We will try to answer your camp related questions here, but if you still need assistance, please contact us.

 

Life at Camp

 
Campers rotate throughout the day to the different activities relative to their camp session. As long as the weather co-operates, all campers swim and ride horses daily with the exception of some of our specialty camps. All overnight campers participate in a large camp game after dinner and finish the day with a fun and meaningful campfire. 
 
Here’s a sample of what a typical day might look like:

  • Wake up and get ready for the day
  • Morning object lesson or devotional thought
  • Breakfast
  • Cabin clean up – ready for inspection!
  • 1st activity
  • 2nd Activity
  • Free Time
  • Lunch
  • Quiet Time (skit, story, or object lesson followed by cabin Bible discussion)
  • Free Time (Tuck Shop open for business!)
  • 3rd Activity
  • 4th Activity
  • Get ready for theme supper (twins, crazy hats, colour, dress your cabin leader, etc.)
  • Supper
  • Wide Game (all-camp activity such as capture the flag, staff hunt, dodge ball, etc.)
  • Free Time
  • Campfire (Tune up your singing voice!)
  • Get ready for bed
  • Lights out – Get your rest ’cause tomorrow’s comin’!

The campers sleep in cabin style bunkhouses in both Western Town and Pathway. All cabins have vinyl covered foam mattresses and electricity. Pathway has a washroom in each cabin.

Every camper at Circle Square Ranch gets to spend an hour with their horse every day. We assign the campers to a horse that is appropriate to their riding experience and comfort level and provide them with instruction and support during every ride.

In Pathway, the horsemanship is at an introductory level. The campers learn how to be confident on the horse and master skills such as making the horse move forward, turning in a circle, stopping and backing up. They also get to experience beginner level trail rides. The Pathway barn staff are knowledgeable and are available to give the campers one-on-one support and instruction while they are in the activity with their group. There is no testing for Pathway riders.

In Western Town, the horsemanship program is structured into 5 Star levels. Every camper starts in First Star their first year in Western Town regardless of previous experience (though previous experience will help them in achieving their star in their first week). The campers spend an hour on their horses every day, learning and practicing on-horse skills, and also spend an hour in “Horse Sense” on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, in which they learn about horses and horsemanship.

The Western Town campers are evaluated on what they have learned over the week. The practical (on horse) testing occurs on Thursday, and the theoretical (written exam) testing is on Friday morning. The campers are scored and the results are announced at the rodeo on Saturday morning, as well as each camper receiving a certificate stating what level of completion they achieved. The majority of their mark is based on the rider’s physical skills and confidence level on the horse. There is also a Grand Champion trophy for the highest total score out of all the campers that week. Campers work their way up through the different levels as they master the skills, similar to earning swimming badges or levels.

We provide a selection of nutritious, home-style cooked meals that are “kid-friendly” (meaning we provide more basic meals like soup and grilled cheese or subs for lunch, and spaghetti and meat-sauce or roast beef and mashed potatoes for supper).

Yes. 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. Clothes will be accessible at sign-out at the end of each camp session.

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. We can only look for labelled items. Any found items will be sent C.O.D. (at your expense).

Campers are encouraged not to bring valuable clothing or possessions. Circle Square Ranch is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.

Circle Square Ranch is a nondenominational, Christian camp that promotes the teachings of Jesus Christ. We welcome children and youth of any faith and race, encouraging young lives to grow spiritually, mentally, socially and physically.

Your child will have a devotional time during the day plus an evening campfire that will focus on predetermined topics as laid out in the Circle Square Ranch general program. These are times of introduction to Christian values and beliefs presented through small and large group discussions, skits, songs and Bible study.

Circle Square is owned and operated by InterVarsity 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.
 
 

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 Circle Square Ranch, 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 ratio is four to one. Campers are divided into activity groups with two to four staff members who go with them to their activities. Staff who are supervising individual activities as instructors, wranglers, or lifeguards are in addition to the ratio stated.
The camp directors have more than 18 years experience working with Circle Square Ranch as well as numerous years experience in the area of youth ministry.

Our summer leadership team consists of individuals with previous camping experience as well as specific skills and training in their area of responsibility.

 
 

What to Bring

 
Beside all the normal, camp clothes, there are extra items to bring depending on your child’s camp session. Click here for camp specific packing lists & information. We will also send you a confirmation package once registration is complete. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Campers should bring enough clothing for their camp session. Please label all clothing and luggage! (Labels or indelible markers)

*Circle Square Ranch is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.

Please do not bring chewing gum, electronic devices (cell phones*, iPods, mp3 players, portable game systems, etc.) or inappropriate reading materials as they are not permitted at the ranch and, if brought, will be held in the office for the week. Do not bring anything valuable to camp, as occasionally things do get lost or broken.

Absolutely no alcohol, drugs or tobacco are permitted at camp. Campers who fail to cooperate with this may be sent home. Circle Square Ranch is a non-smoking facility. Please discuss this with your child prior to camp should you consider this to be a concern.

