Here are some frequently asked questions about summer camp. Still have questions? Contact us and we will be happy to help.

 

Life at Camp

 
Campers rotate throughout the day experiencing different activities relative to their camp session. We often have out-trips, day trips, and overnight camp-outs.
Pioneer Camp has an experienced team of cooks who prepare delicious and nutritious meals during camp. Campers with specific or complicated dietary requirements should consult with camp prior to their arrival. All dietary restrictions should be indicated on the online application medical form.
Pioneer Lodge Campers (Sundre, AB):

  • Day Camp: For Day Campers there is an opportunity to go on one pony ride during the week.
  • Discovery Camps: For Discovery Camps, there will be a horse experience each full day of camp.
  • Jr. Boys, Jr. Girls & quest: Campers will have 3 opportunities to interact with horses.
  • Horsemanship Camps: Campers will have 2-3 program blocks per full day of camp interacting with horses or taking part in horse care activities.

 
Pioneer Ranch Campers (Rocky Mountain House, AB)

  • Jr. Skills Zao, Sr. Boys, Sr. Girls & Sr. Skills Shefa: Campers who sign up for the Horseback Riding Out-Trip at Sr. Girls or Sr. Boys, or the Horsemanship Track at Zao or Shefa, will spend half of each day in their specific skill area. The other half of the day is spent in activities that the camper chooses to sign up for.
    • Sr. Girls and Sr. Boys campers will also then spend their 5 day Out-Trip riding.
    • Zao & Shefa campers will also have a half-day trail ride to get to the site of their overnight trip (The other half of the day is spent in activities that the camper chooses to sign up for).
  • Breakaway and Plunge: Campers do activities based on a sign-up basis, and riding is always a choice for them. The amount of riding time will depend entirely on what the camper chooses to sign up for.

No. In extenuating circumstances or if a camper is at camp for an exceptionally long time, laundry can be sent out to a local laundromat for a fee.

 
For children prone to bedwetting, please pack an additional sleeping bag or set of sheets and a blanket.
Yes, we do. Clothes will be accessible at sign-out at the end of each camp session. To help reduce lost and found items we ask that all possessions brought to camp be labelled. We attempt to help care for the camper’s clothing, but often considerable amounts get left behind.

 
We will retain lost and found for one month following camp. If not claimed by then, we will donate appropriate items to a local charity. Medication will be disposed of within two weeks following the camper’s week of attendance. Calls to the camp regarding lost and found will be handled as time permits. Any found items will be sent C.O.D. (at your expense).

 
Campers are encouraged not to bring valuable clothing or possessions. Pioneer Camp is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
InterVarsity Pioneer Camp is a Christian organization that welcomes campers and families from all backgrounds and religious beliefs. Pioneer Camp provides a non-denominational Christian environment for children and youth. This means that we hold core beliefs of the historical Christian faith and that we clearly present Christian faith to campers, in age-appropriate ways. Campers are invited to consider issues of life and faith from a Christian perspective and to decide for themselves. Pioneer Camp staff and volunteers are followers of Jesus and seek to share God’s love through conversation, relationship, activities and all the day to day fun of camp. Campers will participate in a daily Bible study (approximately 1 hour) plus an evening campfire devotional (approximately half an hour) that invites them to consider their own beliefs about Christian values. These are presented through small and large group discussions, skits, songs and Bible stories.
Pioneer Camp is owned and operated by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship who has been operating summer camps and year-round outdoor educational programs since 1929. We operate nine summer camps across Canada under the names of Pioneer Camp and Circle Square Ranch.
 
 

What to Bring

 
Beside all the normal camp clothes, there are extra items to bring depending on your child’s camp session. Please see our Packing for Camp section for detailed lists. A few weeks prior to your child’s camp session we will send out a Final Instructions email with all of the details you need to know prior to your camper’s time with us. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 
Campers should bring enough clothing for the week to two weeks that they are at camp. Day Campers should bring a change of clothing each day as a back-up.

  1. Please label all clothing and luggage with labels or indelible markers.
  2. Please attempt to bring modest clothing appropriate for physical camp activities.

 
Pioneer Camp is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Do not bring anything valuable to camp, as occasionally things do get lost or broken.

