Camp Kawaga Blog

Every Saturday our campers and staff meet in the Rec Hall to sing camp songs, listen to our C.I.T.’s recite the Kawaga Ideal and other Kawaga poems and to reflect on our time at camp. On of the highlights is the “sermons” one of our counselors write. Below please read Nick K’s sermon from this week and Jeremy B’s sermon from the first week of camp. Thank you to our staff members for sharing their thoughts. We hope you enjoy!


Nick K. Sermon 7/11/2015

A pearl set in emeralds. A phrase ancient poets used to describe a majestic fortress in Granada, Spain called the Alhambra. From a scenic peak across a valley of trees Ben B, Aaron R and I marveled at its beauty. We were amazed by its 10 centuries of history. Baffled by what it had been through, and how it remains upright and sturdy.

We had been exposed to pure beauty. Ages of blood sweat and tears leaving behind a historic and almost unparalleled sight to see as we sat on that peak in a bubble of amazement we lost track of time. We wondered what it had looked like hundreds of years before, we wondered who lived there, what their lives were like, if they were even aware of the beautiful setting they lived in. As we peered out at the enormity of the Alhambra our conversation naturally transitioned into camp talk. Nobody had realized that we deflected from chatting about a fortress with 10 centuries under its belt to Camp Kawaga. It was just fitting.

I’m not surprised that this world renown fortress sparked feelings of nostalgia toward Camp Kawaga. After all, what we have here is a “pearl set in emeralds.”  An absolute beauty of a camp surrounded by gorgeous green trees. Where history and tradition have lived on and been documented for over 100 years now.

What we have here is a camp that is generous. A camp that gives you burgers on Monday. Pow wows every Sunday. And the best of friends. Friends you just might travel the world with.

In my eyes Camp Kawaga has it figured out. It’s a peninsula of competition. Of character. Of ongoing maturity. Where we come to first and foremost have a killer summer, but wind up, in tandem, marching forward towards the better version of ourselves.

This is why after 2 summers away I find myself nervously spitting out words to you all on a Saturday morning in the Rec Hall. Because Kawaga can somehow combine the goofiness of chip burger cheers with the sincerity of investing in the growth of its campers and staff.

So look around at the oddballs you’ve become best friends with. So what if one of them feels more comfortable in a tractor than a car? So what if one of them lives in the shadow of a car dealership?

I’m lucky to have guys like these in my life, fortunate to have an 11th go at camp Kawaga. And thrilled to have realized that this camp is just as cool if not cooler than a 1000 year old fortress in the woods of Spain.

Nothing about camp Kawaga is ordinary. It’s a pearl set in emeralds.


Jeremy B.

Good morning.  When thinking about this camp, I’ve often used the following phrase: “Kawaga is as Kawaga does.” With 100 summers in the books and the 101st looking like the best one yet, we have defined ourselves by what we do for the campers. Kawaga takes children and molds them into men through a maturation process defined by our ideal. It takes bystanders and followers and transforms them into leaders through our 5 pillars.
My first year at camp was in 2005 and I was a 9-year-old chip. I often gave counselors trouble and found new ways to receive negative attention. At the time I was lost, but the counselors I had over the years never gave up on me. They used our foundations – the ideal, the pillars – to guide me in the right direction. This is where I learned to live on my own, to work with others, and to care for others. Back in 2005 when I was in Chip City East, I never imagined I would have a chance to return to the Chippewa tribe and do for these children what my counselors did for me way back then.
This is why “Kawaga is as Kawaga does.” Everything about this place today exists presently because of the work that Kawaga did in the past. Each generation has cared for and taken care of the generation following them. This is what Kawaga does. And it won’t stop today, and it won’t stop tomorrow. I hope it goes on for at least 100 more summers so that all the lost children like me can find their way and have the opportunity to give back to this special place.
Thank you.