Special Events & Traditions


Thursday afternoons are highly anticipated at Clearwater. At that time, groups of campers “packout” for the entire afternoon on a special trip. Packouts can range from a long ride on a nearby trail to strawberry picking to sailing across the lake. In the evening, campers cook their meal over an open fire.

Packouts are a wonderful way to appreciate an activity for a longer, unhurried period of time, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow campers and practice campcraft cooking skills for longer, out-of-camp trips. Packouts are assigned to campers, although camper preferences are taken into consideration.

Group of campers sits in a square built of branches

Christmas in July

Clearwater traces its inception back to Christmas time in 1932. To commemorate the beginning of Clearwater Camp, campers and staff celebrate “Christmas” during first session. We sing carols, prepare gifts, receive “wishes”, and more. It’s a time of jolly good cheer.

Campers in Christmas garb sit in docked canoe
Clearwater camp dining hall decorated for Christmas in July


We celebrate the end of first session by hosting Clearwater-style Olympics! Campers are divided into country teams and an “ambassador” is chosen per team. A parade through camp kicks off the festivities as campers, dressed in their country’s colors, join the procession to the waterfront. Country teams rotate through stations of events and are given points for success in the activities, most creative cheers, spirit awards, and more. At the end of the afternoon, the winning country team is announced on the waterfront. Finally, campers and counselors gather in the dining hall for our Olympic Banquet.

Group of campers circles up, holding camp Olympics Djibouti sign


The Birthday Party event occurs second session. If you envision one giant camp sized birthday party, you’re on the right track. The dining hall is transformed by decorations and campers create a birthday present for fellow campers.

Sunday Service

Dressed in our “whites”, Sunday service is non-denominational and includes original writings, readings, poems, and music. Each unit plans a theme and presents one Sunday Service each session.

Campers perform song with guitar at Sunday Service
Campers smile from audience of Sunday Service

Council Fire

This is one of Clearwater’s most treasured traditions, modeled after the French Canadian Voyageurs who explored and traveled the waterways around camp and this region. Occurring on most Sunday evenings during camp, this is a time to hear trip sparks, share anything special, and much more.

Campers share their trip sparks at Council Fire
Annie B. lights camp council fire