Thinking Ahead

Thinking Ahead



We value the importance of new children having a friend in their cabin. However, more importantly, we believe it’s integral to the camp experience to make new friends. When we make our cabin groups, we take into account age, grade, requests, cabin, dynamics, and the camper’s well-being. If your child does not get their cabin mate request, please trust that there is a reason for this.


We were fortunate this year to have applications pile in during the months of September and October. Please get in your application for next year as soon as possible! It guarantees your child’s space at camp is given priority. NOTE: If you wish to change sessions the next season often the cabin request cannot be met, since we must first give priority to those campers from last summer in that session.


Many campers choose to stay the entire summer at Manitou. Each session has its own special traditions. Whether it is Manitou games, carnival, midnight specials, extended canoe trips, inter-camps, Community Week, or the famous World Games, both sessions are purposely programmed to be as exciting as the other.

Some children may be hesitant to stay the full 23 days of Second Session, but we think the last three days of camp are truly memorable. When you combine World Games with the final plays and dance shows, the final slide show and of course the final Camper Banquet, there is no doubt that any camper will tell you that Manitou’s last 72 hours is the most jam-packed, unique and rewarding experience of a life time. Whatever you choose we offer the same nurturing, top quality staff and programming for your child in both sessions. Please note in the event of a wait list we give priority to full summer campers over one-session campers.

JUNIOR CAMPERS – Please discuss this with your child if they are 12-13 years

Activity Involvement, Skill Levels, and Swimming

This is the age when some kids start to come late to activities and although we do our very best to ensure they attend activities, now is the time to start discussing with your child the importance of being at and participating in all their activities. By the time they are seniors and CIT’s they need to gain skills that can be used to help teach younger campers. It is always a tremendous asset for a camper to get as many swimming qualifications as possible so even though swimming is not mandatory, we encourage you to have your child sign up for bronze medallion/bronze cross as junior or senior campers! Same thing goes for canoe trips, this is something to be encouraged.

SENIOR CAMPERS and CIT’S – Please discuss this with your child if they are 14-16 years


Just about every camper that comes up our ranks is a desirable C.I.T., but the actions of your child as a senior camper is often critical in determining if they will be asked back as a C.I.T. In recent years the number of spaces in the CIT program, is smaller than the number of eligible candidates, making the selection process somewhat competitive.

Additionally, the importance of activity involvement and their participation in the award program (and Leadership in Training program for second year seniors) is another important factor in maximizing a child’s chances of being accepted back as a C.I.T. and on staff! The reality is when all things are equal, a 16 year old with awards, swimming qualifications, canoe trip experience or other certifications/skill levels either obtained at camp or from the “city”, has a distinct advantage. Motivate your child to work hard to achieve their Manitou award levels so that by the CIT year they can achieve their 5th level (Leader’s) and encourage them to go on canoe trips and complete their bronze cross. Make sure by this time they have some activities that they are focusing on at camp and in the city that they can teach as CITs and/or as staff. Please remember at Manitou almost all counselors work at an activity and therefore campers need to start thinking about skill areas they wish to pursue as they get older.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM (LIT): This program gives an opportunity for 2nd year seniors to take on a leadership role within camp. These campers have the opportunity to get involved with programming as well as in counseling and outreach projects. Whether it is working on the first month or final banquet, or leading an evening program for the Freshkid unit, your child will be given a wonderful opportunity to lead. Additionally some campers may teach or just “help out” at specific activities giving added support to the younger campers. First Session there is an opportunity for your child to be a mentor to a visiting camper age 6-9 who is either coming up to camp for the day through our Rookie Day. This is the perfect opportunity to get the feel for what next summer will be like as a CIT. We have special outreach projects including working with campers from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

We guarantee it will be fun, challenging and give your child a taste of what it would be like to be a CIT!

