Thank you for visiting Clearwater Camp online! In a day when so many opportunities compete for our daughters’ time, we are grateful that you are thinking of us when looking at summer camp options. We hope these pages provide you with helpful information about Clearwater’s unique approach to raising the next generation of leaders in a place where kindness is kindled, respect is recognized, unconditional love flourishes, integrity and confidence are instilled, and resourcefulness is required.
Selecting just the right summer camp is an exciting process – and it can seem daunting. Websites and brochures can start to blend together and figuring out what makes camps different isn’t always an easy task. In addition to exploring our website, we always encourage conversation with staff or current camp families, joining us at one of our gatherings over the schoolyear, and even a visit to Clearwater’s gorgeous spot on Tomahawk Lake if time permits.
This is what we are proud of;
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From assembling the right campers for a cabin or a canoe trip, to creating a camper’s weekly individual schedule, to developing an extraordinary staff, we are actively guided by our mission to foster confidence, courage, compassion and community –four points on Clearwater’s compass – by providing a traditional sleepaway camp experience for girls. Our vision is to provide the Clearwater Camp experience to as many girls as possible – because we know it makes a difference in their lives and they will make a difference in the world.
Clearwater is non-competitive. Children have enough competition and pressure in their lives through sports, school, and peer groups. Clearwater provides a place where girls and young women try new things without a fear of failure in a truly supportive environment. Every camper at Clearwater understands what it feels like trying to getting up on water skis or leaving for her first canoe tip. We don’t have color wars or points or rankings. Clearwater campers improve their skills with few external rewards, leaving each girl the now rare experience of doing something purely for the joy of improving her skill and a personal sense of accomplishment.
Clearwater is focused on community. Girls that experience a summer at Clearwater regularly call it their “second home” and our campers return with such consistency that many alumnae view Clearwater as the place they grew up. Clearwater’s retention rate, our intimate size of 100 campers per session, and our dedicated staff (many previous campers themselves), create a strong community that spans generations and attracts campers from around the globe.
Campers live in a cabin of 4 to 6 girls and one counselor within a unit of several other cabins of similarly aged campers. We intentionally schedule cabin, unit, and mixed-age activities to encourage campers to bond in their cabin as well as with campers of different ages. What does community look like? Perhaps it is a Harbor camper crewing a C-Scow during a Sunday regatta. Or a table in the dining hall where everyone’s middle name starts with ‘M.’ Maybe it is a unit throwing a ‘Wild West’ themed party for the other units. It can come in many different forms, but is easy to recognize and easy to find at Clearwater.
We value our traditions. Clearwater recently celebrated its 80th year and that means a lot to us. It may seem surprising to hear a 10-year old camper comment that one of her favorite things about camp are the traditions until you see the intention and power of a Final Council Fire or the pride a cabin takes presenting their Sunday Service. As each Clearwater camper heads out on a trip, she may think of campers who have gone out before her and written the songs she now sings in the dining hall. Many of our traditions remain unchanged, and the connection campers and staff feel to the Clearwater daughters who came before them is real.
Our programming provides a unique balance. At Clearwater, campers get to experience a blend of scheduled and free-choice activities and instruction in over 25 areas. Each camper receives an individualized schedule every week. Camper preferences are taken into account, allowing them more time in activities they are passionate about. If a girl tries canoeing and falls in love, she can easily talk to the Program Director and request more canoeing for the next schedule. We believe that it benefits campers to be exposed to a variety of activities, including activities they have never tried before or maybe wouldn’t have originally chosen. These scheduled activity periods are balanced with times the campers can be self-directed, both during the ‘general’ time every day and several free activity periods each week. Take a look at a typical day.
Additionally, every Clearwater camper goes on a backpacking or canoeing trip. For our youngest campers, a two-day trip may be the first time they sleep in a tent! For our oldest campers, they can choose from a variety of activities including sea kayaking, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, Isle Royale hiking, and more. Learn more about our tripping program.
Our location ain’t bad. Clearwater is lucky to be located on beautiful 3,400-acre Tomahawk Lake and nestled into a 200-acre conservancy area. This provides miles of forest pathways for our horseback riding, mountain biking, and nature exploration classes. Clearwater also has a 5-acre private island which divides the waterfront into two bays. The southern bay is home to sailing, kayaking, and swimming and the northern bay is home to water-skiing, wake-boarding, and our historic boathouse which houses canoeing and arts and crafts.
Forget a large field surrounded by identical cabins or tents numbered 1-20! Our rustic cabins are thoughtfully tucked into the landscape with our Harbor cabins spread around the mainland, our Cape cabins on the nearer side of the island, and our Point Cabins on the farther side of the islands. Take a virtual tour of camp! Our beautiful location in the northwoods of Wisconsin provides an incredible backdrop for a summer where your daughter will develop a healthy sense of independence, stretch herself in new ways, and gain friends for a lifetime.
We invite you to learn more about a summer at Clearwater for your daughter. See if we are coming to your area and attend one of our events. Explore our website, schedule a summer tour, call and ask for the names of other families, or simply feel free to pick up the phone and speak with us. Please feel free to contact us with any of your questions! We’d love to have you join us!