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 their cell phone for an alarm clock or camera, we recommend bringing a cheap camera and alarm clock instead.
Yes, there is a Tuck Shop at the Western Town. T-shirts, video, souvenirs and more may be purchased during registration hours on Sunday and following the rodeo on Saturday. Campers are not encouraged to keep cash in their personal belongings though, so tuck money is submitted to the camp office during registration where it is carefully recorded and safely kept. Campers make orders from their account and receive tuck purchases daily as ordered. Purchases are deducted from their tuck account with the balance of any remaining money returned when they are signed out at the end of their camp session.

We suggest a weekly amount of $10 (Pathway) and $15-$20 (Western Town).

Week in Review Videos are $15 when pre-ordered with registration. (available at Western Town only)

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

 
 

Arrival and Departure Days

 
Registration is from 4 – 6 pm on Sundays unless otherwise stated on application form (some camps start on Monday). Remember to bring any important forms as well as tuck money.
 
  • We are unable to take early registration. If there is a pressing matter, please contact the office to see if other arrangements can be made. Additional fees may apply.
  • A parent, guardian or a responsible adult must accompany ALL campers.
  • ALL medications and tuck money are to be handed in at registration.
 
If you have any questions regarding registration day, please contact us.

FOUR things to do when you arrive at camp:

1. Go to registration table. Both the child and the parent or guardian MUST report together to the registration table. Pertinent information on your child’s application will be confirmed. In order to move through as quickly as possible, please have the following ready in your hands:

  • Provincial Health Care Number
  • Additional contact numbers (if not on application)
  • Change of address information (if applicable)
  • Any fees still owing
     

2. Talk to the First Aid Worker if your child has any medication, specific health concerns, diet restrictions, etc. All medications must be in original containers marked with the child’s name and dosage of medication. These will be handed to the Camp First Aid Worker for safe keeping and administering. Campers requiring inhalers or epipens should bring a spare one to leave with the First Aid Worker. Lice checks will also be done at this time.

3. Turn in your spending money at the General Store(also known as the Tuck Shop) for Western Town and the registration table at Pathway. The amount of money will be recorded on an account sheet which is kept in the store. Purchases made during the week are recorded and a daily balance is calculated. At the end of the week, the remaining money will be in an envelope for you to retrieve from the sign-out window at the Rodeo.

4. Move into your cabin and meet your cabin leader. Cabin lists will be posted just inside the main doors of the hotel, as well as available through ranch staff on the wagon.

These can be done in any order, but your registration is not finished until you have completed all four procedures.

You are invited to watch your child as they take part in a closing rodeo each Saturday to conclude their camp session. Campers will participate in various rodeo games, showcasing some of the riding skills they have acquired through their week at Circle Square Ranch. Because so many of you travel quite a distance, there is a concession by the rodeo arena where you can purchase hamburgers and other tuck items for lunch.
 
  • Pathway – 11 am
  • Western Town – 12 pm
     

Please be ready to assume responsibility for your child at the completion of the rodeo. Sign-out is immediately following the rodeo at the Trading Post. Campers must be with their parents/guardians to sign out.

 
  • Leftover tuck money, unused medication, and camp photo will be handed out at sign-out.
  • All campers must be signed out before leaving. Please notify the office if someone else will be picking up your child at departure as they will be required to sign them out.

 
 

Communication during Camp

 

Telephone:  We do not encourage campers to use the telephone. 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:   Our email address is [email protected]. You may email a message during your child’s week of camp (it will be delivered at breakfast), but they will not be able to reply.

Internet:  While we understand the importance of staying in touch, Circle Square Ranch 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.

Parcels & Mail:  Your camper will enjoy hearing from home while they are at camp. We hand out mail at breakfast time each weekday, but not on Saturday or Sunday. There will be a drop box at registration where you can put mail (letters and small nut free parcels) for your child. Please indicate your child’s name and what day mail is to be delivered on the outside of each parcel. Mail can also be sent through Canada Post, keeping in mind that it may take longer to arrive than expected due to our rural route location.

*Any mail received after the camper has left will be returned to sender.

Our friendly atmosphere and understanding staff help campers overcome the natural fears and concerns of being away from home. Getting kids involved in the program and making new friends helps to overcome the fears associated with leaving home and their family. It is our goal to make their stay at Circle Square Ranch as enjoyable as possible. The camp director will spend time with any homesick child and, if necessary call the parent.

With that in mind, we encourage parents and family not to visit during the week. If a child is homesick, a visit by family is usually not helpful. As well, other campers who are feeling homesick and are aware of the visit may request similar privileges and in most cases, this is not possible. We encourage family to spend as much time on arrival as they feel necessary.

 

Health and Safety

 
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.
There is a qualified medical person on staff, available 24 hours a day. CSR leadership staff are trained in First Aid and CPR. Emergency services are available within 20 minutes of the ranch property. Castor Hospital is 20 minutes away and Stettler is 45 minutes away.
Medical care is a vital part of our role for your child at the ranch. Please advise us at registration if there are any changes to your child’s medical information. The ranch 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, Circle Square Ranch requests that medications required throughout the year be sent with your child to camp. All medication brought to camp MUST be kept by ranch 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 with user’s name printed on label. If you want your child to carry their 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 nurse.

