Great adventures start here.
A true Canadian summer tradition, Onondaga Camp offers an extraordinary environment for kids to play, explore, achieve and grow.
Situated on the shore of Middle Bob Lake near Minden, Ontario, Onondaga inspires the best in outdoor fun, learning and adventure for girls and boys from six to 16 years old. Building upon our legacy in this rustic northern setting, we are a progressive camp with fully modern amenities, offering the kinds of activities that kids today really want.
Campers can soar out over the water on our Flying Fox zip line or conquer the climbing wall in our challenge course area. They can discover the thrills of wakeboarding or kayaking or make a splash from our huge water trampoline. Along with all of the traditional camp activities, there’s everything from basketball to crossbow to a driving range. We also organize special themed events at camp to spark our campers’ imaginations and sense of wonder and play.
In all our programs, we encourage campers to become more confident in themselves and comfortable with others in a safe and energetic environment. We credit our success to our terrific staff – the majority of whom are former campers. We train them to guide campers to realize their potential and to get the most from their camp experience. Our ratio of one staff person to every three campers enables us to offer that extra measure of time, instruction and personal support.
Our roots are in Ontario but Onondaga has always enjoyed an international flavour with campers and staff coming here from all over the world. We all benefit from this friendly exchange of different people, cultures and ideas.
At Onondaga, we deeply honour and value the past. However, it’s equally important to be in touch with the changing interests and attitudes of today’s youth. Our ultimate goal remains the same: to help campers discover the opportunities, experiences and friendships to make Onondaga the experience of a lifetime.
Set in 350-acres of Canadian Shield in Ontario’s legendary Haliburton Highlands, Onondaga Camp is 190 km north of Toronto and 35 km southwest of Algonquin Park. Just seven kilometers from the town of Minden, the camp looks out across Middle Bob Lake, which, together with two adjoining lakes, provides over three miles of shoreline for camp activities. Onondaga is fortunate to enjoy a wilderness setting with the convenience of a small town only minutes away.
Onondaga Camp Programs
Our younger campers, aged six – ten years old, spend each day of their stay in a pre-set rotation of activities designed to give them a stimulating mix of sports, crafts and other opportunities. Older campers take part in a daily “sign-up” to choose their preferred activities for the next day with six 55-minute periods in the day. All campers in our two and four week sessions, have one period of swimming lessons per day and are encouraged to work toward their Red Cross levels.
Campers also enjoy free time every day to further pursue their favourite activities or join in on other camp events led by their counsellors. Every evening, campers gather for organized group activities to cap off yet another busy day at the camp.
Accommodation, facilities, and food
Sleeping quarters at the camp are comfortable and rustic in a peaceful woodland or lakeside setting. Our younger campers stay in large wooden cabins that sleep eight or ten with two staff members in an adjoining separate room. All cabins are fully modernized with sink and flush toilet facilities.
Campers 12 years and older, stay in one of the many tents along our signature tent line that runs around the mouth of the bay. They sleep on beds in large canvas tents, supported by wooden platforms and frames. The tents are weatherproof and vary in size with four to eight campers per tent. There are centralized washroom facilities nearby, complete with individual shower stalls.
The core of the camp at Onondaga is comprised of a number of first-rate common buildings and facilities, many built within the past ten years. Designed for use by all campers, they include a spacious new dining hall, a recreational hall, a comprehensive arts and crafts centre, four different sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, a state of the art challenge ropes course including a 70-foot swing, as well as ample room indoors for other activities and rainy days.
Campers can look forward to plenty of choice and excellent food at every meal at Onondaga. We know that a full active day at camp requires proper nutrition and the kind of food that kids will love. All meals served are consistent with the Canada’s Food Guide and the staff encourages campers to eat well-balanced meals with varied menus. Our two salad bars ensure that campers have many different options to choose from. Apart from the three daily meals, campers are also free to enjoy fruit and juice throughout the day and a small snack before bedtime.
Sports & Activities
At Onondaga, we provide challenging opportunities for campers to participate in over 25 different sports and activities. Each program is set up for campers to receive quality individual or group instruction, learn new skills, and take the skills they already possess to a new level.
We offer three levels of certification for all of our activities and encourage campers to work towards their Bronze, Silver or Gold certifications. Campers can also earn their provincial certification in certain activities such as canoeing, swimming, waterskiing and wakeboarding.
We make it a point to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our campers. At the end of each summer session, the entire camp gets together for the participation and achievement awards at our traditional Onondaga Awards Ceremony.
Staffing and leadership
Great staff is the core of Onondaga. Our staff training is built on the insight that a kind and helpful staff member is often what a camper will remember most from his or her summer camp experience. We stress the importance of listening, watching, and encouraging so that counsellors can create an environment where campers feel good about trying new things and are supported for their efforts. This philosophy is a fundamental principle for our staff.
We hire new staff on the basis of the soundness and maturity of their judgement, their commitment to being strong role models, and most importantly their ability to establish positive and caring relationships with their campers. Onondaga’s rigorous two-year Leadership-In-Training program, for our 16- and 17-year-old former campers, provides them the theoretical and practical experience to become outstanding leaders and counsellors. Participants also have the opportunity to earn a high school credit toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
Leading our entire program is Camp Director, Duncan Robertson, who can call upon over 25 years worth of experience as a camper, staff member and director. Duncan has been actively involved with the Ontario Camping Association, serving as a board member for five years. He is also a board member of the Society of Camp Directors, and has given presentations on many topics over the years at provincial, national and international camping conferences. He is supported by an active Board of Directors: David Hadden, David Lever and Michael Moore, each of whom has been a director of the camp in the past.
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our campers and staff is our first priority. Our on-site infirmary is staffed by a doctor and three nurses and is equipped to serve the daily needs of campers. In case of emergency, the hospital in Minden is only five minutes away.
Our approach to the health of our campers goes beyond standard medical requirements. That means taking care to ensure that things like protective sunblock and regular hand washing become part of a camper’s daily routine.
We take this same approach to safety. In all areas of our program, we enforce strict and sensible safety rules. Our high staff-to-camper ratio, along with the extensive training our staff receive, ensure that the activities are conducted safely.
It’s equally important to look after the emotional safety of our campers. At Onondaga, our staff is skilled in helping to foster the supportive and caring environment required for every boy and girl to experience the best of what Onondaga has to offer.