Current Weather: 81 ° Parent HQ Photos

Preparing For Camp

Parent HQ will be your step-by-step, month-by-month guide to preparing you and your family for an excellent summer. This page will serve as your Parent Handbook for 2023 for all of our “normal” camp policies and procedures. Check back every couple of weeks to remind yourself of what needs to get done. If you follow this guide, you will be ready for camp by June 1st! 

Enroll Now for 2023!


2023 Dates and Rates
Program Dates Fee Camper Fund
8 Week Full Season Jun 19 – Aug 10 $11,250 $450
4 Week Session I Jun 19 – Jul 14 $7,200 $350
4 Week Session II Jul 16 – Aug 10 $7,200 $350
2 Week Rookie I Jun 19 – July 1 $3,800 $200
2 Week Rookie II Jul 16 – July 29 $3,800 $200

•Visiting Weekend: July 14-16, 2023.

Camper Fund: covers personal expenses such as camper spending money for town days, camp store credit, day trips, transportation (excluding flights) to and from camp, laundry, megaphones, memory books and other misc expenses.

•Two-week Rookie Camps are only offered to first year or “rookie” campers finishing grade 5 and under. If your son attended camp a 2-week program in 2022, he must attend a 4-week or 8-week session in 2023.

Visiting Weekend 2023

We plan on having a full visiting weekend for 2023. Here’s how it works:

  • Friday July 14: Parents will be allowed in camp at 3pm. Parents can hang out, see the cabins, meet the staff, and then take their boys off camp. Campers are free to stay out with their parents if they would like.
  • Saturday July 15: Camp will open from 10:30am – 12:00pm then again from 2:00pm – 4:30pm for the entire family to enjoy! We’ll have all of our activities open including the waterfront. We will also have an excellent lunch planned for the group at 12:30pm. Campers can sleep out with their parents on Saturday as well.
  • Sunday July 16: we ask that all campers be dropped back off in camp by 8:30am. We’ll say goodbye to parents then get going with second session! There will not be a meal served for parents.

If you are not able to make it, that is OK! We have a number of boys who will hang out with our staff and have our own fun weekend together at camp. We’ll also make sure the boys have the opportunity to call and FaceTime with you all from camp. Please reach out to to discuss details as it gets closer.

Incentives, Discounts & Deadlines
Deadline Date
Early Bird Deadline September 15, 2022
Full Season Lock-In October 1, 2022
Monthly Installments Begin November 1, 2022
All Fees Paid-In Full April 1, 2023
Deposits become non-refundable October 1, 2022


  • Early Bird Incentive: All campers enrolled with a $1000 deposit by September 15 will receive a special CM gift!
  • Brother Discount: Each sibling will receive a $200 credit on enrollment fees.
  • Lock-In: Remember, for those of you that have locked in your 8-week rate by paying in full for a previous summer (2019 and prior), you must pay-in-full for 2023 by October 1, 2022. You must continue to pay in full each fall to receive this benefit.
  • Canteen Numbers: Remember parents and campers – we assign canteen numbers based on when you enroll. So enroll quickly to get a good number!
How To Enroll & Financials
  • Current Families: Log-In to your CampInTouch account and fill out the Camper Application.
  • New Families: Follow this link to Enroll Now and complete the enrollment application.
  • Deposit: At the end of the enrollment application you will be prompted to submit a deposit of $1000. You can do so via ACH, check or credit card (all CC payments carry a 3.5% processing fee). Your enrollment will not be processed until we receive your deposit. 
  • Monthly Installments: Pay remainder of camp fees in monthly installments, beginning November 1, 2020 and ending April 1, 2021. Every camper enrolled will need to have an ACH form or Credit Card on file with us at the time of enrollment, even if they are paying by check. Please download and fill out this ACH Authorization Form if you would like to pay via ACH. If you choose to pay the deposit and installments by check, your credit card on file will not be charged unless payments are not remitted at the time each installment is due. If a payment is late, we will charge your credit card for the installment, and each credit card payment will carry a 3.5% processing fee.
Referral Program

Many campers first discover Menominee from a friend or family. Please help us grow the Menominee family by connecting us with someone who may also love camp.

Option 1) Fill out our Referral Form: if you’re the first person to introduce us to this family, we will provide you with an enrollment discount when each new camper signs up:

  • Two-Week Camper: $100 discount
  • Four-Week Camper: $250 discount
  • Eight-Week Camper: $500 discount

You can refer as many people as possible, but we must first hear about them from this form

Option 2) Host a Get-Together: Invite 2+ families to your home to meet a Menominee Director.  We will give you a $250 credit towards enrollment regardless if a family enrolls. For any family that enrolls you will also receive the applicable referral bonus/discount. Email Jason to coordinate.

New campers and their families may thank you for all of the friends and memories made. We greatly appreciate your support as well!

CampInTouch & Forms

Welcome to CampInTouch Video

CampInTouch - Your Main Hub for Forms, Financials and Emails

This will be your main hub for Forms, Financials and Emails with your Camper.

  • Bookmark the CampInTouch Parent Login Page. You can log-in to your account by following the link, clicking “Log In” at the top right hand corner on the desktop site, or finding the Log In link under “Grow: Current Families” on the mobile site.
  • Watch the Camp In Touch Intro Video
Forms - Everything To Fill Out Prior To Camp

Each summer you will fill out important forms for your camper. You can find these by logging in to your account and navigating to “Forms and Documents”.

