FOUR MORE SLEEPS!!!

Only 4 more sleeps until Eco Camp Starts!!! Can you tell we’re Excited!?!?! Our Camp Counsellors have so many fun things in store for your campers they’ll be talking about Eco Camp all summer long. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you ready for Camp and to make Tuesday morning drop off go smooth and stress free.

First off there will be a couple more (quick and painless we promise!) forms for you to sign. These are permission forms for swimming, for the Junior & Youth offsite trip on Wednesday and the Sprouts trip to the splash pad on Thursday. If someone else is dropping off your camper we can sort this out over email. Please call Keely at 416-936-4983 if your child is not being dropped off by a parent or guardian or walking in by themselves. See below for more reminders for our Sprouts and Junior & Youth Campers. 

Sprouts (4-5 yrs):

  • Sprouts morning drop off location is right at the Children’s Garden in the South end of the Park. Don’t forget the road between Grenadier Restaurant and the Children’s Garden is a one-way road going south. If you have to drop off older campers at the picnic shelter near the pool plan your route accordingly! Click here for a map of High Park
  • Spouts need a swimsuit on Thursdays for their trip up to High Park’s fancy splash pad and wadding pool
  • Don’t forget sturdy hiking shoes or sneakers, a hat, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, snacks and lunch
  • Click here for our Sprouts Eco Camp Parent Handbook

Junior (6-9 yrs) and Youth (10-14 yrs) Eco Campers:

  • We have swimming on Tuesday morning (also Thursday morning) so please make sure you pack a swimsuit and towel
  • Junior and Youth campers are dropped off towards the north end of the Park at the Picnic Shelter next to the pool and baseball diamonds (on the east side – the one-way northbound Colborne Lodge Drive side. Picnic shelter/area #15 on the map). Click here for a map of the park
  • Our older campers also do a lot of hiking so don’t forget sturdy hiking shoes or sneakers, hat, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, snacks and lunch
  • Click here for the Junior & Youth Eco Camp Parent Handbook

Have yourselves a great long weekend and see you on Tuesday morning! ONLY FOUR MORE SLEEPS!

Children’s Recreation Program Quality Survey

Have you had the opportunity to take the City’s Children’s Recreation Program Quality Survey yet? If not here’s your chance. This survey covers the wide range of children’s programming available through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. It closes on February 28th so spread the word!

To start the survey click here.

 Children's Program Survey

2017 Eco Camp Registration Starts March 4th-7 AM!

We’re creeping up on that time of year again! That rush of adrenaline, that setting the coffee machine for 6:45 am, that setting of 10 alarms to make sure you’re up in time, time of year again. That’s right 2017 Eco Camp Registration starts at 7 AM on Saturday, March 4th. Of course it’s also the time to register for any spring and summer recreation programs that take place in Etobicoke/York with the City of Toronto 🙂

Remember registration is open to everyone across Toronto! We break it down by area so our registration staff and computer systems can handle the number of people who want to sign up for all of our fun programs.

So get those fingers ready to hit the redial/refresh buttons to register your campers for Eco Camp! You will also find our Caregiver and tot (4 to 5 years) and child (9 to 12 years) Cooking With Veggies Programs plus our Edible Cosmetics Workshops for 10-16 year olds open for registration on March 4th.

Below you will find our handy barcode charts for all of your registration needs. You will also find our How to Register Infographic or click here to see last year’s Registration Preparation Post to help you deal with registration morning pandemonium!

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Just remember registration starts at 7 am on Saturday, March 4th, 2017!

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A quick Tip that didn’t make it into the infographic … sign up for all of your programs first. You can sign up for extended care at a later date/time. There’s always enough space for program participants in extended care so don’t waste your time Saturday morning … get right to the important barcodes 🙂

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March Break Eco Camp Registration

We know it’s tough thinking about March Break when plans for the holiday season are just warming up but it’s that time again! Registration starts tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 3rd at 7 am. Spaces are limited so please make sure you start early!

For more information and barcodes for March Break Eco Camp 2017 go to our:

March Break Eco Camp Page.

For a reminder on registration procedures check out our:

Registration Preparation.

If you’re looking for fun activities during winter vacation we still have a few spaces in our Winter Break Programs:

Winter Break Programs.

Good luck to all and we hope to see your campers at Eco Camp in March!

