LIFE AT TAMAKWA
Having fun never gets old.
Our campers get to run, play, jump, sing, swim, sail and paddle along the entire South Tea Lake shoreline. And with Algonquin Park in our backyard, there’s no better place to explore and adventure.
Making memories that will last a lifetime.
Tamakwa offers one of the most diverse outdoor recreational programs available. While it boasts many modern features, we pride ourselves on our traditional values, skill development and camp spirit.
Campers will always remember the first time they skippered a sail boat, felt the rush of a windsurfer, paddled to Treasure Island and back in a kayak, or attempted their first canoe-over-canoe rescue in Canoe Bay.
From hockey development and tennis instruction, to intercamp competition and baseball practices, to fitness training and more, our campers are always working up a sweat.
At Tamakwa, using your imagination is a daily activity. From throwing a pot to editing a short film, building a woodshop project or starring in a musical production, campers always create something to call their own.
We take advantage of having Algonquin Park in our backyard by exploring our beautiful surroundings and challenging ourselves to reach for higher achievements.
Full bellies, happy hearts.
Tamakwa knows that the first step to playing hard and loving life is eating well, that’s why real food has an import role in shaping a healthy camp experience. Our family-style menus are designed with respect for nutritional balance, variety, healthy ingredients and taste. With two separate vegetarian options, a salad bar twice a day, a mid-afternoon fruit snack (aka Tootsie Frootsie) and home baked goods offered daily, we ensure active minds never go hungry. At Tamakwa, we believe camp food matters, so much so that we even wrote a book about it!
Health and Safety
Camper safety is our number one concern.
Sometimes a warm bowl of chicken soup just doesn’t cut it, that’s why Tamakwa knows it’s imperative that we staff our clinic with full-time nurses and a physician to oversee and care for the myriad of medical needs of campers. Whether it’s a scrape to the knee, a food allergy or any special health concerns, our medical team is available 24/7.Health & Safety Practices Allergies & Medical Needs Accessibility Policy
NEW CAMPER & INTRO SESSIONS
We love welcoming new Tamakwans to the family.
But we know some campers need to dip their toes in the water before jumping right in. That’s why we’ offer a variety of new camper and introductory options.
JUNIOR TAMAKWANS (JT)
Our Junior Tamakwan (or JT) program is specifically designed to care for the needs of our youngest 7-9 year campers, comprised of our Forester (boys) and Trailblazer (girls) sections. Our 2-week session gives first- time campers an opportunity to experience all that Tamakwa has to offer, including our 20+ activities, a camp drama production, evening programs with the entire camp, a cabin canoe trip and of course exciting special programming! With so much going on in those two weeks, don’t be surprised if they ask to stay on for just a bit longer (which of course is always an option for 2 week campers). It’s not just our JTs that love being at camp, it’s also their counselors. We take special care in recruiting the right staff for our youngest Tamakwans, ensuring just the right mix of health and safety knowledge, a nurturing spirit and of course, a great dose of goofiness!
THE TAMAKWA 1- DAY TEASER
This is truly one jam-packed, high energy day! Ideal for 6-9 year campers that want to visit camp, enjoy a few camp activities and get an itty bitty taste for camp life. Campers depart from Toronto around 7am and return home nice and tired around 9:00pm! This summer, the Tamakwa Teaser is on Friday, July 10th, 2020.
THE WEEKEND MINI SESSION
An awesome jam packed weekend for 6-9 year old campers that want a taste of overnight camp without the pressure of leaving home for too long! Campers enjoy a range of activities and evening programs, lots of camp family fun in our energetic dining hall, two nights of cabin life and a ton of Algonquin Park beauty. Roundtrip transportation is offered from Toronto and all campers sleep in their own cabin with other weekend campers.
Connect with family and friends and enjoy quality time together outdoors. This is the perfect opportunity to prepare your soon-to-be-campers for their first experience at camp while having fun right along with them. This weekend is perfect for any family, including past, present and future campers, staff and alumni who love the great outdoors.
RATES AND DATES FOR 2020
Only 154 days left until camp
First Session: June 24 to July 20
Second Session: July 21 to August 15
Second Session 2-Week JTs (*): July 21 to August 4
(*) for campers currently in grades 1-3
$6,075 - 1st Session (4 wks)
$2,975 - 2nd Session (2 wks)
$5,075 - 2nd Session (4 wks)
$8,275 - Grades 1-3 (6 wks)
$9,575 - Full summer
$6,575 - 1st Session (4 wks)
$5,675 - 2nd Session (4 wks)
$8,875 - Grades 4-5 (6 wks)
$10,275 - Full summer
$8,575 - Full summer
$50 - 1-Day Teaser (July 10)
$180 - Weekend Mini Session (Aug 7-9)
ALL FEES ARE LISTED IN CANADIAN DOLLARS.
NOTE: Camp Fees do not include transportation, laundry and applicable taxes.
(*) if paid in full by October 11, 2019 for returning families and December 31, 2019 for first-time Tamakwa families
Play together, save together.
