Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound welcome package: Children's camp

We’re so excited that you have chosen to join us for a one-of-a-kind camp experience! Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound is a program full of friends, adventures and opportunities to learn new things about the Howe Sound community.

This might be the first time some campers have spent several nights away from home. This welcome package will help make the transition from home to camp a stress-free experience for everyone.

We hope that you and your child(ren) will read it together so that you are prepared and comfortable with the routines and expectations of camp. Important health and medical information starts on page seven. Please ensure you read this entire package and follow our instructions if your child has any health needs during his or her time at camp.

If you have questions that weren’t answered in this package, please give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you out.

Phone: 604-732-4228; email:

We look forward to meeting you and your child! We are excited about the opportunities planned for the week and are confident that our camp will be a fun, educational, hands-on and memorable experience for all participants.

You can download a PDF of our welcome package by clicking here [400KB]

About Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound

Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound offers a rare opportunity to hone environmental leadership skills and connect with nature on beautiful Gambier Island

The program empowers children and young adults to champion conservation in their own magnificent region. Participants will spend a week in the outdoors, connecting to the natural world, expanding their minds and building friendships.

Our program focuses on four themes: conservation leadership, Howe Sound ecosystems, Squamish Nation culture and knowledge and community organizing (young adults only).

Young campers will connect deeply with nature through six days of activity-based learning. We engage campers in active learning and let them unplug from technology and connect to each other through the camp experience. Our qualified and skilled staff will lead activities to ignite the campers’ spirit of adventure and passion for the environment.

Campers will leave with a greater understanding of how they can make a difference in their Howe Sound community.

Camp activities

During the kids’ camp, your child(ren) will be exposed to a wide variety of activities and experiences. Your child(ren) will receive individual instruction to develop new skills, take part in small-group activities and participate in games and theme events involving the entire camp. Our programming emphasizes creativity, imagination and adventure in a safe, fun-filled atmosphere that encourages personal growth and development.

Activities at camp are “challenge-by-choice”. Your child(ren) will never be forced to do an activity, but will be encouraged by staff to try new experiences. Program options are safe, engaging and appropriate to the age level and interests of the group. Activities are structured to allow time for your child(ren) to proceed at their own pace and accomplish their goals within the timeframe of the session.

A typical day at camp

There is never a “typical day” at Camp Suzuki! To make summer camp a thrilling experience for children, we try to steer clear of conventional activities.

Some elements of the program are the same each day. Each morning and evening we gather together as a full camp to either open or close the day in our community. Every day different programs are offered during morning program time and camper choice.

All programming will centre on four themes: conservation leadership, Squamish Nation culture and knowledge Howe Sound ecosystems and community organizing (young adults only).

During time at the waterfront, campers can choose to go swimming or head over to the tuck shop.

The camp schedule

Our camp schedule will be posted as it becomes available. Please note that this schedule is subject to change without notice.

What to bring to Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound

It is important that you pack appropriate clothing and gear for your child(ren)’s session at camp. It’s a great learning experience to have your child(ren) participate in gathering and packing appropriate clothing and equipment needed for camp. Being involved in this process can help them feel confident about their camp experience.

The items on the packing checklist at the end of this package are necessary for health, safety and enjoyment. Below are some tips to help make packing for camp easier:

  • Engaging with nature and participating in outdoor activities are integral parts of camp! Pack clothing that can get dirty. Choose functionality over fashion. Do not bring anything to camp that you are not willing to lose — things happen!
  • Many of the clothing items on the list can be found quite reasonably at large department stores or even at some second-hand shops. These stores have a great selection of inexpensive fleece sweaters, fleece jackets, thermal polyester blend shirts and bottoms and waterproof rain gear.
  • It is important that your child(ren) bring a variety of clothing layers so they can keep warm in the event of inclement weather. A hat is a welcome item on a rainy summer day or an evening by the ocean! Cotton is usually poor outdoor material because when it gets wet it takes a long time to dry. Please make sure to pack some polyester blend clothing.
  • It is not necessary to go out and buy every item; many outdoor stores have good used equipment or offer rentals
  • Label EVERYTHING with first and last names.