THE C.I.T. PROGRAM: Our Counsellor-in-Training program is for our oldest campers interested in bettering themselves as a leader and hopefully becoming one of our staff in the future. If your camper is considering this program, please note that space is extremely limited. We expect C.I.T.s to be eligible to apply back as staff the following year (regardless of intentions) based on the standards required by the Ontario Camps Association. Therefore to be a C.I.T., campers must be turning 16 within the calendar year. Campers who have accelerated or are a year younger have to return for another year as a senior camper. C.I.T.s will also be expected to apply early, as they will be interviewed in advance for a place in the program. C.I.T.’s who successfully complete the program are given preference applying for positions as Junior Counsellors. This training program is one of the most critical components of camp. Our Staff who have grown up at Manitou tend to understand camp’s goals, philosophy and value system, and therefore are important to the success of camp.

When we choose the C.I.T.’s each year, we have to make a subjective decision, but we also have specific criteria that such decisions are based upon. Accordingly, if you have a senior camper in both senior years, we would encourage you to let them know that their performance as a camper can have a large impact on future acceptance into the C.I.T. program. Please discuss the importance of having swimming qualifications (NLS/Bronze Cross) and canoe trip experience, even if they are not planning to work at a waterfront activity.

Examples of criteria for evaluation into the C.I.T program include, but are not limited to:

  • General respect of campers and staff and the degree to which policies and rules are followed.
  • Ability for camper to work within a cooperative environment at camp and in the cabin.
  • Leadership potential (in general and through the senior year leadership program).
  • Support of camp, and its philosophy. (Did the camper participate in canoe trips, inter-camp teams, camp performances, and respect the environment etc.?)
  • Swimming certifications (Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, WSI/Instructors and NLS). Note: NLS, all things being equal in terms of comparable staff, is the best way to differentiate your skills.
  • Recognition by camp activity heads, unit heads and directors of involvement in all aspects of the camp program. Team captain recognition at colour war, and recognition at Friday Night Fireside.
  • Canoe trips, length and number of trips and profile report from staff on trip.
  • Length of time the camper has been to Manitou in years and sessions.
  • A letter of application indicating why the camper wishes to become a C.I.T.
  • A discussion with the camper about the CIT program and the expectations of the program.

Space is extremely limited.  With a limited number of cabins and/or activities to do placements in, for the overall good of the program, we keep the program small to ensure the best training possible of those selected.   Ultimately this number is far lower than the number of our senior campers.

For additional information regarding our LIT or CIT programs, please speak to Alec or Chris.

HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS – A wonderful way to get an Ontario High School Credit

Campers in the CIT year, finishing grade 10 have the option to receive a Grade 11 Leadership credit as the CIT program covers all aspects of this high school credit. For more information on these credits, please contact Alec Amato in our office.


The decision of who is hired back is now up to camp and the camp has a mandate to hire the very best staff possible for the good of the children. Like you did with your child, parents have the expectation that their counselor will be the very best.

There is a formal evaluation of every staff applicant, which includes their performance as a C.I.T. There are also skill sets that may give an applicant an edge in the hiring process, for example swim certifications. We also look at subjective criteria such as enthusiasm, teamwork, attitude, initiative, responsibility, role modeling, as well as objective criteria of activity skills and ability to work with children. There must also be a match such that there is a junior position available with that skill set, whether a skill at an activity or as a general counselor. Having earned the appropriate Manitou level 5 leaders award at some activities, and/or having swim certifications such as Bronze Cross and NLS, canoe trip experience and/or having other certifications and proof of skills further developed during the school year is also a clear advantage to being on staff.

Being a loyal and dedicated Manitou camper for many years can give you a large advantage in being hired back on staff as those applicants understand the culture and values of our camp. A staff position is not a guarantee by any means, however.

Our years of experience tell us that not everyone arrives at this readiness for staff at the same time. It is not uncommon to find that our best staff are people that have returned to us in later years. Manitou is always your child’s home and as they grow up through to staff age, we do everything we can to try to objectively place them in a staff position but please remember the process is complicated and we have an obligation to all parents to provide not only good staff each year but the very best possible.