FAQ & Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions: CAMPS

How do you select and train your staff?

Many staff have grown up as campers and Counselors-in-Training. All camp staff are selected through a hiring process which includes an intensive interview, reference checks, and a background check screening. Staff also participate in training sessions run by senior camp staff and professionals from the community.

How long are the camp sessions?

Camp sessions vary depending on the camp you attend.  On average each camp session is a week but there are some that are longer. We custom build your schedule while you are in Saskatchewan so it’s possible to attend two different camps that are a week each.  Depending on your age, it’s also possible to attend the same camp for two consecutive weeks.

What type of kids comes to the camps?

Local youth from all over Saskatchewan attend these camps. Some camps are close to either the Alberta or Manitoba borders so youth from neighbouring provinces attend the camps as well.  There are also international campers from all over the world.

Do campers get to choose their activities?

Our goal is to provide a well-balanced program for each child. We want to expose each camper to as many cultural camp activities as possible, so campers will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of pre-scheduled activities. In some situations campers will be asked to preregister for some activities or pay extra for specific skill building offerings.  These options will be offered following registration.

Can we communicate with our family and friends while at camp?

Parents cannot call their child at camp but can contact a Cultural Bridges representative to get an update on their child’s progress.  The camp’s professional team will be in touch with a Cultural Bridges representative should any concerns arise. International campers cannot communicate with their family or friends while at camp.

I am coming to Saskatchewan with my child. Can I visit the camp?

For the safety of all campers and staff visitors are not allowed without a scheduled visit. If you would like to schedule a visit, please contact us and we would be happy to arrange a convenient time.  Some camps over camping opportunities for parents as well.

How can I best prepare my child for a first camp experience?

It is important that if your child is a first time camper they be prepared for their camp experience. Teaching your child how to make a bed and folding their clothes will help your child adjust to camp life. We will also be doing an orientation for all international campers after they arrive in Saskatchewan.

Can my child leave camp?

Campers cannot leave camp at any time without the permission of the Camp Director and Cultural Bridges.

What should I pack for my child?

Clothes for camp should be durable, inexpensive, and informal. Warm weather clothing and rain gear are essential. It is a good idea to write your name all on items.

 

Please make sure to send the following with your child to camp:

 

☐ T-shirts

☐ Bunnyhug (hooded sweatshirt)

☐ Shorts

☐ Bathing suit (one piece for girls)

☐ Long pants (jeans for horseback riding)

☐ Underwear (one pair for each day)

☐ Socks

☐ Running Shoes

☐ Sandals

☐ Hat

☐ Raincoat

☐ Two Towels (one for showers and one for the beach)

☐ Sleeping Bag

☐ Pillow

☐ Toothbrush

☐ Toothpaste

☐ Hairbrush/Comb

☐ Sunscreen

☐ Bug Spray

☐ Deodorant

☐ Shampoo

☐ Soap

☐ Flashlight

☐ Notebook & Pen

☐ Water bottle

☐ Medications (if any)

Is there camp laundry?

There is no laundry service provided to campers while they are at camp.

What is NOT allowed at most camps?

Leave expensive items at home!  Leaning items in your home country or with your homestay is the only option.  The following items typically distract kids during their time at camp. We want campers to be away from the noise and distractions of normal life for their week at camp. Camp is often a place where campers get dirty and things can go missing.

  • Cell phones
  • Portable media players (iPods?
  • Tablets (iPads…)
  • Jewelry
  • Expensive clothes and shoes
  • Non-prescription medication

 

The following items are strictly prohibited and most are considered illegal in Saskatchewan and Canada for underage youth:

  • Knives
  • Matches
  • Lighters
  • E-Cigarettes
  • Vapes
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs

Please note that Cultural Bridges Programs Inc. is not responsible for lost, broken, or stolen items. If campers bring any of the strictly prohibited and illegal items to camp they will be sent home with no notice and parents will be charged for all incurred expenses.

Can you request that my child be in a cabin with their friend?

Yes you can make a request.  Camps will try to accommodate one friend per camper request.  If they request cannot be accommodated, than the friend will be put in a nearby cabin.  The friend must be in the same grade. Please know that the sleeping assignments are done in the best interest of all campers.

Where do the campers sleep?

Campers live in spacious cabins or lodges that include shelving, storage, bunk beds and nearby washrooms with showers and toilets.  In some cases, campers will live in tents.

How many campers in each accommodation? How many counsellors in each accommodation?

Cabins and lodges can accommodate various numbers of campers.  They range from 4-12 campers and with 1-4 senior and junior counsellors in each once.  The tents also range from 4-6 campers per ten with 1-2 counsellors.

