COVID-19 Readiness

2 boys singing into microphones outside in front of a group of five boys hyping them up.

The safety and well-being of our staff and campers have always been our top priority. We'll update this page as the nature of COVID changes, so check back here often!

April 18, 2022

Dear Chippewa Parents

Both the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the CDC strongly recommend consistent use of layered mitigation strategies to help limit the spread of COVID-19 among children, youth participants, staff, and members of their households. These strategies include indoor masking; adequate ventilation; hand washing and respiratory etiquette; staying home when sick and getting tested; contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation; and cleaning and disinfection.

A lot can change in eight weeks but as of today, we will proceed with nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and we strongly recommend everyone coming to camp be up-to-date with their vaccinations including the COVID vaccine. “Fully vaccinated” for COVID means it has been two weeks since receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single J&J vaccine. “Up-to-date” means the person has also received the booster, if eligible for one.

Camp Chippewa will require submission of a negative antigen COVID test result no more than 24 hours prior to arrival or a negative PCR COVID test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. The negative result must be sent to the camp office prior to commencement of travel and contain the name of the camper, date of the test, type of test, test result, and who administered the test. There will be a place in CampInTouch (CIT) to upload this information or it can be emailed directly to the summer camp office at info@campchippewa.com.

Four days into each session, we will perform a PCR COVID test on everyone and communicate the results to our camp parents when we receive them. We will test individuals who show symptoms of illness either with a rapid PCR test on camp property or by taking the individual to the clinic in town. Any confirmed positive cases will require departure from camp within 24-48 hours. Camp Chippewa does not have the supervision or housing to keep COVID-positive campers on camp property. Any non-vaccinated campers who have been exposed to a COVID-positive person must also go home within 24-48 hours.

Campers traveling into Canada for canoe trips (rising 9th-12th graders) or Hook Island adventure trip (rising 7th graders), must submit to CIT a black-and-white scan of their COVID vaccination card showing they are fully vaccinated. The original COVID-19 vaccination card must be sent to camp along with a valid passport (or birth certificate and photo ID). These original documents will travel to Canada with the campers.

Camper orientation will proceed as usual by cabin cohorts until the camp-wide PCR COVID test results come back negative. Upper-camp campers will eat their meals in the Paul Bunyan Pavilion.

Please do your part to ensure the health and safety of our camp community by sending a healthy camper to camp. Refrain from large indoor gatherings 10 days before your son arrives at camp and practice daily health assessments which we will continue at camp.

Thank you so much for taking your part seriously. We are all weary of this pandemic and eager to return to normal. We feel the pandemic’s worst days are behind us, but we’re not out of the woods just yet.

From all of us at Camp Chippewa, we’re excited to welcome your son to the Year of the Campsite – 2022.

Onward,
Mike & Mary Endres

January 30, 2022

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
-Albert Einstein

Dear Chippewa Parents,

If we all had the wisdom, insight, and ability to focus like Prof. Einstein, perhaps the current state of the pandemic would not be so turbulent for the likes of us. Currently, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has not provided updated guidelines or recommendations for sleep-away summer camps this summer. We expect to hear something by late March or early April.

Last summer we ran a successful program on many levels. We were so appreciative of those who got vaccinated, isolated prior to coming to camp, and took steps to ensure the health and safety of themselves and of those who they came in close contact with. Summer 2022 is quickly approaching and we are again keen on preventing the spread of Covid-19—and all communicable diseases—in camp.

Camp Chippewa’s leadership team is making plans for the adventures to continue. Although the border with Canada is currently open to fully-vaccinated American citizens, Canada’s protocols are presenting challenges to organizations who bring groups of young people into the country for recreational purposes. We are prepared once again to pivot to the voyageur waterways of the largest canoe wilderness in the US – the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, if necessary.

  • We have updated the Parent Handbook in your CampInTouch (CIT) account. Note the date of last update on the cover. The latest version is dated 1/30/2022.
  • We will once again work with Essentia Health for PCR testing in camp (if necessary) and the forms they require are posted in your CIT account.
  • We are awaiting CampMinder’s update to the online Health History form (expected mid-February).
  • 2022 flight information from Travel One is posted in CIT.
  • Our Camper Travel form will be posted by the end of this week.
  • For campers who will take medication at camp, registration at PackMyRx will open February 1st.

