(Personal Opportunities for Leadership, Awareness, Recreation, Instruction and Skill enhancement)
Polaris is a one-month program for youth that turn at least 16 years of age by December 31st of the year attending. Participants receive advanced instruction and certification in main Wenonah program areas; extensive canoe tripping and outdoor education (including a one week canoe trip to Algonquin Park); outdoor challenge, and leadership and group development (including workshops and group initiatives). A team of POLARIS staff facilitate this experience with oversight from a fulltime POLARIS Director and with assistance from other veteran Wenonah staff members.
The POLARIS month has two distinct program thrusts:
Personal Skill Development
POLARIS participants focus on the acquisition and development of skills in Camp’s main program areas.
A significant amount of time is devoted to developing skills in canoeing, kayaking (including white water, which culminates in an optional day trip to the Gull River, swimming and lifesaving, sailing, archery, climbing, and arts & crafts.
Participants strive for official national and provincial certifications in several of these areas, including provincial canoeing levels (ORCKA), national first-aid certifications (Lifesaving Society), national lifesaving certifications up to Bronze Cross (Lifesaving Society), and national sailing levels (CANSail).
Each individual participating in the POLARIS program sets personal goals during the month. POLARIS staff members, in collaboration with specialized program area heads, work with each participant to help them achieve their goals. POLARIS staff also provide ongoing support and feedback to participants throughout the month.
POLARIS participants devote a significant portion of the program to developing outdoor living skills, culminating in a seven day canoe trip in Ontario’s world renowned Algonquin Provincial Park. The trip gives each participant the opportunity to learn more about the preparation, organization and leadership of a canoe trip while gaining an appreciation for the outdoors.
Each participant takes on the role of “Leader of the Day” during their trip, where they are responsible for navigation and coordination of the trip.
Each trip group is supervised by a POLARIS staff member and alumni staff person, who provide ongoing supervision, support, and feedback throughout the experience. They also facilitate a full debrief when the group returns to Camp.
This video offers a glimpse at a month in the POLARIS program:
(Wenonah Counselling & Instructor Training)
WCIT is a one-month program for youth that have turned at least 17 years of age by December 31st of the year attending. The WCIT program focuses on the further development and enhancement of individual leadership skills and abilities through direct interaction with campers in program areas, on trips ,and during the cabin group experience. The program is facilitated by fulltime WCIT Directors, who provide leadership, support, and ongoing feedback throughout the program.
The program focus during the first two weeks is primarily on leadership workshops facilitated by the WCIT Directors and other key veteran Wenonah staff members, including the Summer Camp Director. Participants then utilize the skills they have learned through these workshops and apply them in a cabin-placement internship during the third and fourth weeks of the program.
WCIT workshops cover a wide range of topics including:
Creating a Welcoming Environment, Developing Community With Campers, Group Development & Processing, Behaviour Management, Communication Skills, Active Listening, Problem Solving, Special Event Planning, Health & Safety, Program Planning for Cabin-Based Activities, Sensitive Issues, What’s Your Counselling Style?, Age Group Characteristics, and more!
WCIT participants are paired with a camper cabin for their month at Camp. During the third week of the WCIT program, participants are fully immersed in cabin life, spending much of their time with their cabin group.
WCITs are mentored by the cabin counsellor, and can look forward to taking leadership roles in cabin choice programs, evening programs and section-based activities. Additionally, all WCITs have the opportunity to go on an overnight trip with their cabin, allowing them to take on a leadership role in the canoe-trip environment. The internship provides the opportunity for participants to gain leadership experience by working directly with children.
During their internship, WCIT participants also have the opportunity to take a leadership role with camper programs, ultimately leading camper programs under the guidance of Camp program staff.
WCITs also assist in facilitating evening programs, Camp wide games, and Daily Options. This provides the unique opportunity for hands-on experience and allows WCITs to develop as program and activity facilitators.
WCIT Directors provide feedback to all WCIT participants on an ongoing basis throughout the month, including a formal mid-month and end of month sit-down feedback.