 
The following items are not permitted at Pioneer Camp, and if brought, they will be held in the office for the duration of the camper’s session:

  • Cell phones (we have a no cell phone policy, including using it for music, alarm clock or camera. Please bring a separate camera if you want to take photos.)
  • All other electronic games, players, entertainment and communication devices (i.e. iPods, iPads, etc.)
  • Jack knives, hunting knives, matches or lighters (pocket knives for Out-Trips are permitted for Sr. Boys and Sr. Girls camps ONLY)
  • Nuts and/or peanut products
  • Inappropriate reading materials
  • Alcoholic beverages, narcotics or tobacco products (see note)
 
We reserve the right to send home any camper who fails to cooperate. Pioneer Camp is a NON-SMOKING facility. Please discuss this with your child prior to camp should you consider this to be a concern.

 
Please note: The use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, or narcotics is prohibited and will be treated as a serious offence. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
Days at camp are very busy and technology can sometimes get in the way of creating meaningful experiences and developing new friendships. Campers may also lose or break their phones while they are at camp. If your child regularly uses his/her cell phone for an alarm clock or camera, we recommend bringing a cheap camera and alarm clock instead.
Yes, we do. Pioneer Camp operates a tuck shop where campers can purchase a limited amount of candy and pop, as well as camp t-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, toques, water bottles, Bibles, etc. Clothing prices range from $15-$25 for t-shirts to about $45 for hoodies.

 
Spending money amounts are optional, but we suggest $20 to $30 per camper for a one week camp. A smaller amount would be adequate, of course, if your child does not want to purchase an article of clothing.

We ask that parents include payment for spending money with the camper’s registration. Spending money is credited to a tuck account for your child, deductions are made when your child makes a purchase, and any unspent amount is transferred to our scholarship program unless otherwise specified.

Limits allowed: Maximum allowance of $2 of candy/day plus one chocolate bar and/or an additional chocolate bar and a soda. At Lodge Camps (Sundre) tuck is every other day.

Please note: Regular camp fees do not include tuck shop purchases, camp photos, clothing, or souvenirs.

 
 

Arrival and Departure Days

 
Round trip transportation is an option available only for camp sessions being held at Pioneer Ranch, Rocky Mountain House and can be selected when you register your camper.

 
We encourage campers to use the provided transportation as this helps us start each camp with everyone arriving at the same time. For more information, visit our transportation page.

 
Please Note: Transportation is not offered for camps sessions at Pioneer Lodge, Sundre. All camps are parent drop-off/parent pick-up.

 
Transportation Cancellation Policy: Cancellation less than one week prior to the start of camp… full refund less 50% of the transportation fee. Exception: medical reasons with a note from the doctor (full refund).
We are unable to accept early arrivals on registration day.

 
Please do NOT arrive before listed times, as staff will be busy making sure everything is ready for your arrival.

 
Pioneer Lodge, camp sessions, Sundre: Registration is at 3:00 pm.
Pioneer Ranch camp sessions, Rocky Mountain House: Parents driving campers, registration is at 3:30 pm.

 
For Pioneer Ranch (Rocky Mountain House) campers using Pioneer Camp transportation or for more information, go to our transportation page.

 
If you have questions about Registration Day, please contact us.

 
Drive Times:

Pioneer Lodge: is located 1.5 hours from Calgary’s City Centre, 3 hours from Edmonton’s City Centre, and 1.5 hours from Red Deer.

Pioneer Ranch: is about a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from both Edmonton and Calgary and about 1 hour and 15 minute Drive from Red Deer, travel times being from the edge of each city.

Pioneer Lodge, Sundre:

  • Sign-out is on the last day of camp at 10:00 am.
 
Pioneer Ranch, Rocky Mountain House:

  • Sign-out is on the last day of camp at 10:30 am.
 
For Pioneer Ranch (Rocky Mountain House) campers using Pioneer Camp transportation, go to our transportation page.

 
If you have questions about Departure Day, please contact us.

 
Please note:

We cannot release children to the custody of anyone except their parent or guardian unless we have received written authorization signed by the parent or legal guardian to release the camper to another individual.

Pioneer Camp does not offer an overnight option for campers between camps.
LIT participants who are coming as campers to Sr. Girls will NOT be able to stay at camp between LIT and Sr. Girls. Please make arrangements for campers to return home in between camps, as it is an important time of rest and refocus.
 
