When searching for the best summer camp for your child, you probably research the types of activities they offer, what the accommodations are like, what types of foods will be served and what a sample day looks like. However, one very important fact to consider when looking for a summer camp — one that can make or break a camper’s experience — is the camper-to-staff ratio.
The camper-to-staff ratio indicates the level of supervision your child will have while away at camp. According to the Ontario Camp Association (OCA), camper ratios should be no larger than one staff per six children under five years of age and one staff per 10 campers ages six and older. While camps must exercise good judgement in establishing their camper-to-staff ratio in controlled environments (some may feel fewer staff is acceptable), the OCA says more staff is recommended during higher-risk activities.
In addition to safety issues, having a lower camper-to-staff ratio can supply your child with the individual focus he or she may want or need to maximize his or her enjoyment at camp. When there are more staff than campers, it can foster stronger bonds between the staff and camper, while also further helping to boost the camper’s skills at whatever task he or she is trying to accomplish. It can also help to reduce homesickness as campers get so much attention from the myriad of staff on-site.
Muskoka Woods sets the bar high when it comes to its camper-to-staff ratios. During the summer months, having a staff of 350 allows the camp to maintain a four-camper to two-staff ratio. This is important because it means staff are always available for the guests of the camp and staff have someone they can turn to help support their guests’ emotional and physical needs and make the experience the best it can be.
Moreover, many of the staff, including its programming team, hold degrees in education, youth development and have also earned master’s degrees in leadership — credentials that only help to serve Muskoka Woods’ guests all the better.
If sending your child to overnight camp is making you feel anxious, inquiring about the camp-to-staff ratio can give you peace of mind while ensuring your child will have a positive camp experience.
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.