What kind of food does camp offer?

Saskatchewan camp food is all about kid friendly, nutritious and delicious comfort food.  Food that kids look forward to having every summer. Breakfast can include granola, yogurt, fruit, jam, eggs, toast, bacon/ham, and even pancakes or waffles.  Lunches and suppers can include hamburgers, hotdogs, pasta, baked or grilled meat, sandwiches, grilled cheese, chili, stews, salads, soups, and pizza. There’s even dessert at some meals.  A vegetarian option and lactose-free meal are also available for those who indicate such food restrictions on their camp form. Camps may be able accommodate other dietary restrictions.

What is sold at the camp tuck/canteen (snack) shop?

Most camps have a snack shop. Campers have the option to buy snacks (potato chips, chocolate bars, candy, granola bars, frozen treats…) and drinks (juice, water, pop). Campers are able to access the tuck shop once or five times per week.  Tuck is included as part of the camp fee ($35/wk). Some camps also sell some clothing or other camp items that campers can also purchase. Further details are explained in correspondence with a Cultural Bridges staff member.

What kind of medical facilities does camp have?

All camps are fully equipped to handle minor emergencies and have evacuation plans in place in case of medical emergencies.  Camp staff know exactly how to get to the nearest hospital and medical facility if necessary. Some camps have a doctor on staff while others have nurses on staff throughout the summer. All counsellors are also trained in First Aid and CPR.  All prescription medications brought by campers must be turned over to the nurse on registration day. Camps do have basic non-prescription medication (for headaches, minor pains, for dehydration…).

What if my child takes regular medications?

Regular medications are distributed through the infirmary (medical facility). The camp medical staff team will ensure that your child receives his/her medication as required. Please do not send non-prescription medications with your child.  Emergency Inhalers and EpiPen’s can be kept by campers after notifying the nurse that your child has this item.

Can you accommodate allergies?

Yes. Please specify your allergies on the registration page. Each camp strives to provide the safest environment possible for every camper.

Can I cancel my registration?

There is a cancellation fee of $200.00 for each application cancelled before March 1st. After March 1st and before April 15th, there is a cancellation fee of $400.00 for each application cancelled. There are no refunds after April 15, 2018.

Is there transportation offered?

It is most common for local parents drive their children to camp.  Cultural Bridges offers transportation on an individual request basis.  Please contact us for more information.

Is there anything else I should know?

Overnight camps in Saskatchewan are faith based. They are all supported by Christian churches and vary in religious belief.  Some camps are more causal and passive in their religious expectations of campers and others are more active and expect their campers to fully participate in prayers and other religious activities. Regardless of expectations, all the camps are friendly, welcoming and offer a caring and supportive environment to all of their campers. For more information contact Cultural Bridges.

Frequently Asked Questions: HOMESTAY Host Families

What is Homestay?

Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a host) and a visiting international youth. The youth lives as a guest in the home with the host.

What are my responsibilities as a host family?

Families must provide a bed, breakfast, packed lunch and an evening meal Monday through Friday, and all meals on the weekends. Along with the home environment being stable and caring, the home must provide easy access to local transportation to and from the youth’s school (live near to a bus stop). Host parents must submit an application with references, and will have a home visit by one of our experienced staff. Students bring their own spending money for personal needs, souvenirs, entertainment, and other incidentals.

How do I get matched with a youth?

We match the student with you. We do extensive interviewing in order to find the best possible match.

May I host more than one International youth at a time?

Yes, you may host up to two. If this is something that is possible for you, we highly recommend hosting two.  There is the possibility of instant friendship or just having a companion who has shared experiences.  They will learn and grow together.  We also require that they speak different native languages to ensure that only English is used in your home.  It gives your family the chance to learn more about another culture.  Both must have their own room and their own bed.

Can I still host if I don’t have children?

Yes! There’s no “typical” host family. Our definition of family focuses on the warm, welcoming environment provided by the individual(s). Whether or not you have children in your home, you are eligible to apply to be a host.

Are there rules for participants?

Yes. Both hosts and youth are expected to obey all the rules and policies that are applicable during the duration of the homestay program. If an international youth breaks Canadian or provincial law they will be immediately terminated from the program.  If they break program rules, they will be put on contract and explained the rules of their contract. Hosted participants are expected to obey both provincial and Canadian laws.

We also limit independent travel by students. You will be provided with a Host Family Handbook, which contains information on these rules and other host family requirements and expectations, at or before your pre-arrival orientation for host families.

What do I do when the student arrives?

