Frequently Asked Questions
Coming to camp for the first time can be a little overwhelming so it is always great to ask questions. We have compiled some of the most common questions we get and our answers to them. If you don’t see your question answered below, don’t hesitate to Contact Us and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Summer Camp FAQ
Stepping Stones FAQ
1. How many years has your camp been in operation?
Established in 1955 by Mary and Jock Liddell, Mi-A-Kon-Da has been in operation for over 60 years.
2. What is your camp's philosophy or mission statement?
Mi-A-Kon-da has a strong belief in the importance and impact of residential camping on young girls. Camp allows young women to experience three major goals: learning, friendship and fun!
Each day campers participate in a wide variety of activities with energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Camp provides a healthy, positive environment for our campers to experience personal growth and to appreciate and live in harmony with others and the natural world. As summers go by, each camper broadens her horizons; more fully realizes her potential and develops her leadership ability. In the meantime, she creates many wonderful memories and lifelong friendships flourish!
3. Is the camp accredited?
Yes, Mi-A-Kon-Da provides the safest and most enjoyable camping experience possible, annually meeting and exceeding the quality standards of excellence established by the Ontario Camps Association
. Mi-A-Kon-Da is also an active member of the Canadian Camping Association
4. Who is the camp Director and what is her background?
Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da is currently directed and owned by Pam Lamont and her husband, David Smith. Pam has been active in Mi-A-Kon-Da for over 30 years, starting from her own camper days with Mary Liddell, the founding director. Pam worked for many years as Patch, the camp nurse, before she took on the role of owner and Director in 1999. Pam has a background in critical care nursing and has a Masters of Science Degree in Nursing Education. She has held various teaching positions including on the faculty at the University of Toronto.
Check out our Directors page to learn more about our camp’s leadership.
5. Where is the summer camp located?
Mi-A-Kon-Da is located on Birch Island, our 23-acre private property on Lake Wah Wash Kesh, 40 minutes north from Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.
The Camp is surrounded by pine trees, granite rock shoreline and natural sand beaches. The property is used only for Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da and is a quiet and safe location, free from any motor vehicle traffic. The surrounding Crown Land ensures that our end of the lake is left natural and undeveloped.
Our pine forest, sunny clearings, sandy beaches and calm bays provide ample space for the instruction of all water and land activities. The lakes and forests of the Georgian Bay Recreational Reserve surround us. This vast wilderness is available for canoe tripping, kayaking and sailing excursions, picnicking, hiking and exploring.
6. How do the campers get to camp?
For campers and families that live in Southern Ontario, the best way to get to camp is either by driving or taking the bus. The majority of camper families choose to use the Mi-A-Kon-Da coach bus service to and from Toronto. Mi-A-Kon-Da draws children from around the world, some of our campers arrive by airplane into Toronto. All major airlines have an unaccompanied minor program and our staff will be there to greet them when they arrive at the airport.
7. How many campers are in one tent cabin?
Each cabin has 4-5 campers in a tent cabin. Each camper has a counsellor assigned to their cabin. Each camper has a single bed and space for their clothing and belongings.
8. What is the tuck shop?
The tuck shop is where campers can purchase essential items that they may need at camp, such as toothpaste, sunscreen, hairbrushes or extra pens and paper. Campers can buy items by adding them to their tuck account, and do not need to bring any money with them to camp. The tuck shop is open once a day, and is for essential items only.
9. What type of food is at camp?
The food at Mi-A-Kon-Da is awesome! There’s always something for everyone so make room for seconds! All food is prepared fresh for each meal with a selection of main course, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Each meal is balanced and made with children in mind. Please check out our Delicious Food
page for more information on what is offered.
10. Do you provide laundry service?
Yes. Once every two weeks campers can send out roughly a dozen articles of laundry to be cleaned.
1. Who are your staff and what qualifications do they have?
We’re very proud of the fact that our counsellors have grown up through the Mi-A-Kon-Da camper experience – we know each counsellor very well! This commitment and experience ensures that the values of the camp are maintained throughout the years. All counsellors have completed the Mi-A-Kon-Da counsellor-in-Training (CIT) program. Through their CIT training, we are able to identify strengths and work with staff on areas for improvement so that they continue to develop as strong leaders.
