Shade's Mills Summer Camp
Parent/Guardian Manual

Everything you need to know about YWCA Cambridge’s summer camp program at Shade’s Mills.

Camp Contact and Location Information

Director of Summer Camp:
Gillian Scott

Summer Camp Assistant Director
Kyla Higgins

Director of Child Care Services:
Kristina Lyman
519-267-6444 ext 222

Shade’s Mills Conservation Area
450 Avenue Road
Cambridge, ON N1R 5S4

YWCA Cambridge
Head Office
55 Dickson St.
Cambridge, ON N2R 7A5
Phone: 519-267-6444

Our Nature Camp Program
Camp will run from July 6-August 28. Campers will enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, games and crafts in the natural setting of Shade’s Mills Conservation Area. We will be focusing on nature while exploring and enjoying our beautiful environment.

Camp is offered to children aged 4-12 years old and are in groupings according to their age. Family groupings will be considered as we are still planning for this year’s summer camp. Our camp will create lasting memories as well as teaching new skills and building confidence.

Please note we are closed August 3 for the Civic Holiday.

Camp Hours
Drop off 9:00 a.m. 
Pick up 4:00 p.m.

Extended Care Available for an additional $48.00 per camper, per week. This option is to be arranged during registration. 

Extended Day Hours
Drop Off: 7:30-9:00 a.m.
Pick Up: 4:00- 5:00 p.m.



Arrival And Departure

  • Once you arrive COVID-19 screening will take place (daily temperature checks) and a waiver must be signed by the parent/guardian at drop off every morning.
  • You will receive a gate pass on your first day of camp.
  • This gate pass is to be kept and will give you access to the conservation area for the week.
  • This pass is only to be used for pick up and drop off at our camp.
  • Please obey the spend limits within Shade’s Mills as speeding tickets will be issued.
  • The Arrival and Departure area for camp is located at the Toyota Nature Centre within Shade’s Mills. However, parents/guardians are not to enter the centre at any given time!
    The area is well signed to help you (follow the signs).
  • Parents are requested to allow sufficient time during transitions to ease their child into or out of camp and to allow for discussion with staff at those times.
  • Our counsellors are on different shifts; therefore you may or may not see your child’s counsellor on a daily basis. However any information passed on to a counsellor at drop off or pick up time will be communicated to your child’s counsellor.
  • There will be sign in and out sheets in the Toyota Nature Centre, where we start and end our day. A member of staff will sign your child in and out of camp.
  • All children must be signed in and out of camp by an adult with a member of staff.
  • Older siblings or the camper are NOT allowed to sign these sheets without written consent of a parent or guardian.
  • We will not release a child without authorization.


  • Please locate a staff member at the Nature Centre who will screen your child, get you to sign a waiver and assist them to their group.


Behaviour Management

  • Our staff respects the children and expects their respect in return.
  • It is the goal of the YWCA camp staff to promote friendly, constructive, non-confrontative relationships between children, and between the children and the staff.
  • The techniques of child guidance used support this objective.
  • The YWCA Summer Camp environment is managed with the consistent use of positive reinforcement, with the goal of reducing the amount of discipline needed to a minimum level.
  • Some techniques that counsellors use regularly include re-direction, positive statements, and establishing limits, giving ample warning prior to transitions, logical and natural consequences, modeling appropriate ways of interaction and providing choices.
  • If you have questions or concerns regarding behaviour management, be sure to speak to the Camp Director.
  • Consistency is a valuable tool when dealing with behaviour issues.
  • If you are handling certain behaviours at home we would like to discuss the techniques you are using in order to give your child a consistent approach. 

Camp Readiness And Behaviour Guidelines

In order to support the success and safety of all campers, it is important that they are “Camp Ready”.
Individuals who are not demonstrating that they are “Camp Ready” may be withdrawn from the program at the sole discretion of the YWCA management staff. The following criteria have been developed:

  • Camper is able to take direction and instruction from a staff person.
  • Camper is comfortable in and able to interact in a group environment.
  • Camper is able to participate in the camp program.
  • Camper is able to attend school successfully.
  • Camper interacts and participates in camp in a manner that is safe for themselves and others.

When a child has started Camp and is not meeting the above following criteria, we will take the following steps:

  1. Staff directs the child to more appropriate behaviour
  2. The child is reminded of the behaviour guidelines and rules and discussion will take place
  3. If the behaviour persists, the parent/guardian will be notified of the problem.
  4. The staff member will document the situation.
  5. Staff will let the Camp director and Camp Assistant know about the situation
  6. If the problem persists, staff will schedule a follow up discussion with the parent and Camp Director.
  7. If the problem persists and a child continues to disrupt the program, a meeting will be set up with the Parent, Camp Director, and Director of Child Care Services.
  8. If the problem continues to persist then the Director of Child Care Services will communicate with the Executive Director and discuss a plan of action.

Note: If this child is subsidized by the Region of Waterloo; they too will be notified of the situation.

Staff Qualifications and Training
The following are areas in which staff members are trained:

  • National Lifesaving Society (NLS) certification (lifeguards)
  • Standard First Aid with CPR Training
  • High Five – Principles of Healthy Child Development
  • Inclusion Facilitation
  • Management
  • Fire Safety
  • Water Safety
  • Missing Child and Other Emergency Procedures
  • Vulnerable Criminal Record Check (staff older than 18 years of age)

Please notify the camp via phone (call or text) or email if your child will not be in attendance.

