SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
by Sabeena Ambrose
If you are looking for a summer camp dedicated to challenging your son by building both his confidence and character while offering a diverse array of activities and experiences, Camp Kawaga for boys is one that you’ll certainly want to consider.
Located in Minocqua, Wisconsin, about five hours north of Chicago, Camp Kawaga offers an eight-week summer session and two choices of four-week sessions for boys ages 7 to 16 as well as a one-week Rookie Camp for first-time campers ages 6 to 10. During each day at Camp Kawaga, your guy will have a very busy day full of diverse activities and experiences.
“The boys stay active and have things to do all day,” said Matt Abrams, the camp’s co-director with his wife, Karen, since 2008. The day starts at 7:45 a.m. when the campers wake up. They have breakfast, clean up their cabins, and brush their teeth before starting the first of two instructional or ”club” periods from 9:15 until 11:15 in the morning.
“During this time, campers choose to build skills in areas of their choice,” Abrams explained. Activities include learning and improving their skills in a variety of sports, outdoor skills such as fire-building and canoeing, archery, riflery, arts and crafts, woodworking, and waterskiing.
Abrams says Camp Kawaga provides campers with many opportunities to become more well-rounded. Campers are encouraged to choose activities with which they are not familiar.
“We want the boys to build skills in new areas and not just remain in a cocoon,” he said.
Generous amounts of supervised free time
One way that Camp Kawaga is different from many other camps is that campers have not one but two hour-and-a half periods of supervised free time. They can choose one activity or three from 11:15 until lunch is served at 1 p.m. and again from 4 to 6 p.m.
Things slow down a bit after lunch as the boys rest for an hour.
Then the campers are back in action when they get into one of four groups, which are divided according to age, and spend the next couple of hours engaged in playing sports such as basketball, tennis, dodge ball, and kickball. There are also races and head-to-head competitions.
From 4 to 6 p.m. the campers again have free time to participate in any of their favorite activities. In particular they are encouraged to get in the water to swim, sail, tube, or water ski.
Evening activities especially liked
Abrams says for many campers, the evening program is the most popular part of the day.
“There is something different scheduled every night,” he explained. “They often have no idea what we have planned, and we plan a variety of fun and challenging things.”
Evening activities can include a football or soccer tournament or a variety of games. Sometimes Camp Kawaga staffers plan big events like “Final Four Night,” Camper Olympics, Capture the Flag, or Casino Night.
On Sunday nights Camp Kawaga holds Pow Wows. Each Pow Wow is headed by a head counselor called the “chief” of the group. Campers, seated around a campfire, can share any issues, concerns, and positive experiences they have had.
“We get and give a lot of feedback during this time,” Abrams said. “We also sing camp songs and talk about native traditions.”
Not only does Camp Kawaga offer a unique and beneficial experience because of the opportunities to learn new skills and supervised free-time periods every day, but also because of a focus on being active. Most of all, participating is valued over winning or losing. “We want our campers to do the best they can while practicing good sportsmanship and being a part of something more than just looking out for themselves,” Abrams said.
Another benefit of attending Camp Kawaga is the potential for a boy to make friends from different areas. The camp draws campers from not only the Midwest but other regions of the country and internationally. Only about 60 percent of campers are from the Midwest.
Ever since Camp Kawaga was founded in 1916, this camp has offered a boy-friendly resource for parenting children.
The average cost per session is $1,100 per week. The one-week Rookie Camp costs $1,000.
These are the 2011 dates:
Sabeena Ambrose frequently writes on a freelance basis especially about babies and parenting children.
Photos courtesy of Camp Kawaga