 

Communication during Camp

 
Telephone:  Campers do not have access to the telephone except under the supervision of a camp director. Please do not send cell phones as they interfere with the camper experience. In case of emergency calls, to or from parents, the camp director or office staff will relay messages as quickly as possible. If a child is severely homesick, we will work with them to overcome it; however, if they need to talk to their parent we will certainly have them call.

 
Email Your Camper:  Click here

 
Mail:  Parents are encouraged to write letters and send nut-free parcels to their children. These may be left on registration day to ensure that your child will receive them the week they are at camp. If you mail letters or parcels through Canada Post, please send them early so that your child will receive them the week they are here.

 
Please do not send food parcels that contain nuts.

 
Please make sure to include camper’s full name and camp program.

 
Example for Pioneer Lodge camps sessions (Sundre):

  • Mary Smith (Jr. Girls Camp)
  • c/o Pioneer Lodge
  • Box 660
  • Sundre, AB
  • T0M 1X0
 
Example for Pioneer Ranch camp sessions (Rocky Mountain House):

  • Mary Smith (Sr. Girls Camp)
  • c/o Pioneer Ranch
  • Box 600,
  • Rocky Mountain House, AB
  • T4T 1A4
 
Any mail received after the camper has left will be returned to sender.

 
Internet:  While we understand the importance of staying in touch, Pioneer Camp does not offer Internet access for campers. All electronics are requested to be left with parents or left with the office for the duration of the camper’s stay. This is to prevent loss and to give the camper the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful surroundings God has given us.
Although every camper and situation is unique, Pioneer Camp staff use certain principles to manage homesickness and discipline. In situations of homesickness, caring leaders give campers the attention they need and endeavour to focus the child’s attention on the activities and people that they enjoy at camp. Sometimes writing a letter home helps campers manage their feelings. Though campers often want to call home, this is discouraged as it frequently make homesickness worse, not better. In cases of severe homesickness, camp staff will contact the parents to get helpful tips and strategies for managing the homesickness, as well as to keep parents up to date.

 
If you are concerned about your child becoming homesick and would like to talk to a director, please contact our office.

 
Pioneer Camp staff members are trained to have the utmost respect when dealing with all campers, even those who are acting out. No camper is ever disciplined physically. Only when a camper is in danger of causing injury to himself/herself or someone else would a camper be physically restrained. Relevant freedoms or privileges may be taken away for a time until the camper earns the trust of his or her leaders again. If a child proves that he or she cannot function well in the camp environment or if there are significant behavioural concerns, a child may be removed from camp and sent home. Removing a child from camp is at the discretion of the camp director and will result in no refund of camp fees.
 

Our Caring Staff

 
As part of InterVarsity, we believe that summer camp offers a tremendous opportunity for children and teens to grow and mature emotionally, socially and spiritually. At Pioneer Camp, campers are respected as individuals, challenged and encouraged in all aspects of life, and given the opportunity to experience and develop authentic relationships with peers and leaders. Skill development, social development, personal and spiritual growth are all intentionally fostered by staff and have been hallmarks of the InterVarsity Camp experience since 1929. Finally, and equally importantly, we want every child’s experience to be tremendously fun.
The overall camper to staff ration is 4:1. Each cabin of 5-7 children will have one leader. The ratio of campers to staff is 6:1 at the barns. Campers are divided into activity groups with two to four staff members who go with them to their activities. There are instructors at each activity that they attend. Trained leaders supervise all activities.
Ruth Lewis, the Executive Director, has over 35 years in youth ministry and has been leading InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Alberta since 2012. Our full-time senior leadership team is skilled in recreation programming, horsemanship and leadership development. Many of our summer staff started out as campers at Pioneer Camp and now put their experience and passion for camp to work every summer.
Eligible staff candidates must be at least 18 years of age. Cabin Leaders are at least 17 years old or graduates of Pioneer’s Leaders In Training program (or equivalent), with other positions being held by enthusiastic volunteers of all ages.
Pioneer’s volunteer summer staff members undergo a rigorous application and interview process. Following the completion of a written application package requiring three references, staff are interviewed by the director and are required to have a criminal record check completed before they can work with children.
Prior to the start of each camp session, our leaders participate in a staff orientation session on a wide variety of topics. Common topics include risk management, first aid and emergency procedures, bully prevention, group dynamics, camper behaviour management, and preparation for activity instruction. Ongoing training and coaching by supervisors and more senior leaders occur throughout the camping season.
 
