Camp Policies

Over the years, Timberline has developed a number of policies.
Please read below for explanations of the following:

General Policies

Timberline Ranch staff does its best to make sure all campers enjoy their experience. Here are a few important items to be aware of:

  • Out-of-Province applicants (anyone without a valid BC Personal Health Number) may only register for summer camps starting on May 1, in order to allow local children the first opportunities to register. There is a $400 surcharge for applicants living outside of Canada and the USA.
    • NOTE: Under the Medicare Protection Act, it is an offence to use another person’s Personal Health Number (PHN) or to knowingly allow your PHN to be used by another person.
  • Each camper must provide proof of provincial health coverage or equivalent.
  • The camp director reserves the right to dismiss any camper who, in his opinion, is a hazard to the safety and/or rights of others, or who appears to have rejected the reasonable guidelines for all campers.
  • No refunds will be issued for early departures, late arrivals, or dismissals due to disciplinary action.
  • Due to limited space, campers may only sign up for one camp per summer, until June 1.
  • Smoking is not permitted during summer camps.
  • Smoking during seasonal camps is only permitted by adults and only in the parking lot.
  • Visitors with pets must keep them on a leash at all times and may not keep them overnight at the ranch. Pets are not allowed in any buildings.
  • Timberline reserves the right to use photographs and/or video images of campers for promotional purposes.

Cancellation Policy

Timberline Ranch’s cancellation and refund policy is as follows, with dates based on when Timberline receives cancellation notice in writing:

Date Cancellation Notice Received Refund
More than 6 weeks before camp start date (summer camps) Camp fee less $75
More than 6 weeks before camp start date (all other camps) Camp fee less $50 per applicant
Between 2 and 6 weeks before camp start date 50% of camp fee
Less than 2 weeks before start of camp No refund

If for any reason Timberline cancels a camp (e.g. COVID restrictions, natural disaster, etc.), we will, of course, provide 100% refunds.

Transfers to other dates may be made for a $20 administrative fee, at least six weeks in advance. After this period of time, it will be considered a cancellation. A physician’s note, verifying an illness, less than two weeks prior to the start date may result in a 50% refund. However, the deposit of $75 (summer) per registrant is non-refundable and non-transferable regardless of circumstances. Refunds are not given for those who leave once a camp has started.

Lost and Found Policy

Please label all your child’s belongings before you arrive. Please do not send valuable items (video cameras, digital cameras, cell phones, tablets, money, etc.) to camp with your child.

Before you leave at the end of the week (for summer camps), check the lost and found area for items that may belong to your child. This will be located outside of the General Store.

Retrieving lost items

If you discover you are missing an item once you return home, please do not call the office, but rather send us an email. The following items should be included in the message:

  • camper name
  • camp attended (for example, Junior 3: Aug 10 to 15)
  • item description
  • colour
  • size (youth or adult: small medium or large)
  • identifying marks
  • brand name
  • where it was possibly left (barn, cabin, dining hall, etc.)

If your item has been turned in, you will be contacted and given the choice of picking your item up or having it shipped to you. Shipping and handling costs will be charged to your credit card.

We try to reunite reported lost and found items with their owners; however, our priority is children on site. We attend to lost and found items as time allows.

Lost and found schedule

Items will be kept until the dates listed below, after which time they will be given to those in need.

  • Summer camps (overnight and day camps): Nov. 1
  • Retreat/outdoor education groups (September to October): Nov. 1
  • Retreat/outdoor education groups (November to June): July 1

Camera Policy

Campers are welcome to bring disposable, non-digital cameras to camp, but they may not bring digital cameras, with the following exception: parents may bring digital cameras on the first and last days for campers to use while their parents are present.

  1. Campers attending camps run by Timberline Ranch are not allowed to bring digital cameras to the camp for the following reasons:
    • As per our policy on valuables, we ask that campers do not bring anything of value that can be lost, stolen, or broken. This very much applies to digital cameras, some of which we have seen being valued at well over $500.
    • As per our privacy policies, we do not allow any pictures or videos of Timberline or its campers to be published without the permission of the Executive Director. Staff are not allowed to put pictures of campers on the internet in any form, and we do not believe it is fair for campers to be concerned that anything they are doing will be published in such a way that would put them in a bad light or embarrass them. Our camp DVD is carefully screened to avoid embarrassment, and is available, with video of all campers, at the end of the week.
    • As per our policy on electronic devices, we feel that digital cameras and devices distract from the camp experience and from the activities and experiences already provided.
    • Since most digital cameras now have video capabilities, we believe that it is unwise to allow campers to take videos of events and activities that could be published (e.g. YouTube) and give away surprises to still-to-come campers. Also, pictures and videos taken at Timberline have a certain context that can easily be misinterpreted by those not familiar with the camp setting.
  2. We do allow campers to bring disposable, non-digital cameras for the following reasons:
    • Disposable, non-digital cameras are inexpensive and do not have video capabilities.
    • Certainly pictures can be scanned and uploaded to the internet, but we request that campers do not do this. However, even if they are scanned and uploaded, we feel that there will be far fewer pictures that are used in this way.
    • Campers with limited exposures tend to be more discriminating in the pictures they take, instead of taking volumes and volumes of photos as with digital cameras. They are more likely to take set pictures with friends instead and spend much less time trying to capture every moment of the camp with the camera (which can also lead to actually missing out on the experience first-hand).
  3. We do allow parents to bring digital cameras on the first and last days (only) and then take them home with them for the following reasons:
    • This allows campers to take pictures of friends they have met.
    • Surprise events and activities are over by the time the parents arrive on the last day.
    • Parents can use their discretion as to what pictures should and should not be taken.

