At Sagitawa we are committed to caring for people and connecting them with Christ. Through relationships and programs that both challenge and encourage, we pursue personal growth and a deeper connection with our Creator.
Thank you for considering Camp Sagitawa this year!
Frequently Asked Questions
Camper Care and Life
During the summer we take advantage of the daylight by adjusting the schedule so that campers stay up an hour later and sleep in an hour longer each morning. So after camp, you may find them a bit off the normal schedule. But camp tends to do this to a person anyway... there are just too many fun things to do.
Generally speaking, activities are 60-90 minutes in length. Regular change helps maintain interest for a healthy experience. The Track schedules will be similar but will switch Discovery time with one of the skill blocks.
- Campers Rise
- Clean cabins
- Skill 1
- Discovery (in cabin groups)
- Extra Skill (Tracks) / Camp Game (Classic)
- WACT (Waterfront, Activities, Crafts, Tuck)
- Skill 2
- Wide Game
- Mug Up
- Chapel Fun
- Prepare for bed
- Lights out
SWAT camp schedules are more relaxed than those at Moberly. Some camps have to pack up and move to another site each day, while others will return to their base camp each day. Schedules therefore vary from camp to camp. An average day will include:
- Rise and Shine
- Breakfast and clean up around the campfire
- Break camp if on hike or canoe camp
- General activity: hiking / canoeing / biking / skills
- Break for Lunch
- Continue with activities
- Break for Discovery
- Continue with activities
- Set up camp if on hike or canoe camp
- Supper and clean up around the campfire
- Evening game
Arrival for our Kids & Youth camps is Sunday at 4:00 PM. We are unable to accept campers before this time. Drop off can take anywhere from 20-50 minutes. You can help ensure a smoother and faster drop off by having all camper payments made ahead of time.
Each family will check in with a registration table, where any final payments will be taken, a pick up code will be given, and campers will be informed of which cabin they will be staying in. An individual from the Summer Team will be available to assist you in finding the cabin.
Any campers with medication or vitamins for the week will need to stop in at the First Aid table and submit these items. The First Aid Attendant will ensure that the camper receives these items at the appropriate time each day. Some items, such as a epi-pens or diabetic devices are not needed to be handed in, however parents and campers should still stop by the First Aid table so that the Attendant can formally meet the camper and check with the parent about any extra information that is needed.
Pick Up begins at 5:00 PM* on the last day of your campers camp with a short program. Camp then holds a BBQ supper that we invite you to join us at! As you are leaving, you will be stopped at the gate by two Summer Team members. You will be asked to provide the code given to you at the beginning of the week for the campers you are leaving with. After providing the code(s) for the camper(s) in your vehicle, they will be marked off as picked up and the Summer Team members will wave good-bye. We hope to see you again soon!
If you need to pick your child up before 5:00 PM please inform the as soon as possible. Early pick ups will need to head to the office upon arrival. Once the pick up code has been presented, a Summer Team Member will accompany you in the collection of your camper and their luggage.
*Pick up for K5 will happen at lunch with a BBQ lunch as opposed to supper.
Family Camp Arrival: Please hold off arriving for your camp until the designated arrival time.
We frequently have another camp right before our family camps and as such are in the process of cleaning / preparing the camp right before your arrival. As well, to ensure the safety and integrity of our programs we are unable to accept on site individuals who are not a part of the program that is currently running.
Any of our camps which may have a different pick up location or time will receive an information email about these differences. (Camps this applies to: AT River Trips, Members for the SEED program)
Leadership Staff train and prepare for 5 weeks, followed by a 3 week Leadership Training Camp. Seeds work through a shorter training program.
Being on camp staff is demanding and we expect a high level of commitment from our staff. We have a strong team training dynamic based on relationship which provides the basis for much of our work with campers and cabin groups.
