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Overview

What is Camp Voyageur?

Wilderness Adventure

We pride ourselves in our small, efficient groups that sweep over the lakes and rugged terrain of the Northwoods much like the Voyageurs. Often the fastest group on the water and portages, we venture into the less known parts of several wilderness areas. We have a progressive tripping program wherein the more experience you gain, the more access you have to our advanced and expedition-level trips. Read more about the trips we have to offer at the Tripping Mountain page.

Click through the various trips to learn more.

Canoeing

Comprised of more than two million acres, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and adjacent Quetico Provincial Park in Canada are the world’s premier canoe wildernesses. For nearly seven decades, we’ve paddled thousands of routes throughout these waters. The Ojibwa carved the portage trails we still use around the foaming waters of Basswood, Lac La Croix, and Knife Lakes.

We travel in small, efficient groups no larger than seven people. Returning campers over age 14 may elect to paddle into the primitive waters of the Quetico. The most experienced campers may choose to paddle all the way to Lake Superior and cross the nine-mile Grand Portage, retracing the odyssey of French Voyageurs. Others may challenge the swift river waters of the Missinaibi, Albany, or other mighty rivers flowing into Hudson Bay.

Hiking

The diverse terrain found in the Boundary Waters provides a perfect opportunity for hiking trips. Hundreds of miles of trails connect the dense balsam, birch and pine forests of the region. Whether hiking along the high, rocky cliffs overlooking Snowbank Lake, passing through the thick, cool stands of cedar along the Kekekabic Trail or past remnants of the logging era on the Old Pines Trail, a different challenge awaits campers around every bend.

Campers’ adventures are not limited to the Boundary Waters. Each year, dozens will journey to Lake Superior’s north shore to backpack along a part of the 200 mile-long Superior Hiking Trail. Still others take a ferry ride onto mighty Lake Superior to hike through Isle Royale National Park.

Our most experienced campers will truck out west to the Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park, and Bob Marshall Wilderness for an unforgettable summer hike above the treeline, across high plateaus and over snow covered peaks.

Kayaking

The abundant lakes of the Boundary Waters offer different perspectives to kayakers. Launching from the camp docks, campers can paddle to several rapids and iconic waterfalls. Kayaks are accessible for use during free swim periods while in camp, and instruction can be offered at any time.

For older more experienced kayakers, the Apostle Islands expedition is available. The group of twenty islands at the northern tip of Wisconsin on Lake Superior are lined with sandy beaches and sandstone cliffs. On calm days, campers can even paddle around the many sea caves. The trip has been described by many as “surreal and Caribbean-like” despite the cooler water temperatures of Lake Superior.

Base Camp

When you’re not out on a trip, you’re in camp. Expect to spend over half your time at our base camp where a schedule campers help design keeps them busy in the many in-camp activities we offer. Learn more about what a typical day is like in-camp on the Daily Schedule page.

You’ll be introduced to many camp traditions taking place throughout the summer. Just to give an example, we’ll have a cardboard boat regatta, where each cabin is tasked with building their own boat using cardboard and duck tape. They’ll then compete for design, speed, and durability on the water. Another favorite is commando day, a camp-wide war based off a historical event using water balloons.

Click through the various activities to learn more.

Sailing

For beginners, intermediate and advanced sailors, we offer sailing whenever the wind blows, which is quite often up North! The sailing instructor will work with small groups, offering short courses on nomenclature, practical skills, proper sailboat rigging, and safety procedures. However, campers can expect to spend the majority of their time on the water sailing and exploring several nearby lakes! We emphasize experiential learning, as letting campers have their own “Aha!” moments is part of what makes learning sailing fun.

Whether you want speed or just a nice way to cruise around the lake, we’ve got just the boat for you. We have five Sunfish sailboats, a 16′ catamaran (it can match the speeds of 75hp motor boats on windy days!), and several 14′ dinghies. Campers can take practical and written tests to advance to Junior and Senior Skipper, ranks which prove their experience and ensure they have the skills to take their sailing passion wherever they go!

Archery

Archery is one of our most popular activities. Tucked back in the woods, the archery range features three targets at different distances. Campers can work up 15 different ranks, though only one camper has ever reached the final rank. Counselors will teach proper form, safety, and new techniques.

As a camper’s skill progresses, the difficulty of additional techniques can be learned, such as knocking an arrow from your draw hand for increased speed. Campers can compete against one another, and archery is even a featured sport in the Olympics here at camp.

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Basketball

Whether you’re on the basketball team and looking to keep up your skills while at camp, or you just want to shoot some hoops in your spare time, this is the perfect place to get some practice in. Basketball games are almost a daily occurrence here at camp.

Conveniently located in the center of the camp peninsula, the basketball court is the crossroads for camp activity. More often than not, several members of our staff are basketball players and can work with you to improve specific skills or challenge you to our annual campers versus counselors basketball game.

A referee watches a competitive game during the Olympics.

