Darer and Seeker Boys

Boys Camp

Our youngest campers experience a summer of fun, friendship, and connection as Darers and Challengers.

Miniwanca days are intentionally designed to encourage Darers (entering grades 3 to 5) and Challengers (entering grades 6 to 8) to discover their best, live a balanced life, and contribute to a positive community. Campers live in cabin group with a dozen peers and a dedicated staff leader, creating a dynamic and supportive environment. Cabin groups serve as their family at camp, eating family-style meals and participating in daily community activities and games together.

A typical day at Miniwanca features plenty of community time, free time, and the opportunity for campers choose from a variety of Interest Group to create personalized daily experience. Each evening our community gathers for a high-energy, all-camp activity, before bringing the day to a quiet close during Evening Reflection while the sun sets over Lake Michigan.

As the youngest and often newest members of our camp family, Darers spend their time at Miniwanca learning how to live in community with their peers. They take the first steps toward identifying their personal values and are introduced to the idea of best self. (Please note: Rising third-graders are only able to enroll in the two-week Session A.)

As older, more independent campers, Challengers venture into Miniwanca’s vast acreage to experience an overnight camping adventure where they are introduced to camp craft skills and outdoor cooking. They engage in more advanced activities and deepen their understanding of what “my own self” truly means.

All campers leave Miniwanca with lasting memories, new skills, friends, and newly gained confidence in themselves and their ability to make a positive difference in the world.

Summer 2022 registration will return to a first come, first served enrollment model (pending medical review). Registration for Miniwanca will take place in two parts:

Sunday, Nov. 7: Priority registration for existing camp families will open at 6 p.m. ET.

Monday, Nov. 15: Registration for new camp families will open at 8 a.m. ET.

2022 Dates and Rates

Darers* and Seekers

Session A (Two Weeks)
Dates: June 26 to July 8
Rate: $3,300
(*Darers entering the third grade can only attend this two-week session.) 

Session B (Three Weeks)
Dates: July 10 to July 29
Rate: $4,750



The AYF is committed to making summer camp accessible to all youth. As a nonprofit foundation fueled by generous donations from our alumni and families, the AYF offsets the price of every program for every participant. AYF also offers generous full scholarships and need-based financial aid.

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A Typical Day at Miniwanca

Most weeks at Miniwanca consist of four or five typical days and two or three special days. We know consistency is important for campers, so we ground the week in regular schedules and activities, while making time for atypical celebrations and exciting activities.

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 a.m.: Polar Bear and Rising Bell
8:20 a.m.: Flag Raising
8:30 a.m.: Breakfast
9:15 a.m.: Camper Free Time
9:45 a.m.: Interest Group 1
10:45 a.m.: Community Time
11:45 a.m.: Quad Games/All Camp Activities/Service


12:30 p.m.: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: Rest Hour
2:45 p.m.: Assembly
3:15 p.m.: Passing and Prep Time
3:30 p.m.: Interest Group 2
4:15 p.m.: Snack Time
4:30 p.m.: Interest Group 3
5:15 p.m.: Camper Free Time


6:15 p.m.: Dinner
7:30 p.m.:  Night’s Doings
9:00 p.m.: Evening Reflections
9:45 p.m.: Bed Time Prep
10:00 p.m.: Cabin and Bed Checks
11:00 p.m.: Lights Out

Interest Groups

What are they and how do they work?

Each week, campers sign up for three different Interest Groups, activities designed to have fun, learn a new skill, and practice being their best selves. Campers also have the opportunities to make new connections with campers of all ages.

Typical Interest Groups will include:

• Sailing
• Pool Party/Swim Games
• Paddle sports (kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding)
• Lake Michigan beach time
• Sports (soccer, dodgeball, Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and more)
• Archery
• Woodshop
• High ropes course and rock climbing
• Pottery
• Yoga
• Theater/improv
• Arts and crafts (knitting, friendship bracelets, copper enameling, print making, and more)

Daily Schedule FAQs

What is the Polar Bear Call?

Campers can choose to wake up a few minutes early each morning to take a quick dip in Stony Lake. If a camper completes Polar Bear every morning while at camp, they’ll earn a Polar Bear T-shirt at the end of the session!

What is Community Time?

Community Time is a chance for all the campers in each age group to spend some time together doing fun activities! Activities range from “getting to know you” games, fun team sports, and even deep group conversations. We meet the campers where they are as an age group and have fun.

What are Quad Games?

Quads are communities or teams (Beaches, Breakers, Sands, or Creeks) that engage in friendly competition throughout the session. Quads compete in games like camp sports, trivia, and more to earn points towards the ultimate prize: their name on the coveted Quad Paddle hanging in Dining Hall.

What is Assembly?

Assembly is a call to our entire Boys Camp community to reenergize after Rest Hour each day. Campers and staff participate in games, skits, and songs presented to each other inside our Community Circle. Highlights include the Sports Report, Paddle Clues, and Cleanest Cabin.

What is Night's Doings?

Night’s Doings is one of the most fun and active times of the day with 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 wizards and lizards, a talent show, and much more.

“When they return from camp as always, our kids are better behaved, incredibly grateful, kind to siblings –all the wonderful traits you pine for. Our boys always return better than they left.”

– Miniwanca Camper Parent