Program Philosophy

Program Philosophy

Whether you’re an athlete, an artist, an outdoor adventurer or all of the above, there’s an activity for you at Manitou.

One of the things that makes Manitou unique and exciting is that campers, with the help of their parents, are able to create their own personal activity schedule out of 32 different sports, arts and outdoor adventure programs to choose from. This way, every camper gets to experience their summer exactly the way they want to. At Manitou it doesn’t matter if you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, our activity instructors tailor the activity to meet your interests and experience level. We ensure that everyone receives the same special attention and quality instruction so that all of our activities are fun for everyone.

In order to make sure that each camper has the most positive experience possible, our counsellors assist with the creation of their schedules and monitor their program choices throughout the summer. Staff also take attendance at every period to ensure campers are busy and always safe. And of course nothing is set in stone—schedule changes can be made weekly throughout the summer so everyone can find their right fit.

Freshkid Program

(6-9 year olds)

The Freshkids are our youngest campers between the ages of 6-9 (Grade 1, 2 and 3) Our return rate is over 95% for these campers because with over 200 staff in camp we have the ability to supervise their every move. With just eight kids maximum in a cabin you can only imagine the attention and supervision from their three member counsellor/ CIT team.

A happy camper is the result of more than just excellent programming. It comes from a safe, vibrant community of campers and staff who learn to respect each other and their environment. Manitou offers a uniquely nurturing environment organized with care to provide the support, supervision and structure that these younger campers need to flourish. The Freshkids unit is together at the face of girls camp so that the cabins are close to main camp making it easier to return to their cabin if they forget something. The cabins are very near the senior girls who often become Freshkid buddys visiting the Freshkids. Cabin numbers are kept small so these children can be taken care of carefully every hour of the day. A counselor always takes

Freshkids can stay for as short as two weeks with an option to stay for the remainder of the session.  Our most successful experiences occur when kids stay longer than two week because  the depth of relationships and the vital sense of connection to becoming  a part of something bigger is greatly enhanced with the longer session. As well the “3.5 week session” allows time for proper skill development in both activity and social areas, instilling confidence among the younger campers. At the same time we recognize some freshkids run out of gas after two weeks so we have to carefully manage each child’s needs as the summer progresses.

We believe it is important for children to be exposed to new experiences and activities where children can feel comfortable but also challenge themselves, and develop new skills while advancing in their current areas of interest.

After touring the camp and meeting all of our activity heads, campers sit down with their counsellors on the first night of camp to pick the activities they wish to have on their schedule but any instructions given by parents regarding their activity choices are placed in their schedule before they get there.

your child to and from activities and the three person counselor/ CIT team is there for  your child at wake up, meals, rest hour, evening programs and bedtime.

Campers are placed at each activity with their friends, cabin mates and peer group.  Campers (or parents) can also  make specific requests to do an activity with a sibling, cousin or friend. Throughout the session, counsellors will continue to monitor each camper’s program choices keeping in mind both what the parent has requested as well. Staff will encourage activity changes each week especially if they feel it will help give the child a more positive experience while always following any parent input that has been received by the camp. Parents receive in the spring an activity form  whereby they can give us specific instructions regarding the activity choices they want for their child- and this information is passed on to both activity heads, counselors and unitheads. Schedule changes are made by each cabin weekly.

Part of the Freshkid day is spent within their cabin group with two periods a day dedicated to their cabin group. The first period of the day allows your child to participatein a host of activities such as land sports, water sport, arts (visual, theatre, dance etc), and outdoor adventure activities. The goal is to expose your child to all as many types of activities of possible.  Of course, cabins will all try their first canoe trip or camp-out. Freshkids also swim daily. Campers also create their own schedule choosing three  activities each day, often with friends from their own cabin, unit or with a brother or sister. Evening programs are tailor made for this age group and may include “paint your counselor”, “food games” or a “treasure hunt”, making them the highlight of a wonderful day.

Freshkid counselors understand the physical needs of this age group whether reapplying sunscreen, having campers wear hats, making sure they get enough sleep or meeting them one on one to make sure they are feeling secure and comfortable. Each night, counselors guide children through bedtime routines, with stories, snuggles and quiet conversations, to ensure happy, healthy, well adjusted children. Since many “Fresh Kids” are first time campers, we contact all parents within the first five  days of camp to report on their child’s experience. Of course, parents can call us at anytime!

