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Ontario Camps Association Tips For Parents

The overall purpose of any camp is to serve the total needs of the camper – social, emotional, physical – through a fun and safe experience, in co-operative, outdoor settings.

But going to camp is a big step for children and parents. Here are some key tips that will lead to a successful summer camp experience:

1. Set your child up for success by visiting and touring the camp prior to their first day.

2. Call other parents whose children attend the camp for helpful information and a reference. You could also schedule a get together with families attending the same camp so your camper can start getting to know their camp friends.

3. Get excited with your child and help them mentally prepare. Mark the first day of camp on the calendar, create a checklist of items for camp, talk about what to expect and how they can cope with different situations they may face.

4. When your child is at camp, don’t schedule a significant family event. The disappointment of missing a family celebration will outweigh the camp experience.

5. Talk to your child about homesickness. Tell them it’s normal and encourage them to talk to other campers or counsellors about their feelings. Even the most tearful, clingy camper will ultimately adjust. Don’t make promises or statements you’ll regret such as “if you’re really, really homesick I’ll come and pick you up”.  Communicate confidence in his/her ability to handle being away from home. Packing a favorite item or going to camp with a friend may help ease your child’s homesickness. When writing to children, avoid dwelling on how much you miss them or what they are missing out on at home.

6. Write your child letters (even a few days before camp starts so they’ll get them in the first few days).  “Mail Call” is a big event at camp.

7. Talk with your child about what to expect at camp. Are calls home allowed? Is there a time for parents to visit?

8. After your child returns home, encourage them to practice their new skills, and encourage them to maintain their friendships through e-mails, letters or phone calls.

Parents who send their kids to camp are giving them an experience that will reap benefits for a lifetime.

For other helpful tips contact your camp’s director – each camp has so much useful information available.

Checking off those Christmas Lists

With the holiday season upon us, many of us are looking for gift ideas to help expedite our long to-do lists. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Camp Kalalla has some great year-round fundraisers that you can use to get the job done this year! Here are a couple ways you can check items off your Christmas list while supporting Camp this Christmas season:

Chapter’s Online Fundraiser: At Camp Kalalla we believe in Wacky Penguins and Cow’s that type. To help a child read a book is to give them infinite dreams for their futures. Camp Kalalla has teamed up with Chapter’s Online Fundraising where if you purchase a gift card from the website below, 15% will be donated back to Camp, OR if you shop online from the following link, 3% will be donated back to Camp.

Mabel’s Label’s: Are you frustrated by your children’s belongings getting lost, mixed up, and never returning? We have the fix and a fundraiser for you. Camp Kalalla teamed up with Mabel’s Labels at an Ontario Camping Association event in 2016. Mabel’s Labels began in 2003 by four moms who felt just the way you do. 20% of each purchase made through Camp Kalalla’s fundraising page on the Mabel’s Labels website will be donated back to our camp.

Camp wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous fundraising efforts by our team year-round! If you’d like to know more about our fundraisers, you can stay up to date by visiting our fundraising page:

Name That Staff

We need your help to Name That Staff!

Introducing one of our behind-the-scenes staff.  She has been working tirelessly on the Marketing Committee and also volunteering with the Ottawa CGIT Committee.  Although she attended camp as a camper, she has never come up as a staff member, but she is looking for a camp name – well, we’re looking for a camp name for her!

Some information to help:

What’s your favourite colour – Green

Do you have any pets – I had one dog named Finnegan

What’s your favourite camp song – Alligator

What’s your favourite dessert – brownies

How do you feel about spiders – fine!

What do you like to cook on a campfire – doughboys

Share your most memorable camp memory – when I had Jewels and Harmony as co-counsellors and they used to sing us to sleep every night

What’s your favourite kids book – Amelia Bedelia

What is the funniest movie you watched as a kid – Shrek

What’s your dream job – Inventor

What do you do in the rain – stay inside

What colour is your bedroom – grey

How do you spend winter – inside, but I sometimes go showshoeing

How do you feel about outhouses – I’m not bothered by them

Where would you go on an overnight – on tent row under the stars

Favourite part of the camp day – Salutation of the Dawn

What did you dress up as for last Halloween – a doll

What’s your favourite movie – Lion King

What’s your preferred dance move – the twist

Post your suggestions below!