Just like in most situations in life, first impressions matter. We expect our host families to take time out of their schedule to show their youth around your neighborhood and show them where to catch the bus, how to get to school, etc. Some students would also like to open a bank account at a nearby branch or get to know how to do their basic shopping. We also expect students to get a phone plan as soon as possible.  

As host, you also need to show your international youth around your home and let them know how to use your kitchen equipment (toaster, microwave, kettle, etc.), laundry machine,  and give them tips on how to stay safe in and outside your home and what to do in case of any emergency. Everyone normally gets very busy when life carries on, so the first two weeks are a great time to bond and get to know each other.

What areas of my home should the student have access to?

The student should have access to common areas of the house; living room, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, backyard… You may need to teach the student how  to use laundry machines and kitchen appliances. For laundry, use of the machines, soap and fabric softener are included.

Why does Cultural Bridges conduct criminal background checks?

The safety and welfare of our participants is our highest concern. The criminal background check is an integral part of the screening process that Cultural Bridges staff, volunteers and host family members are required to undergo before being affiliated with our program.

Do you screen the youth before approving applications?

Yes, we obtain home address information, identification, and more. International youth go through a screening process in their home country and an online screening with us.

Does the student speak English?

Yes, all students have a demonstrated level of proficiency in English. Our students come to Canada with a desire to immerse themselves in the language and to improve their level of proficiency.

How will Cultural Bridges staff support our needs as a host family?

Cultural Bridges will be serving host families and international youth through monthly check-ins and additional support as needed. You will be invited to participate in an in-person orientation, to help prepare you for the experience. You will also be assigned a local host “buddy,” whose role is to help you navigate the intriguing cultural differences that make the experience rich and rewarding.  They will assist your family with questions or concerns that may arise during the experience.

How long do international youth stay with host families?

Academic Year program students stay for 10 months and arrive in mid-August. Semester students stay for 5 months and arrive in either mid-August or mid-January.  Summer program youth generally come for one to three months. If they are coming for a summer camp placement then they will stay between your home and the camp for no more than four weeks.

Are there shorter hosting opportunities?

Yes, if your family cannot commit to hosting for a full year or semester, there are short term placement opportunities as well.  They range from one week to three months. 

Can I be considered a temporary host family?

Yes, but only if you already have hosting experience or were not able to host because your international youth did not arrive.  Temporary host families are also always needed; these are families that agree to host a student for the remainder of the program after the student has been moved from a different semester or year family.

I don’t live next to a high school/camp; am I still eligible to be a host?

Yes. For academic programs we expect our youth to live within walking distance of their school or at least near a bus stop and with no more than a half hour public bus commute to school. It is not necessary to live near the camp your youth will be attending.

Will the host family need to cover medical expenses?

No, your student(s) will either receive Saskatchewan Health coverage or come with secondary medical insurance so that, in an emergency, the student can be treated as soon as possible. Campers do not receive Sask health and will come with their own health coverage.

Do the Homestay rates include utilities, and which utilities?

Yes, all homestays include all basic utilities; such as water, cable, internet, electricity, heat and hot water. Local telephone is also included, but most students use their own laptop or mobile devices.

If the student would like to leave earlier than the agreed upon time period, what should be the arrangement?

The international youth should give at least two weeks notice upon finding alternative accommodations, unless it is an emergency, in which case any notice is waived. For more information please consult the Host Guide.

Can I cancel my registration?

There is a cancellation fee of $200.00 for each application cancelled before March 1st. After March 1st and before April 15th, there is a cancellation fee of $400.00 for each application cancelled. There are no refunds after April 15th.

Do we get paid to host?

All of our host families receive monetary compensation for hosting an international youth. This sum is meant to support your family in the weekly costs of hosting a student. This is not meant as supplementary income. 

How will the student pay me?

The international youth is expected to pay the monthly Homestay fee to Cultural Bridges directly. Never discuss money or payments with your homestay student. If you have any questions of a financial nature, please contact us here.

What if there is a problem?

if you have any questions or concerns please contact us. Our international youth must comply with all program rules and our staff will ensure they follow these while with your family.

Frequently Asked Questions: HOMESTAY International Youth

What is Homestay?

Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a host) and a visiting international youth. The youth lives as a guest in the home with the host.

How do I find homestays?

We find the homestay family for you. We do extensive interviewing in order to find the best possible match.

What types of homes are offered?

Homestays range from single family homes to condos and apartments in quiet residential areas. Homestays usually have at least two bedrooms, with one bedroom exclusively for you.  Most homestays include a yard, balcony and/or patio. The rooms are fully furnished including bed, dresser, closet, desk, lamp, chair, closet and window.  In most cases the bathroom is shared with either the rest of the family, or amongst other international youth living in the home.

