Oconto is a single gender girls camp that has been in operation for 88 years for several reasons!
• Why just girls? They love it! The ability to totally be yourself, at the "Place to be yourself!", try whatever and not be concerned with who is watching. No need to worry about fashion or looking good. Wear comfortable clothes to suit the weather and enjoy!
• Tradition, but always moving with the times. We still do programs that have been happening since many of the campers mothers were at camp: flag raising, assembly, clean up, moby dick, over nights, capture the flag, even spinnies on the upper playing field!
• Directors who care about each individual.
• A staff that returns each year. The staff is comprised of people who have been campers, and CIT's, and have been known to the Directors, often from the age of 8!
• Individual choice. Campers are rotated through the activities by section (age group) until they are 10 years old, then they get choices. We want young campers to try everything. Older campers are allowed to focus on some activities to make it possible to achieve higher levels in swimming, or sailing, or be involved in the Drama program.
• A beautiful, natural spot. Oconto has comfortable beds in zebos (see below) for girls 10 and up, and cabins for those younger than 10. These are located around our main bay so that we can all take advantage of the breeze and the incredible view! Bathrooms are flush toilets located close to the cabins and zebos.
Is my daughter ready for camp?
What is a zebo?
Does the camp use flush toilets or outhouses?
Can I arrange to tour camp with my daughter before summer sessions begin?
My daughter is a "classic picky eater", will she go hungry?
May I call the camp and speak to my daughter to hear how she is doing?
Each individual is ready at a different age. Some girls are ready at 4, some at 12. We strongly suggest you do not wait until she is older than 10. If your daughter likes to be with people, try new things and have fun, have her try a couple of sleep overs at a friends house; you will know the answer.
It is normal to feel nervous about going into a new situation, when you potentially know very few people. Give her some strategies to cope with this. We will send more details in April.
A type of accomodation invented by Oconto. Four, sometimes five girls live in each one, probably about the size of your daughter's bedroom – campers don't have to go far to see their friend! They have a wooden floor, wooden roof, two wooden side walls, and a back wall totally covered with secure screen, as well as two panels at the front with a door in the middle. On top of the screen there is red waterproof fabric that can go up like a venetian blind when the weather is nice, and be let down for those liquid sunshine days! The feeling of being in a tent with the security of a solid roof, door and a bed!
There are a number of washrooms with flush toilets conveniently located throughout camp in close proximity to cabins and zebos. Each section has one central washroom, and there are separate junior and senior shower houses.
We would be happy to arrange a tour of Oconto prior to the summer sessions. The ideal time for this is Monday to Friday, May 15 to June 15. An open house weekend is available in June, you are welcome to come for a tour! Please contact the camp office for details. Staff will be available to escort you through the facilities and answer any questions. If these dates do not work for you, please contact us in the Markham office and we will schedule a tour at another time.
We have a wide variety of choices at each meal. This does not mean we operate a restaurant and you can order a specific dish. It does mean that we have make your own sandwiches... breads, meats, salads, veggies and condiments are put out to make your own.
Pizza day – means several varieties!
Breakfast – cold cereal, fruit, juice, breads. Often big breakfast, too – bacon, sausage, French toast, eggs, etc.
We also have a salad bar, open for lunch and dinner. So if you can't find anything you like you can still eat well from the salad bar!
We have one telephone at camp, which is limited to camp business only. Please do not send a cell phone with your daughter. With the exception of international campers or emergency situations, campers cannot make phone calls, send faxes or e-mail. Likewise, we do not encourage parents to call camp to talk to their daughters. From years of experience, we have found that girls who are involved, busy and having a great time can be easily distracted by a call from home. We want the focus of camp to be on camp, activities and friends, not on when the next phone call is coming. If emergency or "bad news" circumstances arise while your daughter is at camp, a personal trip to camp or a phone call may be necessary. Please contact Lisa to discuss the best method of relaying information and what is in the best interest of your daughter. Sometimes, delaying the information until she returns home may be an option.
Your daughter is in for an experience that will change her... she will become more independent, self-reliant and capable.
My daughter wets the bed, what do I do?
My daughter will probably get homesick.
How often should I be sending mail to my camper?
Is there a laundry service offered at camp?
What sort of accommodation will my daughter be sleeping in?
Tell the counselor on the camper information form which will be sent in April. The more the counselor knows about your daughter, the better she can look after her.
Send her with sheets and blankets, as well as a sleeping bag. Most girls use a sleeping bag, but often have sheets underneath; this way we can change her bed quickly and easily and chances are the sleeping bag can stay on top the whole time.
If she likes to wear a "pull up", let us know. We can help her figure out how to dispose of it in the morning... usually a secret hiding spot where the counselor can get it easily.
First, we do not agree with the word homesick!
She is not sick! She is missing home, this is normal and natural!
Our key is helping her to have fun, focus on camp, and be tired when she goes to bed. A positive attitude from you will help her to have a positive attitude; don't tell her she will probably be very homesick! We will send a more detailed list of suggestions in April.
We encourage parents to send letters virtually every day. The first letter should be mailed one week before she leaves for camp so it will arrive close to your daughter's arrival at camp. In this way she will feel connected to family yet reassured about being away from home. Letters should be short, positive and encouraging. Never use them as a vehicle for bad news. Your daughter can write to you during her free time each day. Send several self-addressed stamped envelopes and writing paper to make letter writing easier for your daughter. Stamps, paper and envelopes are also available at the tuck shop. For our mailing address, see contact us. You may also contact your daughter through email by sending a message with her name and section in subject line to email@example.com. Emails are distributed Monday through Friday with regular mail. An administrative fee of $1.00 will be added to your daughter’s tuck bill for every email she receives. A care package from home is also welcome and makes campers feel great. We suggest short notes, postcards, letters, books, comics, t-shirts or small toys, as long as it is NOT food. Food is not allowed in cabins and zebos due to food allergies, and because it will encourage animals inside. Food from home can also cause problems about sharing between campers.
Laundry is sent out once a week. Everything goes into the washing machine and dryer. Please send old clothes to camp, and make sure everything is labelled with a name tag.
Tads, Chips, Eagles, Intermediates and Seniors each have their own living area and Lodge. There are two different types of accommodation. The youngest girls, the Tads, all live in cabins. The other campers stay in a cabin or a zebo. A Zebo is a wooden structure with a permanent roof and 2 roll-up canvas-like sides, which give the feeling of a tent and the comfort of a cabin.
If you would like to live with a particular person or two we cannot guarantee but we will do our best to accommodate your request. However, your friend must be coming in the same session with you (e.g. two week campers live with other two week campers, not with four week campers); your friend must be approximately the same age as you. It is also important that you ask for each other. If you DO NOT want to be with someone, it is essential that you let us know on the registration form. We strongly suggest that you ask to live with only one or two other girls. We really encourage you to make new friends at Oconto, and the temptation when you are living with a group of friends is to stick together and not make new friends.