Summer Camp Alliances

Diversity in the United States is a reality. The American Camp Association recognizes that because social and economic change is here, camps must understand the need for cultural competence, otherwise it will be a challenge for them to fulfill the social contract made with families — that the skills a child learns at camp will contribute to his or her success in the classroom and make him or her a successful, contributing adult in the future. We agreed that a diverse camp community can help ensure that the promise made to families is fulfilled.

The camps with whom we align understand this commitment and embrace this cultural competence, thereby:

  • Increasing respect and mutual understanding within their community.
  • Increasing creativity in problem-solving through new perspectives, ideas, and strategies.
  • Increasing trust and cooperation.
  • Helping to overcome a fear of mistakes, competition, or conflict.
  • Helping to defy myths.
  • Promoting inclusion and equality.

We are proud to align with the following high-quality American Camp Association accredited residential summer camps.

Camp Kawanhee for Boys (Maine)

To provide boys and young men with experiential educational opportunities designed to encourage self-sufficiency and teamwork and an appreciation of the natural world.

Camp Kawanhee is located on the East shore of Webb Lake, in Weld, Maine. The program consists of a summer session that promotes cooperative living in a safe and nurturing environment. They offer a rustic camp setting on the shores of a pristine lake surrounded by mountains, together with a staff sensitive to the needs of boys and a liberal arts philosophy that has stood the test of time, and yet continues to evolve. It is their hope that members of the Kawanhee community will return to their everyday lives as better, more productive citizens of the world.

The location of the camp is one of the finest natural settings for a boys’ camp in the country.  Situated at the “Narrows” of the lake, there is a protected cove for sailing, canoeing, boating and fishing, and a sandy beach for swimming.  The lake is surrounded by miles of pines and pointed firs and spectacular mountains producing fabulous sunsets.  Wildlife is abundant, from bald eagles, loons, and deer to moose and bear.  The surrounding country is unspoiled and pristine.

George and Raymond Frank said about this location when they founded Camp Kawanhee in 1920… “The surrounding country is wild and rugged and appeals to the adventurous spirit of growing boys.  Just to run, to swim, to follow trails over lofty peaks, to spy on deer and moose as they come to the lake to drink, to investigate beaver dams, to capture woodchucks and porcupines, to fish for trout in swirling rapids, to sit by glowing campfires at night, or to roll up in blankets under the stars and listen to strange noises of the deep woods—what a life! Such thrilling experiences make every fellow worth his ‘salt’ – a bigger, better, more self-reliant man!”

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Camp Thunderbird (Minnesota)

Camp Thunderbird for Boys and Camp Thunderbird for Girls are located in the Minnesota Northwoods on beautiful Lake Plantagenet. The two sleep-away camps are a few miles apart and operate independently with a spirit of cooperation.

The child-centered philosophy of Camp Thunderbird is the same now as it was when we opened in 1946. They believe in providing kids with a safe, nurturing, non-competitive environment where they can challenge themselves and gain independence. They provide the attention and support necessary to help each child cultivate his or her individuality and enhance self-esteem. Group living in their diverse community helps instill values like compromise, teamwork, respect, and tolerance. Today more than ever, kids need the opportunity to live and play in the outdoors, free from the pressures of materialism and technology. Their goal is for campers to leave Thunderbird with a sense of independence, a respect for nature, and a collection of life skills that will carry them into adulthood.

“So, are they co-ed?” – the answer is no; they believe strongly in the benefits of a single-gender camp environment. The camp for boys and the camp for girls have completely separate facilities and each employs its own staff. They have a co-ed event once a session as well as opportunities for siblings and cousins to visit each other at opposite camps.

A Shared Tradition – What makes Thunderbird unique is the shared experience for both boys and girls in the context of single-gender camp environments. Because the programs at each camp are so similar, siblings are able to have shared experiences and a shared camp spirit, while still getting the benefits of an all-girls or all-boys summer camp environment.

Camp Thunderbird for Boys – a place to call home

Thunderbird is a place where you can be yourself and expect your summer to be full of excitement and adventure. Your days are filled with amazing activities like rock climbing and mountain biking, soccer and basketball, arts and crafts and blacksmithing. At the waterfront, you can fish while sailboats, paddle boards, canoes, and water skiers enjoy our secluded bay. Every day you have the opportunity to plan you own schedule by choosing from over 30 activities. But there’s always time at Thunderbird during the day to laugh, play and get dirty or just relax and listen to music with friends and cabin mates.