We are cautiously optimistic that the Omicron variant will “burn itself out” by late spring. We hope you are doing well and enjoying the winter season. As always, please contact us with any questions.

Onward!
Mike & Mary

December 10, 2021

Dear Chippewa Parents,

The coldest three months of the year are December, January, and February. December 1st marked the beginning of meteorological winter. Although it’s been a mild fall we know the jet stream will change and eventually bring cold, snowy weather to Minnesota. How do we know? Farmer’s Almanac of course! If you live in Minnesota, you have to embrace long nights, shoveling snow, and icy roads in order to survive. It builds character, right?

As much as we all hoped to say farewell and good riddance to 2020, 2021 brought some sense of normalcy albeit short lived. It seems we have new variant to deal with and the latest reports from the CDC sound like we will.

Buoyed by the fact that last summer was healthy and safe for our whole camp community, we will build on the safety protocols to keep our campers and staff healthy in 2022. It is full steam ahead for next summer and we want to ensure you that our goal is to offer a transformational summer that is exciting, adventurous, and engaging.

As we learn more and the myriad of health agencies provide guidance for summer camp operations, we will keep you up-to-date regarding protocols and preparations for summer ‘22. Until the next update, we hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a safe and healthy Holiday season.

From all of us at Camp Chippewa, here’s to an incredible New Year!

Chip! Chip!
Mike & Mary Endres

August 31, 2021

Dear Chippewa Parents,

No one could have predicted this pandemic and the repercussions it caused. Looking back on the last year preparing for The Year of the Rendezvous was unlike any other. The partnership we had with our camp parents allowed us to provide a safe and full experience to all campers. Thank you for sending a healthy child to camp. From the camp directors to the staff to the campers themselves, camp this summer was rejuvenating and the campers’ highlights reflected an experience that was unique, fulfilling, and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Sending your son to Camp Chippewa is an investment in his potential to grow: to become more resilient, independent, develop leadership, discover untapped talents and gain respect for others and the wilderness. Being away from screens was more important this summer than ever before. And interacting with other people in person was the antidote to the isolation we all experienced over the last 15 months.

Thank you for trusting Camp Chippewa and making an investment in our son’s future success. We look forward to his return in 2022—The Year of the Campsite.

Chip! Chip!
Mike & Mary Endres

July 23, 2021

Dear Chippewa Parents,

It’s been a very busy first week at camp this session. We didn’t get a chance to send out an announcement that our first round of PCR COVID tests came back all negative. And now, the second round of tests came back all negative as well. This has allowed us to open up a bit.

It started with breakfast, seating the campers at tables outside of their cabin group but within their neighborhood of lower, middle, or upper camp and with different counselors. The oldest campers in Manitou, Marshall, Muir, and Athabasca cabins have been dining in the Paul Bunyan Pavilion, an outdoor covered shelter since June.

Usually the first three days of camp are spent in “camper orientation” where campers go to each activity as a cabin group to learn about the rules, what to wear, where to meet, etc. or have their skill level assessed as in tennis and swimming. Due to COVID, camper orientation took twice as long as it normally does allowing us to keep the campers in cabin groups until the two rounds of COVID tests could be performed and results received.

Today, campers were able to attend activities of their own choosing and were mixed with campers from other cabins. We are still wearing masks when appropriate, but since camp life is all outside except for mealtime and sleeping, the campers are able to enjoy themselves and each other safely. Probably the best news is that tonight they will play Scatterball for the first time this session. I know they’re excited about that!

Over the last week we’ve enjoyed the Welcome Assembly presented by the counselors outside around the campfire (last Friday). It was also during the Welcome Assembly that our oldest campers, the CLTs, returned from their 3-week canoe trip along the border route between Minnesota and Canada in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Their trip ended with a 9-mile portage on the historic Grand Portage to Fort George and a “dip” in the chilly waters of Lake Superior. A first for Camp Chippewa! Instead of arriving back to camp in a van honking all the way down Cap Endres Road, they chose to portage into camp carrying canoes and packs and chanting. It was amazing!

On Saturday afternoon, we took a break from camper orientation and played the first large group activity—Predator vs. Prey. Teams consisting of one cabin from lower, middle, and upper camp, worked together but independently of each other so as not to mix the campers. Parts of the activity included throwing balls made from sections of pantyhose filled with colored powder (like color wars) and LARPing (Live Action Role Play). It was quite an afternoon! That evening it was the campers turn to perform by cabin groups in Skit Night. It was also during Skit Night that the CLTs and their trip leaders gave their trip report. What an adventure they had!

