Our youngest campers experience a summer of fun and friendship as Darers.
Our days are intentionally designed to encourage campers to discover their best, live a balanced life and contribute to a positive community.
Campers become a part of cabin groups which serve as their family at camp- they live together, eat family-style meals, and participate in daily community activities and games together. Darers live in open-air, wooden cabins nestled in the woods, helping to foster a deep connection with the natural world. Campers choose from a variety of activities to create their daily experience. Favorite Interest Group options include archery, horseback riding, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, arts and crafts, theater, sports, dance, yoga, rock climbing, beach time and more. Campers select new activities each week, giving campers the opportunity to discover and explore new interests and strengths in a dynamic and supportive environment.
Each evening our community gathers for all camp Night’s Doings fun. Favorites include the Leader Hunt, Safari, Council Circle, and the Talent Show, where campers perform and share their gifts. Evening Reflection on the beach brings a quiet close to the day as we reflect, set goals, and learn more about one another while watching the sunset over Lake Michigan.
Campers leave Miniwanca with lasting memories, new found skills, friends, and newly gained confidence in themselves and their ability to make a positive difference in the world.
A Typical Day
Campers will experience both typical and special days at Miniwanca. Most weeks consist of 4 or 5 typical days and 2 or 3 a-typical days. We value consistency and know it is important for campers, which is why we ground the week in consistent schedules and activities. However, we also know too much consistency can be boring! Special days may include Opening and Closing Days, the Fourth of July, and other camp-specific holidays like Founder’s Day and Ride In.
7:50 am Polar Bear Call
8:00am Rising Bell
8:40am Morning Stretch
9:45am Camper Free Time
10:30am Community Time
11:30am Interest Group 1
1:30pm Rest Hour
2:35pm Assembly/Quad Meetings
3:00pm Passing and Prep Time
3:15pm Interest Group 2
4:15pm Snack Time!
4:30pm Interest Group 3
5:15pm Free Time
7:30pm Night’s Doings
9:00pm Evening Reflection
9:30pm Bed Time Prep
10:00pm Carillon Lights Out in 10-40 Bay
11:00pm Lights Out in 50/60 Bay
What are they and how do they work?
Interest Groups are activities offered on a weekly basis that campers sign up for. While campers may gain new skills in their Interest Groups, the activities are a time of day to engage in relaxed fun and practice being their best self. They also offer opportunities for the campers to make new connections with other campers of all ages.
Campers will take part in Interest Groups on typical days and will choose new activities at the beginning of each week. Many Interest Groups are offered on a consistent basis and new options are created all the time based on camper ideas.
Interest Group Options
Most weeks, typical Interest Groups will include:
Pool Party/Swim Games
Paddle Sports (kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding)
Lake Michigan Beach Time
Sports (soccer, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and more)
High Ropes Course and Rock Climbing
Crafthouse (knitting, friendship bracelets, copper enameling, print making, and more)
Special Interest Groups created from camper ideas in the past include:
Zumba and dance
Hike and Dip
Harry Potter Fun
Scenic Letter Center
Reading with a View
Paint and Jam
Other questions you may have about the daily schedule:
Campers can choose to wake up a few minutes early each morning to take a quick dip in Lake Michigan. If a camper Polar Bears all the mornings they can while at camp, they’ll receive a Polar Bear t-shirt at the end of the session as a prize!
An interactive and reflective point in the day, Morning Stretch is our call to bring the community together each morning. We will warm up with stretches, dances, and other fun activities, then hear some thoughts for the day presented by one of the cabins. Campers will also have a few minutes of quiet reflection time to gather their thoughts, think through what others have shared, and get ready for the day.
Campers will gather with their age group community (Darers, Challengers, or Avail) on all typical days to make new friends, create deeper connections, and play fun games. A variety of activities will take campers through high energy fun that allows them to meet people outside their cabins, camp-style games to compete for their Quad, and activities to center them in their best selves for the day ahead. Community Time activities will find creative and interactive ways to focus on the ideals of Best Self, Balanced Living, and Positive Community.
Assembly brings the community together to watch and interact with a fun, variety show put on by our Leaders in Training. Campers just waking up from Rest Hour will have a chance to re-energize and laugh as the LITs entertain through a series of skits.
Each cabin of campers in split into one of four Quads, or teams (Draws, Dunes, Ridges, or Trails), that will engage in friendly competition throughout the session. Campers will clean their cabin, promote positive mental attitudes, compete in Community Time games and Night’s Doings games, and create and perform skits and songs for Low Council. At Quad Meetings, campers will plan, create, and practice their skits and songs for the upcoming Low Council that occurs twice in a 3 week session.
Night’s Doings is one of the most fun and active times of the day! Every day brings a new activity, game, or event. Night’s Doings can resemble a classic game of capture the flag with a camp twist, involve trying to catch leaders dressed as safari animals, be the week’s Low Council, a talent show, and more.
2020 Dates and Rates
Darer (entering grades 3 - 5)
1 week: June 28 – July 3 $1,130
2 week: July 5 – July 17 $2,580
3 week: June 28 – July 17 $3,400
1 week: July 19 – July 24 $1,130
2 week: July 26 – August 7 $2,580
3 week: July 19 – August 7 $3,400
Frequently Asked Questions
Miniwanca is fully accredited by the American Camp Association and meet or exceed state health requirements and industry safety standards in both our in-camp and adventure trip programs. American Red Cross standards guide our waterfront activities. We have a team of committed, on-site health professionals, staffing multiple fully equipped health centers, with the nearest hospital just 12 miles away. Miniwanca campers are supervised throughout the day and maintain a 1:6 staff to camper ratio so that we can provide a fun, safe summer for our campers.
We enthusiastically welcome children with diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities. We value each camper’s right to fully experience Miniwanca free from prejudice and harassment. All of our staff members are trained to supervise children and to prevent and address incidents of conflict or bullying based on any aspect of a person’s identity, including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.
Staff members strive to be excellent role models by adhering to the camp motto, My own self, At my very best, All the time. Our senior staff members are caring professionals who work with children year-round in camp, school programs and conferences.
Our cabin leaders have completed at least one year of college, are certified in first aid and CPR, and go through two weeks of extensive training at camp prior to the arrival of campers.
Our Four Trails adventure trip leaders are at least 21 years of age, participate in a rigorous 3-week training, and are certified in high-level first aid as Wilderness First Responders. All of our staff members have background checks run against multiple local and national databases.
Children love to hear from their families while at camp! Campers are encouraged to write letters during the session and parents are also welcome to send mail to their camper, or send emails through our one-way email provider, which our office staff print and distribute every day.
If families have an urgent message, question or concern about their child, our directors are always willing to speak with parents on the phone.
“My daughter and I talk about Miniwanca all year long. Especially as she's gotten older and is more able to articulate her thoughts, we talk about things like how we can help each other be our best selves and lead balanced lives. It's a wonderful legacy that will be with her for her whole life.”
– Miniwanca Camper Parent