Mi-A-Kon-Da staff are qualified and knowledgeable individuals teaching activities where they have gained both knowledge and experience. The waterfront activity staff have a minimum of a Bronze Cross with the majority of all our counsellors being certified in Standard First Aid and NLS (National Lifeguard). All of our swim staff have their NLS and Instructors qualifications. All of our Canoe Trippers are certified with Bronze Cross or higher, as required by the Ontario Camps Association.
Our staff range between the ages of 17 and 40 years old. In most cases they are university students, school teachers or outdoor education leaders. All of our staff must undergo a Criminal Records Check before working at camp.
2. How much time does your staff spend in training?
In addition to the leadership training that all counsellors have received at camp, each staff member participates in a week of pre-camp staff training and orientation every summer. This time focuses on leadership skills, review of emergency procedures, counsellor expectations, standardization of activity skills, team building and how to work with children. Staff complete the Ministry of Labour’s Health and Safety in the Workplace training, AODA training, and WHMIS training. Staff also attend the OCA (Ontario Camps Association) skill development and counsellor training conference during the year.
3. How many staff return to work at camp each year?
Over 70% of our staff return to work at Mi-A-Kon-Da each summer. This return rate allows new positions for our first year staff that have completed the CIT program. Our high return rate provides continuity and a great chance for campers to get to know counsellors and staff from summer to summer.
4. What is the staff to camper ratio?
Our counsellor to camper ratio is 1:3. With 100 campers per session, Mi-A-Kon-Da provides great support and supervision to campers with a staff of 30 counsellors, 16 CITs and 20 support staff. Our philosophy is to not to expand our camper base beyond this number, preferring to run a smaller family-style camp which provides enormous benefits to the campers and staff in terms of attention and development.
5. What if my daughter gets homesick?
It is normal for campers to miss their parents, siblings, pets and friends when they are away, especially if it is their first time at summer camp! Homesickness is a completely natural reaction to being away from home and it is nothing to worry about. Most homesick campers, both young and old, have fun most of the time while at camp, but might experience unease or sadness at certain moments of the day. They will have lots of support from their counsellor, the CITs, and their friends to keep them busy, safe, and having fun.
There are also many things you can do before camp that will help your daughter prepare for being away from home.
- Talk about homesickness, what it is and what it might feel like, so that your daughter is prepared and knows it’s a normal, natural feeling.
- Practice being away from home by going on a short overnight to a friend’s house, or a practice mini camp.
- Have your daughter pack her own bag so she know what she will have with her at camp and will be familiar with the equipment.
- Familiarize yourselves with the camp – either by looking at the video, pictures, or arranging a camp visit before camp starts.
- Prepare your daughter for the no-phone rule by and get her excited about letter writing instead! We suggest parents write and send some mail ahead of time, so that their daughter will receive something right away.
- Finally, brainstorm ideas with your daughter about how she might deal with homesickness, if it occurs – teach her a card game to play, send her some arts and crafts, or talk about mindfulness and positive thinking. Remind your daughter that she can always talk to her camp counsellor, or any staff member, if she happens to be feeling down. Our camp staff are experts when it comes to supporting and engaging campers – we keep them feeling busy, engaged and included so that by the end of their time at camp, they have had the time of their lives.
6. Can I come pick up my daughter if she is homesick?
We strongly recommend that you do not tell your daughter that you will come pick them up if she is feeling homesick. In our experience, when a camper has this expectation it makes them more prone to homesickness.
Only under special circumstances such as a family emergency or health concern will we allow parents to pick up their daughter. In other cases, such as homesickness, we believe in our very capable and qualified staff to work through issues with campers so that they can overcome them and have a fun-filled, memorable time at camp.
7. Can the campers write home and can I send a letter or parcel?
Yes! Mail is a highly anticipated and important part of camp life! Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da encourages campers to write letters home regularly and we hope that parents and friends will write. Letters and parcels are distributed on a daily basis. Parcels and letters may be sent by regular or Express Post. Purolator and other courier services do not deliver to camp. Please do not send food or have the children bring food to camp. Campers will have plenty of food and snacks throughout the day. We have a No Nut Policy and food in tents encourages animals to become pests.
Parcelled with Love offers a care package service for kids at camp.
