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FAQs

What is Camp Kawaga’s mission?
Our mission is to provide a safe, fun, and exciting active camp environment. Campers will develop lifelong friendships, self-confidence and independence.

What are Camp Kawaga’s facilities like?
Kawaga is situated on 100 acres of land with the main camp area centered on 30 acres all located in the beautiful Northwoods of northern Wisconsin. Each of our 30 cabins was upgraded and improved within the past five years to include new doors and windows, along with lights and electricity. All cabins are located a short walk from two centrally located shower houses and bathrooms. The youngest campers also have a bathroom connected to their cabin. All cabins are located in the same area of camp and are grouped by age, creating the small-camp, community feel that shapes Kawaga’s culture.

We are outside ALOT during the summer. We have two main fields (Diamond 1 and 2) where the bulk of our field sports take place. We also have five full-court basketball courts, three tennis courts, a roller hockey rink, wood working shop, an archery and riflery range, and trampball. Our indoor facilities include the Big House where we play dodgeball, ga ga, and hold relay races on rainy days, as well the Rec Hall for games, movies, and stage performances.

No camp can match the waterfront and water activities of Camp Kawaga. Located on Lake Kawagasaga, which connects us to the Town of Minocqua, we have two closed off bays and campers are constantly in the water throughout the summer. One bay is used for swimming, sailing, paddle boards, fishing, and boating and canoeing. Our other bay is dedicated to skiing and tubing using our three boats and permanent ski course.

NEW FOR 2017 – While we are proud of our camp and our facilities, we continue to invest and improve on them. Last offseason, we built two brand new large bathroom and showerhouse facilities. This includes all updated amenities (touchless everything), great lighting, and easy to clean surfaces.

Not to be outdone, in 2017, we are doing are largest project in many years. We have torn down our Mess Hall (kitchen and dining hall) and on the same spot are building a brand new, larger Mess Hall. This will include a basement for storage and large enough to be a storm shelter for our entire camp. The facility will be amazing, with brand new kitchen equipment and larger capacity for our growing camp. The Mess Hall will have the same charm and history, but will be a 4 season building for year round use and include more (and portable) tables, a stereo system and other great features to allow the Mess Hall to be a true-multi purpose building.

In addition to the new Mess Hall, we are completely redoing 3 of our basketball courts as well as updating the main road through camp. Very exciting times for all Kawaga campers and staff!!

Is my son ready for sleep away camp?
There are several factors to consider when determining if your son is ready. Typically, your son is ready before you, the parent, are ready to see him go. A few questions to consider are:

  1. Does your son sleep over at friends’ or relatives’ houses?
  2. Has your son expressed a desire to attend overnight camp? Is he asking you about camp?
  3. How does your son adapt to new situations without parents?
  4. Is your son fairly independent for his age?
  5. Are you emotionally ready for your son to be away?

If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes, and you believe Kawaga is a good fit for your son, it’s time to send your son to Kawaga.

Camp Kawaga helps campers feel like Kawaga is their second home. Adapting to the camp environment is definitely part of the process of developing a comfort level at camp. It is also why we promote our 4 and 8 week programs because it takes time to develop that comfort, to make friends, and for your son to trust the people and his surroundings. We also understand that 4 weeks can seem too long, so we created our Rookie Camp (one and two week sessions) to let campers ease into a full session by getting used to camp, the programming, and being away from home.

How old are our campers? How are cabins put together?
Our youngest campers are entering second or third grade, and our CITs, the oldest campers, are entering eleventh grade (6-16 years old). Campers live in cabins grouped according to four age divisions and the grade they are entering the next year of school is the main consideration in making cabins. With our youngest campers, Chips (entering 2nd-5th grade), we also take into consideration what number summer at camp this is for your son. We typically group first year campers in the same cabin.

We have two cabin sizes–our smaller cabins are for the Sioux (entering 6th grade) and Mowhawk age groups (7th and 8th graders) with four to six campers and two counselors per cabin. Our larger cabins are for the Chips  (2nd through 5th graders) and the Oneidas (9th, 10th and 11th graders). The younger cabins have 8-12 campers with three to four staff members in each cabin, while the older cabins have 12-16 campers with two to three staff members.

Can my son request to have his friends in his cabin?
Every camper is permitted to request up to two campers to bunk with. We do not guarantee any requests, but do our best to honor at least one of the requests. We do not honor any cabin mate dis-request and there are no staff bunk requests. When assigning cabins, we try to mix campers from different geographic areas to help the boys make new friends.

What is the camper/staff ratio?
Our 3:1 camper/counselor ratio ensures that campers receive the attention and support they need to grow with confidence. Our staff members live in the cabins with their campers. We have more staff for the younger camper cabins to provide additional supervision as our youngest campers learn the ways of Kawaga and how to live with one another.

