Day Camp - FAQs

About Zodiac Day Camp

  • How long has Zodiac Day Camp been in existence?
  • Where is the Camp located?
  • What are the camp hours?
  • Do you offer before and after camp extended care?
  • Can the camp accommodate children with special needs?

A: Zodiac Day Camp was started by Ellen and Rick Howard in 1998 (then known as Zodiac Swim   Specialty Camp). Zodiac Swim School was founded by Ellen in 1978.

A: Zodiac Day Camp runs out of the Leo Baeck Day School located at 501 Arlington Avenue, near Allen and Eglinton. We also have access to, and make use of, the beautiful, adjacent Cedarvale Park. Zodiac's instructional swim lessons run out of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, located nearby at Bathurst and Eglinton.

A: The camp day runs from 8:45 am-4:00 pm. Campers being driven to/from camp are typically brought to camp any time between 8:30 and 8:45 am and picked up between 4:00 and 4:30 pm. See our “Extended Care” section for additional, flexible options and information.

A: Yes, Zodiac Day Camp offers FREE extended care in each of our sessions for full-day campers. You can bring your full-day camper as early as 7:45 am, and pick up as late as 5:45 pm. Zodiac Day Care (1/2 or ¾ day) children can be dropped off as early as 7:45 am, but after-care is not available for Day Care children.

A: Zodiac Day Camp is committed to providing excellence and accessibility in its camp programming to campers and staff. Persons with exceptionalities are welcomed, included and supported at the camp and the camp endeavours to meet the special needs of such individuals to the best of its abilities. For more information about our Inclusion Policy, please see the “Inclusion” section of our website.

Registration

  • How do I register my child(ren) for camp?
  • Can my child be in a group with his or her friends?
  • How do I know which program my child(ren) qualify for?
  • How does the Multi-Session discount work?
  • How do I add sessions on to my camper’s registration?
  • My child’s medical information/swim level has changed since I registered and submitted my form. Can I change it?
  • What if I need to cancel a session?
  • What if I need to cancel a session?

A: Registration is done through our easy-to-use online system. Simply click on the yellow “Register Now” button on our website, create an online profile, and select the session and program options that apply to your campers.

A: We will use best efforts to fulfill requests of campers to be placed with friends (the same or similar age) who are registered in the same program.

A: Our rates and dates page outlines the applicable birth years for each of our programs.

A: After your camper’s first session, each additional session is discounted. The amount discounted depends on how many weeks are registered for, as well as the program. Sessions do not need to be consecutive. For example, if your camper registers for Sessions 1, 3, 5, 6: Session 3 would be considered the 2nd week registered, Session 5 the 3rd, Session 6 the 4th.

A: We love when Zodiac campers are enjoying their experience so much that they want even more! To add a session, you can either log into your account to select the additional session(s) and pay via credit card there, or you can call our office staff and they will be able to add the session in and walk you through the next steps. Adding sessions is, of course, subject to availability.

A: Once forms are submitted, they cannot be edited through the parent portal. Please contact the Camp Administrator at [email protected] to provide any updates.The Camp Office will ensure your child’s information is updated and that such new information is received by the nurse or swim directing team, as applicable.

At Zodiac, we recognize that plans may change and you may need to withdraw your child from a Zodiac camp program. If written notice of a cancellation is received more than one week prior to the start of the session in question, a full refund less the administrative charge noted below, per camper for each cancelled session will be available by October, 2020. There will, however, be no refunds or credits if there is no written notice, or if notice is received less than one week prior to the session in question.

Program Admin Fee Before April 15, 2020 Admin Fee On or After April 15, 2020
1-Week K-V/Specialty/ PK $85.00 $170.00
1-Week LEAD/CIT/Half or Three-Quarter Day Care $42.50 $85.00
1-Week Half-Day Adult & Tot $20.00 $40.00

Food At Zodiac

  • Do you provide lunch or snacks?
  • My camper is allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts. Will my camper be safe at camp?
  • I would like my camper to participate in the lunch program, but he/she has allergies/dietary restrictions – can you accommodate him/her?
  • My camper saw what the others on the lunch program had on Monday. It’s now Tuesday. Is it possible to add him/her to the lunch program?