8. How can we communicate with the camp during the summer?
Our Contact Us
page outlines all of the ways that you can get a hold of us. Keep in mind to look under Summer contact information as there will not be anyone in the Dundas office during the summer.
Telephone – The summer camp number 905-516-9382 can be called at anytime. In the event that no one is available, you can leave a message and it will be returned as soon as possible. Campers are not permitted to make phone calls or have cell phones at camp. We ask that they leave their phones and other electronics at home.
Email – The camp email, email@example.com, will be checked on a daily basis while we are up at camp. Should you need to get in contact with camp management, you can send an email and we will respond promptly.
Camp visits – We provide parents/families with the opportunity to visit their daughter and see the camp while they are in session. There is no fee to visit but they should be booked in advance to ensure that your daughter is not out of camp on a canoe trip and to accommodate boat transportation and meal planning. We recommend that first time campers and two week campers have visitors come at the end of their two week stay. This allows them to enjoy the full experience of camp.
1. What is a typical day at camp like?
Every day at camp is jam packed with a number of fun things. Check out our Day at Camp
page for more information or some photos
to see what a day looks like!
2. Can I do every activity?
Most activities are open to all campers. Biking and Off-Island Rock Climbing are open to Senior campers (13+). For safety reasons, Windsurfing and Kayaking require campers to have their Level 8 in swimming and their Level 2 in Sailing and Canoeing, respectively, before they can participate. Once a camper has achieved these qualifications, they can choose to go to any activity during any period of the day.
Most activities have different skill levels that campers can work on to get a badge if they wish. Our flexible program gives them the choice to attend different activities, on different days. Everyone spends one activity period at Swimming doing their lessons.
3. Do I have to sign up for activities?
Mi-A-Kon-Da does not require campers to sign up for the majority of camp activities. We believe in letting campers choose what activities interest them. There are certain activities that require campers to sign up each day, such as Wall Climbing, Kayaking and Windsurfing, which ensures that the activity is run in small groups. Each morning announcements are made to let campers know if they need to sign up for these activities. If a particular activity is extremely popular, our staff make sure that each camper gets an equal opportunity to participate.
4. What if I don't know how to do the activities?
No worries! All of our activities involve instruction for beginners and no matter the individual’s level, someone will be there to help out.
5. Do we do any activities as a whole camp?
Yes, many of the Evening Programs (EPs) involve everyone coming together. These games and events are awesome! The Program Director and counsellors come up with creative ideas that involve the entire camp. Popular EPs include Monopoly, Capture the Flag, and Iron Chef. There are also special events such as Watersports Day, Team Cheer-Off and Showcase that are full-camp activities.
6. What are Driftwood, Center and Senior?
Driftwood, Center and Senior are the names of the sections that campers live in. Campers are placed in sections based on their age, so their neighbours are friends their own age! As girls get older, they move from Driftwood Section, where the youngest campers live, to Center Section, and then Senior Section, where the oldest campers live.
7. If I come to camp with a friend, can I stay with them?
We will certainly do our best! If a camper would like to be in a cabin group with a friend, we recommend they mark it down on their tent request form and we will take note of the request when putting together the groups. We try our best to accommodate campers but please limit requests to one or two friends. If a camper has friends at camp that are not in their section, don’t worry, there is plenty of time to visit them while at camp.
8. Is there anything special I should bring to camp?
Prior to coming to camp we will send out a packing list. If campers pack what is on this list they will be all set for the summer. If there is anything in addition to what we have suggested that is not technology, we encourage campers to bring it! However, please leave valuables at home as we don’t want them to get lost or broken.
9. What if I miss home?
It is completely natural and normal to miss your parents, siblings, pets and friends when you are away, especially if it is your first time at summer camp! Everybody at camp understands the feeling, you are not alone. You will have lots of support from your counsellor, the CITs, and your friends to keep you busy, safe, and having fun. In fact, our counsellors are specially trained to help campers who feel homesick. One of the best ways to feel better is to write a letter home about all the fantastic things you are doing at camp, and then get right back out having fun! There is always so much happening at Mi-A-Kon-Da, your time at camp will fly by before you know it!
There are also many things you can do before you come to camp that will help you prepare for being away from home. Going on a practice overnight sleepover to a friend’s house, packing your camp bag yourself so you know exactly what equipment and clothes you’ll have at camp, or planning a visit to the camp with your parents before your session to see where you will be living are all great ways of preparing for life at camp.
