The tripping program involves out-of-camp excursions ranging from one to five days for those campers equipped with the necessary swimming, paddling, and camping skills. At Camp Oconto, we try to foster and develop a camper’s curiosity about and respect for nature by offering girls the opportunity to explore outside of the daily camp schedule with a small group of her peers and a team of our qualified staff.
The length and nature of the excursion will depend on the camper’s age. The younger campers (7-9) do not go on an overnight canoe trip. Instead, they can go on a cookout to an island, returning after dinner. For campers 10 and 11-years old, a one-night excursion takes you to one of Oconto’s beautiful islands. Typically campers of 11-12 years of age will go on a three-day canoe trip, while older campers (13-15 years of age) will go on a 4-5 day canoe trip. As a Senior camper (14-15 years of age) you can choose to go on a 5-day canoe trip to Algonquin Park. We encourage all campers to participate in our tripping program – sleeping in a tent under the stars and travelling by canoe is such a uniquely Canadian experience that strengthens our campers relationship with nature and one another.
The adventure and thrill of sailing is a part of Oconto. With its sheltered surroundings, Eagle Lake is a perfect spot to learn the basics. Each camper has the opportunity to participate in the sailing program as long as they pass the Oconto swimming test (see swimming lessons). If they haven’t sailed before, they will soon learn. With Oconto’s large fleet of boats, camp is a great opportunity to learn and to enjoy everything that our sailing program has to offer. Oconto teaches skills based on C.Y.A. levels. All boating activities require life jackets.
After it’s installation in summer 2013, the climbing wall became Oconto’s newest and most popular activity. Campers of all ages are able to try climbing up the wall under the supervision of certified staff members that make safety their top priority. Safety helmets and harnesses are provided and must be used by all campers and staff that choose to climb the wall. This activity provides a great opportunity to girls to conquer their fears, set goals, and problem solve as they climb their way to the top!
A great combination of the athletic and the arts, dance at Oconto is a very popular activity. Aerobics and modern dance combine exercise and enjoyment. From beginners to the more accomplished performers, Oconto is the perfect place to take your steps. The dancers often perform at the weekly concerts along with other aspiring entertainers.
Campers love the opportunity to paddle their kayaks around Turtle Bay. With the help of qualified instructors, they learn how to safely get in and out of a kayak, how to steer, and, eventually, how to roll. We cover all skills required to work through the eight levels. For our older campers, we offer a white-water trip where they can practice their skills in moving water.
Archery develops hand-eye co-ordination and concentration. It takes a keen eye and a steely grasp, and campers develop both under the guidance of qualified instructors. There are 5 levels. And if a camper gets a bulls-eye, it’s announced at a meal in front of the whole camp!
English Riding is available to campers of all ages. Campers will receive approximately 40 minutes of instruction five times in a two-week session (weather and schedule permitting – we’ll do our best, but if she goes on a trip for five days we won’t be able to make up all of the classes). Riders also receive instruction in stable management, and grooming and feeding of the horses. An A.S.T.M. approved riding helmet is required. In addition, long pants and shoes or boots with a heel are also needed. Riding fees will be added to your daughter’s account (see invoicing).
Trail rides are offered off site at the Eastern Cowboy, a local establishment for campers 10 years old and higher. The riding style is western, and is offered one time while at camp. Campers go in the camp van with Oconto staff for a 20 minute drive and have a one hour trail ride.
Diving is an incredibly popular activity, and every camper loves the opportunity to jump off the “high-tower.” Under the guidance of qualified instructors, campers learn everything from the basic to the more challenging dives. At the end of the month, there is a diving show where campers have the chance to show off their acquired acrobatics.
All campers are required to participate in swimming lessons 6 days a week. We use the Life Saving Society programs; more information on the curriculum can be downloaded at the link below. Trained lifeguards are always on duty, and Oconto has excellent instructors and facilities for all levels of swimmers. Beginning swimmers practice their strokes in the shallow beach water while the more experienced swimmers learn in one of four deep-water areas. All swim areas are enclosed by a combination of docks and buoy lines to ensure campers’ safety. On the first day of camp, all campers (regardless of their level of swimming ability) must take the Oconto Standard swim test (based on the Swim to Survive program). Campers are required to pass this test in order to participate in sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. Counsellors will work with campers individually to support them in passing the test if necessary.
Canoeing is an integral part of the Oconto experience. Basing our levels by the Ontario Recreation Canoeing Association’s standards, the campers learn all there is to know, from dumping a canoe to soloing in one. In order to be accepted into the first year of our CIT program, campers must have their “Basic C” certificate, and the second year of the program requires that they have their “Basic D” certificate. Campers are encouraged to begin their canoeing levels as early as possible to ensure that they have plenty of time to meet these requirements.
