Camp Volunteers

Like a regular camp, times 10

Volunteers who work with us experience the magic of camp in every aspect of their experience. So, pack your swimsuit, grab a hat, and put on some sunscreen—because it’s time to volunteer!

COVID-19 Update: We plan to resume in-person programs in the summer of 2021, while also continuing to offer virtual programs. Returning volunteers are key to our ability to do so. While we are not actively recruiting new volunteers at this time, new and returning volunteers are still encouraged to follow the application link below so that we can keep connected.

Apply to volunteer at camp

Volunteering at Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium

Our volunteer community is diverse, ranging in age from 19 to 70+. Volunteers from across Ontario support us year-round at in-hospital, community, virtual and overnight camp programs.

By volunteering at Ooch & Trillium, you’ll make a meaningful difference in the lives of kids and families affected by childhood cancer—and they’ll change your life, too.

Our programs typically take place in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Waterford, Muskoka, Wellington, Sudbury, and Arden. This summer, family retreats are being offered at our Rainbow Lake and Ooch Muskoka sites. Our goal is to keep as many of the fun camp traditions and magic of camp intact for Campers and families to experience again — or for the very first time. Day camps are being offered in Toronto, London, and Ottawa. Leadership day camp will take place in Toronto. Wilderness expeditions for teens may be possible in the late summer and fall of 2021.

All volunteers must attend a one- or two-week summer session at overnight camp or day camp in order to be eligible to volunteer in community or in-hospital programs.

Camp Volunteer roles

Family guide

During summer 2021, family retreats will give families a chance to strengthen connections and challenge themselves in new ways, all in the great outdoors. Volunteers will play the role of “family guide” and be assigned to a family, sometimes with another volunteer (family size may affect this). They will engage Camper families in programs and activities, foster community, and create a fun environment that delivers that camp magic!

campers with counselors at camp

Cabin Counsellor/Special Friend

Our Camper-to-volunteer ratio is approximately 1:1 at overnight and day camp. Campers are accompanied by counsellors and special friends at all times (activities, meals, on camping trips, etc.).

Counsellors and special friends work in teams to ensure the care and supervision of a groups consisting of 4–8 Campers, acting as cabin counsellors.

They create a nurturing, fun-filled environment that meets the needs of each Campers, creating program plans for special events and activities.

Volunteers with large group of campers sitting on a rock at flag pole field

Activity Counsellor

This role is unique to our summer overnight camp program. These volunteers plan and facilitate the distinct activities that cabin groups attend during the day, working closely with one specific cabin group.

Typically, pottery, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, archery, drama, arts & crafts, adventure (ropes course), and sports are offered. Activity training is offered to all activity counsellors before the summer sessions start.

Volunteer with two campers in the forest dressed in adventure gear

In the span of one week, I knew truth, triumph, and trust, the true meaning of belly laughter, courage, vulnerability, friendship, raw emotion, and perspective. Volunteering at camp reminded me how resilient the human spirit really is.

— Sarah, Teomul Volunteer

Qualifications & requirements

We work with hundreds of volunteers every year. All prospective volunteers must be available for our annual volunteer training weekend in order to qualify.

Other requirements:

  • Criminal record check and/or Vulnerable Sector Screening
  • Provide proof of immunization status
  • Completion of two-step tuberculosis (TB) test
  • Age 19 years of age
  • Experience working with children is an asset
  • Certification in Emergency First Aid/CPR or Bronze Cross certification (role dependent)

Application process

Volunteer applications are typically accepted every year starting in December for summer camp. Volunteers must attend a one or two-week summer session at overnight camp or day camp to be eligible for community or in-hospital programs. Interviews are held in January and February, and volunteer staffing decisions are made in late March. Upon offer, volunteers must complete a criminal record check and/or Vulnerable Sector Screening, submit proof of immunizations, complete a two-step tuberculosis (TB) test, and get a First Aid or Bronze Cross certification (role dependent).

Once those tasks are complete, all volunteers attend our annual volunteer training weekend in the spring. A travel subsidy may be available for individuals travelling outside a defined area.

New Volunteers

COVID-19 Update: Preparations are underway to resume a limited number of in-person camp programs. We are not actively recruiting new volunteers at this time but still encourage you to fill out an application so that we can reach out to you when recruitment resumes. Fill out our volunteer inquiry form to get started.

Thanks for your interest in volunteering! We’re excited to learn more about you.

Returning Volunteers

Thank you for your continued support of Ooch & Trillium—we can’t wait to see you soon! Preparations are underway to resume in-person camp programs. Please go to the staff dashboard to apply for programs, manage your account, and update your information.

Camp volunteer questions

What training do volunteers receive?

All camp volunteers receive thorough training before their first program. Training topics include: Cancer 101, behaviour management, camp culture and traditions, accessible programming, and more.

Additional training and resources are provided year-round as part of our ongoing professional development opportunities for volunteers.

How can I volunteer in the hospital?

Our in-hospital volunteer programs take place at SickKids in Toronto, McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton and the Children’s Hospital in London. These programs are only available to returning camp volunteers.

We are not accepting volunteers for in-hospital programs at this time.

What time commitment is expected from camp volunteers?

Volunteers begin their experience with a one or two week commitment at overnight camp or day camp in the summer. Once a volunteer fulfills their one or two week commitment, they can then volunteer at year-round Community programs across Ontario in places like Toronto, Ottawa, London, Hamilton and Sudbury and the In-Hospital program in Toronto.

There is no minimum hour requirement for returning volunteers to support year-round programs.

Who will I be volunteering with and how will we work together?

The volunteer community is a unique one, ranging in age from 19-70+ with a wide range of experience, skills and backgrounds. At Ooch & Trillium programs, you’ll always work in a team-based environment to support a cabin of Campers. Because of this, Ooch & Trillium are intentional about building community within our volunteer team.

You can expect to be invited to pre-session socials, professional development sessions, and celebrations throughout the year to continue building connections to your fellow volunteer counsellors.

Apply to volunteer at Camp

New Camp Volunteer inquiry form
Animated picture of a campfire

Other volunteer opportunities

Event & Office Volunteers

Help out around our headquarters or at a fundraising event—there are lots of ways to lend a hand!

Medical Staff & Volunteers

We need nursing staff to administer medications and care for our Campers. Learn how you can get involved.

Contact Us

Still have questions about volunteering? Feel free to contact us:

Becky Conlon

Senior Coordinator, Volunteer Program