Keeping In Touch With Your Child

Keeping In Touch With Your Child

CHAPTER 3: Keeping in touch with your child

Kids love mail and adults love mail, so send your children mail! You could write them even before your kids are at camp, so that when they arrive a letter is waiting for them. The mail generally takes at least one week from Toronto through Canada Post and 10 days from elsewhere. Please talk to your children about how long mail will take to reach them so they aren’t disappointed. Please remember to use their full name on each letter. Your child will let you know their cabin number in their first letter or post card and you can include that with their name on the envelope. Just as postal codes speed the daily mail in the real world, at Manitou cabin numbers help speed up our sorting process. Please do not phone us for a cabin number prior to camp. All mail without camper cabin numbers is sorted anyway.


Happy Camper, Cabin # 

(Don’t worry if you don’t know your camper’s cabin # for the first week or so!)

Camp Manitou

10 Camp Road

Parry Sound, ON P2A 2W7

Mail from your child is just as important. Make it easy for your child to write letters. Send them with preaddressed stamped envelopes. We encourage them to write often and hope that they will impart to you some interesting information. However, if you don’t receive mail, don’t be alarmed and assume something awful has happened to your child; they’re probably too busy having a good time, or have just written three letters that you’ll receive all at once. Letter Writing Days are mandatory for campers twice each week. This will be done through Bunk1 (see below.)

Do not be concerned if you receive a negative letter. Often campers will use their letter writing to express a frustration arising from a specific incident that has been handled 10 days prior to you receiving the letter. Rest assured that if there is really an issue and it has not been resolved we would contact you if we feel the safety or ultimate contentment of your child is of concern. If you do receive a concerning letter feel free to contact Jenny or Jude and they or the Unit Head can let you know firsthand how your child is doing.


We still strongly believe that there is nothing better than good old-fashioned mail, regardless of where you are from. But times are changing and our Canadian postal mail system seems to remain in the past! Because of this, we use Bunk1 to assist with a quicker service.

Twice a week, we will give your child(ren) a Bunk1 template where they can write their letter. This letter will be pre-addressed to the e-mail addresses we have on file for both parents. Once we receive this letter from your child in our “mailbox,” we will send the letter as a pdf to the e-mail addresses on file. However, the onus is still on your child(ren) to write a letter and deliver it to us to send out to you. Don’t be fooled into believing that just because the letter has been e-mailed to you it was written that day. It still could be a couple days or even a week old, depending on when it was delivered and when it was scanned in our office. This system is not intended to be an instant form of communication, rather a quicker method of getting mail home to you. In addition, we are unable to offer this service to grandparents, relatives or friends. The letters are strictly for the parents we have listed on file. Manitou has paid for this service through Bunk1 for 2 outgoing letters per week.


You can now use Bunk1 mail to send letters to your child while they are at camp. Information on this system will be emailed to you before camp starts. There is a cost to this service as there is for traditional mail. U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL STAMPS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR CAMPERS COMING FROM OUTSIDE CANADA. DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR UPDATES AT WWW.MANITOUCAMP.COM/BLOG 



THIS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED – DO NOT STUFF games, stuffed animals, or candy in these envelopes. PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR CHILD DOES NOT NEED A PACKAGE BUT IF YOU FEEL YOU MUST SEND ONE IT MUST BE READING MATERIAL. The arrival of packages, unless for an urgent matter, creates undue competition and commotion. We can appreciate the good intent of a package but there can be a negative effect when the volume of packages gets out of control. It leads to disappointment, competitiveness, and campers feeling neglected or left out.

Please ensure the following:

  • NO PACKAGES other than reading material – any package must be approved by Jenny.
  • No Boxes! Use envelopes only.  They must be flat and no larger then 9X12 inches.
  • All boxes and non-flat envelopes will be donated to charity. Tell aunts, uncles and grandparents please.
  • NO FOOD, NO CANDY OR GUM to be sent up!
  • If you use courier, DO NOT USE UPS, THIS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED – DO NOT STUFF games, stuffed animals, or candy in these envelopes. PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR CHILD DOES NOT NEED A PACKAGE BUT IF YOU FEEL YOU MUST SEND ONE IT MUST BE READING MATERIAL. The arrival of packages, unless for an urgent matter, creates undue competition and commotion. We can appreciate the good intent of a package but there can be a negative effect when the volume of packages gets out of control. It leads to disappointment, competitiveness, and campers feeling neglected or left out. Please ensure the following: as their packages are held up at the border and duty is charged, we cannot accept them.  We do not keep cash in the office and will not accept a package where duty must be paid or where the package is COD.  Please use Purolator or Federal Express only BUT YOU MUST LET JENNY KNOW otherwise the package will be returned.
  • We cannot be responsible for lost packages. Hang on to your “way bill” to track a missing package and contact your courier company.
  • The only exceptions to the package policy are birthdays and necessities. If you are sending a birthday package or items that your child needs (i.e. glasses, clothing, bedding), please call ahead and let the office know.

