Waterloo co-op students create long-lasting memories at Camp Brebeuf

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Wooden sign inscribed with 'Camp Brebeuf - Experience.Fun.Outside"

By: Asia Dale (she/her)

University of Waterloo co-op students are embracing unique and adventurous employment opportunities during their work terms at Camp Brebeuf.

Camp Brebeuf is a faith-based adventure camp located in Rockwood, ON, that aims to help campers break out of their shells and leave with unforgettable memories. The camp offers year-round opportunities for co-op students who play a vital role as outdoor education facilitators who help create new experiences for campers.

“What really motivates us to hire Waterloo students is that we love the enthusiasm and the energy that they bring. You can really see them grow as a person throughout the season. And hopefully, gain new skills that they’ll use every single day of their life,” says Robert Young (he/him), outdoor education coordinator at Camp Brebeuf.

Robert Young

"Opportunities in the camp sector are endless. I was able to travel the entire world and make some great memories and meet some amazing people through my time in this industry. In my opinion, it’s the single best job in the entire world."


-ROBERT YOUNG, outdoor education coordinator at Camp Bebreuf

Along with acquiring valuable skills, Waterloo students act as role models for the kids and their fellow camp leaders. Co-op students and their campers both have transformative experiences at Camp Brebeuf that foster lasting friendships.

“Counsellors create amazing experiences and everlasting memories,” says Young. "You can just share a bond and hopefully create a great friendship and amazing experiences. From cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing to campfires, night hikes, rock climbing, archery, canoeing and tons of games with the kids, Camp Brebeuf is full of adventures."

 Working at Camp Brebeuf - what's it like?

To gain insight into the experience of co-op students at Camp Brebeuf, David Orlando (he/him) and Sarah Alexander (she/her), two Waterloo co-op students, share their experiences.

David Orlando

David Orlando

Orlando worked as an outdoor education facilitator during winter 2023 for his first work term. He stayed on the camp site for his work term where room, board and food costs are covered by the camp for co-op students.

It builds a sense of community that I don't think I'll get at any other co-op job,” says Orlando. “We really bond with our staff members here, as opposed to other jobs that I've had before.” 

In his co-op role, Orlando excels at crowd control, engaging kids and managing daily schedules and activities.


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I really enjoy working one-to-one with the campers who need extra support, I really enjoy the personal bond you build with them and seeing them grow over time. When you have them overnight for like three days, you can really see each day how we are impacting the children.

David Orlando smiling whilst digging a hole in the ground for a fire pit.

Daily activities include adventure-based challenges, nature hikes and tracking animal footprints.  Prior to his time at Camp Brebeuf, Orlando worked at a retirement home.

He now has experience working with both elderly people and young people. His work term at the camp reaffirmed his future career goal to teach.

“I honestly love working with the children, their energy,” says Orlando. "It is so rewarding to see the smile on their face.”


At the camp, co-op students can build on their existing skills and learn new skills from working with the campers. 

“Working with children has made me more patient, especially when we're trying to figure out accommodations,” says Orlando.

“Time management plays a role in what I do here because we need to schedule in what we’re doing for the day.

David Orlando pushing a child down a hill for tobogganing


Sarah Alexander

Sarah Alexander

As an outdoor education facilitator at Camp Brebeuf, Sarah Alexander seamlessly blends her passion for the outdoors with her love of working with kids.

“Every second of every moment that I've seen with these children has just been awesome,” says Alexander, a Kinesiology student who worked at the camp in winter 2023 for her first work term.

She takes pride in her role, which involves leading outdoor activities, teaching new skills and fostering a sense of community among the campers.


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Honestly, it doesn't feel like I'm working. You learn so much when you are here, and it's just been so great to have that opportunity to enjoy your time and have fun when you’re working.

With her infectious enthusiasm and passion for her work, Alexander inspires the campers while making a positive impact on the entire camp community. 

Working at the camp offers opportunities for both the campers and the co-op students to have new experiences.

“I’ve never done cross country skiing before, but it’s now one of my favorite things to do,” says Alexander.

Sarah Alexander pushing a child down a hill for tobogganing
Sarah Alexander fixing a childs' ski boot

Having grown up on a farm Alexander appreciates nature and the outdoors and sees the value of outdoor education. 

Working with kids has been a long-standing aspiration for Alexander, and Camp Brebeuf provided the perfect opportunity to fulfil this dream.

“Honestly, working with kids is one of the things that I have always dreamed of doing. So that is what drew me to this place,” says Alexander. 

She hopes to continue pursuing similar opportunities to follow her passion while combining her love for the outdoors.