In many ways, days at Camp Chippewa look the same as they did in the 1930s and 40s. “RISE AND SHIIIIIIINE!” rings out through the still morning. Campers and counselors walk out of their cabins, and onto the docks, wiping sleep from their eyes. A quick dip in the cool, clear waters of Cass Lake quickly clears the mind after a night of deep sleep. Then flag raising, breakfast and morning inspection.
Any alumni can tell you the rest of the daily routine, or even the flow of a day on the trail, or up at Hook Island. The fond reminiscing of a Badger Trip to Star Island sounds the same whether told by a man of 18 or a man of 80. The traditions and rhythms of Chippewa have withstood the test of time.
Camp Chippewa is often described as a place of freedom for young men. Away from cities, schools, jobs and social pressures, kids can explore in the woods, swim in the lakes and sleep out under the stars—experiencing freedom in ways that are becoming rarer and rarer. But the encompassing sensation of freedom at Camp Chippewa is built upon a structured framework. Besides the consistency of the daily schedule, there are many other structures in place that allow for the freedom young people need. Camp is substance-free. Camp is screen-free. Campers never step foot in other cabins, and only use their own cabins to sleep, change between activities, and relax during rest period. Activities are supervised by counselors. A buddy is needed to go to free swim. Each camper rotates to be KP during meals, and the list goes on. But these structures do not inhibit freedom. They create a safe, and reliable framework for daily life. The consistency of Camp’s culture allows campers to realize their potential in a safe, supervised, and screen-free environment.
“Kids thrive with structure for the same reason most adults do—when we know what to expect, we feel less stressed and more relaxed.” – Audrey Monke, Happy Campers
Audrey Monke and many other psychologists agree on the importance of routine. Dr. Laura Markham explains that children with a wholesome routine and structure in their lives are better prepared to, “rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.” (1)
Monke continues that even simple routines like having a shared meal each night confer enormous benefits to young people, including better emotional regulation and grades, and fewer instances of drug abuse, depressive symptoms and eating disorders. (2)
Campers at Chippewa benefit from a time-tested structure and routine. Besides being screen-free and substance-free, young men at Chippewa enjoy a predictable routine that serves as a foundation for growth, friendship, adventure, and a summer filled with a sense of joy that can only come from freedom.
- Markham, Laura. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. Perigee Book, 2015.
- Monke, Audrey. Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults. Center Street, 2019.