A: Zodiac provides a morning snack for all campers and afternoon snack for all full-day Zodiac Campers. Full-Day (and Three-Quarter Day Zodiac Day Care) campers are welcome to bring their lunch from home or take advantage of our delicious catered lunch program. Campers who require additional or alternative snacks are welcome to bring their own nut-free snacks from home. Zodiac will accommodate any allergies and take them into account when planning a given cabin’s snack schedule.

A: Zodiac is a nut-aware facility. The food and products we provide to our campers are peanut and nut-free. While we cannot control with certainty what comes to camp in other campers’ lunches and snacks, we make every family aware of the allergies in each cabin (including non-nut allergies) and ask that campers and staff do not bring any peanut or nut products to camp, and that they be mindful of other allergies.

A: We are thrilled to work with a catering company that is willing and able to make accommodations for vegetarian campers, as well as those who require gluten, egg, and/or dairy-free accommodations.

A: Absolutely! When this happens, all you will need to do is call into the camp office and our staff will add your camper to the lunch program. We will even prorate the cost according to the number of days your camper will receive lunch.

Swim

  • Will my child(ren) learn to swim at camp?
  • My child has never swum before and cannot swim - how do you ensure their safety?
  • Where do swimming lessons take place?

A: Yes! All Zodiac Day Care, Pre Kid-Vantage, Kid-Vantage and Specialty Campers will receive a daily Zodiac Swim School instructional swim lesson at our nearby Forest Hill C.I. pool. Progress reports will be provided to campers who are registered in two or more sessions.

A: Safety in general and certainly at the pool is our number one priority. Campers are placed into swim groups based on age and swim level (we will assess those with no previous formal instruction to ensure appropriate placement). We use small camper to staff ratios in all of our classes to ensure both safety and a higher quality swim lesson. All of our kid-friendly instructors are fully certified and attend staff training sessions before and throughout the summer. Campers enter the pool at the shallow end with their counsellors and are walked to each of their instructors. We use tot tables in the shallow end so that our younger campers are able to stand safety in the water and ensure that the deep end is marked off with lane ropes. We further ensure safety by having our counsellors go into each class as an extra set of eyes.

A: Our Zodiac Swim Instruction for the Camp takes place at our amazing nearby off-site pool located at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute at Bathurst and Eglinton. The campers take a quick and supervised, 5-7 minute, bus ride to this location.

Health And Camper Safety

  • Is there a nurse at camp?
  • How do you manage sun safety at camp?
  • What happens in extreme heat or storm situations?
  • What do I do if my child has medication that needs to be taken during camp hours?
  • My child requires an epi-pen. Who carries it?

A: Our health centre is staffed with a Registered Nurse (RN/RPN), as well as one or more assistant healthcare providers.

A: At Zodiac, we are lucky to have both indoor and outdoor facilities. We make sure that each cabin receives a mix of indoor/outdoor activities throughout the day to give them opportunities in/ breaks from the sun. Counsellors are trained to re-apply sunscreen after swim and throughout the day when they know their cabin will be outside. Each counsellor also goes through the SunAware training program prior to the start of camp.

A: We are lucky to have the fully air-conditioned Leo Baeck facilities as our indoor location in the event that it is too hot for campers to be outside, or if it is raining. Our excellent specialty staff are trained to consider these situations and modify their programming when necessary.

A: You will need to fill out a Medication Authorization Form – you can either download it here and send it to camp in your camper’s backpack (please first inform the camp)or come into the camp office in person with the medication ready to fill out the form. Then, our camp nurse will keep the medication in the Health Centre and administer as instructed.