ARTS & CRAFTS
At arts and crafts, campers have the chance to try their hands at beadwork, macramé, silk-screening, jewellery-making, tie-dyeing, and t-shirt painting. Campers always return home with fabulous creative works of art!
Pottery is a great way for campers to put their creative minds to work. Campers can work at a new project each day, or they can continue to craft a project already underway. We have two pottery wheels where campers take turns making bowls and vases. The pieces are heated in the kiln, and campers finish their works of art with paints and glazes.
Windsurfing is a challenge enjoyed by campers with appropriate swimming qualifications (Swimmer 4 swim level or higher is needed to participate in this activity). Trained instructors and a large selection of board sizes and sails enable campers to enjoy the adventure of windsurfing on the lake. At Oconto, we offer up to five challenging levels starting with the basics.
Offered to children of all ages who have passed the Oconto Swim/Sail Test, this is an opportunity for girls to learn the basics of synchro, or to sharpen their already existing skills. There are 6 levels to pass, and campers can work on a routine for performance at the Synchro Show on the last day of the month. Our Synchro staff members, typically current or past competitors in the sport, have in-depth knowledge of this creative and demanding sport.
LOW ROPES COURSE
Intermediate and Senior campers can sign up for the Low Ropes Course. The Camp Oconto version of tight-rope-walking, the Low Ropes Course has campers working to cross rope bridges low enough not to require harnesses but challenging enough to require peer and counsellor support. Groups of 15 girls work together for the two-week/month interim, working their way through the 13 different levels. The Low Ropes Course is a great way to discover insights into team work, group dynamics, cooperation and the contribution of an individual’s particular strengths.
Musical productions are staged at the end of each session with campers creating the props, costumes and sets. The campers audition for parts, and there is both a two-week play and a month play. Musicals are selected based on how large the cast is – the more in the cast, the better. Camp Oconto has presented the musicals Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, and Shrek, to name a few!
The tennis program provides an opportunity to gain new skills in classes and tournaments. Enthusiastic players can learn and practice daily.
QC All Camp
Each month the Q.C.’s spend time planning a program for the entire camp. This is a traditional event and helps to teach the Q.C.’s about planning, programming and co-operation. For the camp, it is a fun day when everyone gets involved. Each month is a different theme and it’s always exciting to guess!
This is a special evening in early July. Every one is split into teams; dress to the theme, play games, cheer your team on, you might even go pick strawberries for the whole camp!
Decathlon is another all-camp event that occurs on the last day of every month. The campers divide into their nations and participate in a large relay race that includes long and short distance running, swimming, rigging sailboats, kayaking, canoeing, building a fire, a three-legged race, leapfrog, archery, and much more. Everyone looks forward to this event; cheering for your nation and doing your best are a great culmination to the end of the month.
The campers are divided into two nations upon arrival: Iroquois and Algonquin. The camper is part of that nation for life. We strive to ensure that family members are on the same nation as well. Through an election in the first days of camp, each section picks a nation leader. Nation leaders are chosen on the basis of their leadership qualities. It is a great honour and a big responsibility. Native Gathering is a highly anticipated event that really brings the campers together. Happening during the last week of each month, we play games, sing songs, and tell stories that help the girls to learn about aboriginal peoples and their customs.
Special Arts allows campers to focus on fine arts such as drawing and painting inspired by their natural surroundings. The projects at this activity tend to be more long term and can be as detailed as campers wish to make them. Campers are lead by qualified staff and encouraged to explore their own creativity as they work through each new project.
Parents can choose to purchase their daughter a Camp Oconto paddle that is made on site by our Oconto Paddles Staff. Campers are then encouraged to bring their paddle to Special Arts where they can decorate in with oil paints to make it their own. Paddles will be varnished before their departure to ensure that the integrity of their artwork is maintained, even when the paddles are used in water. The option to purchase a paddle is available during online registration. The cost will be added to your daughter’s tuck bill at the end of the summer.
Campers love this activity. Here they learn to name the different types of leaves or find out how to build a proper and safe campfire. The Nature activities are about understanding and respecting the environment and learning about the surrounding landscape. A “tripping badge” is earned through this activity, campers learn how to pitch a tent, stow food, and be safe around a campfire or cooking stove – it is a must for any camper wanting to go on a trip.
Typical games that are played include; baseball, volleyball, basketball and dodgeball, but! Creativity is never at a shortage. A great way to run around and have fun.