Kawaga’s storied 100-plus-year heritage is a great source of pride for campers, staff, and alumni alike. There’s a reason why a huge “1915” is painted on one of our backstops.

Kawaga’s cornerstone values of Enthusiasm, Sportsmanship, Fellowship, and Spirit are at the heart of everything we do. They spring from the Kawaga Ideal. Doc E built Kawaga not just on a breathtaking pine- and birch-forested peninsula, but on a foundation even more inspiring and permanent: a set of ideas, now known more familiarly as The Ideal. Two hundred and thirty-six words that Kawaga campers hold close to their heart and know by heart.


Our goal is for each boy to have the best summer of his life, while becoming the best version of himself. It takes only a single summer to appreciate what makes Kawaga unique, but its impact will last a lifetime.

Kawaga campers feel a deep connection to a culture much larger than themselves by participating in a set of rich, purposeful traditions. Campers earn special honors for achieving their goals, accomplished through a point-based merit system that encourages them to participate in all that Kawaga offers. Each boy creates his own customized plan, guided by their counselors to instill a growth-based mindset and provide deep-rooted reference points to build their confidence. Campers are rewarded for their effort, improvement, creativity, and achievement. They feel proud of themselves and are supported by the entire Kawaga community, as they learn, grow, and experience.

Parents tell us that they’re amazed by how much their sons have grown after only a single summer at Kawaga. They show a new sense of confidence, independence, and appreciation for what they have. And, of course, they’re already counting the days until they return to Kawaga next year.

Rooted by the vision of Doc E and the grounds to which our camp stands today, the mission is timeless. Articulated through a passage written by Doc E – read for yourself what drives our passion for connection.



Doc E Statement

Life in the open is necessary to make a youth sturdy, strong and self-reliant.

The papered city boy becomes a slave of luxury.

Reared in homes of comfort, he too often is allowed to shrink all responsibility of work – servants are at his beck and call – his desire to be of use is atrophied. But out in the open in camp life – with other boys his energies are forced into play. Not only are his muscles strengthened by hiking, canoeing, boating swimming and all other athletic sports, but his will power is strengthened by his enforced initiative.

During the period of a boy’s free time – the summer months – a boy should be associated with men who will direct his thoughts into proper channels. He should receive the training that will make it possible to meet the difficulties of life, accepting success with understanding and failures without loss of courage.

Be yourself. Be your best. Be proud.

Character Building





Kawaga Heritage

“Be Kawaga means to live by the Kawaga Ideal, understand those who have come before you, and carry on the tradition and reputation of Camp Kawaga.”
– Parent of 12-year-old