Games

Being an outdoors wilderness camp, we take every opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. But on a rainy day, when you’re in your cabin with your bunk mates, or you’re just plain old tired, board games can be a great way to relax with friends.

In recent years, Settlers of Katan, Risk, and Battleship have been camper favorites. Campers have been known to bring Pokemon and Magic the Gathering cards to duel each other during rest period in their cabins, or when they have downtime on their wilderness trips. And of course, everyone usually learns a few standard card games in the tent!

Shelter Building

Few people can just sit down and learn skills like lashing and knots. It’s much more fun to learn them as you build your own shelter! Back in the woods of the camp peninsula, you’ll learn how to properly fell a tree, learn how to build sturdy structures using only rope and twine, and insulate yourself inside a shelter to weather any kind of storm.

Though there are several types of shelters particularly applicable to the terrains of the Northwoods, campers get to unleash their creativity. We’ve seen campers build all sorts of crazy things over the years, from makeshift sailboats to swinging benches.

Any activity that involves sawing and shelter building is carefully overseen by the designated shelter building counselor to insure safety and proper use of any tools.

Looking through their shelter's window.

Rock Climbing

Camp is in an ideal spot for rock climbing due to our proximity to the Sawtooth Mountains. A local environmental learning center, Wolf Ridge, has both indoor and outdoor rock climbing facilities. At least once a session, campers can choose to go on a rock climbing day trip.

All rock climbing excursions are done with professionals from Wolf Ridge to set up the belays, proper safety equipment, and offer instruction.

Working for the next grip.

Fishing

While the fishing we do in the many wildernesses we travel in is considered some of the best in the world, the fishing right off the camp dock or a day’s paddle away is nearly as good. You’ll find plenty of fishing holes and rocky reefs off the shores of the camp peninsula.

Among our staff are fishing experts who can guide experienced fishermen and teach beginners the basics. Fly fishing has been popular in years past, and camp is a great place to learn and practice this unique angling method.

Another of the Cabin 1 dock.

Music

Whether you’re trying to get better or begin learning an instrument, camp is a great place to learn. Among are staff are talented musicians who can help you refine your skills on the guitar, piano, and depending on the staff present, brass and other string instruments.

You get plenty of time to play, during two activity periods, rest period, and free swims. We’ll encourage you to play on stage in our evening programs or just before a meal starts.

Water Sports

Water sports continue to be a favorite among campers. For those looking to learn or improve, we offer tubing, water skiing, and knee boarding right off the swim dock! You can also take out a kayak, canoe, or paddle board during designated free swims.

We also offer “island swims,” where avid swimmers can swim to a variety of increasingly distant islands to get their name on a plaque. All waters sports are supervised by at least two trained Lifeguards and coordinated by the Program Director.

Soccer & Field Sports

We get a lot of soccer players coming to camp each summer, and so it’s not surprising that we get in a good scrimmage as often as possible. However, soccer is one of many field sports we play. To name a few, Ultimate Frisbee, croquette, tag football, California kickball, capture the flag and even a few games of our own creation will take place throughout the summer.

All field sports will take place at Pine Stadium. After every “big game,” there will be an option for free-swim.

Racket Sports

At almost any given activity period, there is a racket sport involved. We offer badminton, tennis, pickle ball, paddle ball, and ping pong. While many campers appreciate the practice to help them keep up with school sports, we see just as many campers picking up a racket sport for the first time and really enjoying it. It’s not surprising that we see quite a bit of friendly competition over the summer!

Dodge Ball

Yes, dodge ball is perhaps one of the most popular activities at camp, as it may be for any preteen or young adult. However, we do have some rules that make the game a little more… interesting. The first game campers will play is dodge ball, but in order to get someone out, they must know the name of the person they hit with the ball. To this day, we are still surprised just how many names a camper can learn over a game of dodge ball!

Of course, there are many different versions of dodge ball played throughout the summer, each with unique rules sometimes created by the campers themselves.

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Craft Shop

For those artistically inclined, the Craft Shop will be a welcome activity. Campers can choose to make their own T-shirt, decorate a paddle, make a mask, draw, paint, and more. The Craft Shop coordinator will work with campers to build upon basic art skills and ensure that projects and ideas come to fruition.

Most of the crafts we do are heavily inspired by nature. We’ve had campers put together birch-bark armor suites and even build their own functional fishing rod!

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Fitness

At camp, there’s hardly an activity that we do that isn’t physical. However, for those looking for a fitness routine, to learn more about lifting and cardio, or just get in the best shape they’ve ever been in, camp is a great environment to do just that. We have a dedicated fitness counselor who can work with your child to help them achieve their personal fitness goals.

Over the years, we’ve witnessed incredible transformations. Many teens come to camp with the goal of losing weight or getting stronger. While fitness programs can be hard to keep up with, exercising at camp happens because it is fun, challenging, and ultimately rewarding. Campers leave with a drive to stay in shape and continue to stay physically active. It’s not uncommon for them to take up their favorite activities at camp as hobbies.

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