Homesickness Policy

Many campers experience homesickness in some way. It is healthy to feel a certain degree of homesickness, because it means that your child is attached to you – this is a very good thing! But we also want our campers to have fun and enjoy the full camp experience. Here are a few things parents can do to set their children up for success leading up to camp.

Preparing your child for camp
  1. Involve your child in the decision about camp. While a camp experience is wonderful for most kids, it is not for everyone.
  2. If, after your best efforts, your child says “I don’t want to go to camp,” you might want to look at an alternative for the upcoming summer. Maybe when his or her friends report back on their camp experiences, he or she will want to be a camper next year.
  3. If possible, make a visit to Timberline Ranch. Tours are usually offered in the Spring. If not, look at a camp DVD or visit the camp website.
  4. Have your child experience success in another type of overnight stay away from you – like a sleep-over – prior to going to camp.
  5. Never tell a child he or she can leave early if he or she doesn’t like camp, as it sets the camper up for failure and he or she will focus on the deal instead of the experience.
  6. Have your child attend camp with a friend if you think it might help the transition.
  7. Send encouraging letters or emails. Keep the letters focused on camp and not on things that are happening at home. Especially avoid writing about an event he or she would have liked to have attended, saying how much he or she is missed, or writing that “the dog misses you.”
  8. Give information to your child’s cabin leader beforehand about what works for your child.
  9. Don’t linger at camp too long on opening day. Staying too long just delays the transition to new surroundings and can add to your child’s anxiety level.
  10. Help your child understand the policy concerning phone calls (i.e. campers do not make calls home) prior to camp so he or she will not be expecting to hear from you.


Timberline Ranch Homesickness Policy
  1. The first person to handle homesickness is the cabin leader.
    • They will spend one-on-one time with the camper.
    • They will find out what the camper likes to do and try to do it with them.
    • They will set short-term goals for the camper to reach.
    • Every effort will be made to have the camper make it through the first night, since that is the most difficult time.
    • Campers do not have access to a phone, as phone calls home often compound homesickness.
  2. If the cabin leader’s attempt fails to resolve the camper’s distress after a reasonable amount of time (30 to 60 minutes with no evidence that the child is being consoled):
    • The camper will be brought to the head cabin leader/program staff.
    • They will continue to work with the camper and relieve the time pressure from the cabin leader.
    • If the camper continues to be upset and still wants to go home, then arrangements will be made to contact parents, as they know their child best and will be able to advise camp staff on how to proceed.
  3. If parents are to be contacted, the following parameters will be followed:
    • Camp staff will call the parents while the child is NOT present.
    • Parents are to be fully briefed of the situation.
    • Inquiries can be made about any home or medical situations that may be causing the homesickness.
    • Parents are invited to leave their child a message if they want him or her to stay at camp but feel it best that they do not speak to their child.
    • Parents are also invited to send the child emails or cards if they think that will help.
    • Parents are assured that the camp staff will do everything possible to help the child through the situation.
    • At this point, the option to take the child home or leave him or her at camp remains with the parents.
    • Parents must understand that a decision needs to be made quickly and with certainty.
    • The parents should be assured that if the camper is to stay, the camp staff will call back once or twice during the week to inform the parents how the camper is doing.
    • Staff must follow through with the above steps and contact parents to update them on the situation.
  4. If the camper continues to be inconsolable, then, in the interest of the homesick camper, the other campers, and the well-being of the camp:
    • The parents will be encouraged to pick up their child as soon as possible.
    • There will be no going home and coming back to camp in fairness to other campers struggling with homesickness.
    • Once a decision for the child to go home is made, that decision is final.
  5. If the parents pick up their child, the program staff will make the following arrangements:
    • Parents will pick up the child in a location apart from the rest of the campers. Young children are easily influenced by the actions of others and may be tempted to go home if they see a cabin mate leaving early.
    • The parents should sign out the camper at the office.
    • The camper should be encouraged to try again next year. Letting them go home is not a punishment, but hopefully it leavies them with some positive memories of being here and the belief it will get easier each time.
    • Please note: No refund will be given to campers going home early with homesickness.

Medical policy

Contacting Parents

If a child requires urgent medical attention, parents must be contacted. If we are unable to reach them, we will leave a detailed message if possible and then try to contact the alternate emergency contact.