Tamakwa prides itself on being a camp with an intimate feeling and strong family values. As a thank you to our life- long friends, we offer several discounts so more families can learn, play and grow together.
Families with 3 or more attending campers/CITs will enjoy a discount of 5% on their Camp Fees, plus an additional 10% discount for those who attend only our second session. All discounts will be manually applied once applications are received.
CAMPER REFERRAL DISCOUNT
It really pays to tell your friends – receive a 5% discount relating to the new camper’s pre-tax Camp Fees.
STAFF REFERRAL BONUS
While we spend plenty of time searching for the best new staff members to fill the available positions each summer, we realize that our own camp families and staff have some great networking opportunities at their fingertips. If someone you refer to us gets hired and works all summer, the bonus is $200.
Get to know your home away from home.
If you have any questions you didn’t see answered here, click on the link below.Contact Us
WHERE IS CAMP TAMAKWA?
In Algonquin Park, Ontario, 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Toronto (2.5 hour drive).
WHAT IS ALGONQUIN PARK?
It is a Provincial Park, established as a wildlife preserve in 1893, and is one of the largest recreational areas in North America with 3,000 square miles of forests and 2,000 charted lakes. Algonquin is the most celebrated canoe trip area on any continent. Families travel from around the world to go camping in Algonquin and for us, we’re lucky have it as our backyard.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT TAMAKWA?
Trying to pinpoint Tamakwa’s appeal to now four generations of campers and staff is no easy task. Tamakwa has been called a “people camp”. While the physical facility is top notch in every way, Tamakwa’s magic has always been the intangible quality of warmth and camaraderie among the camp family. That’s what we are, a family. Tamakwa is a small intimate place where everyone knows each other. Above all, Tamakwa is known for its spirit. Singing, cheering, and traditional values of camping are the mainstays of our camp life. In our minds, these values provide an important balance to the highly technological lifestyles of today’s urban youth.
WHAT IS TAMAKWA’S PHILOSOPHY?
Tamakwa provides a place where young people can grow and develop both individually and collectively; to learn the skills of everyday living and giving; develop positive physical, emotional, and ethical values and habits through the day to day example of experienced and highly motivated adults; and to learn by real experience the worth and value of one’s self and of others. And one more sentence… to do ALL this in a nurturing secure environment, situated in a pristine wilderness setting where they learn to appreciate the wonders of nature.
WHO ARE THE CAMPERS?
Boys and girls aged 7 to 16. A special Junior Tamakwan program is offered for 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. Camp accommodates 250-275 campers per session.
WHERE ARE THE CAMPERS FROM?
Camp is primarily comprised of Canadians and Americans. The Canadians are mostly from Toronto, but also from Montreal, Ottawa and London. The Americans are predominantly from the Detroit area, with groups of campers from CA, NY, NJ, IL, OH, FL, CO, AZ and MD, to name a few. Tamakwans also come from Mexico, Israel, France, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, England, and Spain.
HOW MUCH STRUCTURE IS THERE IN YOUR PROGRAM?
Two of the five daily activity periods are organized in cabin groups, as are the canoe trips and many other activities. The remaining three periods are individual choice. Our scheduling provides every camper equal exposure and access to each camp activity. The individual choice periods allow campers to pursue their favorite activities. Every period is scheduled and every camper has a place to be. Free play periods are before and after dinner. So, the hours of the day tilt in favor of structure, although there is ample time to do your own thing. The younger campers are given more direction and supervision in the use of their free time.
WHAT ABOUT CREATIVE PROGRAMMING?
Tamakwa is well known for its special “All Day Programs” incorporating a creative theme with team competition in all camp skills, sports, and creativity. These special programs begin and end with a spectacular surprise presentation/introduction called a “Break”, and they are scheduled equally in each camp session. The rest will be kept a secret…
WHO ARE YOUR STAFF AND HOW ARE THEY SELECTED?
Our administrative staff is made up of professionals with vast experience in camping or education. Activity Leaders are “camp” professionals in the specific activity they are in charge of for the summer. The counseling staff is primarily composed of university students, many of whom are former campers or people involved in education. All have had camping experience and they have come to us either because we’ve sought them out for their qualifications or because they sought us out based on our reputation. They are screened through applications, references and personal interviews. Our staff family is diverse and frequently come from around the USA and Canada, as well as from England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and many of the same places as our campers.
DO YOU HAVE MEDICAL STAFF AT CAMP?
Full-time camp nurses / nursing students, health care assistants and a physician are in residence. We have a clinic with daily “sick-call” and an infirmary. The nearest hospital is 30 minutes away in Huntsville, and is a new and modern facility, which has competently serviced all the area camps for many years.
HONESTLY, HOW IS THE FOOD?
Well, according to a Toronto Star food columnist a few years ago, it’s very good. Tamakwa’s kitchen is operated by a professional catering service. The food is prepared on-premises and breads and baked goods are homemade. The three daily meals have three courses each. The menu has been designed with the utmost consideration for nutritional balance, variety, and children’s tastes. While the regular menu includes meat, an alternative menu is available for vegetarians. In addition, a fresh fruit snack is served daily, as well as a light snack before bed. We eat family style with everyone in the dining hall at one time. One morning a week, we have a sleep-in and a fantastic buffet brunch is served.
