The opportunities for children today are remarkable. Few, however, can provide the kind of profound experience available at a sleep-away camp. At a time when we hope to give our kids the skills they need to succeed, we sometimes miss the forest for the trees. At Camp Chippewa, we invite you to walk this forest where our campers find a summer home. A place to grow stronger physically and emotionally, to find challenge and discover a new confidence, develop character with new adventures and have a blast with new friends.Watch the Video
At Camp Chippewa, boys capture the wonder of boyhood through the many daily adventures afforded by our wilderness environment. A limited enrollment of just 75 boys ensures individual attention for each boy and personal, hands-on interaction among campers and counselors. Camp activities promote individual achievement and skill development, while instilling a joy of life-long activities and reverence for our wilderness surroundings. The many returning counselors and staff demonstrate a loyalty to the program and provide a continuity in the activities which fosters expertise and mastery.
We are proud to be fully accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), having met or exceeded the rigorous standards set forth by the ACA.Enroll Now Or Request A Brochure
- Boys, ages 7 - 17
- 8-week, 4-week and 2-week sessions.*
- *2-week sessions are limited to boys entering 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.
History and Values
Chippewa is a summer camp for boys located in the Chippewa National Forest on Cass Lake near Bemidji, Minnesota. Founded in 1935 by Otto "Cap" Endres and Helen "Mom" Endres, Camp Chippewa is owned and operated by Camp Chippewa Foundation, a non-profit foundation. A legacy of camping was ensured when the Endres family donated the camp and its property to the newly formed Camp Chippewa Foundation in 1999, helping to ensure that Chippewa will continue as a boys camp for future generations.
The tradition of the camp reflects the dreams expressed by our founders, Cap and Mom Endres, when they began building Camp Chippewa. By focusing on life-long sports and activities, we have carefully developed a program that promotes emotional and physical growth, develops confidence and encourages friendships with fellow campers and counselors from around the globe. It is an exciting and fun program created by each camper within a well-developed camp structure.
Boyhood is a special time and Camp Chippewa provides a rare opportunity to slow the pace of our daily routine, to escape the wired world to discover the wider world and to find true adventure around the glow of a campfire.
Campers choose their own program from within a modestly structured day. The five activity periods are chosen every three days, allowing the boys to continue skill development in a favorite activity or to try new activities throughout the summer. During the first three days of camp, each cabin will be introduced to all of the activities prior to creating their own daily program. The entire program is open to all campers. Water skiing, field archery and trap shooting require that basic minimum skills in swimming, archery and marksmanship respectively be met prior to choosing them.
- Field Archery
- Table Tennis
- Trap Shooting
- Waterskiing & Wake Boarding
The lore of the voyageur is alive and well at Chippewa. Each boy, whether age eight or seventeen, will have the opportunity to camp overnight on a canoe trip. The routes and duration of the trips are commensurate with the age group of the cabin. Though these trips are optional, we strongly encourage each boy to take advantage of this unique opportunity. Few activities at camp do more for building camaraderie than tripping. Memories formed around a campfire can last a lifetime.
As boys enter high school, our Canadian canoe trips become part of the summer's adventure. The boys will plan their menu, provision their trip and prepare for days in the wilderness. From camp, they will travel to Canada by van, crossing the international border into Ontario or Manitoba. They will navigate the clear lakes and rivers connected by ancient portages. Whether fishing for trophy walleye or navigating whitewater on a remote river, these trips are a thrill.
The "Common Canoe Trips" listed below is intended as a guide for the kind of trip your son can expect.
Common Canoe Trips*
|Cabin Age||Duration||Trip Example|
|3rd & 4th Grade||1 night||Star Island|
|5th & 6th Grade||1 or 2 nights||Mississippi River|
|7th Grade||2 or 3 nights||Crow Wing River|
|8th Grade||5 nights||Voyageurs Nat'l Park|
|9th Grade||6 nights||Quetico Provincial Park|
|10th or 11th Grade||10 to 15 nights||English River
|11th or 12th Grade||18+ nights||Little Churchill River
North Knife River
(Hudson Bay trip)
*This table is simply a guide for the duration of typical trips. These trips may change due to weather, cabin experience or physical development, water conditions, or director's discretion.
