Our Directors

mike endres headshot.

Mike Endres, Director

While Mike holds a Master’s of Education (and 30 years in the classroom as a science teacher), his most impressive pedigree is in the field of camping. A third-generation director of Camp Chippewa, Mike has been spending his summers at Cass Lake since 1958. He would prefer if you did not calculate how many summers that is… 

Mike brings a wealth of leadership and educational experience to Camp, from which both the campers and the staff benefit greatly. Seeing situations from the lens of a teacher, parent, and camp director lends a great deal of wisdom to Mike’s leadership at Camp. While his never-ending supply of “dad jokes” is notable, Mike’s most impactful contributions to Camp are his perpetual enthusiasm, reverence for tradition, and ability to serve as a role model for countless campers. 

Mike is most often seen driving the water ski boat, cultivating the calm and concentrated environment of the Rifle Range, and taking his boat out to visit groups camping at Star Island—always bringing popsicles to share. 

mary endres headshot.

Mary Endres, Director

Mary began her Camp Chippewa experience as a parent in 2002. After sending her two boys, Sam and Jacob, to Camp for over a decade, she took over the reigns as Director with Mike in 2012, transitioning from a career as a graphic designer. Mary is the organized, reliable force that allows Camp Chippewa to take the best possible care of its campers and parents. Mary is especially gifted at understanding Camp from a parent’s perspective. 

An avid dog-lover, wherever Mary is, Ivy (the lovable and docile Camp dog) is sure to follow. Her favorite hobbies are knitting, cooking, drawing, and going for walks. A group fitness instructor for many years, Mary is passionate about fitness and nutrition. Mary also loves to fish, but with the caveat that she prefers to catch primarily small and cute fish, not the big and scary ones. 

While at Camp, Mary can be found in the office, the camp store, and (of course) roaming about with Ivy. She has been calling Camp Chippewa her summer home since 2000.

Our Leadership Team

sam endres headshot.

Sam Endres, Associate Director

In helping run Camp Chippewa, Sam followed in the footsteps of his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. As Associate Director, Sam is the contact point for new parents, responsible for training staff, and involved in daily Camp life.  

After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, Sam began working as an EMT for Minnesota Children’s Hospital. He stays active in emergency medicine as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School. Sam is certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid and is active as an advocate for developmentally appropriate challenges, time spent outside, and screen-free summers for young people (or, more accurately, all people). 

During the summer, Sam can be found all over camp – belaying at the Sentinel Climb, paddling canoes, and throwing behind-the-back passes on the basketball court. He plans to spend the rest of his summers on the shores of Cass Lake, where his youthful exuberance, joy for working with young people, and propensity to adopt various personas are on full display. Sam lives in Seattle with his wife Emily and five of their best friends.

jacob endres headshot.

Jacob Endres, Associate Director

Jacob is Camp Chippewa’s Staffing Coordinator and Trip Program Director. A master of organization, the skill level of the staff and the logistical success of Camp’s canoe trips are largely thanks to Jacob. A lifelong practitioner of “leaving the campsite better than you found it,” Jacob’s fingerprints are all over Camp Chippewa.

Along with 20 summers of experience at Camp Chippewa, Jacob has also worked in outdoor education at The Ecology School in Maine and at ECOS in California. He is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where he studied biology and played on the tennis team. He brought his tennis acumen to the Columbia Heights High School coaching staff and to the courts at Camp Chippewa.

While Jacob is a strict follower of highway speed limits, he makes up for his ponderous acceleration on the pavement by being a speed demon on cross-country skis! Along with coaching at the high school level, Jacob competes in the Birkie (a 50-kilometer Nordic ski race) each year. When the snow melts, Jacob plays tennis and rides his bike… mostly to stay in shape for ski season!

Jacob lives in New Brighton, Minnesota with his wife, Abby.

will norris headshot.

Will Norris, Program Director

After 20 years at Camp Chippewa, Will has become something of a legend. His unflappable demeanor, persistent goofiness, and exquisite frisbee-tossing ability makes him a favorite among campers and staff. Getting to go sailing with Will is a sought-after activity.

Will brings a wealth of educational experience to Camp Chippewa. Besides having worked for more than a decade as a counselor, he has worked for—and directed—outdoor educational programs in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Will holds degrees in Earth, Society, & Environmental Sustainability and Geography and Geographic Information Systems from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an avid downhill skier, and enjoys hiking, fly fishing, reading, and all the daily New York Times puzzles.

