Canada is a land of astonishing beauty from the old world charm of Quebec to the rugged Rocky Mountains. Spanning six time zones and bordering three major oceans, it is the world’s second largest country. The combination of a rich volunteer network and outdoor lifestyle offers many opportunities to help others, either at large outdoor camps, in schools or through a well-established local caring organisation.
Placements are located throughout Canada, click here to view a map.
Is It For Me?
If living in the stunning settings, working in a dynamic team and inspiring young people sounds exciting, then camp life is for you! As an Outdoor Activities Instructor, you will work within stunning scenery assisting young people to learn and develop their outdoor skills, some of whom may have a disability. Enriching placements are also available in schools to befriend and mentor students at a crucial stage in their education.
Outdoor Activities Instructor
Usually based in permanent camps run by the YMCA/YWCA that are situated in beautiful locations in the Canadian outdoors. Volunteer duties are quite varied, ranging from leading groups in activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, orienteering and fencing to life saving skills, first aid, counselling and general camp maintenance. Some camps cater specifically for disadvantaged youth, or for young people with mental or physical disabilities. The environment and activities are the same at these camps, but there is also an additional caring component to the role. Basic caring could range from one-on-one time with disadvantaged or disabled children to assisting with personal needs. On average you will work around 40 hours per week and a small amount of pocket money is paid for placements in Canada. This is a challenging but worthwhile project which in the past has led volunteers to form deep and long-lasting friendships.
These roles offer the chance to be a mentor, tutor and friend at boarding schools around Canada. School Assistants in Canada assist school staff with a number of duties which may include classroom assistance, lab preparation, tutoring, playground supervision, games/sports coaching, outdoor education, field trips and excursions, music, art and drama, supervision in residence and administration work. The roles are varied and allow volunteers to get involved with many aspects of school life. Volunteers may also be asked to assist in the classroom as well as with after school sports, music or drama, depending on individual skills and abilities. A small amount of pocket money is paid for placements in Canada.
Select the drop down titles below for more information:
Accommodation And Food
Accommodation is provided by the host organisation, whether that be in the staff quarters in a residential home through the L’Arche organisation, your own room in a school boarding house or shared accommodation in an outdoor camp. Accommodation in some camps is quite basic, but generally comprises a shared house, cabin or even a tepee during the summer months!
While some placements provide food, others set up a system of self-catering for volunteers.
Need To Know
- Pre-departure Briefing - all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure
- On Arrival - volunteers travel straight to their placement for an onsite orientation
- Other Important Information - Some Outdoor Activities placements require a bronze medallion life saving certificate and a current first aid qualification (with CPR) to be obtained prior to arrival
- We find out about each volunteers strengths, skills and interests through an in-depth interview which helps us select the right people as well as identifying what they are hoping to achieve while away and helps us select the right people to be Lattitude volunteers
- A second interview with our In Country Programme Manager (often via Skype) helps match them to a placement perfect for them.
- Once you have been accepted by the in Country Programme Manager you will be looked after by a specialised Volunteer Coordinator in our NZ office who assists with all preparations, support with logistics such as flights and visas, and are there to answer any questions.
- Everyone attends a predeparture briefing to meet other volunteers, Lattitude staff, other professionals such as our travel agent, travel doctors and insurance company representatives as well as hearing from returned volunteers, learning in person about the expectations and exciting prospects that lie ahead.
- Volunteers are seen off at the airport, where they travel together to their destination countries
- All volunteers sign our Term and Conditions to ensure that Lattitude's expectations of each volunteer are agreed and clear from the outset.
- Volunteers attend a group orientation upon arrival in-country and, where needed, undertake training such as a local language or teaching skills course.
- We have paid staff based in each country. Our Country Managers oversee the program and work with a team of Local Representatives who provide support in the local areas and develop close relationships with placement hosts.
- Each volunteer is visited at their placement soon after arrival by an in-country staff member to check how things are and provide additional support if needed.
- We work with Embassies and High Commissions to ensure we can respond to any situation and provide 24/7 emergency support from the Lattitude office in New Zealand.
- We recognise that coming home can be difficult and provide one-to-one support, with onward referrals for further professional support if needed. Volunteers are invited to debriefing events and become part of our network of alumni.
- Our debriefing session will include discussions from industry professionals regarding the identification and articulation of the new skills the volunteer has invariably acquired during his/her placement, and how to use these new skills to get ahead.
- We are always happy to supply written and verbal references to our successful volunteers upon return home, to aid in applications to higher education or the workforce.
These costs are for Lattitude placements in Canada in 2017 and a full explanation of costs can be found here:
|Lattitude fees (exact costs):|
|Lattitude Application Fee||$150|
|Lattitude Contribution Fee||$3,900|
|Lattitude in-country orientation||$250|
|You will also need to budget for the following (approx costs):|
|Return Airfares (approx cost of group flight - depending on location within Canada)||$2,200 - $3,300|
|Travel Insurance (12 months)||$1,530|
|Visa||$0 - $650 (School placements require an extra medical exam)|
|Medical examination||$50 - $200|
|Total cost (approximate)
||$8,109 - $9,909|
Languages: English and French
Population: 34 million
Time Zone: Minus 21 hours from time in Auckland (Vancouver) (UTC/GMT -8 hours)
Climate: Canada is an expansive country that shares the southern latitude of Rome and extends up to the Arctic region, resulting in a varied climate and temperatures throughout
Currency: Canadian Dollar
"I loved being a camp counsellor! The camp atmosphere is truly unique; everyone is there to have fun, and we did! I was placed in Quebec, Canada, and my French improved immensely during my placement. The people there were just great; the Quebecers truly welcomed me into their culture, and were happy to help me with my French. The children at the camp were awesome! They had so much energy; I really enjoyed working with them. As a counsellor, it is your job to ensure they have the time of their life at camp, and it is easiest to do that when you are having the time of your life yourself! I am glad I decided to take a gap year. I have learnt so much, made some great friends, and have had some unforgettable experiences. If you are thinking of taking a gap year, just do it! It will be the most amazing year of your life"
Louise Amey, Outdoor Activities Instructor