Summer Overnight & Day Camp - Outdoor Centre - School
located in Huntsville, Ontario - 705.789.5612


Camp Tawingo's Covid Response


As we continue, at this time, to look forward to a safe and healthy return to camping on the shores of Lake Vernon this summer, we are pleased to introduce to you the members of the Tawingo COVID Task Force for 2021! The mandate of the Task Force is to plan, as best it can, for a COVID-safe summer at Camp. One way it will do this is to take the recommendations of the Ontario Camps Association's own COVID-19 Task Force (which, itself, is working in close conjunction with SickKids and Public Health) and tailor them to Tawingo’s site and facility and program… as well as to think about and address all aspects of Tawingo's summer operation as they pertain to or may be impacted by an ever-evolving pandemic.

The Tawingo COVID Task Force includes:

 Dr. Melanie Mar - A seasoned Tawingo Doc, Melanie is a Camp mother of two and has a family practice here in Huntsville. A trained Occupational Therapist, Dr. Mar chairs the Family Practice Committee at Muskoka Algonquin Health Care where she is directly involved in identifying quality improvement initiatives to improve care and safety. As the lead physician at the Algonquin Family Health Team, she works collaboratively with MAHC on strategies that improve transitions from hospital to home.

Dr. Caroline Correia – Tawingo’s newest Camp Doc is a mother of three and a GP who also works in Obstetrics and In-Patient care at the Huntsville Hospital. Additionally, Caroline serves on the Board of the Ontario Health Team and has direct links to Public Health.

Erica Reichl (RN) – A Tawingo nurse of 16 summers (!), Erica most recently worked at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital as their Operations Manager. Prior to this she was the Clinical Manager of Endoscopy at the Ottawa Hospital. She is parent to three former campers and one current staff member!

John Jorgenson – A member of the Tawingo full-time family for 45 years, “Jorgi” is one of Tawingo’s Directors. He is also past President of the Ontario Camps Association, the Canadian Camping Association, and the International Camping Fellowship, and is serving as a member of the OCA’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Andrew MacDonald – A father of two, Andrew began his Tawingo career as a camper in 1993. This is his 21st year on staff and his 12th as a part of our Full-Time Staff. For the past 8 years “MacD” has served as Tawingo’s Business and Project Manager. Additionally, he served as a Waterfront Director (for 4 summers), Campcraft Director, the Day Camp Director, and our TLC Director. MacD has his Honourary Eagle Crest.

Diana Smith-Jones – A mother of two, Diana has been a Tawingo Staff member for 19 years and has been our Office Work Manager since 2011. Significantly, Diana also worked for Tawingo’s Food Service company for 10 summers, including one as the Head Chef and Kitchen Manager.

Tia Pearse – Co-Owner and Co-Director, Tia, among other things, supervises the Health Care and Food Service Departments at Tawingo. She has twice co-chaired an Ontario Camps Association's Provincial Conference and was a part of the OCA’s Health Care Committee for over five years.

Mike Pearse – As Tawingo’s Managing Director and Co-Owner, Mike has been a part of Tawingo since… well… since birth and actively involved for 47 years.

Not only does the Task Force meet regularly, we hope to be in touch with you – our Tawingo families of 2021 – from time to time, to keep you updated on what to expect and what to do as the summer approaches as regards COVID safety and protocols.

As you can no doubt appreciate, since March, we have, along with the entire Summer Camp community, been focused on how to get kids back to Camp; more specifically and most importantly, how do so in a manner that is safe, fun, and rewarding for everyone – all in a landscape which sees our knowledge of the virus shift, regularly, with the efforts of scientists, doctors, and epidemiologists from around the globe. Tawingo’s COVID Task Force is in place to synthesize and apply this knowledge to the Camp setting with the hope of turning the dream of summer 2021 for our campers into reality.

Once we begin the process of sharing Task Force information with you, please know that we will be here if you have questions; and while we may not always have definitive answers in the moment, we will always do our best to find them.

Be well.

Stay safe.

Warmly and optimistically,




Please see our most recent communication to parents with registered campers.


Ontario Overnight Summer Camps discussed on the CBC


(Please click on the image above to listen.)


Ontario Camps in the Media

Toronto Star









(Please click on the image above to read the article.)


 Resources we have found helpful

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317 Days – by Emma Fogel, Emma Fogel Therapy Services

“The countdown of the last 317 days has felt increasingly complex and, at times, hopeless. Of course, there have been moments where we can find glimmers of joy, gratitude and spurts of creativity. But with each passing day, the countdown of what now has been 317 days spent mostly in isolation, has resulted in collective sadness, grief, loneliness and increasing feelings and fear. Every day in my (virtual) office, I have folks disclosing their reality; they feel worse every day. I’m frequently asked the question “when will this end?!” signifying a loss of hope for the future. I admit that as a pediatric social worker amidst a pandemic, my concern for the younger generation’s mental health has become increasingly worrisome. At times I find myself wishing I was a magician with the enchanted solution to minimize our collective pain and suffering. Alas, I am not. But now, 317 days later, I do have some simple, tangible tips and tricks to help us support one another and our mental health throughout this ongoing crisis.” 

Learn about the practical acronym, FACE COVID, and resources to respond to our emotions effectively here

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Self-Care is not Self-Indulgence - by Michael B. Waxman, Registered Social Worker

“When I was asked to write to my OCA colleagues for #BellLetsTalk Day last year, I focused on our collective responsibility as camp professionals to be on the lookout for the mental health of others. Little did I know that our mental health and the mental health of others would become such an important part of our daily lives. While I still believe that we are lucky to be in a position to take care of the mental health of those close to us, I left out a very important aspect of caring for the mental health of others… taking care of your own mental health. While we don’t need any reminders of how challenging the last year has been for everyone, I do want to acknowledge that the uncertainty, fear and forced closure faced by the camp community was certainly unprecedented. And while you have likely been caring for your families and your community, it would be irresponsible of me, as a mental health professional, to not spend some time talking to you about how to take care of yourselves.”

Click here for 7.5 practical tips to help you practice good self-care