Parents will also be contacted under any of the following circumstances:

  • Camper needs to be taken to the hospital or clinic
  • Potential head or spinal injuries
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for the camper occurs more than once
  • Homesickness, in cases where attempts made to console or distract the camper have not succeeded (see homesickness policy)
  • The camper has lice
  • The parents have requested to be contacted for specific items.
Seeking Medical Support

Determining when to seek additional support can be a very subjective decision for the nurse or first aid attendant, and it will depend largely upon the individual’s experience and training. The rule of thumb is that when there is any doubt in the mind of the nurse as to injury or treatment, the camper should be sent to a clinic or to emergency.

Obvious concerns that would cause automatic sending would include:

  • Any compromise or potential compromise to ABC (airway, breathing, or circulation)
  • Any wound not treatable with simple first aid
  • Any allergic reaction not responding to minor treatment
  • Any potential sprain or break
  • Any infection
  • Any fever that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • Swelling or bites that get progressively worse (red, hot, and painful)
  • Any serious burn, or even a minor degree burn on a large part of the body
  • Any complaint related to a serious prior condition.

Lice Policy

Head lice have not been a huge issue at Timberline over the years, but there have been isolated cases. They are, unfortunately, a part of life wherever there are communities of people. They are not a sign of dirty houses or poor hygiene practices (as once thought), but they are simply a nuisance that can affect anyone with hair.

Good information on lice is essential, and many myths abound. Parents and campers should be aware of the following:

  1. Lice are generally not a health concern.
  2. Lice are treatable, though it can take a lot of work to eradicate them.
  3. Lice don’t jump or fly – they crawl from one person to another.
  4. Head lice are most usually spread from head-to-head contact, though they can sometimes spread from sharing brushes, hats, or bedding.
  5. Head lice can be on your head, your child’s head, or your spouse’s head, but they won’t affect your pets, and they can’t “infect” furniture, bedding, or pillows. They cannot survive more than about two days off the scalp. So if your child has lice, do not panic!

The following notes are very important for parents and campers to understand prior to camp, as they make up Timberline’s policy:

  1. Parents should carefully inspect children’s heads for lice at least two weeks prior to sending them to camp, and again no less than 48 hours prior to camp.
  2. Here are some things you should know about doing lice checks:
    • Nits are very tiny, yellow, tan, or brown dots before they hatch. These are usually on hair shafts close to the scalp. They may look like dandruff, but they don’t come off by brushing or shaking them off. They hatch within 1-2 weeks of being laid.
    • Adult lice are no bigger than a sesame seed and are grayish-white or tan. Nymphs are even smaller and become adult lice about 1-2 weeks after they hatch. If not treated, this process will repeat itself every 3 weeks or so.
    • You may be able to see the lice or nits by parting your child’s hair into small sections and checking for lice and nits with a fine-tooth comb on the scalp, behind the ears, and around the nape of the neck (it’s rare for them to be found on eyelashes or eyebrows).
    • An itchy scalp can also be a sign that lice may be present.
  3. If lice are found prior to camp, the camper must be kept home and treated.
    • A 50% refund will be given if the camp is contacted at least 48 hours in advance (instead of the regular “no refund less than two weeks before camp”).
    • If the camp is notified less than 48 hours before the camp, a 33% discount will be given. Less time makes it very hard for Timberline to fill the spot vacated.
    • If there is room in a later camp, that option may be taken instead of a refund.
    • As it generally takes a good week or two of treatment to get rid of lice, the child will not be able to come to camp at all that week.
  4. Parents should talk to their camper prior to coming to camp to help them understand how to avoid lice. Most importantly, tell them:
    • Do not touch heads with other campers (often done to pose for photos).
    • Do not share beds, pillows, hats, clothes, stuffed animals, brushes, or combs.
  5. We do not perform lice checks when campers arrive at Timberline. We believe that this brings needless stress to most children and that it can be a negative way to start camp.
  6. Timberline staff will spray helmets between uses in order to help reduce the risk of transference, but this is not a guaranteed method.
    • Parents of campers who are concerned are welcome to send campers with their own helmets. Helmets must be certified for the specific activities campers will be doing, manufactured in the last 5 years, and be approved for use by our staff. Please contact the Program department for more information.
  7. If a camper is found with lice while at camp, the parents or emergency contact will be called to come and pick up the camper. At this time, since it is too late to fill that spot, no refund will be given.
    • The parents of the other campers in the cabin will be contacted to let them know that someone had lice in the cabin. They will be encouraged to check their children’s hair when they come home and treat them if necessary.
  8. Staff members found with lice will be sent home for treatment if possible, and treated at the Ranch if not possible. Minimum contact with campers and other staff members will be mandated if they need to stay. Otherwise, they should not return until lice are gone.

The discovery of lice can be very disconcerting, but remember, lice are simply an unfortunate part of community living, and even when proper steps are taken to avoid them, they can still show up. Many children who come home from camps with lice may have been the ones to bring them to the camp in the first place. Let’s work together to minimize this nuisance by carefully checking campers before they come to camp. And then, hopefully, they will be able to not worry about them and have the time of their lives!