The Clearwater trip program is at the heart of who we are. We believe so strongly in the value of out-of-camp trips that it’s part of our program for every camper. Campers are part of a group working towards a common goal, building independence and resourcefulness and connecting with the natural world in the best possible way. There’s no greater feeling of accomplishment than at the end of a trip.
The Isle Royale trip helped me realize why camp and the Northwoods are so important…In some magical way, the challenges that one faces in the wilderness allow for clarity of mind and deep friendships that cannot be formed any other place in the world.
Trip groups are small, usually eight girls and two counselors. Trips are not hurried and each small trip group helps plan the trip they take. It’s all about the journey, taking time to appreciate the natural world as well as the group of friends there with you.
Campers participate in canoeing, backpacking, or sea kayaking trips, and trip length depends on the camper’s unit. Our youngest campers might canoe across the lake or hike to nearby New Land for an overnight. Cape campers spend three days along one of the many northern Wisconsin waterways or trails. For skilled, older campers, backpack trips of up to ten days are taken to Isle Royale or the Porcupine Mountains or by canoe to the Boundary Waters of Canada and Minnesota and by sailboat or kayak to the Apostle Islands.
When campers leave on a trip, the entire camp gives them a send-off as they “honk out of camp” and welcomes them home again. Returning trippers compose a song which they share after a meal. Many of these songs have stood the test of time, becoming part of Clearwater’s songbook, and are sung by generations of campers.