Who are you as an organization?
Camp Kodiak is Canada’s premier overnight summer camp for children and teens with and without learning disabilities, ADHD and high-functioning ASD. Some of our highlights include: • Social skills program • Academic program • 50+ activities • Mature, professional staff • 2:1 camper-to-staff ratio • Programming designed to increase self-esteem and confidence • Leader in Training program for campers 16 to 18 years old • Comfortable log cabins with electricity and bathroom with shower • 425-acre site with 2 miles of waterfront • Located near Parry Sound, Ontario (2.5 hrs north of Toronto) Your camper deserves a summer of fun, friends, and success!
What do you do differently or uniquely well?
"Campers tell us that they "find their people" at Camp Kodiak. It is empowering for children and youth to meet so many people in one place who genuinely understand and share many of same strengths and challenges as them.
Camp Kodiak programs for success! All sports and activities are taught in an organized, step-by-step fashion to ensure success. Cooperation rather that competition is emphasized. We have over 50 sports, crafts, cultural and educational activities to ensure that all of campers are able to discover and nurture different talents. Campers participate in our "core activities" with their cabin mates as well as select electives from a large variety of activities."
Who are your staff and counsellors?
"An important reason for the success of our program is our staff. Of the three counsellors living and working with each cabin group, at least one is trained professional from the fields of education, psychology, social work or recreation. The remaining staff are university and college students, most of whom are working towards a career in one of the helping professions.
Our counsellors undergo rigorous training where they learn about profiles of neurodiversities that may present at camp and how best to meet their social and emotional needs. Our staff also learn a variety of teaching methodologies, camper management strategies, as well as the policies and procedures related to providing safe and successful camp sessions for our campers."
What do families need to know about registration?
"Camper application process:
1. Complete an online application form (follow “Apply Now” link on website)
2. Camp Kodiak will contact you to discuss the information you submitted
3. Schedule a time for the prospective camper and parent/guardian to meet with one of the Directors
4. Zoom meeting to determine if we have availability in a cabin group that will provide the camper with a great social fit that is also age appropriate
5. Upon acceptance, a contract will be sent and a deposit is required to confirm the camper’s spot in the cabin group
Camp fees are to be paid in full by April 1st, 2023. If applying for camp after this date, payment in full will be required by June 1st, 2023.
Contact us or apply online to get started today!"
Our primary goal is the health and safety of every camper and staff member at Camp Kodiak. To accomplish this task, we are engaging in conversations with local health agencies, the provincial government, the Ontario Camps Association, and other experts as we plan for the summer of 2023.View recent COVID-19 updates from Camp Kodiak
Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; Camp Kodiak currently has 4 programs available.
Filter activities available:
Ages: 6 - 18
Traditional (multi activity)
$5,830 to $11,905
Ages: 6 - 9
Traditional (multi activity)
Ages: 6 - 8
Traditional (multi activity)
Ages: 1 - 18+
Traditional (multi activity)
$1,320 to $3,000
|Credit card payment||Yes|
All camps, in varying degrees, personify what camp is all about, though some do that even better than most. Kodiak is one of those camps. It began from a place of pure, unadulterated care, when Dave Stoch explored how camp, particularly, could support kids with a range of special needs. He moved with his family to the US for 7 years, living and learning at a special needs camp there. His daughter, Shari Stoch, says that “in these special needs camping environments that he’d been involved in, he saw the kids really thrive, and they were able to find their place.” And that, right there, is absolutely what camp, any camp, is about. That’s what camp can do that other environments often can’t, or can’t do as well. The family returned to Canada in 1991 and founded Camp Kodiak, building it around all the best practices that they had grown to appreciate. It’s not about separating kids with needs from others, but realizing that, well, all kids have needs, though not necessarily all the same ones. Kodiak is a place where they can be integrated, where their struggles are understood, and programming is managed to provide fun, learning, growing, and inclusion for all. Dave Stoch’s daughters Ilana, Shari and Marni now direct the camp, having started that first year as counsellors and working into the leadership roles. Their expressed interest is to maintain all the goals, dreams, and culture that their father established those years ago. It’s a great story, and a great camp. This is truly what it’s all about.Visit camp's website
Editor’s Top 3: Camp Kodiak
Hear the three things that Our Kids’ editors see when they look at Camp Kodiak
This was a transformative experience for my son. He was terrified of overnight camp and worried about it for years. In three weeks, he built so much confidence and had even more fun. I could not be happier about his experi... Read More
Camp Kodiak is a very special place! Our daughter has gone to Kodiak for 5 summers, and this summer went for the full seven weeks. She had an incredible experience and made great friends! The camp is beautiful and the faci... Read More
I wholeheartedly believe Kodiak has been one of the greatest learning experiences for our son. From his first summer, to his last he always gained new skills, new friends and memories to last a lifetime. When I was Tim's a... Read More
200 Kodiak Road, McKellar, Ontario, P0G 1C0, Canada
|Location||Address||Pick up||Drop off|
|Toronto Bus||Toronto||1:00 pm||12:00 pm|
More details about accommodations: Comfortable cabins with full washroom facilities (including shower) located in the cabin. Each building has a deck that provides a beautiful view of the lake.
Are meals provided? Yes
Is Camp Kodiak technology free? Campers are allowed to bring small hand-held gaming devices or music players, but no electronics with a SIM card or texting capabilities. All cell phones brought to camp will be kept in the locked safe in the main office.