10. Do I get any free time?
Yes, there are pockets of free time throughout the day, usually before or after meals. As well, there’s a rest hour after lunch. During free time, campers can go to Guitar or Dance club, play tetherball, go out in the paddleboat, write letters home, or hang out with friends! There is always something to do at camp.
11. Will I have fun at Mi-A-Kon-Da?
Absolutely! Mi-A-Kon-Da is a great place to meet new friends, try new things and learn new skills. Be prepared for lots of exciting activities and adventures! We can’t wait to meet you!
Summer Camp FAQ
1. What kind of activities does your camp offer?
Our campers enjoy the freedom to choose from a long list of activities to participate in each day. Check out our Activities
page to see what kinds of activities we offer.
2. Is every day the same?
You can check out A Day at Camp
to see a typical camp schedule. In reality, no two days are the same – each day brings different fun adventures. There may be a themed dinner, a regatta in the morning, or an off-island excursion!
Monday-Saturday all campers participate in activities and all-camp games. On Sundays, we have a sleep in, followed by Reflections. Reflections is an all camp educational or team-building activity. The rest of the day on Sunday is spent doing special activities with your tent. You can choose whatever you like! Free swim, Scavenger Hunts, Kite-Flying, Kayaking around the island, and T-Shirt making are just a few of the fun activities that campers choose to do on Sundays with their tents. The sky is the limit on Sundays!
3. How does the camp program meet individual needs and differences?
Mi-A-Kon-Da’s high counsellor to camper ratio allows campers to get the attention and encouragement they deserve. With so much of our camp program based on choice, campers are able to decide how they spend their time at Mi-A-Kon-Da. Campers live in tent groups of 4 or 5, and are assigned a counsellor. This staff member spends time with the girls and by getting to know the tent group, can provide programming and support based on their personalities and needs.
Stepping Stones FAQ
1. Is the Stepping Stones schedule a regular Mi-A-Kon-Da camp day?
The days generally follow the Summer Camp schedule, but there are additional activities added so that the girls can experience the most activities the camp offers in the short time they are here! Make sure to check out our Schedule of Activities
page to get an idea of what a day during Stepping Stones is like.
2. Can parents come visit?
Yes!! On the last day of the Stepping Stones weekend, parents and family are encouraged to visit the island and spend a couple of hours with us. Parents will have the chance to get a tour of camp, see their daughter’s favourite activities, and meet the Mi-A-Kon-Da staff. We will serve lunch and there will be a chance to take group pictures before departing.
3. Can campers bunk with a friend?
Absolutely! Be sure to fill out the Camper Information Form with any friend requests and we will do our best to make sure we put friends in the same cabin.
4. Will the regular camp be in session during Stepping Stones?
No, Stepping Stones weekend happens before the camp opens for regular sessions. In addition to the Stepping Stones campers, there will be staff members, both the Director and Assistant Director, 2-3 kitchen staff members and our maintenance support staff on the island.
5. Do campers have to be 6 at the time of the camp weekend or can they be turning 6 that year?
The camper may be turning 6 that year.
6. Are Stepping Stones campers required to register for a two-week session in the same summer?
No, campers participating in Stepping Stones do not need to register for a 2-week session. Stepping Stones is intended to be an introduction to Mi-A-Kon-Da and our program so that when campers feel ready they may choose to come back the next summer for a 2-week session. Some campers may choose to attend a 2-week session the same summer after attending Stepping Stones depending on availability in sessions.
7. Who will be taking care of my daughter?
Your daughter will be in the reliable care of our most senior staff who have been working for us for 3-5 years. The counsellor-camper ratio will be higher than our regular 1:3, and the counsellors will be with their campers at all times throughout the weekend.
8. Where will the girls sleep during Stepping Stones?
The girls will be staying in cabins during their stay at Mi-A-Kon-Da. Each cabin has plenty of space and bunk beds for the girls to sleep in. Each camper has their own bed and there are 6-10 beds per cabin. The cabins all have large windows equipped with screens to give beautiful views of the lake and allow fresh air to make them more comfortable. During Stepping Stones, counsellors will stay in the cabins with the campers.