Frequently Asked Questions
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[expand title="What is Camp Cherith?" tag="h6"]
We are a non-profit, non-denominational, co-ed Christian summer camp located in Lanark, Ontario. We’re about an hour from Ottawa. We are one of eight camps called “Camp Cherith” in North America. (Camp Cherith is a trademark owned by Pioneer Clubs, a mid-week church-based children’s club program.)
Camp Cherith gives campers an experience of living out of doors, making new friends and learning and developing new skills. We provide a variety of skills-based activities (such as archery, kayaking, woodworking, movie making, and much more) and also music, games, campfires, and other structured programming. Our Christ-centered program also includes Bible Exploration and Morning Watch devotionals designed to help children and youth learn about how Jesus Christ is more than just a name in a book, but someone who relates in every aspect of life!
[expand title="How long has Camp Cherith been operating?" tag="h6"]
Our history of summer camping in the Ottawa region dates back to 1948. Our first summer camp as “Laurentian Camp Cherith” was in 1969 from a campsite in L’Orignal, Ontario. From 1970 to 2008 we rented a campsite called Camp Kalalla in Alcove, Quebec. In 2008 we bought our current property in Lanark, Ontario. We ran our first summer camp on this property in July 2009.
You can read more about our camp history here!
[expand title="Isn't Camp Cherith located in Walkerton?" tag="h6"]
Remember that there are actually eight camps called “Camp Cherith”. There are actually two of us here in Ontario! Our sister camp, Camp Cherith – Ontario, is located in the Hanover-Walkerton area and is a great choice for campers from sourthern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our camp is called Laurentian Camp Cherith and is located in the Ottawa Valley and is closer to Ottawa, Perth, Almonte, and other areas of eastern Ontario and Quebec. Both of our camps adhere to the same set of core values and our camp programs are similar.
When contacting Camp Cherith by phone or mail, please ensure you’re corresponding with the right one! Our camp has a 613 area code and a mailing address in Lanark, Ontario.
[expand title="Is Camp Cherith owned or associated with a church or denomination?" tag="h6"]
Camp Cherith is not linked with any particular church or denomination. Our Board of Directors and our staff represent many different church backgrounds: small churches, large churches, Catholic, Protestant (including Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, and others). All our staff are asked to affirm a common set of core values and Statement of Faith, and we encourage our staff to draw unity from the basic beliefs that we all hold in common.
Campers are welcome regardless of what church you attend (if any).
[expand title="Who owns/runs the camp?" tag="h6"]
Camp Cherith is a non-profit organization which is owned and run by a volunteer Board of Directors. Laurentian Camp Cherith was incorporated in 1969. The Board of Directors consists of a Board President and 8-10 officers who serve camp in various areas. It’s a fancy title that means we are a group of volunteers who love camp and are passionate about summer camping ministry!
About Our Summer Camp
[expand title="How many campers are there in a typical week? How many staff?" tag="h6"]
A typical week at Camp Cherith includes about 50-60 campers, and 25-30 staff (including cabin leaders, cooks, activity staff, waterfront and support staff). In the cabins, we typically place up to six campers with one cabin leader or eight campers with a cabin leader and one activity staff, for a maximum staff-to-camper ratio of 1:6.
[expand title="What age are the campers?" tag="h6"]
Our program caters to boys and girls ages 8 to 16. Campers are divided into groups based on what grade they are going into this September. Age groups generally correspond with school grades, e.g. primary (grades 3-6), junior high (grades 7-8) and high school (grades 9-11). The exact mix may vary depending on the programs offered and the actual enrollment of each week of camp.
In addition to the regular camp program we also offer two programs for older teens (grades 11-12): the Service Team, and Camper In Leadership Training (CILT) programs.
[expand title="Who are the camp directors?" tag="h6"]
Each week of camp is run by its own camp director. The Board of Directors is responsible for selecting the camp directors from a pool of experienced and trained staff. Staff with an interest and aptitude for directing are given the opportunity for training and mentorship. Our camp directors have many years of Christian leadership experience, show a high degree of administrative skill and business acumen, and are actively involved in their own churches or communities.
[expand title="Who are your staff? How old are they? Are they well trained?" tag="h6"]
Our staff members are Christian volunteers, 18 years of age or older. (Applicants that are younger than 18 years old may be considered if they have completed our Camper In Leadership Training program.) Our staff represent a wide age range and come from all walks of life: students, parents, retirees, and working professionals. Some of our staff members have backgrounds in high-tech, medicine, law enforcement, education, administration, pastoral care, and more. Many are parents who come to camp with their children. We feel that this variety adds tremendously to the “family” atmosphere at camp.