At T-bird, they play sports daily and frequently compete with other camps but in a way that emphasizes good sportsmanship and teamwork. Whether we’re in a match, fine-tuning our skills or scrimmaging, playing hard and working together as a team is winning.

Thunderbird Boys Camp Fun

Life long friendships are forged during free time at T-bird. You can hang out on the beach, play water basketball or simply spend time in your village after dinner playing gaga, cards or just sitting among friends. You’ll discover that boys who live a state or an ocean away share remarkable similarities and become as close as brothers. Sound like a great place to you? T-bird boys think so and that’s why they call Thunderbird their second home.

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Camp Thunderbird for Girls – From Strong Young Girls to Proud Women

Thunderbird is a place where you can truly be yourself. At home or at school, it’s normal to worry about things like being accepted, being “cool” enough, having the right clothes or the right friends. Thunderbird is the perfect place to take a break from those worries. It’s where girls support and accept one another. At T-bird, we encourage you to get dirty, be silly, go on adventures and let the real “you” show. T-bird girls leave behind blow dryers, makeup, designer clothes, gossip and cliques. They celebrate each other for trying new things, showing kindness, accomplishing what they put their minds to, and for being themselves.

Girls at Thunderbird Girls Camp

The unique camp spirit and sense of camaraderie is contagious. Cabin songs, Thunderbird songs and village cheers chanted back and forth by each age group cause campers and staff alike to jump up and participate so enthusiastically that they can be heard as far away as Boys Camp. Shared all-camp activities are about having fun and celebrating our camp spirit. At meal times, campers and staff write announcements to be read in the Lodge that celebrate personal achievements like standing up on water skis or memorizing all of the lines for a camp drama performance. How would you feel if 200 girls were cheering for you after you reached a personal goal?

Thunderbird Girls Camp Fun

Individuality and friendship are forged during more personal times at T-bird. Boxes, duct-tape, markers, glue, pom-poms and glitter become entire casts of characters in the hands of a third-grade group during free time. Hanging around the village after dinner weaving friendship bracelets, playing games or just sitting among friends, campers chat and discover that girls who live a state or an ocean away can share amazing similarities. At the waterfront, girls invent games using water noodles, paddleboards and never-before-seen swim strokes that bring on laughter and cheers. All of this waits for you at Thunderbird.

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Cheley Colorado Camps (Colorado)

We build the lasting character and resiliency of young people, creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment. Great things happen when youth and mountains meet.

Since 1921, thousands of young people from every state and more than a dozen countries have come to Cheley Colorado Camps. The experience can change you. You become more independent and self-reliant. You face new challenges and form new relationships. You acquire confidence and initiate the lifelong process of self-discovery. The judgments and expectations that you bring from home start to drop away. You get in touch with your physical self and well-being. Fears are faced and conquered at this unique Colorado outdoor summer camp. Friendships develop and grow at Cheley Colorado Camps.

Each camp unit creates a Code of Living, a personal code of honor that everyone in your unit agrees to follow. Striving for ideals such as fair play, honesty, enthusiasm and good character is a priority at Cheley Colorado Camps – and so is having fun. There is a distinct beginning, middle, and end to this Colorado outdoor summer camp experience in order for the entire program to unfold.

Cheley campers share this world with horses, elk, marmots and mountain sheep. You climb slabs of rock a billion years old. Blue skies, afternoon rain showers, fresh air and brilliant sunshine are commonplace here at our rocky mountain summer camp. Campers often say they feel more alive, more connected and more themselves at Cheley, whether they’re coaxing friends up a steep mountain pass or riding horseback down a rocky trail.

You learn about trust and support because you give it to one another when it really counts. Camp memories are filled with details that don’t exist anywhere else in your life. A rich history and great people are a big part of what makes the Cheley adventure what it is today-a truly meaningful and unique youth development experience.  Not only is Cheley summer camp an excellent choice for a Colorado summer adventure camp, but a place to develop lifetime leadership and character-building skills, close friends and meaningful relationships.