A Day in the Life of a Waterfront Staff at Kalalla 2018!

Here comes the rain: A day in the life of a waterfront staff at Kalalla 2018

6:30 – wake up to the sound of rain.  Hope it’s just the trees dripping.  Decide to do polar bear dip anyway.

6:45 – wake up campers with enthusiasm!

7:00 – stand in light rain as campers arrive at waterfront.  Encourage them that it’s not that cold.  Campers realize it’s not that cold.

7:30 – convince campers to get out of the water, since they’re having so much fun!

8:10 – walk with purpose up the hill, since we’re going to be late for breakfast again.

8:15 – enjoy an amazing breakfast (thanks, Kitchen Staff!), sing Good Morning to the campers

8:45 – it’s time for “Announcements”!

9:00 – have a quick staff meeting, where we hear that it’s going to rain all day.  Decide to keep waterfront open unless it thunderstorms.

9:30 – Units 4 and 5 are late again…

9:45 – Tip Unit 4 out of kayaks – I mean, teach them wet exits…

10:10 – Unit 5 finally arrives for swimming.

11:30 – Unit 6 walkies down to say they’re not coming because they’re tired of being wet.  Unit 2 appears out of the woods after a hike in the rain, ready for their swim.

12:00 – encourage campers and staff to head up the hill.

12:15 – continue to encourage campers and staff to head up the hill.  Miss singsong.

12:25 – Remember that it’s a theme day – make up a costume on the way up for lunch, and realize we’re late again.

12:30 – eat a delicious lunch

1:25 – sing “Announcements” again!

1:30 – it’s HHH!  If only Units 1 and 2 were as excited about it as we are…  Fall asleep anyway because the sound of rain drowns them out.

2:20 – wake up to the sound of thunder.  Close waterfront.  Plan alternate activities and walk with purpose to share the information with the other counsellors.

2:30 – wait eagerly for campers to come for games and nail painting.  No one comes because they are all still singing and laughing loudly in their cabins.  Plan regatta instead.

3:00 – receive confirmation that units are not going to be coming.  Join units to help out with crafts and DT.  Such fun!!!

5:15 – get ready for dinner.  Realize that my raincoat is down at waterfront.  Improvise.

5:30 – be on time for a meal!  Discover that Unit 4 has planned a Quelf meal.  Quietly capture all campers with my hypnotic stare, especially the ones who bark.  Secretly envy Unit 3 who are eating with funny utensils.

6:25 – and more “Announcements”

6:30 – help with jumping.  Enjoy the singing!

7:25 – rearrange benches so we can have vespers inside, because it is still raining.

7:35 – listen to the inspiring and reflective words spoken by Unit 3.

8:00 – it’s talent show time!  Watch in amazement as girls go up, individually or in groups, and sing, play, or dance.  Staff are funny too.

9:00 – have a snack

9:30 – go outside to do taps on the deck because it has briefly stopped raining.  I think I even saw a star peek through!  But that could have been wishful thinking.

10:00 – get ready for bed, plan for tomorrow, chat with other staff

10:30 – fall asleep, listening to the sound of rain on the metal cabin roof.  So peaceful!  Can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow!

Camp Kalalla 2018

Wow, was camp ever wet this year!  Even though it thunderstormed every day of camp, spirits weren’t dampened.  Between crafts, DT, and impromptu games and singalongs, there was lots of indoor fun to be had.  Waterfront remained open and busy – it turns out that it’s fun to swim in the rain!  The weather cleared up for water regatta, but then the power went out and the dance was replaced by a super fun singalong with kazoos.  Another highlight was the talent show, where our creative campers were able to showcase their skills.  Theme days and theme meals kept everyone laughing, and the amazing food kept our tummies happy.  A huge shout out to our fabulous LITs, who brought songs into every aspect of camp!  We’re all looking forward to a drier, but equally amazing, camp in 2019.  We can’t wait to see everyone there! Share your favourite memories with us in the comments.