To send by courier (i.e. Purolator)                                 To send by Canada Post/USPS:

Camp Manitou                                                                               Camp Manitou

110 Camp Road                                                                              10 Camp Road

McKellar, ON P2A 0B4                                                                Parry Sound, ON P2A 2W7


We will not be able to “track” mail from camp. Please do not call to confirm we have received mail. Our staff need to focus on campers concerns and do not have the time to track mail. It is not recommended to send any items that need tracking by our staff unless arranged in advance for a specific item needed for a camper.

Note: As guardians for your child, we have the authority to open up any mail if we believe it could include something that could jeopardize the contentment and safety of campers. For example, any food since it could contain nut or nut traces


Some kids like to share their things and others don’t. When inequities exist it can lead to temptations that are hard to resist, often leading to cabin problems, jealousy and unhappy campers. Stock piling all these goodies in camper cabins encourages the natural inhabitants of the forest to enter cabins in search of the source of all the delicious smells, like raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels! Finally, food packages can lead to problems with other children in the cabin that may be sensitive to certain foods, especially peanuts.

FOOD IS NOT ALLOWED TO BE SENT TO CAMPERS OR BROUGHT INTO CAMP DURING THE SESSION. We do have a wonderfully stocked TUCK SHOP where goodies are available frequently so there is no need to “stock up” in the cabin. We will continue to enforce this policy very strictly and any food sent will go directly to a local shelter. Please do not embarrass your child by sending food to camp; please have respect for the rules.


We try to limit all e-mail contact during the summer as our time is best spent with your children.  Please refrain from emailing directors and call us at 705-389-2410 to speak with a director or Unit Head.


We do not permit campers to call home except in emergencies and on a camper’s birthday. It is very disruptive for a child if they know a phone call is available. For any child prone to homesickness, phone contact in 95% of cases is regressive. We also work extremely hard and are very well-trained in dealing with homesickness at camp. If you wish to have more detailed information on this policy please request our COMMUNICATION POLICY PRINTOUT by contacting 

Please understand that we are very busy at camp making your child’s experience incredible! If you have evidence of a major and concerning issue, our number is 705-389-2410. If you do not hear back from us right away, please understand we may have to arrange to call you back. Often the Camp Directors and other staff will be busy and assuming your child is doing well, you may not get a return call for 24-48 hours, when we can catch up from the day’s events. Please be patient if we do not call you right back, as camp is a very busy place!  Remember no news is good news.

CAMPER BIRTHDAYS: Campers (not their siblings) can phone parents on their birthday only (not on their parent’s birthday). All camper calls to parents on their birthday are made AFTER Lunch between 1:30 and 2:00 and calls are limited to 5 minutes in length. Campers also receive a birthday cake, special all camp “Happy Birthday” sing along, special cabin get together, along with a spin of the famous birthday wheel (where they can win a movie night, special snack and other great prizes).

CELL PHONE POLICY: NO CELL PHONES, SMARTPHONES, OR IPHONES ARE PERMITTED IN CAMP. If your child is coming by plane and therefore has a cell phone please instruct him/her to hand in their phone as soon as they are greeted by our staff at the airport by giving the staff their cell phone along with their passport, and ticket and valuables. These will be given to the office and held in a secure location.

EMERGENCY NUMBER: If it is a life and death situation, you can call 416-525-6177. This number should never be used unless it is an ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY and you need to get a hold of us right away (after 8:00 P.M. at night). If there is any abuse of this emergency number it will leave us no choice but to resort to the regular camp numbers. We sincerely hope this number will never be used.



If there is a problem, whether of a behavioural, social, or medical nature, we will call you to discuss the matter, in the event a counsellor, unit head, director or physician feels that it is in the best interest of the camper or 9parent. As indicated in our medical section, we will call you if your child is in the health centre for any significant length of time (usually if they are there for more than 24 hours), or put on antibiotics, and so on. For our 1st time campers, the unit heads will call within the first 4-5 days of camp.

We do not provide “camper letters” from counsellors. For counsellors to write camper letters once per session it means realistically (without the use of a computer) they have to spend on average about 6 -10 hours minimum to provide a proper letter, which means that our counsellors wouldn’t be able to properly supervise and manage their campers. We already demand so much from our staff that we feel it is imprudent to provide these letters. All counsellors do complete detailed camper profile forms and if you wish to inquire about these forms feel free to contact us after the summer. These forms include leadership abilities, respect for campers, staff and camp, adherence to camp rules, hygiene, ability to connect with kids in cabin, favourite activities, medical issues and much more!