Campers looking for an educational summer camp, mountain summer camp, or a sporting summer camp will find Cheley intertwines all of this into an experience of a lifetime.  Camp is a time of fun and friendship, of physical challenge and thrilling adventure. It’s a chance to step out of your routine and connect with the natural world. Most campers say that Cheley changes them. You feel more solid, focused and engaged in life. Living in the great outdoors, surrounded by mountain peaks, ancient rock, and huge ponderosa pines makes you feel more alive, more connected, more in touch with who you are. View the virtual summer camp tour.

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Clearwater Camp for Girls (Wisconsin)

 To foster confidence, courage, compassion and community – four points on Clearwater’s compass – by providing a traditional sleepaway camp experience for girls.

LOCATION: Located in Minocqua, WI – 4 hours north of Milwaukee, WI and 5 hours north of Chicago, IL.

GENDER: Girls camp

PHILOSOPHY: At Clearwater, a camper is a special person, one whose parents recognize the values of an extended experience away from home. Realizing this, Clearwater is dedicated to providing that environment which will stimulate the most healthful and purposeful growth toward maturity. It is a place where a camper may learn to interact with her peers, to develop new skills, to venture into the unknown and to succeed.

VALUES: Clearwater values…

The call of the wild as echoed in the loon’s mysterious cry, the beauty and wonder of the natural world around us.

The dip of the paddle, the peace of gliding over smooth waters, and yes, the ache and tiredness that come from a day of battling a strong headwind.

Song around the campfire, the remembrance of many wonderful shared experiences, and the anticipation of the new.

The spirit of the Voyageurs and what it tells us about adventure, resilience, courage.

Their beloved founders, Halokwe and Sunny, and all they taught us about community, camaraderie, friendship.

Each other as companions, counselors, teachers, mentors, and we value ourselves as strong, confident girls and women.

 

 

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Colvig Silver Camps (Colorado)

To facilitate the development of caring, thoughtful, and responsible human beings.

LOCATION: Located in the Red Creek Valley just outside of Durango, Colorado.

GENDER: Co-Ed

PHILOSOPHY: Environmentally oriented and non-competitive, and the choice based format is designed to develop self-esteem, leadership skills, responsibility, and teamwork. They believe that the challenges of outdoor education, fun, and adventure provide some of the best opportunities to achieve this goal.

VALUES: CSC remains committed to teaching today’s youth the value of outdoor ethics and a respect for our natural world. They pride themselves on fostering personal growth, self-esteem, and leadership in a non-competitive environment through challenges in and out of the traditional camp setting.

Click HERE to visit the camp website

Friendly Pines Camp (Arizona)

A residential summer camp for all boys and girls ages 6-13 set high in the heart of the cool, pine-clad Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott, Arizona, offering a traditional program of over 30 non-competitive activities. Campers from around the world choose from a list that includes horseback riding, waterskiing, rock climbing, sports, performing arts, fine arts, pets, hiking, canoe and kayaking, and much more. With it’s low camper to staff ratios, Friendly Pines provides a safe, well-supervised environment where kids can enjoy all the wonders of childhood.

Friendly Pines strives to be very unlike school. The classroom is their vast mountain forest, and the learning comes from doing. A simple camp-out teaches the lessons of teamwork. Caring for animals or working on an art project develops patience. And sharing a space and time with friends inspires a sense of community and compromise.

It is an integral part of the Friendly Pines’ philosophy to have the campers pick a limited number of activities they really want and allow them to participate in the same activities repeatedly, thus developing skills and confidence. They believe that campers will have the most fun and learn the most when they are doing what they want.

Many of the activities are offered at elementary, intermediate, and advanced level. This allows each camper to participate at a level best suited to his or her skill and experience. Their qualified instructors utilize lesson plans that have been developed over 70 years of experience. Staff is encouraged, however, to be innovative and to keep pace with new technologies and techniques.

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

Kooch-I-Ching (Minnesota)

To inspire the growth of young men through fun, challenging, wilderness adventures that promote self discovery, teamwork, and service to others.

A residential summer camp for boys set in the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near International Falls, Minnesota, offering an opportunity for your child that offers growth, lifelong community, safety, challenge, adventure and the chance to be fully immersed in a true wilderness setting.

