Are the activities for boys AND girls?
Absolutely! When selecting themes for each summer, we strive to ensure activities appeal to all campers. Themes are based on the interests of campers 5-13 years old, based on movies, tv shows, computers games or the latest craze amongst kids. All our activities are created with both our male and female campers in mind but we recognize that some parents express concern over themes such as “transformers” which may be perceived as a “boy” theme. However, the actual activities during this week are robotics which should appeal to both boys and girls. We encourage parents to discuss the actual activities with their children rather than focussing on the theme if they feel it is not gender neutral. It is also important to note that while all activities relate to the weekly theme, more importantly, they are STEM based. If your camper is interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math they will enjoy their week with us.
What is your policy for special needs children?
We try very hard to accommodate special needs children where we can. There is no strict policy regarding special needs children as several factors depend on our ability to provide an environment suitable to them. Suitability and capabilities vary from site to site. Therefore, if you have a special needs child and they wish to come to STEM Camp, please contact us and we will review each case independently. Unfortunately we are not able to offer 1:1 care for special needs campers.
What is the age range?
5-13. Although some 4 and a half year olds are permitted to come if the parents indicate they can participate in a way that does not detract from other camper’s experiences.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day starts with a group activity during the half hour drop off period. Then campers are sorted into their age appropriate groups and their counsellor starts the first STEM activity related to the theme. Breaks are mid-way through the first morning and then another activity before lunch. The afternoon is set up similar and there are scheduled breaks throughout the day for kids to run around and get some exercise. Since it is the summer we do as many outside activities as possible dependent on weather such as rain and heat.
What about lunch and snacks?
Campers bring their nut free lunches and snacks to every location unless it is posted on our website that a lunch option is available. Please review our Allergy Statement 2017. Note that STEM Camp is a nut aware camp in that we ask parents to provide nut free food for their children. Be aware, however, that some nut food products may be present at STEM Camp.
Do you administer medication?
There is at least one staff member at every site that has their First Aid and CPR certification, however, STEM Camp counsellors DO NOT administer medications. If your child needs medication throughout the day please arrange for a parent or a designate to come and do so. Also, please ensure this information is communicated clearly on the application form when enrolling your child. This being said, in the case of an emergent situation, such as the administration of an epi pen, counsellors will definitely administer the medication.
Do you have any subsidies for low income families or single parents?
Unfortunately these are very limited currently. While we do receive some funds from various groups to help cover these costs, the demands are higher than the supply. We suggest parents contact their local service clubs and agencies to tap into existing programs that could be applied. A call to your local MPP and MP offices could also yield positive results in some cases.
Are there lots of hands-on activities for the kids?
Yes! Each year we continue to add more and more activities and options for the counsellors to ensure the campers are always busy!
Do you group the kids by ages?
As much as possible, yes. This depends on the location and the support of that location by the local community. In locations where STEM Camp is completely sold out it is much easier to divide the campers into more groups. In locations where there are a smaller number of campers coming, we can’t afford (as a not-for-profit organization) to employ numerous counsellors for only 10 campers. We try our best to bring STEM Camps to smaller towns but rely heavily on parents supporting STEM Camps to be able to break into more groups.
How do we know where to drop off and pick up our children?
We post this information on the website as soon as we receive it from our partner sites. In the case where STEM Camp is located at a university or a college this information can take a while to be forwarded to us as they have internal procedures they must follow to make drop off and pick up as seamless as possible for parents. An email is sent prior to the start of each STEM Camp week to all enrolled parents with this information.
Each year special guests visit STEM Camp at various locations during different weeks. As the guests are booked they will be announced on the website.
NOTE THAT NOT EVERY LOCATION AND EVERY WEEK WILL HAVE A GUEST.
Ratio of counsellors
6:1. Plus each group has CIT’s (Counsellors-In-Training) assigned to them to assist. Each camp location has a Camp Director, a Program Coordinator and several regular counsellors.
Where do you get your counsellors?
Counsellors come from three groups: teachers who want to do something in the summer, graduates of Teacher Colleges across Ontario and university and college students looking for summer employment. Each counsellor has a background in at least one of the STEM areas and experience working with children. A recent Vulnerable Sector Police Check are mandatory requirements for all counsellors and there will be at least one counsellor present at each camp location with their First Aid certification at all times.
What happens if my child comes to STEM Camp and doesn’t like it after the first day? Do I get a refund?
No. As a not for profit we operate very “close to the line”. The costs for the activities for our camp are very high and we cannot afford to offer refunds under this circumstance. We suggest that parents evaluate their situation closely prior to enrolling their child and that should a situation occur where the child indicates they are not “having fun” or “didn’t learn anything”, strongly encourage them to try their best the next day. Children often focus on one thing during the day they did not like but in actuality they had 10 other positive things happen. Another suggestion would be to discuss the situation with the Camp Director on site as there is often more to the story.
What is your refund policy?
Refunds are granted in the following circumstances:
1) Requests for refunds received more than 14 days from the start of the 1st week of summer camp (JULY 4TH) will receive a refund minus an administration fee of 10% of the total fee.
2) Requests for refunds received 14 days or less from the start of the 1st week of summer camp (JULY 4TH) will receive a refund minus an administration fee of 25% of the total fee.
Refunds are not granted in the following circumstances:
1) Inclement weather or unforeseen facility closures.
2) Campers removed from STEM Camp as a result of the three strike policy or for any reason posted under the “Rules and Regulations” section of the Parent Handbook.
3) A camper simply decides that she or he is “not enjoying” STEM Camp.
Requests for full refunds citing extenuating circumstances must be made in writing and submitted to the Head Office for consideration.
Refunds take four to six weeks to process and are issued directly to the payee using the credit card on file.
How will the Ontario Minimum Wage increase affect STEM Camp?
Substantially. On the one hand STEM Camp is pleased the minimum wage increase could assist with a higher standard of living, however, there is also a reality that a wage increase will affect companies abilities to retain and hire new staff. In the case of small not for profits such as STEM Camp who operate close to the line, the only counter measure will be to increase camp enrolment fees to compensate. One solution could be to hire fewer camp counsellors, however, STEM Camp puts the safety of its campers first and will not be decreasing its 6.5:1 counsellor:camper ratio.