The Camp Experience
1. What does a typical day of camp look like?
Unplugged from technology, with no power, no running water and access to outhouses only, campers will experience what living rustically is all about! Campers wake up every morning in tipis with the sound of nature filtering through the canvas. A morning stretching circle prepares bodies and minds for the day. Throughout the day, activities such as using the sense of smell in “Bear Nose” or hearing in “Deer Ears” encourage campers to tune in with nature. Experienced camp leaders teach basic survival skills such as fire starting and shelter building.
Campers have the opportunity to participate in a spirit spot every evening after dinner. This is a challenge-by-choice activity where campers have the chance to experience the perception of being alone in nature for a short period of time (30 minutes to 1 hour). This is a very powerful experience and the camp staff checks on participants regularly. At each camp, an Elder is on site to offer guidance, share traditions, and conduct ceremonies such as smudges and sweat lodges. Every evening after spirit spot, campers gather around a council fire to join the Elder for traditional story telling. Campers then head for bed to rest before doing it all again!
2. There is opportunity for my son/daughter to participant in an overnight solo. What is a solo?
In our experience one of the most profound and powerful experiences we offer is the chance for campers to feel alone with nature. Older campers (13 to 17) have an opportunity to spend 24 hours out on the land, in one spot, by themselves. If they choose to participate, they will be provided with shelter, the means to make fire, a potato and enough water to drink. Camp leaders hold a vigil fire through the whole 24 hours and regularly check on each camper to ensure that this is a safe and memorable experience. Of course, this is a challenge-by-choice activity, and requires both your permission and your child’s agreement.
Younger campers (8 to 12) have the opportunity to sleep outside under a tarp in a group supervised by camp leaders. One of the leaders stays awake to tend the fire for the night to ensure that the youth feel safe. Campers experience sleeping under the stars, learn how to make a shelter and have a very controlled “solo” experience. This experience is also challenge-by-choice, and requires your permission and your child’s agreement.
3. What is the food like at camp?
We provide delicious and nutritious food at our camps. We are able to meet a specific camper’s needs if there is a health issue. We cannot deal with the “likes and dislikes" of individual campers, but will try and ensure that each child is well fed and happy at the end of each meal. Campers with particular dietary requirements are required to consult with camp prior to their arrival.
4. Do you have a lost & found?
Lost items (if found) will be returned to the GRR main office. To help reduce lost and found items we ask that all possessions brought to camp be labelled. We attempt to help care for the camper’s clothing, but considerable amounts get left behind.
We will retain lost and found items for one month following camp. If not claimed by then, we will donate appropriate items to a local charity. Medication will be disposed of within two weeks following the camper’s week of attendance. Calls to the camp regarding lost and found will be handled as time permits.
Campers are encouraged leave valuable clothing or possessions at home. GRR is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Our Caring Staff
1. What qualifications do the camp coordinator and leadership team have?
All staff are well trained, energetic, and motivated individuals who hold current qualifications in CPR, Standard and Wilderness First Aid. In addition to the training they bring themselves, we provide a mandatory week of dedicated training which includes group management, interpretive guide certification, understanding child behaviour, problem solving, emergency procedures and practical experience leading Rediscovery games, crafts and singsongs. In addition, we provide ongoing training and coaching throughout the summer. All staff provide GRR with a Criminal Reference Check before commencing employment. Camp staff are based at camp, providing campers with care, support, and supervision 24 hours a day. Ghost River Rediscovery camps are fully accredited through the Alberta Camping Association.
2. What is the camper to staff ratio?
Our camps host a maximum of 12 youth per camp. Our ratio is typically 1:4. In addition to this staff/camper ratio there is an Elder present at every camp.
Communicating With My Camper
1. Can I call my child at camp?
In case of emergency calls, to or from parents, the camp coordinator or office staff will relay messages as quickly as possible. If campers are severely homesick we will work with them to overcome it; however, if they need to talk to their parent we will arrange that.
2. Can I visit during camp?
Sorry, but you cannot visit during camp. Travel to the area is restricted and limited to Ghost River Rediscovery staff and participants only. To offset this, we encourage family to spend as much time on departure as they feel necessary. Our friendly atmosphere and understanding staff help campers overcome any natural fears and concerns of being away from home. Getting kids involved in the program and making new friends helps to overcome the fears associated with leaving home and their family. It is our goal to make their stay at GRR as enjoyable as possible. The camp staff will spend time with any homesick child and if necessary call the parent.
What should my Camper bring to Camp?
1. What should my child bring to camp?
2. What should my child leave at home?
Coming and Going to Camp - Arrival and Departure days
1. Is transportation available to and from camp?
Yes. All campers are transported by GRR staff to the base camp. All campers must arrive at GRR’s main office by NOON on departure day. Campers will be returned to the city on the last day of camp for pick-up by 3pm. Location of drop-off will be described to the parent/guardian on departure day.
2. Where is the camp located?
The Ghost River Rediscovery’s summer camps are set in the beautiful Devil’s Gap, close to the Banff National Park boundary. It is approximately an hour and a half drive northwest of Calgary in a remote setting. The GRR shuttle will take the campers to the end of a logging road where they will be expected to walk an additional half an hour into camp. A vehicle shuttles the campers’ gear into the camp for them.
Registration & Camper Fees
1. What is included in the camp fee?
Fees include transportation to and from base camp from GRR main office, all meals for camps, housing (in tipis), instruction in activities, and craft supplies.
2. What happens if I cancel my registration after paying?
Cancellations received more than one month prior to the start of camp will receive a full refund less the $100 non-refundable deposit. Cancellations received less than one month prior to the start of camp will receive NO REFUND except for medical reasons with a note from a doctor. Medical cancellations receive a full refund less the $100 non-refundable deposit. Withdrawal during camp on physician’s orders will result in the value of fees for the unexpired term being refunded. NO REFUND will be made for dismissals due to disciplinary action, late arrivals or early departures.
3. Is there financial assistance available for a camper fee?
Each year we strive to have subsidy available to offer to as many families as we can. These subsidies are dependent on the generous donations of our supporters. If you are in need of some assistance with your camp fees, please submit the scholarship application form with your registration. We will notify you as soon as possible to let you know if we are able to assist you. We also encourage all families to research other avenues for fee assistance.