Frequently Asked Questions

We have a cottage, so why should I send my son to Kilcoo?

Kilcoo is a valuable experience in group living. Working with a group of peers, campers learn to become more independent, responsible, tolerant, understanding and co-operative; traits which cannot be developed to the same degree at a summer cottage. Also at Kilcoo, while increasing his skills in the various activities, a camper, either working alone or with his peers and leaders, gains more of an insight into his own strengths and weaknesses. The camper, while at Kilcoo, will have opportunity to build a better sense of sportsmanship while gaining confidence and assurance in himself without the constant presence of his parents. Surely it is the aim of all parents to encourage their children to become strong and independent.

How many campers are in a cabin?

Generally speaking there will be 8 campers in a cabin, but there are certain cabins with 9 or 10 campers. Every cabin has a counsellor and an L.i.T. (Leader in Training) living in the back of the cabin in their own quarters. Kilcoo counsellors do not “moonlight” as program staff; they travel with their campers to the activities and assist both the campers and instructors. The camp is divided into five age appropriate sections.

What is the two-week program all about?

Our two-week program is a great way to introduce young guys to the idea of summer camp. The overall camp program is still geared towards a month long session, for the benefits outlined in question 1. However, the two-week option is a great way for kids to get a first taste of what Kilcoo has to offer. The campers will still try all the activities available to them, and will still have the amazing experience of a canoe trip. The two-week program is ONLY open to kids turning 8, 9, 10, or 11 years old. The year you turn 12, whether in the winter or the fall, you must go for a month.

Is there much homesickness at camp?

There is actually much less homesickness than one would imagine, for as soon as a camper arrives at Kilcoo he is very quickly integrated with his cabin group and with the program at camp. Naturally, it is expected that there might be the odd occasion of homesickness which is normal, but in the majority of cases, we find that such instances cover a very short period of time. For some, the first few nights in a new environment might be difficult, but the counsellors will be with their cabins doing their utmost to help a new camper into the regular routine of Kilcoo. Kilcoo’s director, David “Lub “Latimer, is a very hands-on director and tries to be aware of any issues that any camper may be having. Lub, the counsellor and the camper will all work together to overcome the issue. Very rarely have we had instances of homesickness in which we have recommended that the camper return home before the end of his time at camp. Some of the boys who have struggled with homesickness have become very successful staff members at Kilcoo. It also helps if parents do not allow their children an “out-clause”, camp is full of challenges to overcome and telling your son they can come home if they don’t like it, doesn’t help anyone.

How old are the staff members?

The majority of our counsellors and instructors are between 18 and 22. Most are in University or just completing high school. The very high majority of our staff are former campers themselves and have successfully completed our two year Leader in Training program. In addition to cabin counsellors, section directors, waterfront director, land staff director, program director, tripping director, L.I.T. directors, we have instructors for the following activities: Canoeing, Flat water Kayaking, White Water Kayaking, Windsurfing, Ceramics, Sailing, Swimming, Arts & Crafts, Tripping, Mountain Biking, Archery, Tennis, and Outward Challenge.

How is the program organized?

For the first ¾ of the session, cabins work together and go as a group to the various activities. We do this so every individual is encouraged to try all the activities and not just spend the majority of time on one or two of his “favourites”. However, in order to ensure that each boy does get an opportunity to pursue his own individual interests, every night is an open program where campers can choose to focus on areas of their own particular interests. The last few days of each session are also in an “open program” format. In addition to the regular daily programming there are lots of planned special events throughout the camper’s stay at Kilcoo. Section games, the multiple sports facilities, regattas, theme days, skit nights, and of course, campfires! See question 14 to see how everything would fit into a regular day.

Is the Sunday program different?

Kilcoo is a non-denominational summer camp; we have campers from many different religious background and cultural backgrounds. On Sunday morning there is a chapel on “Chapel Point” delivered by members of the senior staff. Themes like teamwork, friendship, confidence, etc are common. The “service” is a moral and values based chapel. Chapel Point becomes a very important spot in camp for many campers and staff over their time at camp. The rest of the Sunday also differs from the rest of the week. The afternoon is usually dedicated to a camp wide game or theme day. In the evening, the entire camp gathers together for Kilabaloo, Kilcoo’s skit night. Both campers and staff are encouraged to perform in front their peers… more than a few careers in the entertainment world have been launched on the Kilcoo stage!

What is your policy regarding non-swimmers?

Naturally, as many of our activities centre around the waterfront, we strongly encourage that your son have some experience in the water. We will encourage every boy to learn to swim and we will help each camper build on skills he has already learned. Each camper is tested when he arrives at camp to determine his swimming ability. Non-swimmers are permitted in sailboats and canoes, but only under strict supervision and with a lifejacket, of course. On the first day of camp, all campers are given the waterfront safety rules, including no swimming without lifeguards and never any swimming after dark.