Lost and found

We do our best to keep campers and their possessions together but every year we have unclaimed items with no identification. Labelling all items makes it easier for us to return them to their rightful owners. All items we find will be kept in the camp’s lost and found bin for two weeks after camp. If your child(ren) lose something, please phone our office. Items not claimed within two weeks of the camp session’s end will be donated to the First United Church clothing room.


Although backpacks are ideal, hockey bags, duffels, old suitcases and big laundry bags are also fine. Do not pack items in garbage bags, as they rip easily and can be mistaken for garbage. Include a sturdy, small backpack for day trips and please remember to label your luggage!

Rain gear

All planned activities will continue despite the occasional rainy day. Rain gear (jacket and pants) and sturdy, well-sealed rubber boots provide the best protection. Remember to label rubber boots, as they often look the same. If you don’t have rubber boots and aren’t planning to buy them, please pack extra footwear in case one pair gets wet..

Food at camp

Do not send any food to camp with your child unless she or he is on a special restricted diet. Campers receive three meals a day in addition to snacks. In the afternoon, homemade treats and snack items such as baked goods from our kitchen will be available for purchase at our tuck shop.

Campers need to let us know if they bring food with them. Please remind your child(ren) of this fact before they leave, or tell a staff member as you drop them off.

Our kitchen crew is able to accommodate special diets provided that dietary requests are made well in advance. If this information was not filled in during camper registration, please contact us at least two weeks prior to camp for us to make the necessary adjustments.


Breakfasts include:

  • Cold cereal
  • Fruit salad
  • Orange juice
  • Pancakes
  • Scrambled eggs with hot oatmeal
  • Scrambled eggs with turkey sausages
  • Baked frittata with toast and ham and cheese
  • French toast, turkey sausages


All lunches are served with a salad bar:

  • Sandwiches with soups
  • Turkey and veggie burgers
  • Pita pizzas
  • Vegetarian samosas, mango chutney
  • Vegetarian chili, cornbread
  • Falafel, hummus, pita bread, tzatziki
  • Moroccan stew, brown rice, tzatziki


Every dinner is served with a salad bar and dessert:

  • Spinach and butternut squash lasagna, with caesar salad
  • Meat/lentil shepherd’s pie
  • Black bean burritos with various toppings
  • Vegetarian curry and brown rice
  • Roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, steamed veggies

Zero waste

Our venue (Camp Fircom) is on a remote island that does not have garbage and recycling services. Zero waste encourages the redesign of resource life-cycles, product reuse and minimal amounts of landfill trash. We use environmentally sustainable products whenever possible and compost food and paper towel waste. Paper, plastic and glass is recycled. We ask that all campers partake in our zero-waste philosophy.

Biodegradable hygiene products

We need your help to protect the environment. Our water system works best when all soap products (shampoo, soap and conditioners) are biodegradable. You can look for biodegradable products at most outdoor recreation stores like Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

First day of camp

Bus transportation

To make the transportation process easy on everyone, Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound provides bus transportation from Vancouver and West Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay and back! You were asked to sign up for bus transportation when you registered. Please contacts us ASAP if you’d like to add/remove this option

Horseshoe Bay is a popular spot during summer, and Sundays and Fridays (the first and last day of camp) are especially busy with limited parking. We encourage all parents to use our bus services to let us take care of getting campers to and from camp. For many, the camp experience starts on the bus. Our staff will play bus games and sing songs!

Vancouver Pickup / Drop-off options: 

Oakridge Centre - SW Entrance (near Safeway entrance) -- see Google map here

Park Royal Mall - North Side (near London Drugs entrance) -- see Google map here

Times for pick-up and drop off will be updated and emailed to anyone that has purchased a bus option.

Please arrive 30 minutes early for check-in. If you miss the bus during the drop-off times, it is your responsibility to get your child to Horseshoe Bay where they will catch the water taxi to camp.

Drop-off in Horseshoe Bay

There is a drop-off loop close to the Boathouse Restaurant where campers can easily be dropped off for the water taxi. Horseshoe Bay is a busy place during summer, so it is important to note that this is a drop-off area only. Please use the designated parking areas in Horseshoe Bay if the driver is staying more than two minutes.

There are a few options for parking in Horseshoe Bay. Several streets have one to three hours of free parking. For longer durations:

  • BC Ferries parking lot: $16 to $22 per day.

