please do not tell your child that you will be visiting or set-up an early pickup before first contacting one of the Directors

Q. Is your camp accredited?

A. Yes, Camp Winston is accredited with the Ontario Camps Association which means we meet over 400 camping and safety standards. For more information contact www.ontariocamps.ca