Our staff averages 7 years experience at Mishawaka. Many of our staff are former campers, and each year we have experienced teachers, coaches and college professors who combine with college age men and women to give our staff the energy, qualifications and dedication necessary for a successful summer. Staff take part in a week long staff training prior to the arrival of the campers.
Prior to the start of Camp parents are able indicate cabin preferences. It is our practice to honor one, mutual cabin group request for campers who are the same age and/or grade. It is not possible to guarantee placement or honor requests of multiple friends being placed together or campers for whom there is a large age gap.
Campers who come from out of state fly to the Minneapolis/St.Paul (MSP) airport and are met at their arrival gate by a Mishawaka staff member. They then board a chartered coach for the 3 hour trip to Camp. Parents can also drop campers off at the airport for the bus trip to Camp.
If you were thinking of making the trip to Camp, we always love to show off the Camp. We suggest a pick-up at Camp, as opposed to dropping off on opening day.
Camp Mishawaka enlists a travel agency to assist with booking flights to ensure that campers are on the appropriate flight, campers from the same area are grouped together and arrangements for younger fliers are in place. For flights with 10 or more campers, we endeavor to have a Camp chaperone fly with the kids.
Campers at both Camps are able to to choose their activities. Prior to the start of the session we will send along an activity interest survey. Campers rank their interest in activities and this helps us set up the morning Camp program. These activities will be more “skill based” where campers learn new things every activity period and get to practice them. Some good examples of these types of activities are: sailing, drama, crafts, canoeing, swim instruction, horseback riding, tennis, etc.
Each afternoon, campers pick from a list of activities happening that day. Some activities that happen in the morning can also happen in the afternoon though there are also many different offerings as well. Examples of afternoon activities are: soccer games, ultimate frisbee, basketball, floor hockey, tubing, nature hikes, snorkeling, fishing, and a whole bunch more.
Evening activity periods are different every day and usually include at least one “group game.”
Sundays are a bit different in that much of our programming is combined, and campers choose from a variety of activities, including mixed doubles tennis, sailing races and other group games.
Meals are served family-style, and campers can choose from options at each meal. We have a salad bar at lunch and dinner, and can accommodate most requests for diets, including a vegetarian preference, gluten-free and allergy sensitive.
Julie Purdum, RN, serves as the Health Care Director and works with a graduate nurse each summer to attend to the routine medical needs of campers, including administering regular medication, treating ailments and monitoring general camper health. Should the need arise, Camp Mishawaka is located just 3 miles from the Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital.
Campers come from 28 states and 8 foreign countries. For the past 5 years, nearly 70% of our campers have returned.
Camp Mishawaka is a “screen-free” experience and campers turn in cell phones and other devices that have a screen upon arrival to Camp. Parents can email their campers for no charge by sending emails to them care of a special camper address. These emails will be delivered once a day with the regular mail.
For those who wish to get handwritten letters from your campers scanned and sent to you, you can choose to purchase CampStamps in your online CampInTouch account. Campers are able to respond by writing a letter on the CampStamps stationery that will find its way to your CampInTouch account – our Parent Portal for all things Camp. There is a nominal per page charge for this service.
There is still nothing that beats the impact of a letter via US mail, and that is best way to send news from home. Campers are required to write a letter once a week and encouraged to do so more often.
If your child is celebrating a special day (birthday) or there is a family event where a phone call is required we are able to arrange for this.
We post daily photos that help give parents a glimpse of a typical Camp day and see their children involved in activities.
There is certainly no universal answer to this question. Some children do very well starting camp at 8 years of age, while others might do better waiting a year or two. Parents and families need to answer this question on their own. It is not uncommon, however, for the child to be ready for camp before the parent is. This is only natural, and talking with your child, friends and family who have sent their children to camp can be a big help in finding the answer. It is important that both parent and child feel comfortable in the decision to attend and the choice of camp.
Camp Mishawaka is not affiliated with any one faith. Each summer there are a variety of beliefs and denominations represented. The camps do have a non-sectarian vespers service each Sunday that focuses on the value of friendship and the beauty of our surroundings. Transportation to and from Catholic Mass in Grand Rapids is available for those campers who wish to attend.
There is a variety of housing at Camp Mishawaka and younger campers (8 -11) stay in larger lodge-type cabins with a counselor in each cabin. Older campers typically stay in smaller cabins with 3-4 other campers and combine with an adjacent cabin to form a cabin group. Camp lodging is simple, yet comfortable and campers use adjacent shower and bath facilities. In the case of the younger girls (8-11) they also have in-cabin shower and bathrooms.
A typical summer in northern Minnesota sees highs in the 80’s and lows in the 50’s. The lake is normally in the mid 70’s by the time camp starts. Campers often come to breakfast in long pants and a sweatshirt, and by the time the meal is over return to their cabins to change into shorts and a short sleeve shirt.