We desire success for each camper, and provide training in many areas including:
- Caring for Camper Needs
- Behaviour Management
- Appropriate Discipline
- Dealing with Homesickness
- Anger Management
- Dealing with Bullying
- Risk Management
- Communication Techniques
- Challenge by Choice in skills
- Free Choice in matters of Faith
STAFF SELECTION PROCESS
Applicants must follow the following selection process prior to becoming staff at either Trail Rides or Moberly Lake or in our Wilderness Adventure Trips.
Cabin Leaders must have graduated from grade 12 (or age equivalent). Leadership staff are generally 20 or older. Staff are required to relate well to children and youth and should show a desire to be involved in a self-giving ministry. They must demonstrate a high level of responsibility and integrity.
Required Steps within the Application Process:
- Submission of a completed Camp Sagitawa Application.
- Submission of at least 2 adult references (prefer 3).
- Personal interview with the applicant.
- Prayerful consideration of each application.
- Proof of having no prior criminal convictions or arrests with respect to children.
- Acceptance to our Leadership Training Camp.
- Successful completion of this training.
CRIMINAL RECORD CLEARANCE
All applicants (Staff, Seed, Colt) are required to apply to the RCMP for a Criminal Record Clearance. We are most concerned about convictions or arrests that relate to child abuse. We recognize that these screens do not prove innocence or guilt, and entirely miss individuals who have not yet been arrested. For this reason we also rely on personal references for information in this area.
How does a criminal record check work?
Record searches return either of two results.
- "No record exists!" - conclusive and requires no further search.
- "A record may or may not exist!" - a record has been found for someone of a similar name and birth date. Proof of identity requires a comparison of fingerprints.
Matching prints would produce a copy of the criminal record. In the case of a young offender, the copy is mailed only to the individual. This applicant may choose to forward it to us. Sagitawa will not accept a staff member who would choose not to forward it. Our concern is that maximum care be provided, and that we give no opportunity for campers to be abused in any way.
A cabin leader stays in each cabin group with the campers. The SEED assistant normally does not, except where directed to do so by the Wellness Director.
Cabin Leaders teach, lead, supervise and play with campers. Open activities are also under supervision. We desire a competent level of supervision, which at a practical level means that there should never be a stretch longer that 10 minutes. Daily events are scheduled so that a complete attendance of campers is taken 9 or 10 times a day. Campers may not be aware that staff take attendance during during meals, skills, chapel, discovery, etc. If a camper is missing, the procedure is to inform one of the directors.
Our goal is a maximum cabin leader to camper ratio of 1:8. Lower ratios occur on overnight out-trips, during daily activities, on SWAT trips, and in our Trail Ride camps.
Managing behaviour is a positive approach to discipline with a preventative objective. The idea is to provide good activities and teach positive responses so that campers learn to avoid inappropriate behaviour. Example: learn how talk about what we feel rather than just strike back to get even. Staff are taught to recognize potential problem situations early and to help campers learn how to redirect.
On the first day, two activities work towards managing behaviour. The first is a clear understanding of camp expectations and behaviour. The second is a Team Development Activity ending in a cabin debriefing that models talking about how our interactions with cabinmates in the activity made us feel.
Our goal is to help campers modify their own behaviour. This means that we may we may need to alter our response to campers in similar situation. Note these examples of two campers who were trying to hurt another camper.
The one camper understood that his behaviour was not helping his situation. He apologized and wished he could erase what he had done. I explained the difference between forgiveness and trust. Since he wanted to earn that trust again, I gave forgiveness, and offered a practical assignment with measurable goals and accountability. I allowed this camper to complete his week of camp.
In the other situation the camper assured me that he would continue to be aggressive. Since He was unyielding, discipline was pointless. It also meant he was a constant danger to the other camper. I put him under 24 hr surveillance until the next morning when he was sent home.
Discipline may include discussions with the one wronged in the presence of appropriate camp staff. It may mean a call home or a trip home. It may involve appropriate apologies or compensations. Our first goals are to help campers succeed at camp and to provide safety for others. We believe that discipline is only effective if consistent in its goal, fair to the individual and understood.
