Partnering with Parents: Instagram & Social Media Safety

Dear Manitou Parents,

Manitou has always taken great pride in partnering with our parents and the entire Manitou community. We hold many Manitou Cares events at camp and in the city, bringing in guest speakers to discuss pressing issues surrounding our youth.  A few years ago, a renowned physician from the US joined us to talk about the concerns and risks of social media and how to place appropriate controls on your children at a young age.

“TECH FREE ZONE- the best connection is right here.” This reminder, posted all over camp and on every cabin, was the theme of Summer 2018 at Manitou. Most of our campers will admit that they love being able to check out of the instant communication world and talk in real time. It lowers their stress levels and allows them to be engaged in the world around them. That’s one of the many things that makes camp so great!

Though social media has, undoubtedly, become a large part of our world, cyberbullying is a very real problem. Instagram in particular, one of the most popular platforms, has a significant flaw: users can set up accounts at any age without verification of identity. Imagine how easy it is to set up a fraudulent account using someone else’s name and photo and send out messages under this assumed identity? It is important to know that Instagram has no legal obligation to investigate fraudulent accounts to see who created them, leaving users without any recourse.  This form of identity theft or slander can also occur by hacking into another user’s account. In fact, we know of a few cases where someone else assumed a Manitou camper’s identity without permission. We urge you to continue educating your kids about digital awareness. Make sure they know to be aware of concerning content on their Instagram feed, understand that it may not be from the person they think it is, and know that its always important to question anything they see that doesn’t seem right. Please encourage them to come to you if they receive alarming or negative messaging, even if they are embarrassed to talk about it.

It is easy to forget that online actions have real world repercussions, especially for a child. When kids have multiple Instagram accounts, not only are they likely spending too much time on social media, they may also be representing different versions of themselves to a wide audience, unaware of the potential negative impact this could have.

Kindly take a few minutes to read the article below. It’s a rapidly changing world and while you may be aware of what your kids are doing on social media, it can be tough to keep up. We encourage you to keep the dialogue open about the risks surrounding social media and don’t be reluctant to let your child know that placing limits on their technology use is healthy.  After all, that time away from social media is one of the reasons why camp is so great, let’s remind them of this and work together to make social media a positive space for everyone.


We beat the heat yesterday with a water-filled carnival

All year long, we look forward to the summer heat. But once it gets here, we realize how draining it can be! That’s why at camp we always put special emphasis on the old refrain of “hats, sunscreen and plenty of water.”

Yesterday’s temps got up pretty high, but we saw hats galore, and our staff were extra vigilant about keeping the kids SPF-covered and hydrated. What’s more, we made it all worthwhile by turning the afternoon into a giant outdoor carnival!

For one summer day each season, Manitou’s main field is awash with colour and sound as bouncing inflatable castles, slides and obstacles courses take over the green. Kids can joust, groove to music, munch on carnival snacks like popcorn and candy floss…. and most importantly, cool off with sno-cones and shaded rest areas.

After an afternoon of carnival games and an outdoor dinner, everyone was ushered into the hangar for a massive dance party. We didn’t think we’d ever top last week’s float parade, but Spirit’s DJs stayed true to their name, keeping kids hyped until their respective units’ last songs were played and they ambled off to bed.

And while we may not have a carnival for every hot day at camp, a cooling dip in Lake Manitouwabing is never more than a few steps away.

Warm, warm wishes,

Manny Moose & the entire Manitou Family

Immunizations and Camp

We would like to share with you an excellent article on the new nasal flu vaccine to help assist you as the fall flu season approaches.  This is also an appropriate time to remind you of our camp policy on immunization especially in light of the fact that so many campers, staff and families travel so much and can be exposed in today’s world to so many viruses. We strongly support the use of vaccines for immunization as they prevent serious illnesses and save lives. As camp directors, our effort to ensure a safe and healthy environment at camp includes health promotion, of which immunization is a key component. It is our obligation to protect the health of your child and those from the broader community that may interact with our camp population. By doing so, we align ourselves with school boards, the provincial and federal Minister of Health and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

We request that all campers (and staff) at camp have received the recommended immunization program and that every parent/guardian (and staff) “triple check” their records to confirm all immunizations are up to date.  Our goal is to help partner with you to keep your children and families as safe as possible, whether your children attend camp or not.  In lieu of that we are enclosing a helpful article on the new nasal spray flu vaccine so you will have a better idea which flu vaccine is the best option for your child. 

Click on the link to read more about which flu vaccine to give to your child:

We trust that (as always) our approach places your child’s health and safety as the number one priority all year long. 

Mark and Jeff

Anaphylaxis alert – Allerject Recall

Sanofi–aventis Canada Inc., in consultation with Health Canada, is recalling all lots of Allerject (0.15 mg/0.15mL and 0.3 mg/0.3 mL strength epinephrine auto-injectors) from the Canadian market. A similar recall is taking place in the United States, where it’s sold as Auvi-Q. I contacted Food Allergy Canada and they indicated that this recall is a voluntary recall from the company which shows how cautious they are being.  

This is the second recall of this product this year.  As someone that has a child with a peanut allergy – this concerns me greatly and for now on we will make sure our own child has at least one EpiPen until we see a full year of no recalls of this product.  You should consult with your doctor if you should still be using Allerject for the future.  This is a personal decision.

At camp we still use EpiPens because until we see a new product out with no issues for quite some time we feel its the safest approach.  No doubt they will improve this product as it is so convenient but for now we will be taking a cautious approach.


Mark Diamond

Camp Director