Transcript of our interview with Sue, Camp Director
What is unique about Glen Bernard Camp?
Well, in addition to really believing strongly in all the great things that camps bring to the table to help children succeed, GBC is unique in the fact that this year it turns 100 years old. And so we're very much a camp that is rich in traditions, and that is also seen through the fact that over 95% of our staff were actually campers themselves. This provides a really cool opportunity for campers to learn from people who have been there.
What type of child is successful at Glen Bernard Camp?
Glenn Bernard camp provides an opportunity for all types of kids. Certainly, we are a very active camp, and that's what a lot of people will see: we’ve got a great waterfront program, an amazing high ropes and jungle program. But one of the things that might not be as self-evident is the fact that we have an amazing theatre program and a great craft program. We also have an amazing staff. I think one of the really important things when choosing a camp is that you want to find a place where the staff can be role models for your children.
One of the things I think GBC does really well is that we honour all types of leaders. You’lll find very loud and boisterous and fun leaders, and then you will find the equally fun but quieter and more contemplative leaders. I think that makes us very unique in terms of really being able to fit in with every type of camper.
Is your schedule structured or is it more open?
So there's a little bit of both at Glenn Bernard and it's in part informed by the age and the experience of the campers. would say that the younger campers experience a more structured environment at Glen Bernard. And as they become older and more experienced, they have more opportunity to have provide input on what their day might look like, although for everybody, each day has some structure and some freedom for choosing activities. With the younger campers, the staff help out a lot more in choosing what those opportunities might look like.
How do your staff deal with behavioural issues?
There isn't a one-prescription-fits-all for [challenging] behaviours that occur at camp, but we have a general philosophy of kindness and caring and encouraging personal responsibility. We have a very experienced staff and we have good communication, so they also are very good about speaking with their supervisors and if necessary, chatting with the leadership team to solve any particular issues that come up. I also think just reminding campers about the importance of kindness and responsibility takes us a long way.
What do campers value most about their experience at Glen Bernard Camp?
We have great relationships with our alumni, and it's a question that we review with them regularly to see the things that we're doing well and things that can be improved. And I think the relationships that are created at GBC are one of the most valued things. And right on par with that is all the different skills that they learn. And we're not talking about canoeing, although that's certainly a great skill to learn. We're talking about leadership and how to get along with people and how to work within a group.
When you look at the alumni of GBC and the success that they've had in their lives, and the fact that they reflect back on their days at GBC and often mention it as one of the primary reasons for success in their future lives is very telling.
What message do you have for new kids coming to Glen Bernard Camp?
Well, first of all, a big welcome. And I think the other thing is that whether you're going to GBC or whether you're going to another camp, is that it's very natural to feel nervous about the experience. It’s something new and it's very different than going to school for your first day.
We’ll of course be there to support that camper and we’ll be there for you. And don't hesitate to reach out to your staff and to me personally. And I’d say to new kids that they’re going to have a great experience and they're going to learn a lot of new things. Also, they're going to make great friends and that will be something they'll treasure for the rest of their lives.