Theme Lunches Kalalla 2018

Hello Staffers, Campers, and Followers!

Camp Kalalla 2018 is in sight! The other day, I was brushing my teeth and I thought, “In less than a week, I am going to be brushing my teeth, With my best friends, at camp… WOOHOO!” (Yes, I actually yelled “WOOHOO” from my bathroom..) So this year we are planning our themed lunches ahead of time.

For those who don’t know, we always have a really cool theme to bring some life to our lunches! So you can choose to be prepared, or do something spontaneous at camp, I’ve included the themes for this year below:

  • Mustache Monday: Anything with a Mustache! I once dressed up as Mario and Luigi with my friend!
  • Twin Tuesday: Pick a friend and dress twin like!
  • Wacky Wednesday: Be WaCkY!
  • Pirate Tharrr-sday: Think like a Pirate, Be like a Pirate! Arrrrr Matey!
  • Farm Friday: Dress like anything on a farm! A Farmer, an animal, Be Creative!
  • Superhero Saturday: Be one superhero, be five superheros! We want to see what your super looks like!

I know, these themes look super fun, right? You can bet that I am going to go ALL OUT, because I don’t get to wear my pirate gear in my daily life. However, if you don’t feel comfortable dressing up, that is totally fine. You can just bask in the craziness around you!

I can’t wait to see what you all can come up with!

See you at Camp!


A letter to my child’s staff person

Hi Friends!

Camp is right around the corner, and I wanted to share this letter I found online.

Hope you enjoy!


A letter to my child’s staff person – by Michael Brandwein

How strange it is that I’ve never met you and in a few days you will become the most important person in my life.

I suppose you’ve been told that already: “These are other people’s children – their most cherished loved ones; they’d actually give up their own life before they would let anything terrible happen to them. . . ,” etc., etc. But I hope that you don’t think it’s strange if I take a few moments to write down a few things that I would want you to know. Oh, sure, there are those official camp forms where I can tell you that my son or daughter is allergic to a rare kind of wallpaper paste, loves volleyball but not when it’s cloudy {please keep an eye out for that}, or has promised the parole officer not to set any more of the big fires. I wanted to take a few extra moments to tell you some things that don’t really belong on a form.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about baby-sitters. Whenever I hire one to look after my child, I interview them. I have the chance to meet them, ask them things, and watch how they interact and play with my child and how my child responds to them. I can personally talk to people for whom they’ve worked before. And I’ve thought about school: I get to meet the teacher before it starts.

But when a parent sends their child to camp, odds are they’ve never met the people who will stand in the parent’s place. If I understand right, at some camps you don’t even know the counselor’s name until camp actually begins. I just wanted to tell you that all of this is scary.

Please don’t be insulted. I trust the director who hired you and would never think of sending my child unless I did. If the director trusts you, then I trust you. But I know that the director is not going to be taking care of my child personally. You are. And I just wanted you to know what an extraordinary act of faith it is for me to put my child into your arms. Please hold my child carefully.

I’m sending my child with all of the things that the camp letter said to include. I feel absolutely certain that I’ve forgotten something and I have this fear that my child will be the only one without it, whatever it is.

I can still remember when my little brother and I went to sleep-over camp in Wisconsin. Our second summer we showed up for only the second four week session. We didn’t know that no one did that, and that we’d be walking into a place where everyone already knew everyone else. We showed up proudly wearing our official camp T-shirts, the only kind we’d brought. Unfortunately, no one had told us that these shirts, which were considered the height of coolness our first summer, had been declared the depths of dorkiness for the second summer. When we arrived it was dark. I remember being very grateful for that. Everyone was in the dining hall watching a movie, so we snuck into a corner, away from the stares. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone.