In addition to canoe trips, campers have more tripping options.
Boys entering sixth or seventh grade will have the opportunity to explore the Canadian wilderness from Hook Island, our lodge in Ontario's Rainy Lake. In some cases, we may open Hook Island to younger age groups. A two-hour van ride from camp brings boys to the international border. From there, a launch will take them six miles up Rainy Lake to Graham Lodge. They will spend four days, fishing, swimming and exploring the Canadian islands under the care of their counselors.
A variety of out of camp excursions may be programmed during the camp session. Sail trips around Cass Lake, fishing trips to local lakes and pontoon trips to Cedar Island are fun additions to the daily program.Enroll Now
Counselor Hunt! Paul Bunyan Day! Capture the Flag! Scatterball! Just a few of the special activities that are an exciting addition to the daily program. Imagination and creativity run wild on these days, whether a new interpretation of "The Most Dangerous Game" finds counselors hiding deep in the woods, or a few minutes on the air guitar on the stage of Knutson Hall brings the house down during Skit Night, or the careful strategy of a sneak attack leads to a captured enemy during Capture the Flag. These events are a thrill for the entire camp.
The basic daily structure of camp forms the framework of the program. This is a typical day at camp, though special activities, day trips, tournaments or other events are exciting breaks from the routine.
- Rise and Shine
- Flag Raising
- Cabin Cleanup & Inspection
- First Period
- Second Period
- Free Period
- Rest Period
- Third Period
- Fourth Period
- Fifth Period
- Free Swim
- Special Event or Open Evening
- Dip Time
- Lights Out & Taps
Chippewa welcomes boys from both coasts, Europe, Asia, Latin America and everywhere in between. Our campers and staff represent more than 30 states and 8 countries.
The men and women of Camp Chippewa each play a role in a successful summer. The Director, Mike Endres, has been a camper, counselor, assistant director and volunteer since 1965. Mike and Mary Endres are committed to the traditions, adventure and character that help boys become resilient young men. It is nice to know that in today’s fast paced society, as more things change, the more Camp Chippewa stays the same.
Mike & Mary Endres
Mike Endres has been coming to the shores of Cass Lake since 1958. From camper to counselor, he eventually became the assistant director in the 1980’s. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Geology and Geophysics and later in Education, Mike earned his Masters of Education degree from the University of Minnesota in 1993. Mike teaches earth science in the Minneapolis area. Mary, also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, is a freelance graphic designer and fitness professional. She joins Mike in the operation of Camp Chippewa. Prior to assuming the directorship of the camp in 2012, Mike and Mary were active on the rifle range and tennis courts, respectively, and will continue teaching those activities. Together they have raised two sons, Sam and Jacob, who continue to be a part of the tradition that is Chippewa.
John "JP" & Cammy Endres
In 2001, John "JP" & Cammy Endres became the Executive Directors of Camp Chippewa after more than 40 years as directors. JP is the son of Cap & Mom Endres, the camp founders, and guided camp for decades, developing many of camp's programs and opening the next chapter of Chippewa's tripping program with the first Canadian canoe trip in the 1950s. He is a retired teacher from Milwaukee. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. JP and Cammy run the camp tennis program.
Counselors are selected for their maturity, character and leadership capabilities, as well as their desire to be role models and mentors to our boys. Their enthusiasm creates a fun and engaging atmosphere, while their unique skills help foster growth and mastery in a wide variety of activities. Many are former campers at Chippewa who pass on the skills and experiences they gained when they were younger. Counselors from foreign countries share their unique skills and culture. All are college aged or older, with a variety of backgrounds, from teaching to recreation and everything in between.
Our medical center is staffed with a resident physician or nurse. Many of our doctors have returned year after year and consider Camp Chippewa their summer home. Modern medical facilities are found in Bemidji, twenty miles away.
In addition to our background verification and interview process, all of our staff must pass criminal background checks that exceed state minimum standards.