Hopefully you’ve received at least one letter from your son and his counselor. Letters home are written each Sunday unless the cabin group is on the trail. The Hudson Bay Trading Post opened after dinner on Sunday and campers were allowed to purchase one piece of apparel, a piece of gear and a candy bar. Bucket hats, hooded long sleeve sunshirts, and socks, all with Camp Chippewa logos were the sought-after apparel items with a package of Skittles as the candy of choice.

Battle of the Bands on Cass Court was such a hit 1st Session that we did it again Monday night. The performances and choreography were awesome!

Wednesday afternoon it was time for another large group activity—a game of Clue, Camp Chippewa style. Someone murdered one of the counselors and it was up to the campers in each cabin to figure out who the murderer was, where in camp it happened and with what weapon. Each cabin moved around camp performing activities in order to collect clues. Our youngest campers in Badger cabin won the game by finding the most clues. Poor Blake was murdered by Col. Mustard at the rifle range with a bow and arrow!

Last night Badger cabin had their overnight trip to the Yurt on Buck Lake. They cooked out burgers, went swimming and jumped off the diving tower, made s’mores, and told stories in the yurt. Everyone’s highlight seemed to be jumping off the high dive. Tonight will be Bunkhouse cabin’s turn at the yurt.

Tomorrow morning, Manitou cabin departs for a week in Voyageur’s National Park. Due to a very dry summer and forest fires, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is closed. Other trips are being rerouted to rivers in northern Wisconsin and safer places in Minnesota. As more middle and upper camp cabins depart on their trips over the next few days, our camp community will begin to shrink.

Chip! Chip!
Mike & Mary Endres

June 25, 2021

Dear Chippewa Parents,

The second round of PCR COVID tests came back all negative. Yay!

We have finished a full week of camper orientation. Cabin groups rotated through all the activities offered at camp, learning about each one or having their skill level assessed (as in tennis and swimming). Due to COVID, camper orientation took twice as long as it normally does allowing us to keep the campers in cabin groups/cohorts until the two rounds of COVID tests could be performed and results received.

Everyone has been healthy at camp and spirits remain high. Over the last week we’ve enjoyed the Welcome Assembly presented by the counselors outside around the campfire last Friday, and on Sunday, the campers rehearsed and performed by cabin groups in Skit Night. Battle of the Bands opened on Cass Court for the first time ever and the music could be heard down the shoreline.

Athabasca Cabin leaves tomorrow on their 19-day Border Route canoe trip in the BWCA. We plan to mix staff with other cabin groups during meals, and on Monday, campers may begin to pick their own activities and mix safely with others. Other canoe trips will start heading out next week.

Chip! Chip!
Mike & Mary Endres

May 20, 2021

Dear Chippewa Parents,

In the immortal words of the late iconic coach, Vince Lombardi, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” And that may sum up how this pandemic has gone. We are not fully out of the woods yet, but with commitment from you and from our Chippewa team, we are almost home. From all of us working behind the scenes at Chippewa we’d like to officially say, “Welcome back!”

We are filled with excitement and optimism about the approaching summer. After months of isolation and screens, we will be immersed in a technology-free, joyous, intentional, adventurous, and connected wilderness environment. That’s camp! We will still be utilizing best practices regarding safety procedures to ensure the health of our camp community. Changes in recommendations and requirements are coming from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) almost daily. We all know it’s easier to relax our guidelines than it is to make things more strict. So let’s make sure we come to camp healthy and prepared for success.

We have enjoyed connecting with so many of you via email, text, calls, and Zoom. Yes, that is using technology, but it sure seems to have brought us closer together during times of separation. It has been wonderful to meet new families and chat with our returning campers as well. You have been so supportive and we appreciate your continued faith in what the Chippewa experience means to you and your son(s). For that, we are sincerely filled with gratitude.

Now is the time for you to double check all the “pre-camp” boxes to ensure your son’s summer is smooth, healthy, and fabulous. Please reread the Parent Handbook and check the boxes below. You’ll be well on the way to being fully prepared. Camp Chippewa is about building connections, developing character, offering adventure, surrounded by traditions. Let’s Go!!