WHAT IS HOUSING LIKE?
Everyone lives in cabins, substantial wood cottages with electricity. There are bathroom facilities (we call them “biffies”) in all of the girls’ cabins and in those housing the youngest and oldest boys. The middle range boys share the use of a central biffy or community bathroom facilities in the vicinity of their cabins.
DOES TAMAKWA HAVE ANY RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION?
Most of the campers and staff are Jewish, but many are not. Tamakwa is not a religious camp and has no affiliation with any synagogue, church, or agency. We are one big family where everyone feels perfectly at home. Traditionally, we say grace at meals and have a liberal Friday night observance. Friday night services, as we call them, are of a creative non-worship nature… usually reflecting on a particular theme such as friendship, nature, cooperation, etc. It’s our “time-out” from the busy week to have a quiet evening. The nicest part about these contemplative services is the camp family assembling together on our “Slope” overlooking the spectacular view of South Tea Lake.
IS TAMAKWA TOO FAR AWAY FROM HOME FOR A CHILD?
It’s all relative. For the three generations of campers of all ages who have come predominantly from Detroit (385 miles), it apparently is not too far. Nor is it too far for the children who return year after year from the west coast, east coast, the Midwest, and the South, not to mention Mexico, England, Israel and a number of other overseas countries. The attraction: an intimate camp community where every child is surrounded by the security of people who care, where each child feels the sense of belonging to something with tradition and continuity, where community as opposed to competition is the emphasis, where the beauty and cleanliness of the environment is renowned and matched by few other spots in North America, and where the two most important priorities are safety and fun. Experience tells us that if a child has all that, it doesn’t matter if the camp is 50 miles away from home or 500 miles away from home. It has always been the “away from home” part that affects a child; not so much the actual distance. We are, of course, only a phone call away. Homesickness, when it occurs, is dealt with sensitively and with success.
DOES TAMAKWA CATER MORE TO OLDER THAN TO YOUNGER KIDS?
Somehow Tamakwa was once considered to be suited more to older campers than younger. It simply isn’t so. We pride ourselves on our rustic setting, but offer the amenities necessary for a feeling of comfort and security. Every camper — regardless of age — gets equal exposure and access to all camp activities. Each instructional program is geared to the individual’s age and physical capability. Many of the evening programs are organized by age groups, and those involving the entire camp offer activity that caters to each age level. Our “Junior Tamakwan” program offers a special two-week session to accommodate children in grades 1, 2, & 3 who may be coming to overnight camp for the first time. This program is carefully designed to give the youngest campers the same sense of achievement, challenge and fun as that experienced by the oldest. Canoe trips, for example, are meant to be positive experiences for every age. For the youngest, the trips are tempered to their abilities so the experience is enjoyable, easy, and also full of adventure.
WHAT IS TAMAKWA’S CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY?
Our alumni span the range of professional life. Former campers have gone on to become some of North America’s most respected members of the political, medical, legal, business and entertainment communities, just to name a few. Tamakwa has produced a U.S. Senator, Congressman, federal judges, and a NASA space shuttle astronaut. Among Tamakwa’s most notable alumni in entertainment are Chevy Chase and the late Gilda Radner. Dan Aykroyd became an honorary Tamakwan when he first visited in 1986 to do a special Tamakwa rendition of the Blues Brothers. And three alumni still very involved with Tamakwa are filmmakers Sam Raimi, Mike Binder, and Warren Zide. Sam’s most recent success was directing Spiderman. Binder is a character actor and writer/director of HBO’s Mind of the Married Man. Zide is a producer, best known for American Pie. Sam and Mike are connected with the film INDIAN SUMMER, a Disney/Touchstone picture based on — and filmed at — Camp Tamakwa in 1992. Mike wrote and directed it; Sam was in the cast.
IS TAMAKWA AN ACCREDITED CAMP?
Tamakwa is an active, participating, and accredited member of the Ontario Section of the Canadian Camping Association, the Ontario Camps Association.
WHAT ARE THE CAMP SESSIONS?
Tamakwa has two sessions of four weeks each and approximately half our campers stay for BOTH sessions. In addition, our Junior Tamakwan Program offers two-week sessions (limited to first time campers only) for children in grades 1, 2, or 3 only (their grade at the time of registration.). The JTs have the option to remain for the full four weeks as well.
WHEN IS VISITING DAY?
There is ONE visiting day at Tamakwa each summer between our two 4-week sessions. It’s an open house affair for most of the afternoon with special demonstrations, and a buffet lunch for campers and visitors to enjoy together. This is also the changeover between sessions. Families of first session campers can visit camp that day, and then take their children home. Families of second session campers may bring their children to camp on Visiting Day, spend the day with us, and then drop-off their children the next day to begin their session.