Staff members are all volunteers; while they do not receive a salary, they receive room and board at camp as well as a discounted registration fee for their children.
All staff are interviewed by the directors, must provide a police background check, and are given two weekends of training, both “pre-camp” in May and “in-camp” just before camp starts. Staff in safety-critical roles are required to have appropriate qualifications (i.e. lifeguards, Health Care Worker).
[expand title="What is a typical camp session like?" tag="h6"]
Our camp sessions are one week long. Campers arrive on a Sunday afternoon and depart the following Saturday morning. All our camp sessions are co-ed (both boys and girls) and include divisions of campers from different age ranges.
Campers select three elective activities which they will pursue all week. There are also many other planned activities including games, contests, songfests, campfires, free swim, tuck, and much, much more!
About Registration and Fees
[expand title="Sounds great! How do I register?" tag="h6"]
You can submit a camper registration, or apply to volunteer as a staff volunteer, right from our website! Just click here to go to our online registration page. You can submit fee payment online using your Visa or Mastercard, or if you prefer, you can mail in a cheque.
If you are unable to use the online registration system, contact our registrar by phone and we can walk through the registration process with you.
[expand title="The activity I want isn't showing up on the registration form." tag="h6"]
Some of our activities have a maximum class size. For example, there is no limit to the number of people we can take hiking, but we only have room for, say, 10 campers in an archery or fishing class (based on staff supervision and safety guidelines, and available equipment). Remember, you choose your activities at the time you register for camp, and everything is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Our online registration system keeps track of the class sizes automatically, and doesn’t show you any options that are not available. If you don’t see an activity choice, it’s probably because the class is full.
Also, sometimes activity periods have to be cancelled due to low enrolment or if no instructor is available to teach the class.
We suggest that you apply for camp early to get the best activity selection. We apologize if your favourite activity is full or not available. However, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to try something new and different!
[expand title="I'm on a waiting list! What now?" tag="h6"]
Our online registration system automatically keeps track of available space in the cabins and divisions based on your child’s age/grade. If no space is available, the system will offer you a spot on the waiting list. Do not fret! If a particular division is very popular, we may (at the camp director’s discretion) open up an additional cabin or otherwise rework the cabin/division assignments to best accommodate the demand. Also, spots can open up if another camper decides to change which week they attend. Our camp registrar will contact you to discuss your options.
Please note that our registration system operates on a first-come, first-served basis. For the best results, register as soon as possible!
[expand title="How are registration fees determined?" tag="h6"]
Because we are a non-profit organization and rely entirely on volunteer staff, we are pleased to provide what we feel is an extremely competitive registration fee. Since we have no salaries to pay, we aim to just cover our operating costs. Our fees are calculated by totalling all of the costs of running our summer camp program, such as groceries, insurance, activity supplies, property maintenance, and office administration. Then we budget based on a projected 75% overall occupancy for our four weeks of summer camp.
So where do we get the funds to build projects like our cabins and the Wilkie Memorial Pavilion? First, any proceeds from camper fees, once our operating costs are covered, are applied toward capital projects. Second, we are a registered charity, and much of our ministry is made possible by generous donations from people like yourself!
So how much are the fees? Visit our Dates and Fees page for up to date information. Remember, as our way of thanking you for your time and efforts at camp, we offer a discount for each of your dependent children if you volunteer as a staff member at camp!
[expand title="Do you offer rate subsidies?" tag="h6"]
We understand that due to a variety of situations, it can be difficult for families to fit camper registration fees into their budgets. We hate to see financial constraints be a barrier between children and the camp experience. We occasionally receive donations from people who specifically request that the funds be used to help send someone to camp. Please speak to our camp registrar and we’ll see what we can do to help.
[expand title="Can I earn high school volunteer hours?" tag="h6"]
Yes! If you are registered in the CILT or Service Team programs, or if you are a volunteer staff member, you can earn volunteer hours toward your high school diploma requirements. You can also earn hours by volunteering with camp during other times, such as our spring and fall work weekends!
About Our Property and Facilities
[expand title="How big is the campsite?" tag="h6"]
Our property encompasses a total of 169 acres, spread across both sides of the Clyde River.
[expand title="Where do campers stay overnight?" tag="h6"]
We built 10 camper cabins in 2009: five in a girls’ area (called Maple Grove), and five in a separate guys’ area (called Oak Ridge). Cabins measure 16′ by 24′ and feature large screened windows and an additional 8′ covered porch. Each cabin sleeps up to eight campers in bunk beds, with two additional single beds for staff members. Each cabin circle also has its own wash station with pit toilets and running water.