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

❑ If your son is flying to Minneapolis or Bemidji, complete and securely fasten the enclosed blue tags to all checked bags. Adhere two (2) tags onto each bag. Our staff will meet your son at the gate. We’ll send an email the week before travel day with a photo of the 2021 Staff Shirt so your son knows what to look for. All campers must wait at the gate for a Chippewa counselor to arrive. If you are flying with your son, ensure you have completed the Travel form correctly. We will meet all campers at the gate if you choose “Air” on the Travel Form.

❑ Pack a nutritious bag lunch, snacks and reusable water bottle in your son’s backpack. Campers will not be allowed to purchase food at MSP. On the bus, campers must remain masked but may eat and drink on the ride to camp. The ride to camp from Minneapolis takes nearly five hours, with arrival expected close to 6pm. Dinner is served as soon as possible but that’s a long day of travel. Make sure your son is prepared.

❑ If your son is taking the bus to camp, plan to meet in the northeast corner of the IKEA parking lot (8000 IKEA Way, Bloomington, MN) at 1:15-1:30pm (this time may change). Ensure your son has already eaten a good lunch and pack nutritious snacks and water for the bus ride to camp. Remain in your vehicle, masked; a Chippewa staff member will perform a health assessment on your son. When all clear, he may exit the vehicle and our staff will collect his baggage. This will be a “Kiss & Go” drop off; say your “goodbyes” before the bus arrives.

❑ If you are driving your son to camp, thank you! Follow the signs to the drop-off location and we will meet you there. Remain in your vehicle, masked; a Chippewa staff member will perform a health assessment on your son. When all clear, he may exit the vehicle and our staff will collect his baggage. This will be a “Kiss & Go” drop off; say your “goodbyes” before entering the camp property.

❑ If you are shipping baggage to camp, thank you! Please note this on the Travel Form and contact the camp office.

❑ If your son will take any prescription medication or daily over-the-counter medication at camp, registration with PackMyRx is required. For sessions starting June 17th, parent registration and prescriptions should have been received at PackMyRx on or before May 17th in order to avoid late fees or expedited shipping costs. DO NOT SEND medication to camp with your son unless you have OK’d this with Mary. For sessions starting July 15th, parent registration and prescriptions sent by your son’s physician must be received no later than June 15th. Read the 2021 PackMyRx Packet.pdf in your CIT account for all information you need to complete this very important task.

❑ If your son’s flight or travel plans change, you must update his Travel Form in your CIT account. Even though TravelOne notifies us of flight/time changes, it is still the parent’s responsibility to update the Travel Form in your CIT account each time a change occurs. We rely on the information in the travel form to prepare for your son’s arrival. Do not delay in taking care of this very important task.

❑ Pack everything and the quantities of each item listed on the Camp Packing List. Review the packing list as items have changed from the last time your son was at camp. If your son is entering grade 9-12 or will be a CLT this summer, also pack everything on the Canadian Equipment List for his grade level. Both lists are located in your CIT account. Send questions to jacob@campchippewa.com.

❑ Ensure your son has 2 reusable cloth masks for traveling (more if you think he will need them) and pack five (5) additional reusable cloth masks (labeled) for his use at camp. Camp Chippewa will provide each camper with two reusable double-layer gaiters.

❑ LABEL EVERYTHING with your son’s last name or initials. Masks, shoes, toiletries, sleeping bag, bedding…EVERYTHING. Customized labels can be purchased online or in your CIT account. Please include your son when packing for camp so he knows what he is bringing and where it is located in his bags.

❑ Only biodegradable soap/shampoo is allowed in our lake. Campers do not take showers at camp. The camp store stocks Dr. Bronner’s organic liquid soap, Ivory bar soap.

❑ Do not send spray sunscreen or spray bug repellant to camp. Please send products in lotion or stick form only. The camp store stocks sunscreen sticks and 3M’s UltraThon insect repellent lotion.

❑ Do not send care packages to camp this summer. Contact the camp office first if you need to send anything that won’t fit in a 9×12 envelope (books being the exception). All box packages will be returned to sender at your expense. Please inform grandparents and others of this new policy. This change is due to a necessary decrease in UPS and FedEx deliveries at camp.

❑ All Camp forms are due May 31st regardless which session your son is attending. Please mail the paper forms that require a signature (except the Essentia Health forms) to the camp office in Maple Grove by May 31st or to Cass Lake after June 1st. Both mailing addresses are at the bottom of our website.