Where to Send Your Camper Info Forms

In case you’re wondering where to send those all important camper information forms … worry not! We have the answer 🙂 

Please remember they are due by Friday, June 17th, 2016

By Mail:

Children’s Eco Programs
Hillside Gardens, High Park
c/o Etobicoke Civic Centre Mail Room
399 The West Mall
Toronto, ON, M9C 2Y2

By Email:

kidsgrow@toronto.ca

By Fax

416-392-1319

Forms Due

Spring Peeper

Spring into School Programs

The snow will melt, the snow will melt, the snow will melt … Spring is officially here and that means it’s time to get ready to garden! It’s also time to book your curriculum-linked Spring School Program! We’re so excited that even that little bit of snow couldn’t get us down while we’re getting ready to plant.

Lets Get Growing! (1)

Peas, greens, brassicas (that family of green veggies we’re all encouraged to eat like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi), peas, radishes and beets all like a cooler growing season and can even take a little frost. Of course the chives and lemon balm have already poked their heads above the soil. As has one of our favourite spring veggies … sorrel. It’s one of those sour greens but with a green apple zing to it so it peps up your salad without leaving a bitter after-taste.

Bring your class our for a morning or afternoon session at the Children’s Garden. Hands on activities can include planting, watering, compost maintenance, worm holding & feeding (aka checking out the vermicomposter), games and more. There’s always so much to do in the garden during spring. Your class will have fun while learning about soil, plants, animals, insects and organic gardening. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Go For A Hike!

Spring is also a great time to get out and explore nature as everything wakes up from it’s long winter’s nap. Many trees and plants will start to bloom soon, birds start chirping their songs, and bugs and insects start to buzz. The City of Toronto’s Parks and Ravines are a great place to go for a hike and explore nature in an urban setting. To dig deeper into the mysteries of urban nature in Toronto check out the Biodiversity Booklet Series.

Have an energetic class? A hike program is a perfect way to focus that energy while learning about habitats, animals, plants, soil, rocks, weather and more. There are plenty of hands on activities students will enjoy like plant and animal Identification, storytelling, nature-based science experiments, games, orienteering and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Get Cooking!

Now that spring has graced us with it’s presence that means fresh fruits and veggies start growing in our garden. This means we get to incorporate them in our cooking programs. Fresh lettuce and sorrel for salads, kale for kale chips, chives to add flavour to our whole-grain cheddar biscuits and now we’re hungry just thinking about it!

Bring your class out for one of our healthy cooking programs. Not only will they make something tasty to eat, they’ll brush up on their fractions while their at it! Baking is one of the best, hands-on activities to help review fractions with students. There’s even a reward at the end when they get it right. Other hands on activities include harvesting, estimating & measuring the volume of ingredients, food mapping, safe kitchen practices (including knife handling for older grades), vegetable & fruit identification and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Spots fill-up quickly so book now for your chance to enjoy a little spring in High Park with your students!

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Registration Starts this Saturday, March 5th

Are you ready? Have you looked up your Registration Barcodes? Do you have your Family & Client Numbers ready? Most importantly … do you have enough coffee on hand (or refreshing beverage of choice!)!? This Saturday, March 5th City of Toronto Registration opens for spring and summer recreation programs located in Etobicoke/York District at 7 am.

That’s right Etobicoke/York FUN Guide Program Registration starts at 7 am on Saturday, March 5th, 2016!

So as our biannual tradition goes … it’s time for Registration Preparation! Below you will find plenty of tips and tricks to get you through the registration process (for any City of Toronto Recreation Program) as smoothly as possible.

Click here for Barcodes for Eco Camp Day Camp Programs in High Park

Click here for our Spring Cooking with Veggies Programs at the High Park Teaching Kitchen

Click here for our list of Spring Edible Cosmetics Workshops for Youth

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For those of you wondering how the City of Toronto’s Recreation Program Registration process actually works here’s a little run-down:

