Where: Fort York, Toronto
What: Sleepover Program
When: Winter 2016
What was Included: A full Saturday of program (starting at 10 am) and use of a two story barrack building for our sleepover. They included a period appropriate dinner, before bed hot chocolate and breakfast. We brought our own lunches and a couple of snacks.
Booking: Booking was fairly painless. I completed the whole process by e-mail. I contacted them June 2015 and at that point they only had 4 weekends left. So you clearly need to book this event well in advance. They can only accommodate one group per weekend. Then a month before our sleepover I had to send them some documents including the number of girls and leaders, dietary restrictions and workshop selections. We paid at the fort when we arrived.
We did have to promise a minimum of 25 girls. The first two leaders were complementary and the others were very inexpensive (I’m sure they were just covering food costs).
Program: We completed the Heritage badge at the fort and part of the Folklore badge. They have a wide selection of workshops you can take. Some might be more relevant to a school group but there were lots that were relevant to our program. We learned about the history of the fort, baked in a historic kitchen, tried on uniforms, played instruments and learned how they were used at the fort, tried signalling with semaphore, learned a period dance, learned period songs and heard some stories that were a little bit spooky. All the facilitators were fantastic.
Food: The food the fort provided was really good. The dinner consisted of a beef (or vegetarian) stew, bread, rice and carrots. There was plenty of everything no one left hungry. For breakfast the girls had a choose between cold cereal or oatmeal.
Accommodations: There were bunks on both floors of the barrack building. There are also three large tables with benches on the main floor. The bunks were sturdy and included a matrices. They didn’t have guardrails so I’m not sure I’d want to sleep over with younger girls. I did wish we’d included indoor shoes/slippers on the girls kit lists and they tracked mud and goose droppings in. The lighting situation is a little weird as the lights are operated from behind a locked door so we had to wait for the night security guard to come by and switch off the main lights. But there are lanterns on a dimmer switch throughout the building so you can have a little bit of light during the night for any girls who might be a bit nervous.
The bathrooms are in a different building then the sleeping quarters and the fort asked us to always make sure and adult was with the girls when they were traveling to and from the bathrooms. This was a tad inconvenient.
Coffee and Tea are available for purchase in the fort store but only during the hours the fort is open. If Guider feel that they will need caffeine to get though the night or early morning, you might want to bring a kettle.
Crests: We were able to buy the girls a lovely crest at the fort store. We had a choice of two designs. The crests were on the expensive side, but we’d saved so much money compared to other sleepovers not having to pay full price for the leaders it was still quite affordable.
For more information: email the fort at firstname.lastname@example.org