❑ Please read the Parent Handbook and contact us with questions.

**COVID Specific Information not found in the Parent Handbook. The items below are in your CIT Account.

❑ Download and read COVID Guidelines for Parents and Campers. We will contact you if/when this document is updated.

❑ Read the Parent COVID Agreement. Add your digital signature acknowledging you have read and you agree to comply with the policies, procedures, and protocols in both the COVID Guidelines for Parents and Campers and the Parent COVID Agreement. If your son’s COVID status changes, please update this form accordingly.

❑ Upload your son’s COVID Status Confirmation before he begins traveling to camp. The COVID Status Confirmation is a placeholder in your CIT Account where you will upload one of the following documents which will verify your son’s COVID Status:

• COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card if your son will be fully vaccinated by the start of his camp session.

OR

• Negative COVID-19 PCR test result if your son is not fully-vaccinated. PCR test must be taken 1-3 days before your son arrives at camp. The document must include the camper’s full name, date of test, name of company/lab processing the test, and the test result.

OR

• Documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating your son is cleared to travel.

❑ Complete the Pre-Arrival Screening. Review this online form now but complete and submit it 1-3 days before your son arrives at camp. If you have already completed this form, please review it 1-3 days before camp and update if necessary.

Sending your son to Camp Chippewa is an investment. Studies show experiences at summer camp provide long-term benefits to physical, emotional and mental development. Please know that homesickness is a natural emotion. We will help your son understand it and learn how to adjust to camp life. Typically, once boys feel like they can survive at camp, they begin to thrive. We are looking forward to welcoming your son to Camp Chippewa this summer. Thank you for your continued support and partnering with us as we develop Character, through Adventure, inspired by Tradition.

With Gratitude,
Mike & Mary Endres

May 7, 2021

Eleven years ago, in celebration of Camp Chippewa’s 75th season, Mike Endres and Bo Norris led a trip down a new river—the Coppermine—which emptied into the Arctic Ocean. Much of the 30-day journey was in land north of boreal forests called arctic tundra. There were few trees along the route and thus not a lot of cover from the elements. Nothing but rolling hills, bushy shorelines, swampy muskeg, hummocks of prairie grass and wildflowers, and endless clouds of flying pests. And therein lies the rub. On wide open lakes there are not a lot of places to dodge head winds. Grit your teeth, grasp your paddle tightly, sing a song in your head, and carry on.

The current pandemic has felt an awful lot like a very strong headwind. We’re not done paddling this lake yet, but the far shore is in sight. First session starts a little over a month from now and we are preparing to set foot on solid ground. We are looking forward to seeing your son as we celebrate Camp Chippewa’s 86th summer of adventure.

There is still plenty to sort out prior to sending your son to camp. We are very excited about the recent announcement that Pfizer will be able to vaccinate youth ages 12 and up. Please make arrangements to get your son vaccinated if you have not done so already. We understand the likelihood of serious illness in youth is low, but having a majority of our camp community vaccinated will give us all a welcome piece of mind.

On Tuesday, May 4th, camp directors in Minnesota finally received MDH’s Youth Camp Operation Requirements and Recommendations. We have been waiting for this since the beginning of April. On April 24th, the CDC released updates to their guidance for youth camps as well. Our goal is to keep the SARS-CoV-2 virus from making its way into camp. We know what to do if and when it does, but we need your help to mitigate the risk.

Look for an email from us this weekend about the last items that will be posted in your CIT Account. The Parent COVID Agreement, COVID Guidelines for Parents and Campers, Pre-Arrival Screening form, and the COVID Status Confirmation form.

With Gratitude,
Mike & Mary Endres

March 17, 2021

It’s hard to believe that the camp bus will be rolling down Cap Endres Road with the 1st Session campers 3 months from today. Time is flying by!

Here in Minnesota, the month of March is full of extremes in temperature and snowfall. The Vernal Equinox is March 20th and with the change to Daylight Savings Time last weekend, the days feel longer, snowbanks are receding, and temperatures are climbing. A feeling of eternal optimism or “Spring is in the air.”

The last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions and challenges, and although things are still difficult, we are seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel. However, we are not at the end of this tough portage yet. There is much work ahead to be ready and prepared for a safe, healthy, and joyous return to camp.