After unloading luggage at the public dock, turn around and go straight up Nelson Avenue, drive two blocks and turn left. Drive two blocks and turn right on Keith Road and head straight into the BC Ferries parking garage.

  • Lions Tiddlycove parking lot: $10 per day Friday, Saturday and Sunday

After unloading your luggage at the public dock, turn around and go straight up Nelson Avenue to the roundabout at the top of the hill. Go around and left onto Marine Drive toward the highway. At the next roundabout, go right onto Marine Drive. The Lions parking lot is on the left side under the highway. This lot fills by late Friday during the summer.

The water taxi leaves from the public dock at Horseshoe Bay -- see map below.

Public transportation bus

Campers (accompanied by an adult) can hop on the bus (either the 250 or 257) from downtown Vancouver on Georgia Street and get off the bus in Horseshoe Bay. It is a short three-minute walk to the public dock.

Water taxi

Campers will take a water taxi from Horseshoe Bay to Gambier Island, where our venue (Camp Fircom) is located. The water taxi pickup is at the end of the public dock in Horseshoe Bay, to the east of the Boathouse Restaurant.

Campers are asked to arrive between 30 minutes to one hour prior to departure. This will give us ample time to get campers checked in and luggage sorted, and to play games while we wait for everyone to arrive!

Please do not go to the water taxi office. Instead, please find camp staff who will be wearing Camp Suzuki: Howe Sound T-shirts.

Boat days are always busy (we call it organized chaos!), so your patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Water taxi departure times

  • August 13 — departure from Horseshoe Bay at 2:40 p.m.
  • August 18 — arrival at Horseshoe Bay at 3 p.m.

IMPORTANT: The water taxi is unable to wait for late campers. If you can’t make the boat, please contact our camp office.

Check-in and check-out from camp

It is important that on the first day of camp you (or a pre-determined guardian) check your child(ren) in during the bus pickup or drop-off at Horseshoe Bay. It is also important that each camper is also checked out of camp on the last day.

On the first day of camp there will be an area on the public dock — clearly marked with signs — where campers are responsible for placing luggage after check-in with camp staff at the top of the dock. It’s best if luggage is clearly labelled with names to avoid confusion during camp arrival.

After checking in, campers will be entertained by our staff as we wait for all campers to arrive. Staff will tell campers when it’s time to help bring their luggage down to their assigned water taxi and board the boat.

Keeping everyone safe and healthy

During registration, you should have filled in any important health requirements (i.e., dietary, physical or medical) pertaining to your child(ren). If anything was missed during registration, please call our office and let us know a minimum of two weeks prior to camp. This gives us enough time to update each camper’s information. At the very latest, please inform staff during check-in on the first day of camp, so they can pass information on to the camp nurse.

Please be sure to include any issues your child(ren) could experience while at camp (i.e., side effects from medication, susceptibility to heat stroke, sensitivity to mosquito bites, problems with anxiety and homesickness). The camp nurse and/or first aid attendant may touch base with campers who have special health requirements to ensure that each camper is feeling safe and adequately supported.

Medication and medical conditions

If a camper has medication that is safe to take on their own while at camp, please ensure that it is stored safely in their luggage to avoid the medication accidently being lost. In the case of medication that is not safe for a camper to take on their own, please ensure the medication is given to staff during check-in on the first day of camp.

For life-threatening allergies, please connect with staff during check-in on the first day of camp, or have your child(ren) see the camp nurse or camp coordinator to talk about a plan for EpiPens or medications for life-threatening allergies.

If your child regularly takes behavioural medication, we recommend that he/she continues to take this medication while at camp.

Injury or illness

Quiet rest areas are available when campers become overtired or need extra care. On rare occasions, we may request that a camper leaves camp before the end of the session if they become ill and are no longer able to participate in camp activities.

In the rare event that emergency medical treatment is required, a staff member will accompany your child(ren) to Lions Gate Hospital, and our camp director or camp nurse will contact you to make arrangements to meet at the hospital. Our staff member will stay with your child(ren) until you arrive.

Sleeping habits

If there are any concerns about your child(ren)’s sleeping habits that may have been missed during the registration process, please inform our staff during check-in.