At Camp, Will is the Program Director, runs the Chippewa Leadership Training Program, and spends the rest of his time in a sailboat. The rest of the year, Will lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

tina bryson headshot.

Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., LCSW, Staff Development Trainer & Mental, Emotional, Social Wellness Consultant

Each summer, Tina comes to camp to train our staff on many of the revolutionary principles from her books, including her New York Times Bestseller The Whole-Brain Child. Staff learn about the power of positive relationships to to change the brain and build resilience, as well as about how behavior is communication so that counselors focus on skill-building and teaching. In their time with Tina, our counselors learn the “4 S’s” of helping campers feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure in knowing that they will have someone show up for them and help them feel connected. From these training experiences, our staff and campers have more positive camp experiences and learn skills that go beyond camp.

jp headshot.

JP Endres, Director Emeritus

John “JP” Endres is the son of the founders, Cap and Mom Endres. In 2001, he and his wife, Cammy, became Director Emeriti after more than 40 years as directors. During his tenure, JP developed many of Chippewa’s activities and opened the next chapter of the camp’s tripping program with the first Canadian canoe trip in the 1950s. The tennis court still beckons, as do games of washers and stories around the campfire. If stories keep us connected, then JP’s stories connect us to Chippewa’s past. JP followed in Cap’s footsteps by serving his country in WWII, teaching and coaching, and directing camp for many years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

cap and mom headshot.

Cap & Mom Endres, Founders

Founders and pioneers Otto “Cap” and Helen “Mom” Endres began bringing boys to northern Minnesota to escape the summer heat of Oklahoma. Cap was a teacher, coach, and military captain. Mom was a bookkeeper, cook, and mother to all. During the Depression, they shared a vision that boys needed to stay physically and mentally strong in the summer. Their spirit lives on today in our mission to develop character, through adventure, inspired by tradition.

Our Board of Directors

board of directors group shot.

Where we’ve been—tradition. Where we are—program. Where we’re going—vision. In 1999 Camp Chippewa made the transition to become a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. A board of directors was assembled and the ground work to honor the past, support the present, and lead toward the future began. All nine board members have close ties to Camp Chippewa as a past camper, counselor, or family member of a camper. Each brings their passion for camp as they work to make the Chippewa experience even better.

Our Support Staff

kitchen staff smiling.

Kitchen Staff

If the program is the heart of Camp Chippewa, then the kitchen is the soul. Our kitchen team of six makes a Swiss watch look out of sync. Three meals a day include variety, nutrition, and food prepared from scratch. Busy campers and counselors need good eats to keep their engines running. The food at Camp Chippewa is second to none thanks to our kitchen team.

driving the maintenance cart with brush in the trailer.

Maintenance Staff

Behind the scenes is our maintenance staff who keep the grounds in great shape, ensure the washhouse is clean, and make repairs promptly. They are all more than just faces that say hello. Our staff will get to know campers by name while they laugh together, sing a song, or play a game. All while, of course, keeping the Ivy Bowl manicured to the standard of Augusta National.

helping a camper with a wound on their toe.

Medical Staff

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. While their training far exceeds handing out band-aids, the majority of our medical staff’s work is done by serving as another reassuring and nurturing adult who is present to care for our campers. Modern medical facilities are found in Bemidji, twenty miles away.

Counseling Staff

Counselors are selected for their maturity, character, and leadership capabilities, as well as their desire to be role models and mentors to our campers. 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 Chippewa campers who pass on the skills and experiences they gained when they were younger. Counselors from foreign countries share their unique skills and culture.

Unique within the industry, most of our staff return with multiple years of experience, and all staff are college-aged or older. Camp Chippewa is also notable for an exceptionally high staff-to-camper ratio, making coaching more accessible and supervision ubiquitous.

In addition to our background verification and interview process, all of our staff and volunteers must pass criminal background checks that exceed state standards. Staff training is two weeks long, and includes certification in Lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and First Aid through the American Red Cross.


Would you like to join our team?

We take great care in choosing our leadership and camp counselors. If you would like to know more about what it takes to join our crew, we welcome you to visit Work at Camp for more information.