The importance of camper to staff ratio

Published on: December 16, 2019

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.

 

About the Author

Rachel Naud lives in Toronto with her husband, 16-year-old son and Old English Sheepdog, Stanley. When she's not busy with the three boys in her life, she is also the founder and editor of INBETWEEN magazine, a digital magazine geared to parents of teens. Rachel can often be seen on morning shows across the country, talking about trends and products relevant to that demographic. She has appeared on The Morning Show, Breakfast TV, CTV Winnipeg, CTV Ottawa and more. In addition, Rachel is also the coordinator of the Lifestyle Media program at Centennial College in Toronto, where she also teaches students a variety of subjects in Lifestyle Media. To unwind, Rachel loves to cook while mostly blasting The Chicks.

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