Space is reserved by registering in advance, and a minimum deposit must accompany the registration form. Please choose from one of the options below.
We accept cheques, Visa, MC, EMT's, and cash. Cheques must be mailed or hand delivered. Credit card information may be phoned or mailed. Do not mail cash.
You may pay the minimum deposit or the full amount up-front. For some camps, $10 is discounted for those making a full payment prior to May 1.
The registration form is available online. The on-line form may be accessed HERE.
We accept 96 campers per session at Moberly, and about 12-16 on SWAT Trips. Registering early can guarantee a reserved space.
Camp Sagitawa: While there is no register before date, it is wise to remember that some camps fill up by May 1 while others do not fill up until the week prior to camp.
Adventure Trip Camps: Registration will be closed 3 days prior to each trip. This is necessary so that we can work out menus and packs.
Our office policy is to respond to each registration as it comes in. Acceptance is shown by receipt, and if a camp is full, we will phone immediately. If you are still concerned about a camp being full, please call.
Off-season camps do not usually fill up completely. But we encourage you not to delay too long as we prefer to have a general count on who is coming about 7 days prior to the camp start date. This helps us finalize staffing, set up cabins and purchase food.
This policy may only be waived in extenuating circumstances.
- Cancellation 2 weeks or more prior to the start of camp - 50% of the deposit and all other fees are returned.
- Cancellation within 2 weeks of the camp - the whole deposit is kept.
- Cancellation after first day of camp - deposit and the remainder of fees is kept.
- An additional fee will be charged when transferring fees to other campers.
Our Sponsorship Program is designed to assist those who would otherwise be unable to attend, with payment of registration fees or a portion of them. To apply for sponsorship, please follow these steps.
- Request a sponsorship form from the camp office.
- Fill it out and return it to the camp office.
- The form is kept confidential, and is processed case by case.
- Once processed, the applicant will be notified of the amount of sponsorship available.
Sponsorships have helped many families and individuals to enjoy and benefit from attending weekend retreats, special programs and summer camps. This is made possible only through the generous gifts from individuals and groups who wish to make a difference in someone's life.
What is the camp policy on
Our requirement for FAA in main camp is different than that for SWAT or Trail Rides, because of the proximity of the camp to the Chetwynd Hospital. We are easily within 20 minutes travel time. Our main First Aid kit is basically at an OFA 3 level. Since most of what comes into FA is minor cuts and sprains, our Attendant needs only have basic in-camp training... though we prefer a basic 8 hour course. Since the Attendant is required to be available at all times, should an incident occur that is beyond their level of training, they will call on a camp backup attendant who is in another position. That individual will take First Aid as their priority until the case is complete or forwarded to a higher level of care.
The SWAT Attendant should have a minimum of 34 hours of FA training, and a current certification. Our preference is that the training includes a secure wrap andtransport to medical aid.
All camp First Aid Attendants will study the appropriate section(s) of the following
- BCCA Accreditation Standards
- Sagitawa First Aid Policy
- Appropriate Job Descriptions
All camp First Aid Attendants will be provided with an overview of the FA facility and FA equipment and with a list of the various levels of training and experience held by other on-site staff.
MEDICATIONS AT CAMP
Camp Sagitawa will maintain 3 separate lockers for medications: Campers, Staff, and First Aid Supply. Medications in one locker may not be moved to another without the authorization of the Camp Director. Also meds in the Camper and Staff lockers may only be dispensed to the individual to whom they belong.
All camper medications and prescriptions (including vitamins, tums, and medicated drops, creams or ointments) are to be handed over to the First Aid Attendant on arrival. They must be in original labelled containers and may only be used for the person to whom they are prescribed. The attendant will secure the medications in the camper first aid locker and dispense them as required.