How do campers communicate with friends and family while at camp?
We have two systems of communication for our families. Of course, regular mail is still used most often. Campers write home two times each week on scheduled days, but can write home as often as they like. In addition to snail mail, parents can use “e-letters” purchased from CampMinder through your Personal Online Account. For e-letters (emails), you purchase “Camp Stamps” for $1 per email. All emails received by 9 am are printed out and handed to the campers at lunch that day. For an additional $1, you can add a blank page to your e-letter that your son can handwrite back to you in response. The response is faxed back that night and will appear as a PDF in your email. Campers can only receive phone calls on their birthdays.

Can campers receive packages at camp? Can he use his cell phone or iTouch?
Kawaga has a firm package policy of flat packages only, i.e. magazines, letters, etc. Any non-flat packages are opened and all items confiscated and will not be returned to sender. We have found this to be the best policy for our campers.

Kawaga has a strict no electronics policy. Campers are encouraged to have music and reading materials. MP3s, iPods and the like are great. iTouches are restricted so only music works and iPhones and cell phones of any type are prohibited. Any cell phones or handheld gaming devices are turned into the camp office and stored in a safe for the duration of the summer.

What if my son gets homesick while at camp?
We are very proud of how well our staff handles homesickness and similar issues at Kawaga. Many campers experience some form of homesickness when away at camp, particularly our youngest campers. We handle this in two ways. First, we have a very busy and structured schedule, particularly the first several days of camp. This keeps the campers busy and gets them tired, so that at the end of the day, they are ready for bed and too tired to think about home too much. Second, we make sure homesick campers understand it is completely normal to have these feelings and that it is nothing to be embarrassed about. We encourage them to keep busy and talk to their counselors when they feel sad. In this way, our campers work through their homesickness and start to enjoy their time at camp and independence from home.

Please know we thoroughly prepare our staff for homesickness. The vast majority of our 50+ person staff, over 90% each summer, has been with us for many years as campers or returning counselors.  Our staff knows how camp works and are trained to help campers work through homesickness and other issues that arise.

What happens if a camper gets sick or takes medication?
Kawaga has two full-time nurses on staff who carefully monitor and oversee the health of camp at all times. Campers taking any medication must register with a company called Camp Rx prior to camp. Camp Rx pre-packages all medications taken by campers, which are then handed out by our nurses as prescribed or as needed. For any medical issues beyond basic healthcare, we send our campers to the Howard Young Emergency Center or Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care, which are both located in Town, just three miles from camp. Parents are contacted whenever their son goes into the clinic or emergency room for any reason and will be contacted ahead of time when necessary.

My son’s birthday is during camp. How will he celebrate?
If your son’s birthday is during the summer we make it a fun occasion. We provide a birthday cake at lunch and the whole camp sings a special camp happy birthday to him. We also allow the parents to sponsor a pizza party at Alexander’s Pizza in town for his cabin and any immediate relatives at camp. We will also set up a phone call between you and your son on his special day.

How do campers get to camp?
There are three basic forms of transportation to camp. Many campers attend Father Son Weekend, which is the weekend leading into the first week of camp. In this way many of our campers are already at camp when we get started. If your son does not attend Father Son Weekend, you can drop him off, he can take a bus, or fly to camp. We have buses or vans from several locations – Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, plus we pick up campers at the regional airports near camp (Wausau, Rhinelander).

Buses leave Chicago from Crossroads Shopping Center in Highland Park, just north of Lake Cook Road on Skokie Valley Road. Parents are asked to arrive by 8:45 am and buses depart promptly at 9:30 am. Staff is there to assist with loading and ride the buses with the campers. The bus stops in Milwaukee to pick up campers that fly in and any other bus passengers at 10:30 am. We make one more stop at McDonalds for lunch on the way up and buses get to Kawaga around 3:30 pm.

Flights need to be organized and confirmed with the Directors prior to booking. Flights must either go into Milwaukee (MKE) or Minnesota (MSP) and arrive before 10:00 am to meet the buses. Flights can also be organized to arrive at either of the regional airports in Wausau (CWA) or Rhinelander (RHI).

How do the camper and personal forms work?
Instructions for filling out all forms are sent out in March via email. All forms are completed directly online through your Personal Online Account (POA) through CampMinder. There are several camp, health, and insurance forms to fill out. You will receive a checklist that explains every form, where to find it, and the deadline to fill it out.

Every parent receives their own POA upon registration and will use the POA for forms before camp. You also will use this account for all financial arrangements and the aforementioned email and faxback system.

Please note: every camper must be seen by a doctor within a year of coming to camp. Make an appointment with your doctor so that you can submit your medical forms by May 1.

I haven’t received my billing yet, should I be concerned?
Billing for camp is as follows: the first deposit of $1,300 per camper is due with your application. When filling out your application, you will choose to pay in two or four installments. If you choose two installments payments are due December 1 and April 1. For four installments, additional pay dates are February 1 and March 1. The balance is due for all campers on April 1st. You can reach Ty at 847-383-5643 if you have any billing questions.

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