All you need to know about our Companion Program
I’m not sure if my camper needs a companion, what should I do?
Do you offer a transportation service?
If your camper has diverse needs or a specific diagnosis such as autism or ADHD or any potential underlying symptoms that have not yet been identified and you are unsure if they would require a companion for camp, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. We will do our best to help you determine whether your camper needs a companion or not. In any case, we still suggest completing the Request for Participation Package to provide us with comprehensive details about your camper’s needs, abilities, and strengths.
Are any of your camps wheelchair accessible?
We do not offer a transportation service. But please note, should your camper be coming to camp with adapted transportation, or any other transportation services, please ensure to communicate and coordinate this with the camp coordinator or inclusion specialist so your camper is greeted appropriately.
Can I provide a companion or have my child’s therapist visit?
Yes, we do have camps which are wheel chair accessible. However, it is important to note that all of our camps visit local parks and will be going on outings so the child using the wheelchair, or device to assist with mobility, should be somewhat independent when using their wheel chair. The YMCA also requires that an Equipment Responsibility Waiver be signed on the first day of camp.
- Cartierville: yes
- Du Parc: Yes
- Notre-Dame-de-Grâce: No
- Pointe-Saint-Charles: No
- Pierrefonds-Roxboro: Currently assessing
- Westmount: Yes, classic camp only (WM specialties are not accessible)
- Concordia: Currently assessing
How much does it cost for my child?
This is usually possible. However, given that we are currently operating camp in a pandemic context, we do not encourage families to bring an external resource into camp. Only under particular circumstances with clear reasoning, do we advise families to inquire about private companions and visiting therapists.
Please note that in addition to the typical requirements below, an external professional would also be required to follow and respect all COVID-19 camp procedures.
Provided we have been made aware ahead of time, ideally a minimum of two weeks before, both options are possible. However, depending on the nature of the adult’s presence at camp, the process may vary. Please see the possibilities below:
Providing a Private Companion:
This is possible provided there is still space within your child’s group. In order to ensure the safety of all campers, prior to confirming if the private companion can attend camp, we require; that they be at least 18 years old, proof of first aid certification, an original copy of a background check which has been completed in the past year, an updated CV, completion of the online YMCA Child Protection training, and lastly that all parties sign the Private Companion contract.
Weekly Therapy at Camp:
It is possible for a therapist to attend camp weekly in order to work with your child at camp. In order to ensure the safety of all campers, prior to the therapist attending camp, we require: an original copy of a background check which has been completed in the past year, acknowledging and signing off on the YMCA Child Protection Policy, and lastly that all partiers sign the Visiting Therapist Agreement.
Occasional Visit from a Therapist:
An occasional visit means that the therapist is not attending camp on a weekly basis, and does not plan to visit camp more than 3 times during a given summer. These visits could be to either observe the child, or to provide staff with information about the child, or to propose intervention techniques to be used at camp. In this case, the camp would ideally need 48hours notice in order to ensure that the visit or meeting works within the camp schedule. All that will be required is the therapist’s name, title and professional contact information. While at camp, the therapist should remain within the presence of a camp employee at all times.
How to register my child that has been referred by the CIUSSS?
How much does it cost for my child with different needs and diverse abilities to attend one of your Day Camps? Is there an extra cost throughout this summer if my child were to have a companion (private or provided by you)?
All campers who attend our camp pay the weekly registration fee of the program which they are registered to regardless if additional support is required. YMCA Day Camp companions are funded with provincial and federal grants, as well as money raised from our Foundation.
The only time a family must pay additional fees for a camper requiring a companion is when it is a private companion. A private companion’s salary is to be entirely covered by the family.
Should you be interested in donating to our Foundation in order to help us fund our inclusion program, click here.
Are campers with different needs included in traditional camp groups?
Do I still need to complete a Request for Participation if my child has been referred to your camps by the CIUSSS?
Yes, as we need the request for participation package to be completed in order to provide us more information regarding your child’s behaviours and needs. With this we will better be able to assess your child’s request and need for support; this will also be beneficial to your child’s companion this summer when they will be preparing to welcome your child at camp.
What is your approach to inclusion?
Are campers with different needs and diverse abilities divided into groups with other campers or do you separate them into their own group?
All campers with different needs and diverse abilities, and their companions, are included into a group with their camp peers. Occasionally campers and their companions may need to spend time away from their group in order to best respond to the camper’s needs
What is the difference between integration and inclusion?
Within the YMCA Day Camps, we strive to provide a culture of inclusion at all camp locations. We see inclusion as not only welcoming people with different needs and diverse abilities into our camp community, but ensuring that all campers are active and valued members of our camp community. The level of participation for each camper will vary depending on their needs and abilities, but we do our best to provide each camper with the same, or similar, opportunities. To do so, we focus on the needs of our campers and not their diagnoses.
We believe in a child-centered approach, which ensures that the child’s needs and strengths remain the focal point of all interventions. This is an approach which our staff uses every day to best meet the needs of our campers.
Integration means welcoming a camper to camp. Inclusion means welcoming a camper and making sure that they are an active member of the camp community. YMCA Day Camps do all they can to make all campers with different needs and diverse abilities feel included at different levels.