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Inclusion at Rainbow

Rainbow Day Camp strives to meet the needs of every camper. As such, the Inclusion program is designed to provide support to campers who need it and who might not be able to attend camp successfully without it. An Inclusion Counsellor at camp could be compared to an EA at school – they are assigned to one camper for the week and their goal is to help that camper have a successful week (“success” is measured in many different ways depending on the situation!).

The level of support that you choose at the beginning of the summer is level of support required all summer.  For example, if you choose one to one support for your first week of camp, one to one support will automatically apply to your second week of camp.  Rainbow can provide one week of one to one support.  SKIC can provide a second week of camp, if your camper qualifies through SKIC.


Rainbow can provide two weeks of occasional support.  If your first week of camp is occasional support, your second week of camp is also occasional support.


What kind of support can Rainbow counsellors provide to campers and what types of training do they get?


Rainbow counsellors are typically University students who love working with children and who have an affinity with children with special needs. They get training in general inclusion;  de-escalation; program modifications; lifts and transfers; First-Aid and CPR-C; Anaphylaxis allergies and Epi-Pen us Principles of Healthy Child Development. This training is in addition to general camp training and extensive training on Rainbow’s policies and procedures.

Rainbow counsellors all strive to ensure that every camper stays safe (first and foremost), has fun (a close second) and is included in all camp activities to the best of their abilities.

What kind of support can Rainbow counsellors NOT provide?

Rainbow Day Camp is a recreational program and it is run by young adults who love being with children and who want to ensure everyone feels welcome at camp.

Rainbow is not a therapeutic camp and therefore counsellors are not trained to support campers who have high behavioural needs or are physically aggressive. Rainbow counsellors are not trained ABA or IBI workers, they are not EA’s nor are they trained or permitted to use any hands-on behavior supports. If you feel your camper may need that kind of support, please contact the Administrator to discuss the options.


Does my camper need support?


At times, that answer is clear and parents know if their camper needs support at camp: if they have an EA at school (part-time or full-time), if they get support in extracurricular activities (swimming, soccer, etc.), if they need someone to help them stay on task or with a group the majority of the time – if the answer to these types of questions is yes, your camper needs extra support at camp.


There are many times, however, that the answer may not be as clear. If my 4-year old needs help to open her lunch or getting dressed after water play, does that mean I should ask for support? If my 8-year-old gets really upset if he loses a game, does that mean I should ask for extra support? If my 10-year-old gets anxious when trying new things, should I ask for extra support? Your best bet is to get in touch with the Administrator - so that you can discuss your camper’s specific needs and you can decide together what type of support (if any) is needed while at camp.

Matching a Camper with an Inclusion Counsellor

If your camper requires full support during their time at camp, Rainbow can provide an Inclusion Counsellor for one week, at no charge. If your camper requires “occasional extra support” (as determined in discussion with the Administrator), Rainbow will provide the extra support at no charge. Support of any kind is assigned on a first-come, best-served basis and due to high demand, families are limited to one session per summer for an inclusion worker or 2 weeks for occasional extra support.

All families/guardians seeking 1-1 support for their child or Teen will complete a ONE form in order to allow us to support your camper in the best manner possible. If you have already filled out this form for another camp or program, please send a copy to the Administrator – you do not need to fill it out again.

The Inclusion Coordinator will contact families prior to the first day of camp and will select and assign a qualified staff to support your camper or Teen – this meeting is mandatory for all new Rainbow families asking for extra support at camp. If you are a returning Rainbow family, the Inclusion Coordinator will be in touch in May to touch base. Should families have any questions regarding this process prior to attending camp please contact the Administrator -

Occasional Extra Support

Rainbow offers occasional extra support for campers who need support some of the time. This usually looks like having an extra counsellor within a group who may be supporting 2-3 kids in a group. I like to think of it as an extra set of eyes and someone to support a camper who may want to take a break or a walk once in a while. If your camper needs support on demand (for example they could get aggressive or run - your camper may succeed with one to one support instead). In summer 2024 there will be a limit of 2 weeks available of occasional extra support for campers who require it.

Supporting Kids in Camp (The SKIC Project)

If you plan on sending your child to Rainbow for more than one week, you may be eligible to access a worker (at no charge) through The Supporting Kids in Camp Project which is administered by the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. The Supporting Kids in Camp Project works in collaboration with Rainbow’s policies and philosophies to ensure successful recreational experiences for all campers. Rainbow is part of the SKIC committee throughout the year and works with many other camps and organizations in the community to ensure recreational activities are accessible to as many children as possible in the community.

Private Contract Workers

Rainbow’s Inclusion Counsellors are not certified to administer personal care for individuals with MFTD (medically fragile and technologically dependent) needs. Staff cannot conduct control care acts (ie. clean or replace tracheotomy and G-tubes; delivering foods or medications via tube or intravenous). Families who need this type of support may be able to send their own private worker with their camper or Teen. For more information, please refer to Private Contract Workers section.


What happens if things simply aren’t working?

Rainbow counsellors are known to do everything in their power (and even move mountains if possible!) to ensure a camper’s success. If for whatever reason, the camp is not a match for your camper, the counsellors and/or Camp Director and/or Administrator will be in touch with you to discuss options, strategies and ideas.

In a situation where a camper is at risk of seriously harming himself/herself, other campers, or any counsellors at Rainbow, you may be asked to pick up your camper for the rest of the day. If this happens on a few occasions, it may be that Rainbow is not the right match for your camper at that particular time or that counsellors are not trained to support your camper’s specific needs.

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