In Parents’ Own Words – Staff

At the end of the summer of 2019, 97.6% of parents who responded to our survey said that they would recommend Camp Kodiak to a friend. In addition to filling out the survey, over 50 people opted to leave comments to be used as testimonials about the work we do at Kodiak. Over the next few weeks, I will be compiling some of these testimonials into blog posts about a few of the major themes that emerged. Today’s blog is a collection of parent comments about the quality and professionalism of the staff at Camp Kodiak.

One of the things that sets Camp Kodiak apart is our staff. Our counsellors are older, more mature, and more experienced than you will find in other programs. There is at least one professionally trained person in each cabin – usually a teacher, educational assistant, social worker, recreation specialist, or child and youth worker – and the other counsellors are college and university students, many of whom are preparing for a career in the helping professions. 

In addition to many years of camp experience, our administrative team each has a background working in education or therapeutic settings. We draw on our professional backgrounds and ongoing professional learning to mentor the staff in best practices for working with children with learning disabilities, ADHD, and high-functioning autism. As well, we use the resources of other professionals such as a clinical psychologist (who is a former Kodiak counsellor) to help in training staff prior to the start of the season.

 “The counsellors and staff were super amazing and were great role models for [my son]. Thanks for a great three weeks away from home!”

“My daughter … came alone, from Spain, and didn’t speak English … well just a few [words]. She had never been out alone for three weeks and she is just 12. I have to say that counsellors and all the staff did a great WORK! [My daughter] never felt alone and made friends. She has discovered lots of new things and never had time to get bored. I am absolutely thankful to all directors and people who take part in this fantastic Camp! Thank you to give [my daughter] the opportunity to come and take the risk! That’s for sure that we will see you again! I will never stop saying that the organisation of the camp is excellent!”

“Camp Kodiak provides a warm, fun, exciting, kind, and interesting summer camp experience. My 13-year-old son has attended for the past 3 years and is never bored for one minute. He loves the counselors, campers, and all activities … He loves it and it gets better each year! We are thrilled with the counselor’s knowledge of ADHD and their expert handling and interaction with all the kids. My son feels respected and liked and a valuable part of the camp experience. He has tons of friends and comes home happy and relaxed. He can’t wait for next year!”

“This camp is amazing. They support the kids in all areas and allow them to mature and grow at their own pace.” 

“Camp Kodiak has been a wonderful experience for my son. [He] loves going – asks to go back – and each year comes home with new skills and great stories. The counselors understand the challenges and seem to work very hard to ensure everyone is welcome. … Thank you for your dedication to this amazing group of kiddos!”

“My daughter went to Camp Kodiak for the 1st time this summer. Thanks to the exceptional staff, leadership and programming [her] 1st sleep away experience was a huge success!”

 “What a great summer for [my son]! He absolutely loved the camp. It was his first sleep away camp and he’s so excited to go back next year. We didn’t need to worry that people ‘wouldn’t get him’. We knew he was in a safe supportive environment to help him be the best he could be! Thank you to all the amazing staff that provide this wonderful experience.”

“What an amazing experience for my two boys! This was their first experience away from home and to leave for three weeks caused a lot of anxiety. My boys were greeted the second we arrived and they told me they thought they would be homesick but the days went by so fast! We appreciate the amazing communication with the camp and experienced staff. When the kids came home they brought evaluations of how they did and detailed reports of the academics they completed. Really loved all the ‘extras’ this camp offered.”

In our winter office hangs the following sign: “There is a significant difference between ‘all are welcome here’ and ‘this was designed with you in mind’.” [source unknown] There are a lot of camps that advertise an inclusive program, which really just means that they let kids with special needs come to camp. But that’s not the same as providing a program that is specifically designed to facilitate their success. At Kodiak we draw on our collective experience and expertise to offer the kind of structure, support, and understanding necessary to meet the needs of our neuro-diverse campers. 

If your family has not yet experienced the magic of Camp Kodiak first-hand, please visit our website ( and fill out an application to get started on the summer of 2020.

About the Author

Shari Stoch

Shari has worked at Camp Kodiak since it began in 1991. She has been the Academic Director since 2010, and is one of the Camp Directors. During the year, Shari works for the Peel District School Board as a special education teacher. She earned her Masters of Education from Queen’s University.