If your child is new to Manitou he/she will be welcomed by last year’s campers and the Manitou culture is one of inclusion and reaching out.  In fact on the second day of camp former first year campers of all ages speak to the entire camp about why their first year was so special and remind the  camp  what it truly  means to be part of the Manitou family; to make concerted efforts to reach out to the new campers every step of the way. Every Freshkid is given a Manitou moose to cuddle with in their bed at night.

Sophomore Program

(10 & 11 year olds)

The Sophomores are a mix of returning freshkids and new campers. Campers are finishing grade 3 and 4 and campers are placed with children in the same birth year. (Our return rate is over 95% for these campers because with over 200 staff in camp we have the ability to supervise their every move. You can only imagine the attention and supervision from their three member counsellor/ CIT, team.

A happy camper is the result of more than just excellent programming. It comes from a safe, vibrant community of campers and staff who learn to respect each other and their environment. Manitou offers a uniquely nurturing environment organized with care to provide the support, supervision and structure that these younger campers need to flourish. Cabin numbers are kept small- on average eight to ten campers if they are first campers- so these children can be carefully supervised throughout the day. A Counselor always takes your child to and from activities and the three person counselor CIT team is there for  your child at wake up, meals, rest hour, evening programs and bedtime. Campers are given a personal tour on  the first day and staff will take your child to and from each activity until they are ready to go with their friends.

First time Sophomore campers which usually make up about 60% of the campers are given that extra attention. As a result the counsellors and the office review every Sophomore’s activity schedule and make sure they are doing the activities they or their parents requested and that most importantly they are placed with the kids they wish to be with at each activity. Of course every camper is met with one on one to ensure they are feeling comfortable and their needs are being met.

After touring the camp and meeting all of our activity heads, campers sit down with their counsellors on the first night of camp to pick the activities they wish to have on their schedule but any instructions given by parents regarding their activity choices are placed in their schedule before they get there.

Campers create their own schedule choosing up to five activities each day, often with friends from their own cabin, unit or with a brother or sister. Sophomores are encouraged to try all types of activities, from land sports, to water sport, arts, and outdoor adventure activities. In addition sophomores take swimming every other day as part of their schedule of activities. It’s easy for campers of this age to gravitate to what they know or are good at but at Manitou we want your child to try activities they have not been exposed to as well. We believe it is important for children to be exposed to new experiences and activities where children can feel comfortable but also challenge themselves, and develop new skills while advancing in their current areas of interest.

Of course, campers are encouraged to all go out on a short canoe trip and these are very popular in this age group.

The sophomore  section of camp is divided between boys camp and girls camp and evening programs are sometimes combined with both girls and boys while other nights we keep them separate. Evening programs are tailor made for this age group and may include “paint your counselor”, “food games” or “air bands”, making them the highlight of a wonderful day.

In addition twice a week cabin nights called bunk nights are planned out with fun activities such as crazy games, tubing or a camp fire.

Sophomore counselors understand the physical needs of this age group whether reapplying sunscreen, having campers wear hats, making sure they get enough sleep or meeting them one on one to make sure they are feeling secure and comfortable. Each night, counselors guide children through bedtime routines, with stories, snuggles and quiet conversations, to en

sure happy, healthy, well adjusted children. Since many Sophomores can  be first time campers, we contact all parents within the first five days of camp to report on their child’s experience. Of course, parents can call us at anytime!

If your child is new to Manitou he/she will be welcomed by last year’s campers and the Manitou culture is one of inclusion and reaching out.  In fact on the second day of camp former first year campers of all

ages speak to the entire camp about why their first year was so special and remind the  camp  what it truly  means to be part of the Manitou family ; to make concerted efforts to reach out to the new campers every step of the way.

Junior Program

(12 & 13 year olds)

In the Junior section (campers finishing grade six and seven )  it’s a hub of activity but the difference is all of that activity occurs outside of the cabin rather than hanging in the cabin for some or much of the day.    We are proud to say we have an incredible track record with campers going to their activities routinely and we take attendance so if someone misses an activity we know and can talk to them.  Junior campers love going to their activities because at this age many start to do their favourite activities every day or even twice a day. At the same time we encourage them to do new activities, ones they have never tried before.  In fact many campers at this age now have the self confidence to try things they hesitated to do when they were younger.