A: At Zodiac, any camper who requires an epi-pen is required to wear it on his/her own person at all times. Pouches/carrying cases can be purchased for the camper to wear.

Staffing And Training

  • How do you select staff? Are they vetted? How old are they?
  • What are your counsellor-to-camper ratios? Are campers always supervised?
  • What qualifications, certifications and experience do your staff have?
  • What kind of training is provided for the staff?
  • My child requires an epi-pen. Who carries it?

A: Our staff are generally between the ages of 16-22. Our standards are very high, and we expect only the best from each of our staff members. We check and document references for every staff member as part of the interview process. Staff who are 18 or older are required to submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening (or a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check, as applicable). In addition, every staff member working in a Daycare room (Half-Day, Three-Quarter Day, or Pre Kid-Vantage) who is 18 years of age or older is required to submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening.

A: As an Ontario Camps Association (OCA) accredited camp that also offers a Ministry of Education licensed day care program, we are required to meet specific ratios within our camp setting. Zodiac puts camper safety above all else and maintains ratios that exceed both the OCA and Ministry of Education requirements. The minimum ratio for each of our programs are as follows: Adult & Tot (1:9) (in addition, each camper comes to camp with their own parent or caregiver), Day Care (1:4), Pre Kid-Vantage (1:4), Kid-Vantage (1:6), Specialty (1:6), LEAD/CIT (1:15). Any camper must be accompanied by a counsellor wherever he/she goes, whether it be to the office for an early pickup, to the washroom, to the bus, to parent(s)/caregiver(s) at pickup, etc.

A: The main qualification that all staff must have is a love of nurturing and supporting children. Our swim staff require various up-to-date swim qualifications. All Daycare cabin groups have one Registered Early Childhood Educator with Standard First Aid and CPR-C qualifications, and at least one counsellor 18+ with SFA/CPR-C. We also encourage as many staff as possible to obtain their SFA/CPR-C certifications.

A: All staff participate in a 3-day intensive training program to ensure that they are prepared to deal with various camper, behavioural, safety, supervision, and other situations or issues. All staff review our updated Staff Manual and policies thoroughly prior to beginning work. Staff receive ongoing training through weekly staff meetings with the leadership team for further professional development and to review common issues that arise. They also receive ongoing feedback and evaluations.

My Camper At Camp

  • How do I find out about special theme days and how to dress my camper accordingly?
  • What should my camper wear and bring to camp each day?
  • What if I have to bring my camper in late or pick him/her up early?

A: Our theme days and calendar are posted in a few locations: you can find them in our Camper-Parent Handbook, or on our website here. Reminders also go home in the First Day Newsletter emailed out to families at the beginning of each session.

A: All campers should bring a hat, water bottle, sunscreen, bathing suit, and towel. For younger campers, we recommend also bringing an extra change of clothes. If your camper has swim in the morning, we recommend sending them to camp already dressed in their bathing suits to make for an easier transition. We also recommend sending your camper to camp already wearing sunscreen.

A: If you bring your camper in late, bring them to the camp office. Our office staff will sign them in and take the camper to their cabin! If you need to pick up your camper early, please call ahead to arrange a pick-up time. Our staff will ensure that your camper will be in the office at that time. Please note that we cannot have any pickups after 3:00 pm, as this interferes with our bus service, and regular pick-up.

Activities

  • What activities do you have at camp?
  • What special programs do you offer?

A: We have an amazing array of activities including various sports programs such as land sports, court sports, rock climbing, archery and more; S.T.E.A.M. programs such as science, technology, robotics and computers; arts programs such as music, drama, culinary, creativity and more. Other programs include martial arts, yoga, creatures, jump, and more!

A: In addition to our twice-per-week special themed spirit days, we have two colour war days throughout the summer wherein the camp is divided into two teams and spend parts of two days in exciting and fun competition and spirit. Campers also enjoy other special events such as carnival and dance party, as well as special guests throughout the summer.

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