  • Each district has it’s own registration start date. For Etobicoke/York it’s Saturday, March 5th starting at 7 am (for other district dates click here). Anyone from across the city can register for a program in that district on the start date.
  • You have six options for registering for Rec/FUN Guide Programs. Click here for a description and instructions on how to register for City of Toronto Recreation Programs. For our programs we suggest using the phone (416-338-4FUN (4386) or touch-tone 416-338-0000) or going online in order to have the greatest chance at registering your camper.
  • Our available programming space (especially indoor space) is fairly small so our program size is quite limited. We would love to have hundreds of kids join us for Eco Camp each week but there’s only so much Garden. Also note many other Community and Recreation Centres have issues with space and are unable to hold as many programs as they (and the community) would like.
  • If you do miss out on our Eco Camp we offer a free  Thursday morning drop-in program throughout July & Aug from 10 am to Noon. So please stop by and experience a bit of what our programs are all about!
  • A note about online registration. It can seem impossible to get onto the online registration site on the first day of registration. There is a reason for that … The City of Toronto wants to ensure fair access to programming for all individuals. So there are only a certain number of people allowed to register online at any given time on the first day of registration in each district. This allows people without access to computers (or high speed internet) an equal opportunity to register through the phone. The City of Toronto is committed to ensuring accessibility to our programs for all residents of Toronto.

Another Turtle Break to Cleanse Your Mind Before the Important Stuff!

The Whole Gang

Now that you know the background info, here’s our yearly guide to registering for Summer Camp or any other popular city program. There are a few things you can do to make Registration Day a little easier for you! Here is a list of things to prepare for ahead of time:

  1. One of the most important tips we can give you is to fully register for all camps firstthen at a later time register for any extended care you might need. There will always be enough room in the Eco Camp (and any camp) Extended Care for every camper registered so you can sign up for it at any time.
  2. Start by finding your City of Toronto FUN Guide Registration Family and Client Numbers. If you can’t find them or you’ve never registered for a City of Toronto Recreation Program before please call 416-338-4FUN (4386) and a Customer Service Representative can help you (it’s important to do this ahead of time so you don’t waste time on Sat., Mar. 5th!).
  3. Once you are set to register you can print out or write down the barcodes for each program you are interested in. Barcodes for our Cooking Programs Are Here and for our Eco Camp Programs Click Here. Keep all of your Client/Family numbers and Barcodes together in a safe (but not too “safe” 🙂 ) place for registration day
  4. Bookmark the Registration Information Page where you can launch the Online Registration Site.
  5. Just before 7 am on Saturday morning (Mar. 5th) dial into 416-338-0000 (for touch tone registration) or 416-338-4386 (actual human being) and launch the Online Registration Site. This way you can start hitting redial/refresh right at 7am. It will take a few tries … make sure to be awake enough to stop redialing/refreshing when you finally get in! (I’m guessing if you’re signing up for our Sprouts Camp you’re most likely awake at that time anyhow!).
  6. Once you’re in the system move quickly but not so fast you make mistakes. Also note that the Online Registration Site will timeout if you leave it alone for too long (and when I say too long … I’m talking less than 5 minutes).
  7. Please remember to mark on your calendar what weeks your camper is attending Eco Camp … we often have a number of last-minute cancellations and are unable to fill the spot even though our wait lists are often quite long! 
  8. Once registered you will receive a Camper Information Package in the mail sometime late in April or early May. This package contains forms that need to be filled out and sent back before camp starts and a Parent Handbook to give you all the info you need to know about sending your Eco Camper to camp. Please fill out the forms and send them back by the date stated on the package!
  9. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions 416-392-1329 or kidsgrow at toronto dot ca (spelled out to reduce spam).

 

A couple other things for your Registration morning checklist:

  1. Coffee, Tea or hot beverage of choice (for us non-morning folk … put everything out the night before so you can wake up just before 7 with caffeine available! For morning folk … please tell me your secret!  How do you do it!?)
  2. Calendar and/or Datebook – The first week of Camp in 2016 is July 4 to 8.
  3. Scrap paper, pen/pencil and/or printer for confirmation codes, etc.
  4. Don’t forget to write it down on the calendar, once registered!
  5. Having someone else around to cook you breakfast while you wait … certainly can’t hurt 😉

Good Luck Everyone and We Hope To See You At Camp This Summer!

Update – Cooking Classes Are Still A Go

UPDATE:  Cooking Classes will go ahead as planned Saturday, February 20th, 2016. We look forward to seeing you there!


 

We are a City of Toronto program so just in case …

Our Cooking Classes are still a go tomorrow, however, just to be on the safe side if there is a labour disruption with CUPE 79 classes will be cancelled. 

For more information click here for the City of Toronto’s Contingency Plan.