Kawaga’s spirit is both a drive to be our best selves and a deep sense of connectedness to something larger and irreplaceable. It’s an intangible feeling that’s hard to describe, but unmistakable to those who have experienced it. Our spirit is the beating heart of Kawaga, propelling us forward and reminding us that we are forever part of the Kawaga family.
Enthusiasm is at the core of everything we do at Camp Kawaga. It’s our passion for camp, traditions, and life itself. Whether we’re cheering, celebrating, or simply enjoying each other’s company, our contagious energy, and zest make every moment special.
Our founder’s words still ring true today and are proudly displayed on the mantle of our mess hall fireplace: “As God gave us the fire, so gave he us the warmth of friendship.” We believe that true and honest friendship is the foundation of our community. Our bonds of brotherhood are built upon this cornerstone, creating lasting connections that endure long after camp has ended.
We teach our campers to play with passion and heart, and to always give their best on the field. We teach our campers to be gracious and humble winners, and proud and unbending in defeat. Our focus on character-building through sports helps our campers become well-rounded individuals who embody the Kawaga Ideal both on and off the field.
The Kawaga Ideal has been a cherished part of our community for over a century, representing a father’s prayer for his son and serving as a guiding philosophy for our program. It embodies the values that define us as a community and inspires us to strive for excellence in all that we do.
As one of the first 25 camps established in the United States, Camp Kawaga has a rich history and a legacy of tradition that is both sacred and meaningful. We are proud to carry on the Kawaga legacy and to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of young people.
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.
Be yourself. Be your best. Be proud.
“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