Although we cannot guarantee the virus won’t make its way into camp, we are preparing our protocols under the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Camp Association (ACA), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), American Camp Nurse Association (ACN), Beltrami County Health Services, and Sanford Medical Center in Bemidji. There have been some big changes this month and this is what we know now.

On March 10th, the State of Minnesota added summer camp workers to their list of essential childcare workers, allowing us to receive the vaccine. Now that Johnson & Johnson has been able to join the vaccine party, we are more optimistic than ever to have our staff vaccinated and ready to lead your son in many Chippewa adventures. Even though Camp Chippewa’s staff may be fully vaccinated by the time your son comes to camp, we will all wear masks when necessary based on requirements from MDH.

Critical to our success, is to ensure your son arrives at camp healthy and ready to go and we need your help. Presently, MDH recommends staff and campers limit their activities and maintain physical distancing from others and conduct daily health checks for 14 days prior to arrival.

CampMinder has announced the development of an online health assessment tool soon to be accessible in your CampInTouch account. Additionally, your son must take a PCR test for COVID-19 72 hours before traveling to camp. A negative result must be sent to the camp office verifying your son is allowed to travel. If you or your son have not been tested for COVID-19 before, please take some time now to research where this can be done in the timeframe we require. And please limit your interactions with others outside your immediate household for 2 weeks before your son comes to camp. We are relying on your vigilance.

We are planning on performing PCR tests on the whole camp community on days 3 and 6 of each session. If we receive a positive result, we’re ready to handle that by isolating the individual(s), quarantining their cabin mates and contacting parents right away. Please plan to be available for the first 7-10 days of your son’s session just in case he tests positive and must be sent home. If tests indicate we are healthy, then we will begin to blend our families into larger groups that will look more like a neighborhood. And finally, after constant vigilance, we may become one Camp Chippewa Community.

Ever Onward,
Mike & Mary Endres, Directors

January 24, 2021

Welcome to 2021. We have turned a page on the calendar and hopefully, very soon, we can turn the page on this virus.

Learn from the past, live for today, plan for tomorrow. This is usually the time of year when we post camp forms and ask our camp parents to start making travel plans. This year especially, we will need help from everyone to make this a safe and successful summer at camp.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends parents choose a mode of travel that is the most direct. Although our bubble will prevent us from welcoming you into camp with open arms, driving your son and all his gear up to Cass Lake may be a great option.

The science and data show flying is within the safety protocols. We are working with the Minneapolis Airport Commission (MAC) to make the time between the campers’ arrival at the airport and their departure on our chartered bus is as safe and smooth as possible. Our staff will be at the airport to meet your son and supervise him until he boards the bus. Delta is our preferred airline as they are the only major airline maintaining an empty middle seat between passengers this summer. As a result, capacities will be lower and flights may fill more quickly.

Many camps are requiring their camp parents to ship their camper’s luggage to camp via UPS or FedEx. At this time, we are highly recommending it. This will ensure baggage gets to camp on time and your son is ready to go upon his arrival. This also protects our staff from crowded baggage carousels and handling the luggage. There are no guarantees, but we are trying to implement strategies to ensure we all remain as safe and healthy as possible.

Even though 2020 is in the rearview mirror it does not mean we are out of the woods and back to normal. Actually, we are counting on getting back into the woods. We are anticipating a summer of opportunity, growth, learning, and an intentional program to grow the brotherhood that is forged at Camp Chippewa. Campers arriving healthy is critical. Please be mindful of this and limit your son’s and family members’ interactions with others the week before his session begins. Please continue to follow your state’s executive orders and stay healthy and safe.

We want you and your son to continue to plan for a great summer at camp. We will be practicing the 3 best nonpharmaceutical interventions—being outdoors, masked, and distanced—as necessary. Starting in cabin groups as families, transitioning to neighborhoods of adjacent cabins, and eventually our traditional camp community. The bubble over Camp Chippewa is only as good as all of us allow it to be. We’re doing our part, please continue to do yours.

Stay safe and well.
Onward,
Mike & Mary Endres

December 2, 2020

Thomas Fuller may be correct in acknowledging, “It is always darkest just before the dawn.” It may be the same with regards to the pandemic, especially as daylight dwindles with the onset of winter. We remain ever hopeful.

Vaccines are showing positive results. Being outdoors is seen as one of the best ways to prevent virus transmission. We are working on ways to increase fresh air space with outdoor shelters where we can safely meet, engage, laugh and be present. All cabins have screen doors and screened windows. They will remain open—even during storms as our roofs provide adequate protection. We are looking at ways to eat together by creating more space indoors in conjunction with outdoor picnics.