The exceptions are puffers and epi-pens that may be carried on the camper’s person for emergency purposes because response time is critical. In these situations the camper must be trained in the proper use, dose, and when to administer. They should also know not to give it to anyone else, and to inform the First Aid Attendant when it has been used.
All staff that are under 19 and adult staff living in cabins with minors must hand their medications over to First Aid as well. This includes prescriptions, vitamins, tums, medicated eye drops and medicated creams and ointments. They must be in original labelled containers and may only be used for the person to whom they are prescribed. The attendant will secure the medications in the staff first aid locker and dispense them as required.
The same exceptions that apply to campers also apply to staff. Note that staff who are 19 years and older, who are not living in cabins with minors, have the option to hand their meds over or to keep them locked away in their own residence where they are not accessible to minors.
Every medication that is stocked in our First Aid room comes with inherent concerns. As a camp we are responsible for every decision made in First Aid, and a greater stock multiplies the risks. Attendants are fallible, and as much as we follow proper procedures and document every decision, we cannot mitigate against all risk. This is especially true when it comes to drugs that have greater long term impacts and which can react very differently to various individuals. Some campers come with mental health complications, or even heart conditions, for example, and are taking carefully monitored prescriptions. A single dose of something as harmless as a cold remedy could be a contraindication, and life threatening.
Therefore, our First Aid room only stocks the four commonly accepted medications for kids and youth: Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, and Gravol –or their generic equivalent.) Any other medication must be approved by parents prior to being administered.
Our First Aid room will also provide menthol throat lozenges and, for staff, Vitamin C.We will carry a current Epi-pen, but campers or staff with Epi-pen prescriptions should bring their own.
Campers or staff may bring their own prescriptions and medications. We will dispense prescriptions according to the wishes of the physician. We will dispense over the counter medications according to the wishes of the parent (for staff and campers under 19) or according to the wishes of the individual (if 19 and over).
Each time medications are dispensed, the attendant must record the date, time and medication on a treatment record.When parents turn meds into the First Aid Attendant, they will have also provided a notice of regularity and times. So when a medication is given before lunch, for example, the Attendant can sign that medication off at the “before lunch” column for that day, thus fulfilling the requirement above.
When dispensing other medications, our attendant will consider the following:
- Any medication not listed as acceptable on the camper form cannot be dispensed without a fully documented phone call to the parent. Documentation is on the treatment record and includes the call home, person called, time, date, purpose, and response.
- Regarding the dispensing of medications in suspension (liquid form):
- Our FAA will go by weight only(use of scale)when dispensing meds in liquid form to minors.
- Dispensing of liquid form meds will be double-checked and documented (initialled)by a second staff.
- Always shake liquid in suspension before dispensing.
- Second staff is not necessary with meds brought by parent because we are following their instructions.
TREATING FOR INJURY OR SICKNESS
At the beginning of each week all campers are provided with information regarding the location of First Aid and how to find the Attendant. For the protection of the Attendant, campers going to first aid must do so under the supervision of a staff or SEED.
The Attendant must record the applicable information in a First Aid Record after every visit, regardless of how minor the concern. Patient Assessment Charts must be filled out for any case requiring further medical aid.
SEEKING FURTHER MEDICAL AID & NOTIFYING PARENTS
When we have an Advanced First Aid Attendant on site, the regular Attendant need only have a Basic Certificate. Both must be available at all times to offer medical assistance. However, an Advanced Attendant must be called to assist any time the situation calls for treatment above the scope of training of the regular attendant.
Further medical aid is required for cases such as trauma, broken bones, major bleeds, possible head or spinal injury, loss of consciousness, serious breathing problems, infections or any other disorder that is not responding to the regularly accepted practice of treatment. Clinic appointments, trips to the hospital emergency, or calls for an ambulance are to be handled through the discretion of the Advanced Attendant. Any time a camper is taken to a clinic or hospital for treatment, the parents/ guardians will be notified by the Camp as soon as it is possible. If a serious communicable disease or food poisoning occurs, the local Medical Health Officer will also be contacted.
PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING BODY FLUIDS
- Avoid contact with body fluids. Use gloves.
- Disinfect counters and other surfaces with a 10% bleach solution. This will kill both the HIV and hepatitis B virus. Rinse with another disinfecting solution.
- Wash mops and other cleaning equipment with a bleach solution as well. Toss gloves, bandages and other disposable items in a plastic bag which should be tied and incinerated.
- Wash all clothing very well. Bodily fluids of all campers and staff should be treated as if they are positive for HIV.
Sagitawa Christian Camps will not tolerate bullying amongst campers or staff. We believe in the inherent value of every individual and will provide an effective response toward all known bullying behaviours.
Bullying is a pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour, with negative intent, directed from one person to another where there is at least a perceived imbalance of power.
- Training: It takes experience and understanding to resolve interpersonal camper issues. Staff members are well trained to recognize and handle different levels of bullying, and also when to pass information on to leadership staff. Two situations require this information to be passed on immediately: 1) when it is not resolved after the first attempt, or 2) where the level of bullying is sexual or physically harmful or threatening. Campers and parents will be trained through our Code of Conduct, which shall be available to read prior to the beginning of the camp session, discussed during on-site first day orientation, and available in print in several strategic places around the camp.
- Wellness Director: Camp Sagitawa has added several changes to our registration and camp preparation process. The changes include the position of a Wellness Director who serves on the Leadership Team and helps to prepare individuals for camp, and camp for individuals. Though the Wellness Director has a fairly wide area of interest when it comes to children or youth having difficulty with peers for various reasons, he/she will take a special interest in those who are often targeted by bullies, and those who may have a tendency to bully. The Wellness Director will make contact with any concerned parents and will develop a plan that may include any of the following: specific cabin placement, cabin leader placement, assistant staff placement, regular contact with parents and on-site staff, camper visits with the Wellness Director and follow-up.
- Supervision: We will provide regular supervision to all activities and identified high risk areas. This does not mean that campers are watched every second of every minute. We will provide supervision through awareness and risk management. For example, campers expected to return to a skill from a quick washroom break do not normally need supervision. However, the likelihood of a concern increases after chapel when all the campers are going back and forth to bathrooms – supervision required.Supervision during daytime activities will be close to a 1:4 staff to camper ratio. Supervision during the night is at a 1:8 staff to camper ratio.
Camp Sagitawa will intervene in all known bullying situations, because we do not condone bullying. Avoiding the bully may be helpful, but it is not an adequate solution.
Resolution is possible only by working through the situation with everyone involved. We take bullying seriously and will investigate each situation as thoroughly as necessary.
Resolution can begin with the cabin leader and head cabin leader, but quickly moves to the Wellness Director, the Camp Director and then to the parents as necessary. The wisdom of a parent may provide information and answers much more quickly.
First Responders are those staff involved in the initial intervention.
The staff member must:
- Intervene to stop the incident
- Calmly separate the parties involved
- Escort both campers to speak the second responder
- Complete the appropriate tracking sheet to be submitted to the second responder
Our response to bullying includes four main goals:
- Encourage communication
- Develop empathy
- Promote accountability
- Enhance pro-social behaviour
Second Responders are those involved in resolution.
The Wellness Director and Camp Director (or designate) are the second responders in all cases of bullying. They are responsible for following through on bullying reports and will:
- Talk separately with the campers involved, and witnesses, to find out what happened
- Ask open-ended questions to determine the nature of the behaviour (where/when/who/what)
- Ask questions about how each person feels about what happened
- Talk to cabin leaders or other staff who may have direct knowledge
- Bring all involved together to discuss the situation as guided by the facilitator (2nd responder)
- Support the camper who was bullied, and prepare a plan for staying safe
- Intervene with and prepare strategies for the camper responsible for bullying
- Identify strategies for the campers who witnessed the bullying
- Complete the Bullying Incident Report
- Contact parents as necessary
We will support the bullied camper by working with him/her, helping them to process what happened constructively, and providing more specific informed supervision.
