The Hitchhiker's Guide to Camp Banting

Don't forget your towel.

Our People: Volunteers, Staff, and Leadership

The heart, soul, and pancreas of our camp.
Sarah Lawrence, MD FRCSC

Sarah Lawrence, MD FRCSC

Medical Director & Chair

Dr. Sarah has nearly two decades of experience working with the children and medical staff of Camp Banting.  She’s been a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of families, her care and compassion an unmistakable color of her character.

Dr. Sarah is Chief of the Endocrinology and Metabolism Division at CHEO, where she also serves as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. She returns again to Camp Banting this summer to direct the medical care at camp.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard

Executive Director

Andrew first met Camp Banting in 1992, as a teenage lifeguard at Banting’s host camp, Camp Opemikon.  He’s since continued a career in youth development that spanned two decades with organizations like the YMCA, Scouts Canada, and Diabetes Canada.

Andrew returned to Camp Banting in 2008, serving as its Assistant Director until 2011.  He currently works as a human development coach and studies graduate psychology through Harvard University.

Sarah Hamilton

Sarah Hamilton

Camp Director

Sarah grew up at Camp Banting; from camper to camp director, she has called Banting home for over 20 years. Committing herself fully to the mission of helping families living with TID, Sarah started her career with Diabetes Canada in Government Relations and Advocacy, then onto working full time with the D-Camps team. Currently, she coordinates the Diabetes Program at CHEO. Sarah has been involved in youth-based diabetes programming for over 13 years, across Canada. In her spare time, she tackles life living with T1D. 


Danielle McVicar

Danielle McVicar

Chief Operations Officer

There are only a handful of leaders like Danielle in the T1D community.  Starting her path long ago as a camper at Camp Banting, Danielle went on to work as staff at the camp for nine seasons.  She then furthered her experience with Diabetes Canada’s D-Camps team, running camps for kids and families across Western Canada.

Most recently, Danielle represented Canada at the 2017 International Diabetes Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi.

Camp Committee

Our camp is an undertaking of community, fueled by the passion of its people.  Our history is unique in that we’ve never owned our own facility.  We show up with our people and our gear (and trunks full of costumes!) and we create belonging for our campers.

Camp Banting’s Camp Committee is an inter-disciplinary, inter-organizational group of stakeholders that steward this community-based endeavour.  It’s a group that represents our medical team, program staff, facility partners, and organizational partners.  We work together in an atmosphere of cooperative trust, with our North Star always being the experience of our campers.

This is far from just an admistrative body.  It’s in the dedication, humor, and tireless enthusiasm of this group where the magic of camp finds its spark every season.

Medical Staff and Camp Counsellors

Every year, rainbow unicorns descend from the sky and glittering narwhals emerge from the seas.  These fantastical beasts deliver us our medical and program staff.  Now, we’ve never actually seen these magical creatures drop off their cargo, but our staff and volunteers are extraordinary.  This is our best guess as to where they come from.

Our medical team is made up of doctors, nurses, dietitians, residents, endocrine fellows, interns, and students.  This team is coordinated under the supervision of Dr. Sarah, and ensures that diabetes care is tightly monitored and carefully personalized for every camper at camp.

Almost all of our camp counsellors live with T1D, and many grew up coming to Camp Banting.  This puts a high level of peer support and leadership in every one of our cabins.  Our campers don’t just make friendships and learn from other kids, they get the leadership of gorgeous souls who have been through the same challenges.

Camp Banting COVID Response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Banting has reimagined our in-person programming so that we are able to provide a space for bringing our camp community together while adhering to new Public Health protocols. Please understand that in order to make this a possibility, Camp Banting will look and feel different than in previous summers.  

The Day Camp program has been designed during the pandemic to allow campers to have connections in a safe way. We plan to maximize COVID-19 precautions and ensure that the number of campers and overall people at each session remains small. Therefore, we are offering two weeks of Day Camp, broken down by age.   

As public health guidelines continue to unfold, you can expect clear and timely communication as the situation develops, and as Camp Banting approaches. Thank you for being patient and flexible as we plan for a successful and safe return to in-person programs! 

Camper Cabin Cohorts

Campers will enjoy their camp experience with their cabin cohort of eight campers and two cabin leaders. Campers will all remain in their cohort at all times. Anytime that we gather in groups, either at meal times or at group games, COVID-19 public measures will be in place, including masking and physical distancing.

Daily Health Screening

In order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, you will complete a screening prior to drop off for your camper. Every day at drop off, we will confirm your screening is complete, take your child’s temperature, and ensure they are feeling good to go for camp. You will notice our check-in staff will be wearing the required PPE while they complete the sign in. We ask that all family members wear a mask while signing in to camp and ensure they are physically distancing from other family units or individuals. All staff will also do the same daily health screening. 

Physical Distancing

We will do our best to maintain a distance of at least six feet from those outside of cohorts, both inside and outdoors.

Mask Wearing

At this moment in time, campers will be required to wear masks at all times (this includes bus transportation)

Masks will be required in indoor facilities including washrooms, and when required to remain indoors during inclement weather, as well as during outdoor programming. In the event of inclement weather, there will be separate indoor spaces for each cohort. We encourage Campers to come with their own face masks, but we will provide any necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at no cost to everyone in our camp community. They will be required to wear a mask within their cohort, and their group will be made up of the same campers and counsellors for the duration of the week. These guidelines may change based on Public Health guidance.


We will ask campers to bring their own lunches to camp. Lunch will happen outside within the camper cabin group. If it is raining, campers will eat in their designated indoor area. 