We are lucky to have a large Director team during the summer, below are who you may hear from!

CHRIS MCKIBBIN:One of our Directors and Co-Owners, Chris manages all Head Staff at camp including Unit Heads and Activity Heads. Working closely with Alec and our Activity Coordinators, Chris has been a key member of our leadership team for many years. A former Manitou counsellor, Unit Head, Activity Director, and Head Counsellor, he has become an expert in conflict resolution, and offers advice and support to counsellors and campers. Campers may know him best as the guy up at the “mic”. Prior to taking on an ownership in Manitou, Chris was a dedicated teacher with the Toronto District School Board for over 15 years and brings his expertise from school to camp. This will be Chris’ 23rd summer.

MARK DIAMOND:Our Director and Co-Owner who focuses on camper success and parent involvement. Yearround, Mark remains fully committed to all details of camp. He spends many hours working closely with families throughout the year, creating friendships and continuing relationships to build trust and ensure a strong connection for each child once they arrive at camp. Mark’s vision of giving back has formed Manitou’s values around giving back, gratitude and value-based programming. This continues past the summer at camp to throughout the year with our Manitou Cares programming. Mark spends time in our “off-season” searching out speakers for camp, charities and our theme for the summer. This will be Mark’s 24th summer.

JEFF WILSON:As a Director and Co-Owner of camp, Jeff’s vision of Manitou has created an incredible place for making friends, building skills, and becoming a better person. Jeff manages the maintenance and kitchen areas of camp, ensuring we have a safe and well-functioning facility and the best camp meals you can find! Jeff also plays a huge roll in the programming aspect of camp, overseeing camp programs, social media, and the special touches. Jeff’s creative mind has pushed Manitou to new limits over the last 20+ years. This will be Jeff’s 24th summer.

JENNY PLUME: Our Administrative Director and full-time member of the Manitou family. A former White Pine camper and staff, and a long-time Manitou parent, Jenny brings her calm demeanour and knowledge of working with kids to camp. Jenny has worked as a Music and Arts therapist and has years of experience at the Edmonton children’s hospital, and her love of kids and the arts fit right into our Manitou community. Never flustered, Jenny is there to answer questions of any and all types. If you have any concern at all, just call Jenny! This will be Jenny’s 1st summer.

ALEC AMATO:Alec is our Assistant Director who works full-time during the year in the office. Alec started out as a camper at Manitou, moved on to be a CIT, counsellor and more recently our CIT Coordinator. Working in the office during the year, Alec spends time meeting with campers and parents to ensure a positive summer. 10He works with our Unit Heads and offers advice and support to our campers in all aspects including conflict resolution, self-esteem, cabin bonding, and schedule requests. He continues to be a liaison between camp and you, the parents. If you want to know how your child is doing, just get in touch with Alec! Alec also focuses on staff hiring and training. Alec is also our World Games god, and this year he will be overseeing our Programming team and all of our camp-wide programs. This will be Alec’s 21st summer.

MELISSA BRUCE: Melissa is our Assistant Director joining us full time in the office. She manages the Health Center, creating an efficient and safe space for all campers and staff. Melissa is in charge of our Canoe Tripping Program and Off-Season Staff and Rental Program. Melissa works to ensure dietary needs are met for campers at meal times ensuring a successful experience for all campers. Along with Alec, Melissa is in charge of hiring staff including off-season, medical and kitchen staff. As a former Manitou counsellor, Activity Head, Unit Head and CIT Coordinator, Melissa has seen all aspects of camp and has a way of making everyone who meets her feel appreciated for their role at camp. Melissa returns for her 17th summer.

JUDE FOSTER: Jude is our Office Manager, and also works year-round in our office. He manages everything from staff contracts to Manitou Cares programming and organization to helping the team prepare for the summer in a variety of small ways. Jude was a long-time camper, and then worked almost every job in camp as a counsellor, Activity Head, on the programming team, and now as Office Manager. If you call the camp during the summer, you’ll likely hear Jude’s voice pickup the phone! Jude returns for his 21st summer!

KAILEE SMOSKOWITZ:Kailee is our Head Counsellor, working closely with Unit Heads and counsellors. Kailee has worn many hats at Manitou including heading up our Manitou Cares program, young camper visits, our CIT Director, Youth Director, and has always played a large role in resolving cabin dynamic issues. This summer she will be working with the Unit Heads and Counsellors to make the summer run smoothly and ensure it’s the best summer ever! This will be Kailee’s 8th summer at Manitou.