Where are the homestays?

Host Families are located in neighbourhoods near schools and urban centers. Some homes are on large pieces of land known as acreages. 

How far will my homestay be from my school?

For academic programs we expect our youth to live within walking distance of their school or at least near a bus stop with no more than a half hour public bus commute to school.  Some youth may live on an acreage that is further than than the distance expectations so special arrangements will be made.

Who are our Homestay families?

Canada is a multicultural country. Cultural Bridges has host families with a wide range of backgrounds. Some Canadian families consist of a mother, father and children. Some of our host families include single parents with young children, single persons, couples with no children, families with pets, same-sex couples, and older, retired people who enjoy the company of international students. We choose families based on their genuine interest in hosting international youth.  You will only live in a home where our children would also live.

Will there be other students in my homestay who speak my language?

It depends. We do our best to make sure our international youth get an English immersion experience so for most youth, there will only be one person per language per home.  In some cases, such as camp or short term placements, there may be more international youth in one home that speak the same language but no more than two.

Can I visit my host family before I move into the house?

No, we do not allow or recommend students to visit the homestay prior to move in. Pre-visits can introduce unnecessary misunderstandings and complications. If you have questions about your homestay prior to moving in, please feel free to contact us anytime. If you are unsure about anything regarding your initial placement, please contact us here so we may assist you.

When should I apply for a homestay?

As soon as possible. We need to make sure you have a good match so the more time there is to look for your host family, the better.

How do I apply?

You simply need to fill out our application form by contacting us here.

When do I get information about my Host Family?

After we receive your homestay application form and payment we will send you information about the Host Family we have selected for you. You will receive your homestay information no later than 2 weeks before you arrive.

When can I move into homestay?

The Homestay Coordinator will contact you about your move-in day. 

How long can I stay in my homestay?

Extensions after arrival cannot be guaranteed, since families may be booked already. In case you decide to extend after arrival and your homestay is already booked, a new family may be available for a fee. You must make sure you are legally allowed to stay in Canada longer based on your entry visa to Canada. If you would like to extend, you must contact Cultural Bridges directly. 

How do I get from the airport to my homestay?

The Homestay Coordinator will arrange the airport pick up with your homestay family. Your Host Family and the Homestay Coordinator will greet you at the airport and your host family will take you to your Canadian home. Once you go down the escalator and go through the arrivals door, look for someone holding a sign with your name.

Can I pay my host for my homestay?

NO. All payments for housing must be paid directly to Cultural Bridges via wire transfer, e-transfer (within Canada), or direct deposit to account. Please do not discuss payments with your homestay.  It is considered impolite to bring up money.

Do I need to bring something for my Host Family?

This decision is up to you. If you decide to bring something we suggest a small gift from your country. It would be nice to share something that represents your culture or is made in your home country.

What do I call my host?

Ask your host what they prefer to be called. Some hosts prefer to be called by their given name, whilst others may suggest you call them mom/dad.

What happens when it is a member of my host family’s birthday?

It is common to wish the person a happy birthday when you first see them for the day. Some people also like to give them a card and/or a gift. This is not expected or necessary when you are living in a homestay.

Are there rooms in my homestay that I am not able to enter into?

Please respect everyone’s privacy. You should only enter if you are invited, it is always best to knock first.

What are my responsibilities?

You need to have a good time. This is an incredible opportunity so make the best out of this experience. While you’re living with a host family,  show respect for others and follow the house rules outlined to you. 

Are there rules for participants?

Yes. Both hosts and youth are expected to obey all the rules and policies that are applicable during the duration of the homestay program. If an international youth breaks Canadian or provincial law they will be immediately terminated from the program. If they break program rules, they will be put on contract and explained the rules of their contract. Hosted participants are expected to obey both provincial and Canadian laws.

 

You will be provided with a Host Family Handbook, which contains information on these rules and other host family requirements and expectations, at or before your pre-arrival orientation for host families.

I prefer to stay up late studying when my host family are asleep, is this okay?

If you prefer to stay up late in your room, this is okay, as long as you are quiet and as long as it does not disrupt your schooling. Sleeping in class, being late and not handing in assignments because you are up too late is not acceptable. No one appreciates being kept awake at night. Everyone has different sleep and study patterns, you need to work out what works best with your host.

Do I need to inform my host if I am leaving the home? Can I eat meals outside of the home?

It is necessary to inform your host that you will be going out before coming home, and when you plan to return. You need to inform your host if you will not be home for any meals, and if you want to stay out overnight*. Your host has the right to allow or disallow you to leave for an extended period of time or if it interrupts planned events. You must contact your host at least 2 hours before the plan. *Staying overnight may not be an option for all youth.