And then I remember the first counselor who smiled at me. Who asked me lots of questions about what I liked to do. Who really listened without interrupting or correcting me. I must have talked for three or four minutes with him just smiling and nodding at me. I kept waiting for him to interrupt or something. Four minutes! That was a personal record. It had never happened at home. I liked it. I liked it a lot. And then the box of regular, ordinary, no dorky-logo shirts arrived in an emergency package from mom and dad. Things got much better after that. . . .

There were a few other things I wanted to tell you: I don’t expect you to be perfect. Heaven knows I’m not. With any luck, maybe heaven doesn’t know. . .. I’ve brought my child up the best way I know how and I know I’ve made mistakes. I keep trying to learn how to do it better, and just when I think I’ve got this parenting thing down, my child grows older, changes considerably, and sends me back to the drawing board to figure it all out again. But I have learned one thing: if you don’t know, ask. Read. Watch others. Invite help. I have a lot of good friends who I talk to all the time about raising my child. I’d hate to think you were suddenly trying to do this on your own when I can’t do that myself.

Please know that my child is not perfect either. I’m hoping that you will forgive just as you would like to be forgiven yourself, and that when my child does something that isn’t right, that you will focus on helping to show what should be done better the next time. In other words, just treat my child exactly as you will want to be treated if you mess up.
I know you’ve got a lot of children to take care of. They are all important.

I hope very much that you find something special about mine. I don’t mean better. I just mean something unique that sets my child apart as a valuable individual.

You see, I love my child very much. And I tell my child that every day. But the problem is that I’ve raised a reasonably smart child who figures that it’s my job to say “you’re smart” and “you look great” and “people really think you’re terrific.” From time to time my child must wonder if I say these things because they’re really true or because I’m supposed to say them.

Wouldn’t it be great if my child met you, a complete stranger, and you discovered valuable things in my child all on your own? See, if YOU find and talk about these positive things, my child can say, “Hey, people notice that I’ve got good things inside of me. I guess maybe I do. . . .”

So I’ve sort of ended where I began: talking about strangers. Ironically, the very fact that you are a stranger to my child gives you, in some ways, even more power than I have.

And one final thing: sometimes when I write my thoughts down I understand them better. When I started writing this letter I didn’t really see this, but I do now.

It just occurred to me: If you care for my child with love and patience and skill, then you’re no stranger. You’ve suddenly become my most important friend in the world.
Thank you, friend. Have a most wonderful summer!

A Child’s Grateful Parent


Java’s Pre-Camp Prep

Alright, ladies, the final countdown is on! T-minus 5 days until camp! With that in mind, I thought I would share my top five pre-camp prep tips!

  1. Gather all your camp supplies into one area.

This first step may seem obvious, but I always make sure to gather all my supplies together and take a quick inventory. This helps to figure out what you have, and what you need to buy. Make sure to keep your camp list handy, so you can check things off as you go!

  1. Shopping Time!

Now that you know what you have, it’s time to pick up what you’re missing. You can take along your camp list, or make a new one of your own, but I always make sure to bring one with me, so I don’t get carried away and buy things I don’t need. Or worse, forget something I do. My go-to stores for these last minute items are Walmart and Canadian Tire. Walmart has a useful mix of clothing, toiletries, and outdoor gear, all for a reasonable price. If I’m missing anything particularly tricky to find, Canadian Tire is my next stop for all things camp. I find these stores have the largest variety of items at the best price so you can stock up without breaking the bank.

  1. Label. Everything.

Before you begin packing, make sure you label everything you plan to bring. You’re going to be spending a week with 4 or 5 other girls who have packed all the same supplies you have if you want to come home with the same items you brought then make sure to label what’s yours! That goes for toiletries, water bottles, sunscreen, hats, everything.

  1. Start packing!

Step three is a case of doing as I say, not as I do. Packing is always my least favourite part of any trip, and I always leave it to the last minute. However, this is the number one reason I forget to pack important items. If you leave your packing to the last minute, you’re in too much of a rush to check your list thoroughly. So, do yourself a favour and start packing early. That way you have plenty of time to get organised and check off every item on your list!