Phone/Text: 226-220-6285

If you know in advance that your child will be absent, please let us know which day/days they will not be attending camp.

Food At Camp (Lunches and Snacks) 

  • Our summer camp is environment friendly.
  • We ask that campers come with reusable containers or items that can be recycled.
  • Containers should be labeled with the child’s first and last name.
  • Children should come to camp with a minimum of two snacks and a lunch. If a child is staying for extended hours, please include extra snacks for those times.
  • Healthy snacks are preferred.
  • Please do not pack siblings lunches together as they may not be together at lunch time.
  • We are a NUT AWARE camp. Do not pack any food containing nuts. This includes Nutella and granola bars which contain nuts.
  • Should your child be allergic to certain foods, please indicate this on the registration form and keep the YWCA camp staff up to date of any changes.
  • Make sure to pack enough water. The camp is outdoors and will be hot and dry. Children need to stay hydrated all day. If needed, shelters are there to block the sun rays, but there is no way to block the heat.


What To Bring To Camp

  • Backpack with lunch and lots of snacks
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Extra clothing (sweater, extra pants/shorts, extra shirt, extra socks etc.)
  • Running shoes or athletic sandals with straps are a must at camp (flip flops, crocs and ballerina shoes can be dangerous).
  • Hats
  • Rain coat and rain boots
  • Bug spray
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach Towel and water shoes
  • Bathing suit


What Not To Bring To Camp

  • Hand held games
  • Pokeman/digimon cards
  • Money or other valuables
  • Water guns
  • Knives or other weapons
  • Matches or lighters



Children must bring a sunhat, beach towel, sunscreen and an extra t-shirt every day. The EXTRA t-shirt is for swim time as all campers and staff are required to wear t-shirts in the water. The t-shirt helps reduce sunburns and protects against the sun’s rays. Children may also use water shoes during water activities. A child may bring his/her own lifejacket. His/her name MUST be on the lifejacket and written in a waterproof marker. We have a certified lifeguard on staff.

Please note that swimming will only take place if the new Provincial Guidelines allow

Sun Safety

At Shade’s Mills Conservation Area we spend our entire camp day outdoors. For the protection of your child the YWCA has adopted the following procedures:

  • Programs are planned to allow for low energy, quiet activities in shady areas during the hottest part of the day.
  • To ensure maximum effectiveness, parents are asked to apply sunscreen in the morning before leaving their children at camp.
  • Each child must bring his/her own sunscreen to apply before the afternoon program and after swimming.
  • Sunscreen bottles must be labeled with the child’s name. If your child has misplaced or forgotten his or her sunscreen we do have extra at the camp.
  • Counsellors will apply sunscreen to children 5 years and under.
  • Children 6-13 years will apply their own sunscreen under the supervision of counsellors.
  • Children must wear sun hats at all times.
  • Children must wear a t-shirt while swimming.

Photo Permission

Photographs are taken through your child’s experience at camp. These photos can be used for various marketing and social media purposes. Please make sure you fully understand this section when providing us with the consent through your registration package submission.

Camp Fees

  • Registration forms must be accompanied by payment for the first week your child is registered to attend.
  • Payment must be made to confirm your child is
  • The first week must be paid within 7 days of registration to confirm your spot and
    all other payments are due at least two weeks before the start of the camp.
  • All camp cancellations must be made before June 19th, 2020 for any refunds (this would include full or partial refunds). 
  • Single day refunds will not be issued.
  • Payment can be made by Credit card via Online, cash or cheque in person at our
    Main Office (55 Dickson Street, Cambridge).
  • Please schedule with the Camp Director for payments at the YWCA office.

Note: Please retain your receipts for tax purposes. There will be a fee of $25 to obtain a copy.

If medication needs to be administered at camp, a parent must fill out the appropriate form, recording the dosage. All medication must be prescribed by a doctor and be in a labeled container from the pharmacy.
Please give any medication to the Camp Director or staff person so it can be locked away or placed in a staff’s fanny pack. Do not leave medication in your child’s backpack.

Parent Involvement
It is essential to have on going communication with staff and counsellors at camp. Do leave time at the end of your day to hear about your child’s day. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the camp.

Suspected Child Abuse

The Child and Family Service Act of Ontario protects children and gives them the right to be understood, loved and respected within the framework of a caring family and community. All individuals, who work or volunteer with children are obligated by law, through this Act, to report anything of an unusual or suspicious nature to Family and Children’s Services. This may include, but is not exclusive to: marks on a child’s body, signs of neglect (dirty body/clothing, extreme hunger), play that is violent or sexually explicit or any information shared by a child that would cause a staff person concern for the child’s safety.
The procedure at the YWCA for reporting to Family and Children’s Services is very straight forward:
The staff person with a concern talks to the child, apprises his/her Supervisor of that concern and the intention to make a call to Family and Children’s Services (F&CS).
The staff member places the call to F&CS giving the information clearly and concisely.
The phone call and conversation with the child are documented by the staff person and that documentation is reviewed by the Supervisor.

Note: In order to ensure the safety of the child and maintain confidentiality for staff, parents are NOT notified by the YWCA when a call is made to Family and Children’s Services.

Inclement Weather

  • Camp will continue during inclement weather conditions
  • Shelter options are available (beach shelter etc.)
  • Small groups will have to merge (2 groups per shelter)
  • Proper clothing for such a day is essential (rain wear, sweaters, boots etc.)
YWCA summer camp counselor and camper exploring the woods

Ready to sign up?


If you have any additional questions not covered in the parent manual, please contact us at

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