Plans are still being crafted to ensure we all travel to camp as safely as possible. We are aware your son is eager for a change of scenery. We are too. We will need your help ensuring your son’s safe and healthy arrival at camp. Data shows contracting the virus on board an airplane is very low. Taking the necessary precautions and flying to camp may be a great way to get to Minneapolis where we anticipate providing bus transportation to camp. With that said, we may encourage our families to drive their son to camp if possible.

The border with Canada remains closed to all nonessential travel. If a vaccine becomes available, we hope to see a change which will allow us to safely cross into Canada for canoe trips and adventure. If not, we will obtain permits to explore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area—a true gem of Minnesota—new wilderness routes for Chippewa and a great Plan B. All campers will get a chance to experience a canoe trip whether to our yurt on Buck Lake or our campsite on Star Island, routes on the Mississippi River or elsewhere in northern Minnesota.

While masks are a key part of preventing the spread of the virus, each cabin will become a “family” and family members may be together without masks. Sleeping will be without masks, and eating, as well as swimming and anytime we are outdoors and spaced 6 feet or more apart. Camp will provide campers with buffs to make masking as easy as “Buffs up!” or “Buffs down!” In time, “families” will grow into “neighborhoods” and we anticipate the whole camp community will be able to safely gather before the end of the session.

Camp will be a great place for your son even if the pandemic continues. We will work hard to prevent Covid-19 from getting into camp. If it does, we will be prepared to prevent it from spreading.

Enjoy the holidays. We will be in touch with you after the new year.

Onward,
Mike & Mary Endres

October 31, 2020

All of us at Camp Chippewa hope you are safe and well. We have all felt a rollercoaster of emotions since the onset of lockdowns, cancellations, and distance learning. Although this is a tough portage, we remain optimistic that camp will operate next summer and that the best is yet to come.

It is our intention to greet your son at camp in 2021. The latest medical information from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the American Camp Association (ACA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), will guide our decisions to mitigate the spread, help prevent COVID outbreaks at camp, and prepare for the best possible Camp Chippewa experience.

Our goal is to keep you informed on a timely basis. We want to keep our communications concise, relevant, and informative as we understand you have been flooded with emails from school, work, and family.

Chippewa’s leadership team is busy crafting a preparedness plan that will be in place with the MDH. We are distilling critical information you will need for your son’s safe travel to Cass Lake and healthy enjoyment at camp. And we are developing program activities that will fulfill our mission and provide opportunities for transformational experiences.

Currently, the MDH guidelines for resident camp operations requires campers to wear masks, stay in cohorts (cabin groups), and social distance. In other words, do what you’ve already been doing. Yes, we’ll all be able to go on canoe trips. If the border with Canada is still closed in 2021, we will obtain permits in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Please know that we want your son to arrive at camp safe and healthy—and stay that way. Based on what we know now, isolation before traveling to camp will be required; COVID testing will be required; surface sanitation, hand washing, face masks, and distancing will be required. Thankfully, the best Non-Pharmacological Intervention (NPI) is being in the outdoors. Camp life can and will go on.

We’ll send another update next month. Until then, please call or email if you have any questions.

Onward,
Mike & Mary Endres

August 31, 2020

Looking back at the summer, we find it hard to come up with our “highlights.” Last night, the cry of Minnesota’s state bird, the loon, could be heard out on Cass Lake. The moon, planets, stars, and even the northern lights, inspire wonder and imagination as night fall comes earlier each evening. We’ve noticed the leaves are beginning to change color and a chill in the air is cause to pull up a blanket for added warmth. Camp looks fabulous, but things are all too quiet as autumn approaches. We are hopeful for a return to near “normal” next summer.

We have heard from many of you during the course of the summer. We are happy to report—despite masks, distancing, and frequent hand washing—our campers, counselors, and families still found opportunities for adventure. We too found opportunities for a different kind of adventure here at camp. Several walleye were caught in Cass Lake. The new campsite on Star Island has been cleared a bit more. And our family grew as our son and trip leader, Jacob Endres, and program director, Abby Michels, were recently married. True to form, the couple tied the knot on a rocky point overlooking Lake Superior.

