McMaster Camps: March Break & Summer

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked camp questions below. We know you're trusting us with very precious cargo, and we're committed to making sure your camper is safe and well-prepared for a great camp experience. There's no question too big or small!

Have a question we haven't answered?

We're here to help! Call us at 905-525-9140 x24464 or email


Where can I find camp contact information?

All of our camp contacts are available on our Contact Information page.

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Is there a 'Preparing for Camp' guide available?

Yes, look for the 'Preparing for Camp' tab on each camp's webpage. You can also find helpful information in this FAQ, as well as our camp map. Here's some other helpful links to your online account logintax receipt info and our camp lost and found.

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What are the camp hours of operation?

Our camps generally operate from 8:30am to 4:15pm, but please check the 'Preparing for Camp' tab on each camp's webpage for a daily schedule. Extended Care begins at 7:30am and finishes at 5:30pm.

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What if my child needs to leave early, arrive late or will be absent from camp?

Please call the camp office or send a note with your child prior to the day of absence. For your child’s safety, we will call home for any unannounced late or absent campers. Late campers should report to their camp office prior to rejoining the camp.

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I'm late for pick-up: Where is my camper? Is there extended care?

You are able to register and pay for our Extended Care program from 7:30am-5:30pm during registration. Understanding that at times a parent or guardian may be delayed for afternoon pick-up, counselors will wait with campers for a short period of time after camp, after which they will then escort campers to extended care program located in the Smith Gym

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What is the ratio of campers to counsellors? 

Ratios vary depending on age and activity in accordance with Ontario Camp Association standards. In general we aim for an 8:1 ratio in counsellor groups and at camp activities. At SFS, we aim for 6:1 in sport groups when working with our youngest campers. In higher-risk activities like rock climbing or swimming, specially trained, certified staff and greater supervision are in place to ensure camper safety.

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What is McMaster's approach to building inclusive camps for all gender-identities and expressions?

For the most part, campers of all genders take part in an integrated community at our camps, without need to identify one's gender. That said, we do use gender-segregated changerooms at swim time and you will notice references to 'boys' and 'girls' for some sessions. You may also be asked to indicate your camper's gender during registration, to tailor the camps displayed accordingly. While there’s some value to these systems, they also falsely perpetuate the idea of gender as a binary and present other barriers to our building an inclusive camp community. We acknowledge this shortcoming and train our staff to understand gender as a spectrum and to both demonstrate and teach acceptance, respect and support for all campers to participate as they identify, in the programs or changerooms that they feel best fits their gender-identity.

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Is wearing the camp t-shirt mandatory? 

Yes! It's an important safety tool, helping us and our campers identify where and with whom they belong while at McMaster.

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Are there any special camp days I should know about? 

Each camp has days where special events unfold, whether welcoming parents, guardians, family members and guests or when campers are off on special day-trip activities. Each camp will communicate special events and field trips ahead of time. Please note that you will need to pay for parking if parking on campus.

Sport Fitness School

At certain times during your camper's session, we like to invite family and friends to join us for a peek at some of the incredible things we've been up to:

  • Dance & Breakdance Show: TBA
  • Synchro Show: TBA
  • Outdoor Adventure Based Challenge Trip, Skateboarding Trip, Golf Trip: notes will go home with the camper during the session.
  • Olympic Day: The last day of each session is Olympic Day where you can watch the athletes showcase their skills, with a slideshow scheduled for 3:45pm in the Sport Hall Gym.

 Mini-U Graduation Day

Mini-U Graduation Day takes place on the Friday afternoon of each session. This is a time for you to experience what Mini-U is all about! Guests are welcome to join the final afternoon of activities and attend a graduation ceremony like no other@

  • Meet in the main lobby of the David Braley Athlete Centre [View Map]
  • Friday @ 12:30pm. Join your camper as they share what they have been working on during their session
  • Mini-U Graduation Ceremony: Friday @ 2:10pm

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What are the different colour bracelets for?

We use bracelets to identify campers who may need special support at camp. If you need to remove a bracelet at home, please ask our Camp Leaders for a new one.

  • White: Camper wears a lifejacket and stays in the shallow end during swim
  • Yellow / Red: First Aid bracelets to notify us of allergies, medical conditions, etc.

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Is swimming mandatory? 

The recreational swim is optional, but highly recommended as a chance to cool off and relax. If you would like your camper to be excused from the swim, please send a note from home. Non-swimmers are supervised during a quiet play time (board games, cards, reading, etc.) and are encouraged to bring a favourite book – but no electronics! 

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What is the swim test?  How do you keep my camper safe at the pool?

Each camper will take part in a lifeguard supervised swim-test before swimming on their own. Campers are asked to swim across the width of our pool (approx. 15 meters) unassisted, without goggles and without touching the bottom. If unable, they are given a lifejacket, a bracelet to identify them (and to be worn for the duration of camp), and are required to stay in the shallow end. A staff person in the water will be assigned to supervise them and experienced lifeguards are on duty watching over everyone in the water. Camp staff are also assigned to stations on the deck to support and supervise campers. Swim test records are recorded to ensure campers are in the right - and safe - spot. If you need to remove a bracelet at home, please ask our Camp Leaders for a new one. 

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What are the Sport Fitness School Trail & Track Runs I keep hearing about?

SFS athletes have opportunities to run trails and track during their session, and are encouraged to improve their time and effort with each run. The primary goal of the runs is to provide athletes with the opportunity to face a challenge, set goals, work to accomplish them, and feel empowered about their accomplishments in a tangible way. Check the full description of our SFS Trail & Track Runs for more details and a video of a pre-run pep talk.

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Can my child bring electronics to camp?

In short: No! One of the goals of camp is to provide campers with unique experiences at McMaster. Electronic devices - games, phones, music players, etc. - while great for individual entertainment, do not readily encourage socialization at camp and often present challenges, especially when they go missing. We ask that all electronics be left at home for the duration of camp, and promise to provide an awesome experience to keep campers engaged throughout their session!

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Is there a lost and found?

Yes - learn more on our Lost & Found page. Each camp will operate their own lost and found with regular reminders for campers to claim lost items, as well as a central post-session collection. It's always easiest to reclaim your things if they're labeled, and Hamilton's Mabel's Labels offers a unique way to make that happen, and support kids in our community.

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Can my camper walk or ride their bike home? 

If your child is planning on walking or riding their bike home (or to another location on campus), for safety reasons we request that you indicate such during registration. You can make changes to dismissal permissions in your online account

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