What is the camp's policy on lifejackets?

Every camper must bring his own government approved lifejacket to camp, and it is just as important that it fits properly. The waterfront staff will be checking proper sizing on the first day of camp. It is expected that all campers will wear their lifejackets in all camp water craft, from sailboats to windsurfers. The waterfront staff monitors this at all times through the summer.

When is the camp uniform worn and should I buy new clothes for camp?

The camp uniform, green Kilcoo T-Shirt and “Gap style” khaki shorts, is usually worn on Sunday’s, Visitor’s Day and special occasions. The T-shirts are purchased through our Tuck Shop and will be waiting for you at camp after you order them. The shorts are generic and we don’t worry too much about subtle differences. We expect each camper to be fairly neat and tidy, but we do not recommend buying many new clothes for camp. It is a great chance for old clothes to be “worn out”! Every article should have the camper’s name clearly labelled as we really try to make sure the campers take responsibility for their own items and bring everything home. We do recommend proper rain gear that will keep your son dry and comfortable on those rainy days.

What is your policy regarding the tuck shop?

The tuck shop is open at specified times, twice per week for each camper. The boys are permitted to buy only two items from an assortment of juice, ice cream, potato chips and candy. All accounts will be billed a flat rate at the end of the summer. The tuck shop also supplies stock items like toothbrushes, batteries, writing kits, stamps, etc. We also sell great Kilcoo gear like T-shirts, hats, water bottles, pennants etc. CAMPERS DO NOT NEED MONEY AT CAMP.

Do the majority of campers use sleeping bags or blankets?

The majority of campers and staff use sleeping bags. Bringing a single fitted sheet will also give the camper’s bunk more comfort. An extra blanket is also a good idea.

Do I have to buy a classic camp trunk?

No, of course not. Hockey bags, duffle bags, suitcases are all fine. The campers each have their cubby, so they do not need to live out of their bags. If you do wish to buy a trunk, make sure it is no taller than 14″ so it can fit under the bunks!

What are the procedures in case of accident or illness?

In the event of an accident, our resident Nurse Practitioner will decide what course of action will be taken.

If the accident is minor, we will carry though with the necessary treatment. If, on the other hand, the accident is a serious one, the Director, in consultation with the medical staff, will notify the family immediately.

It is to be expected that many boys will visit the infirmary at one time or another throughout their time at camp. The usual cuts, bruises, sores, rashes, colds, etc may creep up and they will be treated by our nursing staff with care.

For campers requiring daily doses of medicine, allergy shots, etc, all medicines will be kept and administered in the infirmary. The Nursing staff will establish a routine with each camper and ensure that he is following his medicinal schedule properly. Every camper in camp will meet with the medical staff upon arrival at Kilcoo.

What is a typical day at Kilcoo?

8:00 – Wake-up and optional Polar Bear dip in the lake
8:30 – Breakfast
9:15 – Cabin Clean-up
9:45 – Morning programming begins
12:45 – Lunch
1:45 – Rest Hour
2:45 – Afternoon programming begins
5:45 – Dinner
6:45 – Evening Program
8:30 – The youngest campers start to retire, with the rest following suit at appropriate intervals

There are three activity periods in both the morning and afternoon. Cabins travel together to the different activities around camp; we try to ensure that the campers will experience all that we have to offer. In the evening, boys can choose their own programs based on what they have enjoyed. There is snack for campers each night and most night there are campfires to wrap up the evening program. There are also designated Open Program days at the end of the sessions, where campers can choose their own activities all day long.

Click here to see a typical day at Kilcoo!

What are your policies on letters, parcels, etc?

We strongly encourage all the campers to write home regularly and hope that the parents in turn will write to their sons. Do not send any food items in care packages, the items will be confiscated. This is due to allergy issues and over-indulgence. Please do not email/fax your child, we only offer that service to out-of-country campers. For these campers we will allow faxes and emails given the unpredictable pace of international “snail mail”. A real letter can mean so much more than an email or fax.

What are your policies on visiting parents?

We have one designated visiting day per month. This is the only occasion where parents are encouraged to come and visit their son. Parents can meet their son’s counsellors and leaders, meet his favourite instructor, and maybe try his favourite activity. There is NO Visitor’s Day for two-week campers, the time is simply too short. Parents are certainly welcome on arrival and departure day.

Do all campers go on a canoe trip?

From one night to two weeks, age & ability dependant of course, all campers will go on a canoe trip.

Camp Office

Kilcoo Camp Ltd.
150 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 403
Toronto, Ontario M4P 1E8

Tel (416) 486-5264
Fax (416) 486-3854


Camp Address

Kilcoo Camp
10735-10737 Hwy #35
Minden, Ontario K0M 2K0

Tel (705) 286-1091
Fax (705) 286-1206