 

Health and Safety

 
Health and Safety are emphasized at all times at Pioneer Camp. We strive to provide safe and enjoyable activities.

  • There is a qualified medical person on staff, available 24 hours a day.
  • Pioneer Camp leadership staff are trained in First Aid in CPR.
  • Our Kitchen Supervisors have Food Safety Handlers Certificates.
  • Quality, nutritional meals are provided with a variety of healthy snack options at snack times.
  • Drinking water is lab analyzed regularly for quality.
  • Our facilities are inspected on a regular basis and are up to code.
  • Our staff are trained in emergency procedures and safety protocols should they need to be implemented.
  • All campers must provide a valid health number and completed medical information on application. Out-of-province campers must have medical insurance.
  • Emergency Services are available within minutes of camp property (Pioneer Lodge, Sundre is 20 minutes; Pioneer Ranch, Rocky Mountain House is 15 minutes).

There is a qualified medical person on staff, available 24 hours a day. Our leadership staff are trained in First Aid and CPR.

  • Pioneer Lodge, Sundre is 20 minutes away from a medical clinic and Sundre Hospital.
  • Pioneer Ranch, Rocky Mountain House is 15 minutes away from Rocky Mountain House Health Centre.

Yes. Because a high level of care for campers is so important to us, the operation of all activities and facilities where campers could potentially experience injury is governed by our risk management manual. This manual clearly details required supervision levels, equipment checks, and operating guidelines to ensure the safe participation of all campers. As well, campers and staff alike are trained to recognize and respond to signals in case of an emergency. This emergency procedure is practised in a drill early in every session.
Medical care is a vital part of our role for your child at Pioneer Camp. Please advise us at registration if there are any changes to your child’s medical information. The camp reserves the right to refuse admission to any camper with a suspected contagious condition (i.e. chickenpox, lice). To ensure your child has an enjoyable week and to protect other campers, please have any condition treated completely before coming to camp. If this is not possible, please call and reschedule to another week, depending on availability.

 
Due to the structure of our program, Pioneer Camp requests that medications required throughout the year be sent with your child to camp. All medication brought to camp MUST be kept by camp staff, including vitamins, puffers and Tylenol. They must be labelled properly with medication name and directions for use. Prescription medication MUST be in the original container or bubble packaged by a pharmacy with the user’s name printed on the label. If you want your child to carry his/her puffer or EpiPen with them please bring a fanny pack for that purpose. We also request that a second puffer or EpiPen be checked in with the camp medic.

 
Please do not use the week of camp as a break from medication.
 
All medications left behind after camp will be disposed of after two weeks.
All campers must provide a valid health number and completed medical information on application. Out-of-province and international campers must have medical insurance.

 
Details regarding medical/behavioural concerns are to be communicated in writing. Please call to discuss any concerns/special needs by phone.
Should your child have severe food allergies, you must call our office and discuss your child’s condition before your camper application will be processed. This will allow us to ascertain whether we can accommodate your child safely and enable us to prepare appropriately to ensure your child has an enjoyable stay at camp. Pioneer Camp will make every effort to accommodate allergies; however, we cannot guarantee that there will be no trace of an allergen in food served. We strive to be a nut-free facility and do not knowingly serve foods containing nuts. We sell only nut free products in our store.
Pioneer Camp does not guarantee a nut-free environment, however we are nut-aware. To reduce the risk of exposure we do not use, serve, or sell peanuts, peanut products, or tree nuts. However, the foods we purchase and serve, or sell in our tuck shops, may contain traces of nut or peanut products.

 
How can you help protect those with nut allergies?
If you have food containing nuts or nut products when you get to camp, turn them over to Pioneer Camp staff.

 
Summer Camp Parents: Please send care packages to your child(ren) that only contain nut-free products.

In the interest of protecting your children, please note that all campers will undergo a lice check on the day of registration. All campers must be lice and nit free to attend camp. It is imperative parents check their children for evidence of lice prior to coming to camp. The head check will take place upon arrival, once campers have signed in, by our Camp Medic and assistants. This is part of our general registration process for every camp and every camper.