Kooch-I-Ching has the ability to offer an intimate experience, making a quality program their number one priority. With a camper to staff ratio for our younger campers ranging from 2:1 to 3:1, they focus on building a strong foundation so campers can grow from year to year. Each summer brings new challenges, skills, and lessons creating more substance to their overall experience.

Click HERE to visit the camp website to learn more

Ogichi Daa Kwe (Minnesota)

To empower the strong spirits of young women and their families through wilderness tripping and lifelong community

A residential summer camp for girls set in the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near International Falls, Minnesota, offering an opportunity for your child that offers growth, lifelong community, safety, challenge, adventure and the chance to be fully immersed in a true wilderness setting.

Ogichi Daa Kwe has the ability to offer an intimate experience, making a quality program their number one priority. With a camper to staff ratio for our younger campers ranging from 2:1 to 3:1, they focus on building a strong foundation so campers can grow from year to year. Each summer brings new challenges, skills, and lessons creating more substance to their overall experience.

Click HERE to visit the camp website to learn more

Sanborn Western Camp (Colorado)

To live together in the outdoors, building a sense of Self, a sense of Community, a sense of the Earth, and a sense of Wonder through fun and adventure.


By giving children the tools to better understand themselves, they develop problem solving skills, independence, confidence, and strength of character. By teaching children how to live and work in a community, they learn to manage themselves in complex social situations, put others’ needs before their own, and to work with other strong individuals from all over the United States and the world. By helping children value the earth, they become stewards of the natural world and, in turn, value the efforts made by themselves and others to preserve, protect and appreciate the immeasurable gifts of the outdoor world. And, by imbuing these actions with a deep sense of wonder, children grow to see and appreciate the beauty, magic, and possibility within themselves, others and the world.

Sanborn Western Camp’s philosophy for the last sixty years has been to provide a quality, safe experience for children in the outdoors. As youth development professionals, they teach life skills that are necessary for the creation of healthy, productive adults.

The modern, well-maintained grounds and facilities at Sanborn Western Camps include lodge-style dining rooms, cabins including full bathrooms and living areas, and separate buildings for arts and crafts.

High Trails Ranch – Summer Camps for Girls

The warmth and friendliness of the all-girl community at High Trails camps is evident from the first moment you step into the Lodge.

Staff members and campers are energetic, fun, and enthusiastic about their adventures. Campers are justifiably proud of their accomplishments which include climbing Colorado’s highest peaks, five-day wilderness backpacking trips, other exciting trips and program challenges. The girls camps also offer a concentration on horseback riding – including overnight riding trips for those with a passion for horses, as well as a wide variety of other activities from which to choose.

The spirit of High Trails is most evident when watching the girls warmly engaged with each other, laughing together and helping one another.  Sanborn camps foster authentic friendships that can last a lifetime.  The 12,000 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness is the perfect setting for our overnight summer camps. Sanborn provides the perfect combination of outdoor adventures, fun, friendships, relaxation, and life skills development.

The philosophy of Sanborn camps includes free choice, new challenges, free play within the natural world and a strong sense of community and cooperation. This builds self-esteem, self-reliance, self-confidence and leadership initiative. The growth we see in our campers in terms of personal development, authentic friendships and taking responsibility is inspiring.

Big Spring Ranch – Boys Summer Camp

Big Spring Ranch is the boys summer camp, offering a variety of activities such as backpacking, riding, canoeing, fishing, swimming, plus incredible trips, including the adventure of climbing a 14,000 peak and camping overnight in the Rockies.

of all ages thrive in the enthusiastic, energetic summer camp community at Big Spring Ranch. They spend their days building confidence, strength and resourcefulness in fun, challenging adventures. Sports are played in a non-competitive environment emphasizing teamwork. Teenagers thoroughly enjoy themselves and our SOLE leadership experiences.

Proud of their accomplishments, the boys learn appreciation for the outdoors, themselves and each other in a 12,000 acre natural mountain wilderness.

The boys summer camp offers a great deal of freedom, allowing campers to discover their own preferences, initiative, resourcefulness and self-responsibility. The facilities are comfortable, the food and staff are great, and important social and emotional skills are developed at the same time. The camp is definitely a maturing experience, even though the focus at the camp is on fun.

Click HERE to visit their website to learn more

If you are interested to learn more about the value of a partnership with the John Austin Cheley Foundation please submit an Alliance Inquiry.

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