Camp Nebagamon has been structured to foster and nurture a boy’s development through choice, challenge and community:
Through our tremendous level of daily choice, boys are free to explore different talents, interests, and sides of their personalities. Each morning campers select which activities they would like to pursue that day. This allows the boys to become experts in their skill areas of interest, and to easily try out a new activity without a long-term commitment, oftentimes discovering a brand new passion! This freedom to choose extends to our wilderness tripping program also. Campers have multiple opportunities throughout the summer to decide which and how many wilderness trips they want to take. We have some boys who choose to spend more than forty days on trail and others who prefer to focus on in-camp activities. Regardless of the venue, simply the freedom to choose, the act of giving boys autonomy and trusting them to make so many choices (that aren’t driven by adults!), imbues our campers with a sense of responsibility and confidence.
Our wilderness tripping program provides the right amount of challenge to build independence, interdependence, and a genuine connection to nature that simply cannot be duplicated. With wilderness trips ranging from short overnight outings to 14 day canoe and hiking trips, campers learn that they are capable of doing things that they never thought they could do. When on trail, a camper’s bed is as soft as he makes it, his food is as good as he cooks it, and he travels as far as his legs and arms will take him. At the same time, a wilderness trip is a true team effort. Each person relies on their peers and counselors to do their part. Campers learn to trust and depend on one another working through a tough hike together, cooking a meal outdoors together, and sitting around a campfire together at night experiencing its magic. This very real sense of interdependence and shared experience creates incredibly strong and deep friendships. Campers take great pride in their accomplishments on trail and this translates into significant individual growth.
Each summer our explicit and stated focus is to create a second home for our boys, an extended family. Staff and campers alike are charged with the responsibility to make our community the healthiest, most fun, and most positive one possible. The entire camp family understands the unique opportunity that exists at camp to create this special community. We focus on how we treat each other, on how we treat ourselves, and on how we treat our community. The structure of each day, each week, and the summer has been created to foster this sense of belonging to something special. From simple quotes that begin each meal, to thoughtful and amusing skits designed to bolster good values, to deep and meaningful activities that allow us to express appreciation and gratitude for each other, the Camp Family is reminded regularly about this special time we are sharing together. The result of explicit focus and discussion of these facets of our community results annually in a truly unique and special shared experience. Campers, staff members, and alumni alike recognize, each summer, that what we are doing together at camp is truly better than what is happening in the rest of the world. It is a truly unique and special experience. The Camp Nebagamon experience.
While there are many good residential summer camp programs out there, Nebagamon is clearly a different kind of place…a different kind of experience. Time and time again, we are told by campers, staff and alumni alike that Camp Nebagamon is where they became their “best self.” It is where they cemented the building blocks of their character.
The experiences offered at Camp Nebagamon challenge each of us to be the best we possibly can be. We build our best selves as we try new things and learn new skills. We build our best selves in the way we learn to interact with and treat others. We build our best selves while we explore nature. And all of this happens transparently while we laugh, and play, and have fun with an unabashed zeal for life.