For most children camp is crammed with positive experiences. Like you, we want that to be true for all campers. We have added a Wellness Director to our On-Site Leadership Team this year to help all children settle in and enjoy camp activities. If we know that a child struggles with learning problems, shyness, bed wetting, or with loss, family change, or conflict with other children, it will help us be more understanding and supportive.
Children often "act out" their feelings. Therefore the more we know about your child, the better equipped we will be to provide positive experiences at camp. Information will be shared only with those who need to know. We know that you want the best experience for your youngster, and so do we.
Camp Sagitawa Policy on: Child Abuse
Camp Sagitawa is subject to Board policy and provincial legislation with regards to suspected cases of child abuse. Suspected cases and all disclosures must be reported to the Ministry for Children and Families.
We have collected various types of personal information such as name, mailing address, email and other information through registrations, resumes, applications, evaluations, and other documents of direct correspondence with individuals. This information is collected, used and disclosed only for purposes of administration, camper care, program development, promotion and liability, as detailed in this policy. We may also have collected voluntary personal information of a more sensitive nature, such as:
- Opinions, normally through evaluation: These are kept only until we are able to address any concerns, and to collate and summarize them for the purpose of program development.
- Personal disclosures or incidents, which may relate to the individual’s spiritual, physical or emotional well-being: These are used strictly for personal care of the individual, and given only to those people who will have the best interest of that individual in mind.
We do not buy, sell, trade or solicit personal information from, or to, third parties, or Member Churches.
Individuals providing their personal information to Camp Sagitawa will now show agreement to our collection, use and storage of that information. This agreement is indicated either through signature or by submission of a computer-encrypted form.
Personal information is not accessible by other staff in general. Hard copy files are locked away from access, databases are not accessible through networking, and computers are password protected for proper access.
We will continue to have computer firewall software that will prevent on-line users from accessing personal information from our databases. Our web site does not give any personal information without permission. Photographs are also posted by permission of a previous registration form. Specified pictures will be removed upon request of the individual or guardian involved.
Anyone wishing to have a copy of our records, showing their personal information, shall be asked to submit the request in writing. Camp Sagitawa will comply with the request within 30 or 60 days as prescribed by law.
Personal information is collected, used and disclosed for the following purposes:
- Administration: Camp Sagitawa uses personal information such as contact information for purposes of accounting and receipting registrants and donors. Other administrative information is collected from registrants to place campers in cabin groups and to assess their ability in camp skills. Finally, resumes provide necessary information to help us with the staff selection process. We do not provide information to any third party. The cabin leader does receive camper contact and birthday information, but is under a strict directive to seek parental/ guardian permission prior to making contact with campers.
- Camper Care: Camp Sagitawa desires that each camper have the kind of experience that is both safe and rewarding so that they will want to return. In accomplishing this we collect personal information such as care card numbers, allergies, previous sicknesses, medications, and cabin mate preferences. We care for the camper accordingly. Skill information is assessed during the camp for the sake of on-going interest of the camper. Health information is also recorded during the camp for camper care and liability. Camp Sagitawa asks that registrants sign a waiver, giving Camp the right to take an injured camper to the hospital if necessary. Certain medical information may be deemed as important to the hospital medical staff, and a copy is then made to deliver that information with the patient for proper care. All of the information provided in this category is given only to those of our staff who we deem to have a “need-to-know” responsibility of care for that individual.
- Program Development: Camp Sagitawa collects information from evaluations for making modifications, additions, and deletions to our camping program. Once this information is summarized, and destroyed in its original form, it is no longer attached to particular individuals.