Campers will rotate through program activities with their cohort only.  

Indoor space 

Each camper cabin will have access to their own indoor space to leave backpacks and indoor program activities when it is raining. They will also have dedicated space to leave their backpacks. 

Sanitization and Cleaning Policies

Our cleaning protocols will be regimented and very frequent. The YMCA facility staff will be trained to wipe down all high contact supplies and areas between all uses so that every new group will be using a sanitized space. For areas that are difficult to fully sanitize, high contact areas will be cleaned, and campers will be constantly monitored and reminded of respiratory etiquette and to not touch their faces. In addition, there will be hand sanitizing stations placed throughout our camps, and there will be built-in hand washing and sanitizing practices after all program blocks. Washrooms will be cleaned twice per day and sanitized by our cleaning teams once per hour, and will be recorded. Each cabin cohorts will have designated washrooms on-site. 

Our Facility: The YMCA-YWCA Bonnenfant Outdoor Education and Leadership Centre

A partnership that spans sixty-five years.

A Full Service Facility

The Bonnenfant Y Outdoor Leadership and Education Centre is located ten minutes north of Kanata on 30 acres of field, forest and rugged Ottawa River shoreline.

Open year-round, the centre specializes in education and leadership programs for school groups, community organizations and professionals, and offers a variety of experiential, curriculum-driven outdoor education programs that can be tailored to the individual needs of any group.

The program staff at Bonnenfant work in partnership with the Camp Banting team to host our camp’s activities.  We rely on the expertise of the centre’s staff in areas like lifeguarding, boating instruction, ropes course and climbing wall instruction; to name a few.

The YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region has made significant investments to all areas of the facility over the past several years, making it an ideal place to host Camp Banting.

Diabetes at Camp

Working with diabetes in an outdoor camp setting has been our sole focus since the camp first started.  Our main aim is to provide a constructive environment of role modeling and peer support from our campers, supervised closely by our medical team. 

Each camper tests blood sugar levels before meals, and at snack times as needed. Our medical staff will either deliver or supervise insulin injections or boluses at lunch and snack times. 

Regular snacks are a part of camp life, with our cabin groups taking a break in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon to test blood sugars and keep energy up. Snacks and testing will happen within our cabin group cohorts.

Our Program: What We Do

Check out what powers our fireworks.

Aquatics & Swimming

We’ve got a long stretch of Ottawa River shoreline.  This includes a large swimming area where campers can swim and receive aquatics instruction.

Low Ropes

Low ropes courses consist of separate elements, a bit like an obstacle course, that provide unique teambuilding opportunities for our campers.

High Ropes

Three separate high ropes areas provide campers with a jungle gym in the sky for campers to explore and build confidence.

Rock Climbing

Towering above the camp, the climbing wall provides challenge for campers of all ages and skill levels.

Arts & Crafts

A classic favorite of camps, Arts & Crafts provide the opportunity for campers to get creative in a social, supportive environment.


Whose line is it anyway?  Campers learn how to do improv through drama games and working through short scenes.

Outdoor Living Skills

How do you move with a map and compass? How do you build a fire?  We learn by doing in Outdoor Living Skills!

Canoeing & Kayaking

With a fleet of canoes and kayaks the endless kilometers of the Ottawa River provide a playground for campers to learn paddlesports.

Nature Hikes

With forest, hills, and shoreline to choose from, spending time to learn and appreciate the natural world is a basic aim of camp.

Team Sports

Ultimate frisbee, touch football, soccer, and capture the flag are all games we play in cooperative, teambased ways to promote health.

A Day in the Life of Camp

Come see camp through the eyes of our campers.

The Day Begins!

8:00am – 8:30am

DROP OFF: Campers arrive on site either via drop off, or with their friends on the Banting Bus. They will be greeted by our Senior Staff team, who will complete their Daily Covid Screening, and make sure everyone is healthy and ready to take on the day! They will then meet up with their cabin group cohorts, and prepare for their first activity of the day!


Program Activity 1

9:15am – 10:15am

Campers will head over to their first program period of the day where they’ll experience one of the awesome programs Camp Banting has to offer!


Snack Time!

10:15am – 10:45am

Camp Banting is pleased to provide Banting’s favourite snacks, on the house! We will be providing all snacks for the week of camp.


Program Activity 2

10:45am – 11am

Once re-energized from our favourite power pucks, campers will head back to programming to enjoy a fun, skill building program activity!


Sugar Checking, Insulin, and Lunchtime Fun!

11:45am – 1:15pm

Right before lunch, we come together as a camp and do what we T1D’s do best: check our sugars and manage our insulin — with the supervision of our counsellors and medical team.

Then, we’ll tuck in for lunch.  Please be sure to provide a nut free lunch for your camper. Bonus points for including the carb counts!


Program Activity 3

1:15pm – 2:15pm

Time to get back to business… the business of fun!


Snack Time, Two!

2:15pm – 2:45pm

Banting bars anyone?  Don’t know what Banting bars are?  Well, we guarantee your kid will be raving about them when they get home!  This is our second snack of the day, provided by camp.


Program Activity 4

2:45pm – 3:45pm

Last program period of the day, but definitely not least!


Head Home!

3:45pm – 4pm

Day is done, gone the sun…

Pack up and HEAD ON HOME! Be sure to rest up so you can do it all again tomorrow!

Is your family rip raring and ready to go?

Hit the button above and you’ll be taken to our registration page!

Looking to know more about what happens at camp?

Our program information page will (hopefully) answer all of your questions!!

Looking to make some real life contact?

Bob the Banting Bot will take your message and deliver it to us!