If your child is new to camp they will feel part of the Manitou family within minutes of getting on the bus as the Manitou family   attracts many new  campers of this age from other camps because of our inclusive and diverse culture.  New campers are considered special and even before the summer starts campers are emailing new campers to welcome

them. As soon as they are off the bus campers are welcoming  the new kids, carrying  their bags and giving them a personal tour. In fact on the second day of camp former first year campers of all ages speak to the entire camp about why their first year was so special and remind everyone the importance of reaching out to the new campers in their cabin and in their section; to make concerted efforts for the new campers every step of the way.

Although swimming like any activity is optional at this age, some campers take their bronze med or  bronze cross at camp especially in the grade seven  year while others can choose to take swim lessons. It’s a fun way to get their swimming qualifications.  Campers are also encouraged to go on canoe trips that range from three nights to ten days!   Parents’ instructions are once again followed to make sure that if you want to ensure your child is doing a certain activity that it’s on their schedule!

The Junior section of camp is divided between boys camp and girls camp. During evening programs usually boy and girls spend it together but its not unusual to also have separate girl and boy nights which the kids love. All evening activities however are cabin vs cabin unless it’s a social outing around a camp fire for example.  In addition twice a week cabin nights called “bunk nights” are planned out with fun activities such as crazy games, tubing or a camp fire.

Senior Program

(14 & 15 year olds)

Our oldest section in camp before the Counsellor in Training year made up of campers finishing grade 8 and grade 9 are the leaders and mentors of our camper family. Once again unlike some camps, we purposely always add new campers to the mix who come from other camps or may be coming to camp even for the first time of their life. We have campers that come from up to 20 different cities in North America as well as Europe, South America, and the world over and the diversity of the senior section is enriching for all.

We are proud to say we have an incredible track record in terms of campers getting the most out of their summer, with campers going to over 90% of their activities routinely and we take attendance so if someone misses an activity we know and can talk to them. Senior campers love going to their activities because at this age many start to do their favourite activities every day or even twice a day. Many campers at this age become teachers and mentors to younger campers. We also encourage campers at this age to try new activities. In fact many campers at this age now have the self confidence to try things they hesitated to do when they were younger. It’s not uncommon to see girls who never were involved in many sports to learn baseball or hockey and it’s also common to see guys try video, or to learn guitar or paint a landscape.

Remember unlike many camps your child can choose out of 32 activities anything they wish to do! They can do that activity every day, every other day or even twice a day if you find this acceptable. Activities can also be changed weekly.

If your child is new to camp they will feel part of the Manitou family within minutes of getting on the bus. Manitou attracts many new campers of this age from other camps because of our inclusive and diverse culture. New campers are considered special and even before the summer starts campers are emailing campers to welcome them. As soon as your child gets off the bus campers are welcoming them, carrying their bags and giving them a personal tour. In fact on the second day of camp former first year campers of all ages speak to the entire camp about why their first year was so special and remind everyone the importance of reaching out to the new campers in their cabin and in their section; to make concerted efforts for the new campers every step of the way.

Although swimming like any activity is optional at this age, many campers take their bronze med or bronze cross at camp. It’s a fun way to get their swimming qualifications. Campers are also encouraged to go on canoe trips that range from three nights to ten days!  Parents instructions are once again followed to make sure that if you want to ensure your child is doing a certain activity that it’s on their schedule!

The Senior section  of camp is divided between boys camp and girls camp. During evening programs usually boy and girls spend it together but it’s not unusual to also have separate girl and boy nights which the kids love. All evening activities however are cabin vs cabin unless it’s a social outing around a camp fire for example. In addition twice a week cabin nights called “bunk nights” are planned out with fun activities such as crazy games, tubing or a camp fire. There is also special seniors hour so children of this age have the chance to be with their friends.

The senior leadership is a pre CIT program for our second year seniors, who are finishing grade nine. It’s a way for this age group to take on small facets of the CIT program and see if they may want to do the CIT program the following summer. Campers mentor freshkid campers, and help out taking care of homesick campers or campers in need around camp. Senior leaders work at specific activities and help teach an activity where they in turn are developing skills. Other parts of the program include planning large events such as a carnival, Halloween or the first month banquet. Senior leaders also play the important role as counsellor for day camp kids that come up to visit once each session. It’s a year when many campers who didn’t think they would enjoy taking care of younger kids find out that they in fact love working with younger kids and often they can’t believe how good it feels to give back some of what they benefited from as campers at Manitou.