More details about property: Mini-golf course, bouldering wall
Ilana, Shari and Marni Stoch, Directors
Our father, David Stoch, was a special education teacher who recognized the merits of outdoor education and camping experiences as tools for developing confidence and skills in students, especially those who struggled with the mainstream school environment. His dream of creating an overnight summer camp for kids and youth with and without learning disabilities became a reality, and Camp Kodiak was born. Since our father's passing, we have undertaken the responsibility of ensuring that his legacy continues. It is our honour to ensure that the spirit and direction of camp remain focused on providing campers a summer full of opportunities for success.
We take great pride in the inclusive, nurturing environment that we have created, and the incredible progress we see in our campers. Our staff is dedicated, creative and talented in a variety of ways - from the program areas they run to the relationships they develop with the campers and parents. We are also proud of our campers for demonstrating courage, resiliency, and support for each other.
Most of our campers come to us with very little confidence, very few friends their age and often with a defeatist attitude. Everything that is important to kids is hard for them: school is hard, maintaining friendships is hard, and team sports are hard. They often consider themselves failures. We work very hard to change that negative self-concept. We structure the camp environment to ensure that every camper experiences many successes. They leave camp with their heads held higher, with many new friends and with countless successful experiences and achievements under their belt. They almost always leave feeling empowered by their newly acquired confidence, improved social skills and a greatly enhanced self-concept.
The feedback we receive from parents, schools and the kids themselves encourages us to keep doing what we're doing. Many of our parents have told us that their children get more out of a few weeks of camp than they do from an entire year at school. Before long campers are more engaged with their friends, they start getting invited to social events and their increased confidence results in improved academic achievement.
As parents, we know that choosing the right camp for your child is not an easy decision. The idea of letting go and sending your child away to camp is even more difficult if you are the parent of a child with special needs. Please be assured that every child who comes to our camp becomes part of the Kodiak family and is treated as family.
Dear David: Kevin attended your camp for three weeks last year. It was an experience he will never forget and talks about it often. True to your word, he never realized that the true purpose of attending your camp was to help him with his social difficulties, but help him you did. For the first time in his life, he has maintained friendships for the entire school year. His friends (two in particular) call him frequently, (in fact,, almost too much!!) and invite him over and come over here pretty much every weekend. He has made new friends throughout the last few months, and all of the friends are nice, clean-cut, polite kids with a great sense of humor like Kevin's. Kevin's self-esteem has improved incredibly and his dad and I feel very confident that he will do well next year in high school. So, THANK YOU. The results were astounding and almost immediate. Your camp gave Kevin the gift of a lifetime. That and a love of sailing and water-skiing! You have a truly unique and special camp and we wish you every success in the future. Kevin's mom, Thousand Oaks, California
Dear Dave: I can honestly and sincerely say that my experiences at Camp Kodiak helped me to become the person I am today. Before camp I was shy, nervous, quiet and had low self-esteem. I didn't want to go to camp since the idea of all of those new people, in a new setting that I knew little about, scared me. I went anyway and I'm glad I did. For the first time ever I felt adequate; I was an equal. Everyone was so friendly, open and welcoming from the moment I stepped off the bus. I was not afraid anyone was laughing at me, just with me. I have made hundreds of friends of all ages at camp, many are friendships I know will last a lifetime. Camp was the place for many firsts that gave me confidence. It was the first time I went horseback riding, canoeing and water-skiing. I had tons of support from the counselors as well as the other campers. For someone who felt she could achieve so little, it was a great rush to have so many people believe in me, and show it. The entire experience has raised my self-esteem. I finally felt I can do anything I put my mind to. When people ask me about camp, I have only positive things to say. When talking about camp I am likely beaming, smiling from ear to ear. I have been going to camp for years and have no plans to stop any time soon. Camp has made a difference in my life and has been a very important part of it. Krista
(Krista is a former camper, LIT and staff member. She is now an elementary school teacher who lives in London with her husband and children.)
Dear Dave: Thank you once again for a wonderful camp experience. As you know, Jonathon's troubles started very early. In kindergarten he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and became very despondent. As a result of a very uncaring psychologist, Jonathon's self-esteem plummeted and he began to feel that he was stupid and worthless. At the age of 7 he was depressed and so unhappy that he cried every day. School was a nightmare, and we had to physically put him on the bus many times. When Jonathon decided he would like to go to camp, you met with us and answered all of our questions, showed us photos and a video of the camp. It was very difficult, I will admit, to send Jonathon to camp that first year. He had never been away from us for so long and I was concerned. After all, he was only 8 years old. I got a really good feeling at the bus pick-up point. Many of the counselors were there, and we could see that a lot of the kids were anxious to get to camp again. You all made Jonathon very comfortable, and a counselor from his cabin sat with him. The first few days of camp were difficult for me. I think I called every day, but no one gave me the feeling that I was a bother. I now know, of course, that my concerns about Jonathon feeling lonely or scared were quite unfounded. Jonathon's letters were very hard to read due to the nature of his disability, but we could tell he was happy at camp. My favorite letter was the one with the rock in it from an overnight camping trip. When we picked Jonathon up at the end of the three weeks, I was floored by the changes in him. He literally bounced off the bus! He was happy! After two years of long faces and tears, he was happy! He oozed confidence and he seemed so sure of himself. It was almost too good to be true. When we got home he showed us his academic workbook. Wow! A lot of time and effort went into his work. I really like the fact that you check with parents and teachers to determine what work needs to be done. It's hard to describe the difference in Jon. He was proud of himself and the things he had done. We were amazed at the list. Archery, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, go-carts, photography, arts
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