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 campers must have medical insurance.

Details regarding medical/behavioral concerns are to be communicated in writing. Please call to discuss any concerns/special needs by phone.

When completing your online or paper application, please indicate if your child has food allergies or requires a modified diet (i.e. vegetarian) and contact the office two weeks before arrival to discuss. If a special diet is required for reasons other than medical needs (i.e. vegetarian), you will be required to provide specialties. If food items are required, they should be fully prepared, labelled with your child’s name, and reheating instructions. Food items will be stored in our kitchen. Circle Square Ranch 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.
Circle Square Ranch cannot guarantee to be a nut/peanut free environment. We do seek to reduce the risk of exposure and therefore do not use or serve peanuts, peanut products or tree nuts on camp property. Nuts or products containing nuts will not be available in our store. However, the food we purchase and serve may contain traces of nut products.
In our effort to provide the best possible experience for all our campers, a lice check is part of our registration process. Any camper found with lice/nits will be sent home so a proper lice treatment and removal of all lice and nits can be done. If you have travelled too far to return home, we will make our laundry room available for you to treat your child’s hair, remove all lice and nits, and do their laundry. We have lice treatments available to be purchased. Your child’s hair must be free of ALL nits and adult lice before they may stay for their week of camp. Sorry, there are no exceptions.
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.
Circle Square Ranch is a smoke-free facility. Smoking by campers is prohibited.
To provide, to the best of our ability, an enjoyable camping experience in a safe and caring environment, which we will strive to achieve through awareness, prevention and community development. Bullying is not a major problem in the camp setting, considering the short length of stay, supervision and busy camp schedule. We do, however, recognize that it does occur, and understand the negative effects it could have on your child. 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 Misbehavior

 
 

Registration & Camper Fees

 
Pathway is a smaller, more family-like setting that caters specifically to a younger age level.

  • Cabins and activity groups are much smaller – 6 in each cabin, 12(6 boys and 6 girls) in each group
  • Staff to camper ratio is higher (about 1 staff for every 3 campers)
  • Activities are more experience-based, so the campers all get a chance to try new things that we do here, like archery and mountain biking and horseback riding.
  • Bedtime is also quite a bit earlier, because most of the campers are younger than those that attend Western Town camps.
     

Western Town is a larger setting, geared for an older child (9-18).

  • Cabins are larger (from 9 to 14 campers in each cabin)
  • Staff to camper ratio is about 1 to 4
  • Activities have an added competitive aspect to them – archery is scored, the obstacle course is timed, horsemanship level is tested, and awards are presented at the end of the week.
  • Physical demand on the camper is higher – the activities are more challenging, and bedtime is later.

Here are some things to consider when choosing the right week of camp for your child. If a camper is going to Western Town for the first time after being in Pathway, it is usually easier for them to adjust if they are put with a younger age grouping at Western Town (for example, 9-12 age group instead of 11-13, even if they are 11).Consider your child’s maturity – mentally, emotionally, and physically. Consider the grade level that they are in and the age that most of their peers are at. Cabins are typically grouped by age. Also, the boys and girls do activities together and girls at 13 are often much taller and stronger than boys at 13, so think about that aspect as well. We do increase the level of competition and physical demand of games and activities with older age groups as well, so if your child is small for their age, or doesn’t enjoy competitive games, perhaps register them in a week with mostly younger campers.

Lastly, we would suggest that you ask what your child prefers as they might have their own preference about being with kids mostly older or mostly younger than them.

Write down the friend’s name on the application when you are registering. We will do our very best to put them together.
If a camper registers for two consecutive weeks of camp, they must be signed out of the first week after the rodeo on Saturday and go through the registration process again for the second week.
Fee includes all meals for camps, housing, use of all recreational equipment and facilities, instruction in activities, and awards.
Camp fees do not include Tuck Shop/General Store purchases or transportation to and from the ranch. We do NOT have weekend accommodations for ranchers who attend two consecutive weeks of camp. All ranchers must be picked up on the Saturday (Wednesday for week 9) of their week of camp.
If you cancel more than one month prior to the start of camp, you will get a full refund less $75/week administration fee. If you cancel two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will get a full refund less $100/week administration fee. If you cancel less than two weeks prior to the start of camp, you will get NO REFUND (includes camp fees, out-trip fees, and transportation fees if applicable) except for medical reasons with a note from a doctor. In that case, you will get a full refund less $75/week 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.
Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Assistance is at the discretion of the Director. You can download a Scholarship Application Form from the website and take advantage of our 2018 Discount Policy. Contact the office for more information. The deadline for applications is June 1.
No. You have two options when registering online: Visa or MasterCard or you can mail in a cheque. Paying by cheque will delay the processing of your camp application since registration is not “secured” until full payment is received.
When you register online there is an option to set up payments on April 1, May 1 and June 1 if you are paying by credit card. If you prefer to pay by cheque, you can send post-dated cheques, the final payment should be on June 1. All camp fees must be paid in full at the start of your child’s week of camp.