Am I allowed to invite guests into my homestay?

You will need to ask your host if they are happy for you to have guests in their home. Some hosts are okay with you having guests over, as long as you inform them with enough notice. Discuss what, enough notice, means to your host family so that everyone understands the expectations. Others will ask that you do not have guests over, and meet them outside away from the home.

Can I travel to other locations in Canada?

Yes. As long as your parents have approved the travel, you are allowed to go with your host family or with another approved adult to other places outside of your homestay location.  You are not allowed to travel on your own unless this has been approved by your parents, and Cultural Bridges.

Will I be expected to help around the house?

Yes. We expect all of our students to become members of the host family. Family chores are expected of everyone so you will have to help as well.  Some chores may include, keeping your room clean, taking out the garbage, recycling or compost, sweeping, washing and drying the dishes, loading and emptying the dishwasher. You are not expected to do all of these chores at one time. We expect our host families to create a schedule for daily, weekly and monthly chores. 

Does my Host Family provide maid service?

Some families may have a maid service, however you are responsible for keeping your room clean. You are also expected to help with chores in your Canadian home.

Can I use the washroom anytime I want?

If you are sharing a bathroom with other members of the family, please find out when is the best time to have a shower and for how long. Do not take long showers or baths at it uses a lot of hot water and then the washroom is not available to others. It is your responsibility to provide your own personal hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. Bathing is limited to once per day.

Can I put pictures and posters on the wall in my bedroom?

You will need to ask your host if this is okay. If your host is okay with you personalising your room. Please make sure that nothing is permanently fixed. Only use temporary adhesives.

Where do I store my dirty laundry & how do I wash my clothes?

Ask your host where they would prefer you keep your dirty clothes. Some may prefer you keep them in a basket in your room, while others may ask you to place it in a basket elsewhere in the house. Your host family will explain to you their house rules for washing clothes. Some will prefer you wash your own, while others will want to wash them for you. Communicate with your host family.

Can I keep the lights or TV on when I am outside of the room?

Electricity is expensive in Canada. Please don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room. Turn off your plugged-in devices when you are not using them. Windows should be closed as a matter of security, above and beyond energy conservation.

Does homestay include access to internet?

Yes, internet access is included in all homestays. There may be a limit though. Charges may apply for excessive downloading of music or video which exceeds the family’s data plan. You will have to discuss this with your family.

What are the rules around internet usage?

It is best to speak with your host about the use of the internet. Different families have different internet packages. Some may have limited data available. Exceeding the limit may cause the host to pay fine to the internet company, and you may be liable to pay it back to the host. Before downloading or streaming content you should be aware of any limitations.

What time do I need to turn down my music, finish making phone calls or stop talking online?

Curfew and quiet times need to be discussed with your host, each family is different. Generally noise after 10:00pm is not appreciated. You may need to negotiate call times if you are contacting family and friends back home.

Am I allowed to bring alcohol into my homestay?

The legal drinking age in Saskatchewan is 19. You will need to also obey local drinking laws, including the minimum drinking age. Even if you are legally allowed to drink alcohol, your host may prefer that you do not bring alcohol into the homestay. 

Can I smoke in my host family's house?

Smoking is not allowed inside the home AT ANY TIME. For those applicants who are smokers, you are allowed to only smoke outside of your homestay, at least 6 m from the house structure as per most city by-laws.

Can I smoke marijuna in Canada?

You must be 19 to legally smoke marijuana in Canada. If you are legally of age, your host family may have restrictions.  Remember that breaking the law will get you sent home right away.

What happens if I don't like my host family?

Cultural Bridges makes every effort to match you with a compatible Canadian Host Family. It is natural to experience a transition period in the first few days of living with a new family. Sometimes however, conflicts may arise. Your homestay coordinator will evaluate each situation on an individual basis and make homestay changes when and where appropriate. There may be a fee depending on the situation.

What if there is a problem?

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us. Our international youth must comply with all program rules and our staff will ensure they follow these while with your family.

Do I need medical insurance?

If you are staying for six months or longer, you will receive basic Saskatchewan Health coverage. We recommend getting your own medical insurance that covers more than Saskatchewan Health. We can help you find other coverage or you can ask an agent in your country for more information. If you would like us to get you more coverage, please contact us.

Cultural Bridges Programs Inc. does not assume any responsibility for injuries suffered while in the host family’s care, or at any time during your stay in Canada.

In case of an accident or illness, who do we contact?
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