If a camper arrives with lice/nits, they will be asked:

  • To return home to receive treatment until they are lice/nit free. (We will make every effort to accommodate the camper in a later session during the summer.)

 
OR

  • Complete treatment(s) at camp (approximately $30/treatment)

We provide approved riding helmets, which all campers are required to wear when horseback riding. Campers may bring their own approved riding helmet. No bike helmets please.
Pioneer Camp is a smoke-free facility. Smoking by campers is prohibited.
We will try to achieve an enjoyable camping experience in a safe and caring environment through awareness, prevention and community development to the best of our ability. Bullying does occur at camp, but it is a rare occurrence due to the short length of stay, supervision, and busy camp schedule. Through various strategies we are attempting to eliminate the concern to provide your child with a positive, memorable experience.

 
To learn more, see our policy on Bullying and Misbehaviour.
Campers and staff are transported to and from off-site trips/Out-Trips in Pioneer approved vehicles or buses hired from a certified transportation company.
 
 

Registration & Camper Fees

 
We love it when friends come together!
 

Roommate requests should be of the same age or grade.

Enter the friend’s name on the online application when you are registering your child. Please provide first and last name of the friend with correct spelling (partial names are not helpful). If you want to add a roommate request after you have registered your child, please contact the Camp Office and we can add that to your child’s registration information.

Sr. Boys & Sr. Girls camp sessionsHousing for these sessions are based on Out-Trips. For friends to be together in the same cabin, they MUST BE in the same Out-Trip option in order to be roomed together.

We ask that friend requests are limited to two friends per camper. Large groups (4 or more) may be separated to accommodate other camper’s needs.

Rooming requests are not guaranteed, but we will do our absolute best to accommodate your camper’s request and help them and their friends have a memorable time at camp!

If you have any questions, please email registration@pioneercamps.ab.ca or call 403-638-2660.

Fees include all meals for camp sessions, housing, activities, use of all recreational equipment and facilities, instruction in activities, Out-Trips and awards.
Fees do NOT include:

  • Transportation to and from the camp
  • Cost of any prescription medications that must be filled for your child while they are at camp
  • Cost of returning lost and found items or left behind medications/prescriptions.
  • Cost of lice treatments (should your child require them)
  • Tuck Shop purchases

Cancellation Policy

Day Camp Cancellation Policy: If you cancel more than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will receive a full refund less a $50/week administration fee.

Family Camp Cancellation Policy: If you cancel more than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will receive a full refund less a $25/person/week administration fee.

Overnight Camp Cancellation Policy: If you cancel more than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will receive a full refund less a $75/week administration fee.

All Camps: If a cancellation occurs after the cut-off date, you will get NO REFUND (includes camp fees, out-trip fees) except for medical reasons with a note from a doctor. In that case, you will get a full refund less the administration fee. No refund will be made for dismissals due to disciplinary action, late arrivals or early departures. Withdrawal during camp on physician’s orders will result in the value of fees for the unexpired term being refunded. Please contact camp office for cancellation details for out-trips and/or transportation fees.

PCA Transportation Cancellation Policy: If you cancel more than one week prior to the start of camp, you will receive a full refund. If a cancellation occurs after the cut-off date, you will receive a 50% refund of the transportation fee. Exception: medical reasons with a note from the doctor (full refund).

Yes, financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Camper scholarships are given to help cover the cost of camp registration fees only. Assistance is at the discretion of the Director. Contact the Camp Office for information. The deadline for applications is June 30.

Phone: 1.403.638.2660

Email: registration@pioneercamps.ab.ca

On our online application we accept Visa, MasterCard and Visa/Debit cards. Through mail or in person, we also accept cheques (at least 1 month before camp session begins), money orders, and cash. Please note that a camp spot will not be held until we have received a deposit and that there is a maximum of two weeks allowed for the deposit’s submission.
Yes! When registering for camp, a deposit is required to hold the camper’s spot and the remainder is due June 1st. We offer a variety of payment plans to choose from on our online registration. If you would like a custom-made payment plan that is different than those that are offered, please contact our office and we can set that up for you.