Behaviour policy

Our camp staff are highly trained to provide quality care and implement strategies to help guide children’s behaviour. This also includes correcting undesirable behaviour to ensure all campers have an amazing time!

In the spirit of community living, all campers are expected to be respectful and mindful of others. All behavioural expectations at camp are designed around safety and respect. Campers will be made aware of these expectations during our community meetings on the first day of camp, and everyone is expected to adhere to them. Please talk to your children about the following points before they arrive at camp.

  • Campers are expected to take responsibility for caring for themselves. This includes wearing sunscreen, wearing weather-appropriate clothing, washing hands regularly, showing good hygiene (showering and brushing teeth), getting enough rest and listening to instructions and directions from camp staff.
  • Campers are expected to take responsibility for caring for others. This includes respecting privacy of other campers, respecting other people’s belongings, sharing with others, treating others fairly, respecting differences (cultural or otherwise) and reporting (and not participating in) incidences of bullying or exclusion.
  • Campers are expected to take responsibility for caring for the environment. This includes respecting the natural life around camp (trees and animals), keeping the site clean of garbage, recycling and not being wasteful (particularly at meal times). Campers are expected to be respectful of camp equipment, accommodations and property.

Camper dismissal

The following behaviours or actions are not tolerated at camp: bullying and/or harassment, use of profanity (swearing), theft, vandalism, and aggressive, defiant/disorderly conduct. If a situation arises in which a camper demonstrates complete disregard for camp rules and behavioural expectations, or threatens their own safety and well-being or that of another camper or staff member, the camper may be dismissed at the discretion of our camp director.

The camp director reserves the right to withdraw any camper without warning who, in the director’s opinion, compromises the physical or emotional safety of any person at camp, or who is an immediate hazard to their own safety or the safety of others. You will be responsible for any costs associated with your child(ren)’s dismissal due to behavioural issues, and no refund of camp fees will be given.

Possession of illicit substances

Smoking, alcohol consumption and/or the use of non-prescription drugs are not permitted at camp. Any camper or staff member who disregards this policy will be removed, regardless of circumstance or degree of participation. You will be responsible for any costs associated with your child(ren)’s dismissal for possession of illicit substances, and no refund will be given if the dismissal is due to possession of illicit substances.


We will keep campers engaged from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed (with some built-in downtime, of course). Visits from family members and friends can be distracting to a camper’s daily routine and overall experience of being away from home. Therefore, we do not permit visitors during camp.

If this is your child(ren)’s first time away from home, remember that you’ll see your happy camper after a short week. If they are feeling worried about being away from home for the first time and getting homesick, be assured that our staff is highly trained to help first-time campers. Campers will be having so much fun that homesickness is rare. If it does happen, it tends to pass quickly once staff can comfort your child(ren).

Packing checklist



  • T-shirts and shorts
  • Long pants (should be long and comfortable)
  • Sweaters/sweatshirts
  • A warm jacket
  • Hiking boots or good running shoes
  • Rain boots or extra pair of runners in case one pair gets wet
  • Socks (1 wool pair)
  • Underwear (at least 1 per day + 1-2 extra)
  • Pajamas
  • Bathing suit
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat (to protect head from the sun)
  • Water shoes (important)
  • Reusable water bottles

Toiletries and bedding

    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Comb/hairbrush
    • Shampoo/conditioner **
    • Soap
    • Sleeping bag
    • Extra blanket (optional)
    • Fitted Sheet (optional)
    • Pillow and pillowcase
    • Small backpack for day use
    • Dirty laundry bag (a plastic grocery bag works!)

     **Biodegradable products, please!

    Recommended items

    • Rain pants
    • Toque
    • Flashlight
    • Spare batteries
    • Camera
    • Sunglasses
    • Insect repellant (non-aerosol)
    • Sunscreen
    • Book(s) for quiet time
    • Cash for the tuck shop (if you don’t have a tuck deposit yet)


    What NOT to bring

    Please leave the following items at home:

    • Hair dryer/curling iron
    • Jewelry
    • Clothes that you don’t want dirtied
    • Cellular phones
    • Music players and iPods
    • Headphones
    • Computers/electronic game consoles/iPads
    • Illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol
    • Knives
    • Matches and candles

    Staff have permission to do a baggage search for prohibited items to ensure the safety of all campers.