  1. Make your list and check it twice!

Last but not least, take a page out of Santa’s book. Good ol’ Saint Nick knows what’s up. You’ve made your packing list, now make sure to check it over one last time. It might seem like overkill at this point, but the last thing you want is to show up at camp and realise you forgot your bug spray on the kitchen table. Don’t get caught in the “but I thought you packed it? No, I thought you packed it” cycle, check everything off as it goes into your bags so you can be certain nothing is left behind.

And now you’re all set! If you follow these pre-camp prep tips, then you are 100% ready for all the fun camp will bring… cauuuuuuse we’re from Kalalla, and we’re on the ball!

It’s a Girl’s World

I stumbled upon Kalalla almost unwittingly. I had no idea, when I decided to accompany my friend that summer, that it would be the best decision I ever made. I had never been to a sleep-away camp before, and I agreed somewhat hesitantly. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I have trouble with new places and new people. I spent that first bus trip swimming in a sea of trepidation and excitement. I was so far out of my element, but the joy and enthusiasm of every girl on that bus was so palpable it was impossible not to get swept away. I looked around in awe of all the smiling faces, ushered along by the chorus of voices singing songs I’d never heard. It’s a moment I will never forget.

My next five years as a camper created memories I will treasure for the rest of my life, and the following years I spent as staff helped guide me as I entered the strange new world of adulthood. My time at Kalalla made me the woman I am today, and for that, I will be forever grateful. As an all-girls camp, Kalalla has the unique opportunity to bolster independence, strength, and kindness in a safe environment bound by the ties of sisterhood. You may enter camp alone, but you leave as a family.

Camp Kalalla is a sanctuary tucked away in the woods, without technology and removed from the pressures of everyday life. It grants asylum from societal pressures and provides a safe environment for young girls to play and learn and grow. Pretence removed and embarrassment forgotten, the campers feel free to express their individuality and let their true selves flourish. It is a gift every girl should experience.

This safe space is the perfect environment in which to foster independence, strength, and confidence. Through all the games, activities, overnights, and communal meals, the girls at camp learn how to balance cooperation and independence. They grow confident in their abilities and themselves while being supported by their cabin mates and fellow campers. Empathy, kindness, and respect grow alongside strength, independence, and self-confidence.

The bonds created between cabin mates are unlike anything else I have ever experienced. True sisterhood is forged year after year, an ever-growing family of women who love and support each other. The tether stretches far and wide connecting fellow Kalalla girls during the long months between summers. While some of us may distance ourselves over the years, that tether remains long after the final campfire is extinguished.

Now, more than ever, it is increasingly important for our girls to become strong, smart, kind, and independent women. We have to raise our girls in environments where they feel safe and supported and free. We need to teach our girls the lessons they can carry with them into the real world to create positive change. Camp Kalalla’s unique sisterhood is what our girls need. In the immortal words of Ms. Amy Poehler, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”


– Chelsea Wright ☕️


Wakefield Roads

This blog post is a set of lyrics written by our one and only Treble and her unit from 2015. Sang to the tune of Country Roads by John Denver. It was written as a toast to Kalalla, which was presented at our Fancy Feast Thursday dinner.

Bus rolls up to camp Kalalla

Smiling faces greet my eyes anew

Everyone’s singing, and I’m wondering

Why is that Grove popular,

and what’s a-rig-a-bamboo

Take me home

Wakefield roads

To the place

Where I belong

Camp Kalalla

Mountain momma

Take me home

Wakefield roads

Boundless memories start to form here

Lifelong friendships, splashing in the water

Eat with spatulas, do crafts in the lodge

And if it don’t turn out,

just Finish with hodge podge

Take me home

Wakefield roads

To the place

Where I belong

Camp Kalalla

Mountain momma

Take me home

Wakefield roads

Still hear the voice,

in the morning hour when she wakes me (waaaaaaaaaake up)

My wrist string reminds me of my home far away

And driving down dirt roads I get a feeling

that I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Take me home

Wakefield roads

To the place

Where I belong

Camp Kalalla

Mountain momma

Take me home Wakefield roads