- Promotion: Camp Sagitawa wants to fulfill its objectives as a charitable society. This being the case, we desire to let the community know about our camping programs, staff needs, projects, fund-raisers and general camp news. Those wishing to be involved in any of these areas are contacted through mail or email. We work hard at keeping our promotion to the area that it first began. For example, an individual registering for one of our programs does not receive quarterly newsletters unless requested, and vice versa. Promotional information may be deleted when, to our knowledge, a file becomes inactive for two years, or upon request.
- Liability: Camp Sagitawa keeps certain program information and camper information for legal reasons. Older records are accessed less and less, until they are completely archived, and retrieved only in the case that law requires it. As a result, certain details of the archived information may become less accurate through time, such as contact details.
If at any time Camp Sagitawa should seek to use or disclose personal information for purposes not listed above, the Camp will make a request to the individual accordingly.
We generally discourage smoking at camp and wish to inspire others to take the opportunity to quit. However, we do understand that some adults and older teens that attend our programs are smokers,and that quitting can be very difficult. Our preference is to extend the invitation to attend camp to all, and therefore we have provided a way for that to occur. The following is our condition regarding how that would be done.
All buildings at Camp Sagitawa are smoke free. We also do not allow smoking on the camp property around trees or near the buildings.
We ask smokers to honour the laws of the Province of BC. This means that we want non-smokers to be honoured in their desire for clean air.
We ask that cigarette butts be distinguished and deposited in the proper waste containers.
Teens must also follow these conditions.
- The parent/guardian smoking permission slip below must be signed.The camp office will verify this permission slip by phone, so that we can understand the intent of the parent/guardian.
- The program will provide four supervised 10-minute smoking sessions per day, off camp property, on the road.
- Campers may not go to the store to purchase cigarettes during the week. Nor will any of our staff supply any cigarettes for campers.
- Our goal is to provide a recreational program for campers. Smoking will not be the focus. We will therefore not tolerate efforts to provide cigarettes to those without permission slips, or efforts to smoke at times other than those provided. Campers wishing to test this policy will find themselves on the way home without a refund.
Information on Bible Teachings
What do we mean by a Spiritual Decision?
What parents should know!
Spiritual decisions at Sagitawa are normally about a desire for personal forgiveness. Campers asking to attend a church or be baptized are encouraged to speak with their parents about it. While we passively support such decisions, it is not our intention to focus on this as a purpose.
Some campers come to recognize areas in their life where they feel guilty before God and begin to seek His forgiveness. No, they aren’t guilty of the kinds of things that many of us think of when we think about sin. But when they measure themselves against God’s perfect standard, they may feel bad about a lie told to a parent, or a fight with a sibling. At whatever level a child disobeys is the level at which they can receive forgiveness from God!
When a child understands that Jesus took his/her judgment in order to offer complete forgiveness, he/she may want to pray for forgiveness. It’s a simple thing between them and God. Yet it also means that he/she is trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness – and this is their faith. As this faith matures, we would hope that the child will make other decisions – such as obedience to God in how they treat parents or friends.
Please contact us about any concerns you may have about this balance.
Teaching about Christian faith
What parents should know!
Camp Sagitawa is interdenominational. We value this for several reasons, one being the ability to teach areas of agreement between the Christian churches. In doing so, we want to retain an honest approach in our interpretation.
Please consider that it would not be an honest approach to teach only that “God is love and that everything is okay.” It is only half of the truth! The other half is about us and the fact that we often reject God. Rejecting God has its consequences. Yet we all have a tendency to want to sugar coat it by thinking:
- that God won’t really judge us, or
- that He will see that we do more good than bad, or
- that I am not as bad as someone else.
There is a balance! God is love, and He is also just. He warns us against sin. Yet He also provides forgiveness through the work of His own Son on the cross. If there was no judgment, there would be no need for forgiveness. Both need to be taught to create proper balance.
Our policy at Sagitawa is to teach this balance without over-dramatizing the judgment of God, while at the same time understanding that He alone has the right to judge and the right to forgive.
