How to Choose a Camp

How to Choose a Camp

Choosing a camp doesn’t have to be hard – we’re here to help!

There are many reasons why kids go to camp: to make new friends, to have  fun in a safe and nurturing environment, to experience new activities such as canoeing, kayaking, swimming, horseback riding, tripping, ceramics, and so much more.

There are many reasons why parents want kids to go to camp; to continue to learn life skills, to provide a break from school, as an affordable alternative to daycare or a caregiver, and for a well-deserved break for themselves!

With these reasons in mind, here’s how to get your camper started on their camp journey!

What kind of camp do I want my camper to go to?

Camps come in all shapes and sizes, and different lengths of time! You may be surprised by the amount of activities offered at camps, regardless of whether they’re day or overnight. With an OCA Accredited Camp, you’re sure to find a great camp for your camper!

Select a DAY CAMP if:

  • you would like to keep your schedule similar to the school year: seeing your child in the morning and at night.
  • your camper isn’t ready to be away from home at night.
  • you’re looking for a childcare alternative.

Select an OVERNIGHT CAMP if: 

  • you want your camper to experience independence and other life skills learned away from home!
  • your camper wants to experience a specific activity not offered at a day camp.

Select an INTERGENERATIONAL CAMP program when:

  • you want the whole family to have fun together!
  • you would like the opportunity to connect with other parents or caregivers with whom you can exchange ideas and share experiences.

STEP THREE: I’ve decided Day/Overnight/Family – now what?

Once you’ve selected the kind of camp you want your camper to attend, it’s time to take a look at the kinds of programs offered to narrow it down to a few options! Are you looking for a camp with a specific religious affiliation? Are you looking for a traditional varied camp program, or a camp with a special focus like horseback riding, robotics, tennis, art, and more!

Head to our Find A Camp search with your camper. You are able to select filters such as location and cost, as well as kinds of activities and the focus of the camp.

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If Your Camper Has Special Needs 

Contact the camp you are interested in directly and ask how they would include your camper, what their registration process is like, and how the camp plans to meet your camper’s needs and interests. Ask about the resources they have to ensure a successful experience. Some camps cater exclusively to specific populations of special needs campers, which are listed in our Special Needs Accommodation Resource.

View our Special Needs Accommodations Resource


If you need a financial subsidy for your camper to attend camp:

You can use the OCA Find a Camp search to filter your search to only show camps that offer a subsidy! If you need additional help, click the button below for a list of organizations offering financial assistance. Most financial assistance applications should be submitted early in January or February due to the number of people applying as well as the limited funding that may be available. Be sure to check the specific deadline of your funding organization or camp. Most camps offering financial aid may still require you to pay a portion of the fees.

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STEP FOUR: I have a few camps in mind – how do I make the decision?

Once you have a few camps to choose from, it’s time to speak to the camp director about the experience your camper will have at camp!

A compass sitting on the grass.

Find a Camp or Outdoor Education Centre

Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll help narrow the search.

Several kids outside on a hike.

Camps vs Outdoor Education Centres

Not sure about the difference between camps and outdoor education centres?