Camp is in ship shape. We took advantage of this once-a-century opportunity to clean the exterior of many cabins. The dining hall looks especially fantastic. It has been sandblasted, cleaned, stained and sealed. The archery range has new turf. Buck Lake shoreline is stabilized with small boulders and erosion is no longer an issue. The Sentinel Climb hosts all new routes. The trip house is cleaned, organized and ready for action. Packs, tents, and canoes have been thoroughly gone over and given a clean bill of health. Our fleet of canoes have all been named. Each cabin is outfitted with the same style cots, mattresses and cubicles. And the new basketball court will be ready for concrete, posts and hoops next spring.

We are amazed at the number of campers already signed up for 2021. Registration has only been open to campers (and siblings) who were signed up for 2020. Registration for new campers will open after September 15th.

For those of you who donated/rolled over a portion or all of 2020’s paid tuition, a completed camper application must be submitted by September 15th to lock in your 2020 rate and secure your son’s spot for 2021. There will be no Early Enrollment Discount offered this year. Rates for 2021 are posted on our website and can be found in the online camper application and will apply to all camper applications received after September 15th, so do not delay. All applicable discounts will be added to your account during the enrollment process and a statement emailed before any further payments will be required. If you are unsure which session will fit your family’s schedule the best next summer, choose one and let us know so we can keep you up-to-date if spaces start to fill up in the other session.

We are not planning any fall Chippewa gatherings until we know we can do so safely. If you’d like to connect with us at any time, we can set up a call, FaceTime or Zoom meeting that fits your schedule.

We will remain at camp for another 3-4 weeks. Cass Lake is much quieter and the cry of the loon carries a long way on a still night. We wish you well and hope to see you soon.

Kindly,
Mike and Mary

May 11, 2020

Imagine a river in the far north that has never been paddled before. Sometimes, all the maps, equipment, and preparations are not enough to tell you what’s around the next bend. Up ahead you can hear the roar of something unknown, but the map indicates nothing unusual. Our wilderness trip leaders would take the time to scout ahead and determine the best possible course of action.

Today, in light of COVID-19, we find our Camp Chippewa community in a similar circumstance. We wish we could tell you what lies ahead but the map doesn’t provide us with enough clues. So with a heavy heart, we have come to the right decision to portage around the upcoming summer entirely. Camp Chippewa’s 85th season, The Year of the Rendezvous, is cancelled.

While hoping for normalcy, we have been busy reimagining our program given the least restrictive environment allowed. Under the current safety guidelines from the CDC, American Camp Association (ACA,) and the State of Minnesota Department of Health—if even allowed to operate—what you would experience at Camp Chippewa this summer would not be camp. What would social distancing, sanitization and masks at camp look like for Scatterball, swimming, canoeing, eating in Knutson Hall or sleeping in a tent? Even crossing into Canada—as most of our campers do—is not allowed.

Our mission is to develop Character, through Adventure, inspired by Tradition. We are by nature, problem solvers and as such, are an optimistic group. We thought this bug wouldn’t get the best of us. It’s just another portage. But with so much at stake and so many unknowns around the next bend, we will not venture forth. We cannot, without a doubt, ensure the health and safety of our entire camp community—campers, counselors, administration, medical, and kitchen staff—let alone contemplate the potential impact on the local community and healthcare system.

With unanimous support from the Camp Chippewa Board of Directors we are opting to take this portage. Throughout this journey we have sincerely appreciated your patience, support and understanding as we have monitored and evaluated the information about the virus in hopes of a better outcome. Thank you for connecting with us during this time—through social media, donations, and conversations. You have helped us feel normal. We will continue to invest in the Chippewa community even while apart this summer.

So what’s next? Camp Chippewa is a place that exists in large part due to your deep belief in our mission. And because of that, we are currently preparing to make summer 2021 even better. All campers, staff and alumni are invited back for 2021, the Year of the Rendezvous, Part Deux, and are invited to continue to connect with us throughout the year.

Camp Chippewa is often referred to as a brotherhood, but it is also a “familyhood” and we are deeply saddened we will be unable to rendezvous with our campers, staff and alumni this summer. We hope you and your family remain safe and healthy, and we look forward to the day when we can gather together again on the shores of Cass Lake. Your loyalty to Camp Chippewa means the world to us. Our commitment to providing Adventure, Tradition, and Character to your son is unwavering.

Sincerely,
Mike and Mary Endres