Please contact us about any concerns you may have about this balance.
Honouring Free Choice
What parents should know!
As a Christian camp one of our goals is to explain what the Bible teaches and how to apply it to life. At no point do we attempt to manipulate or pressure anyone to make a decision. We teach our staff to share information and we allow individuals to make the decisions they wish to make.
A spiritual decision is personal. It is between the individual and God. The individual may choose to share it with others, but as such it is a private choice. Although sharing clarifies and strengthens an individual’s faith, those who are young and excited about their faith, often make the mistake of thinking that sharing faith is equivalent to changing others. While sharing my faith may cause another person to think about their own, it should not be my goal to impose my beliefs on them. Yet if a person believes they have found something, they will want to share it with those they care about. The difference is a fine line.
Spiritual decisions are most often made in our youth; the older we get, the more likely we are to be caught up in daily routines, and cares of the world. However, those who have faith in God do often have it grow as they mature. Yet spiritual decisions need to be informed ones. There is no point telling someone that they can make their own decision when they become adults – while withholding age-appropriate instruction and answers to questions. Wise are the parents who see this and provide opportunities for their children to learn about Christianity while they are young.
Spiritual commitments need to be decided by free choice and based on knowledge. Otherwise it can be counter-productive to the individual’s faith. For example, a person who prays out of ritual or peer pressure, who is not really choosing change may just confuse him/herself. God hears the heart not the words.
As a camp it is our policy to avoid creating situations where campers feel forced to make a decision. We teach our staff to guard against the following situations:
- Children often want to please their cabin leaders, so do not lead them to believe that you want them to make a spiritual decision. (But let them know you are open to answer questions, help them or pray with them).
- Peer pressure can be a powerful motivation for someone to make a spiritual decision that they aren’t ready to make. Try to redirect situations where campers ask for spiritual help in the presence of other campers.
- Avoid building fear or over dramatizing what the Bible has to say. Let God’s word speak for itself.
If you have questions or further concerns please contact the Camp Office.
There are times when a parent asks if it is possible to help at camp during the week that they drop off one or more of their children. Reasons may be varied, but the good news is that we do accept applications for volunteer support staff when we are able. We ask that you assist your child in their success by keeping distractions to a minimum, and allowing cabin leaders and program staff to do their jobs.
Support positions may include kitchen, crafts or maintenance help. Please contact the office about this at the time you register.
Homesickness is a feeling of distress caused separation from family and parents. While mild cases are characterized by a longing for home, severe homesickness often includes an inability to focus on anything else. Homesickness can occur to anyone, but it is more acute for children when they are apart from family.
- Let your children be involved in the decision to go to camp.
- Educate your children about the normalcy of missing home.
- Do not tell your children that you will miss them terribly. If they think you cannot cope, then neither will they.
- Do not plan for failure by telling your children that if they cannot make it at camp, that you will come get them.
- Do not express any anxieties about camp in front of your children. Share positive research with your children!
- Encourage your children to make new friends and to seek the support of trusted adults.
- Consider attending as a volunteer staff the first year, or attend as a family at our Family Retreat.
- Provide shorter practice times away from home. Give positive feedback.
- Encourage letter writing as a means of communication. It is tougher on the phone.
- If encouraging phone calls, provide a pre-paid calling card and a request to call after supper, not before bed.
- Use a calendar to cross out the days, and provide perspective as to how a week is compared to a year.
- Provide other coping instructions. (good ideas here)
Treatment - Coping Strategies for Children
- Have fun playing with friends to distract yourself from the feelings.
- Write a letter or look at a family picture to maintain connections with home.
- Talk with someone who knows how to help you feel better.
- Think about all the good things that you would miss if you went home.
- Remember that your time away is actually pretty short compared to the time you are at home.
- Try to forget about homesickness.
- What might your family say to help if they were here.
(notes from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org. See site for longer list)