  • Health Forms:
    • Health History Form – This is an ONLINE form you will use to fill out a full medical profile of your son. This is also the form where you initially inform us of any and all medications your son is taking. If your son is taking medications, you will be contacted regarding our medication procedures.
    • Printed Forms (will need to be signed by doctors/parents)
      • Physical and Immunizations – Records to be provided to us by your son’s doctor, or by parents with a as long as the forms are signed by a licensed physician. Note: It is OK to provide us with forms used by your doctor or school for your camper’s physical and immunization records. If you do not have those forms, please use ours. This should include COVID vaccination status.
      • Parent Consent to Treat Forms – Gives camp permission to treat your son in the case of an emergency and to utilize PediaTrust, our telemedicine partner for the summer. Please include a copy of your insurance card and medications card (if applicable).
  • Camper Profile Form – This form is very important as it is your chance to tell us everything we need to know about your son coming into the summer. This online form asks for the following:
      • Personal, emotional and social information about your camper
      • Cabin Requests
      • Name, number and size request for his special camp jersey (no additional cost)
  • Goals Form – This is where you and your camper will fill out goals that he (and you) have for this summer. We will ask you about Physical/Skill, Character and Social/Emotional goals. Please take your time and fill this out with a lot of thought. We will use this to help guide you son this summer!
  • Transportation Form – please see the section on Travel and Baggage below.
How To Submit Your Forms
  • Scan all of the documents to your computer and save as individual files. Log into your forms dashboard and next to the “Required Medical Forms” link there will be an “Upload” button. Find the saved document and upload to the dashboard. This is the preferred method for camp.
  • You can also scan and email the documents to

Travel & Baggage

Welcome to Camper Travel Video

Camper Travel - All the Ways to Get Your Son To Camp

Here is everything you need to know. When you decide on mode of transportation, you will fill out the online travel form in your CampInTouch Account (form will be available in April 2023):

  1. Coach Bus Service to and from the Chicagoland area: Camp will provide coach buses to and from Staples in Highland Park, IL. The buses will leave at 8:30am sharp so please arrive by 8:10.
  2. Parent Drop-Off and Pick Up: If you’d like to make the drive you are more than welcome to drop your son off at camp.  Our address is 5035 County Road D Eagle River, WI 54521.
  3. Air Travel: If you are coming from outside the midwest, we are working on updating our full 2023 protocols, but for now you can view our 2023 Out of State Travel Guide which should closely reflect 2023 procedures. Please read this document in full for information on Flights,  Travel Days, Rules, Hotels, Bags and everything else that is required for summer 203 travel. Please note: for all families that have traveled with us before, we have updated our travel plans and modified our approach this year. Please read this document in full!
Travel Times and Important Notes for Travel

Travel to Camp:

Please arrive at Staples (1931 Skokie Valley Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035) no later than 8:10am. The buses will be departing at 8:30am sharp!

Each camper will be pre-assigned to a bus. He’ll receive his bus number one week prior to departure. Please provide your camper with a lunch and drink for the trip. We will stop half way through the trip to stretch our legs and eat our lunches outside. Please refer back to this page of our site in early June when we update our and testing policy for travel. 

All buses are provided by Lamers Bus Company.

Travel Home from Camp:

All motorcoaches and vans will arrive back in Chicago at Staples around 3:00pm on the last day of the session indicated above. We will email you when the vehicles have departed camp and when our expected arrival is.

Parent drop-off and pick-up:

If you elect to drive your child to camp please check your emails as it gets closer and we will give you a window of time for your drop off.

If you elect to pick your child up from camp please arrive by 8:00am on the last day of camp. We will coordinate pick up procedures with you as the time gets closer.

Out of State Travel:

If your camper is traveling from out of the state of Illinois or Wisconsin, please see the updated 2023 Out-of-State Travel Guide (will be updated March ’23 for this summer) for important information, and reach out to the office to coordinate your son’s travel.

Food Allergies: At camp we have a very strict no-nut policy. DO NOT send your camper on the bus with any products that contain nuts of any kind. Do not put someone else’s son in jeopardy just so your son can have a snack. There are plenty of alternatives! Additionally please be prepared with a list of ingredients if you are sending any baked goods on the bus. If you have any questions about what is acceptable please contract the office.

Technology: Please do not send phones on the bus! We will take phones at the beginning of the bus ride if your boys have them.

Emergency Procedures: each vehicle transporting campers will have at least one Camp Menominee staff member who has been trained to follow written accident procedures for. In case of emergency, the staff member will follow protocol and inform the Camp Director immediately. If you have any questions on our procedures, please call the office at 715-479-2267.

Packing - Don't Worry, We Have Got You Covered

Step 1: Download the Packing List

Step 2: Visit the Camp Store and Start Shopping!

Important Packing Tips:

  • We recommend each camper have a maximum of 2 soft duffel bags
  • We send out laundry once a week for the boys. So you only need to pack for 9 days.
  • Please pay attention to the required items and advice on the packing list.
Baggage - How Will Your Son's Bags Get To Camp?

Camper luggage can get to camp in a number of different ways:

Campers FLYING to Camp:

If you are flying from out of state but,  a) bringing your son to Chicago and putting him on the bus, b) flying him directly to Rhinelander, or c) dropping him off at camp then your son’s bags can travel with him on the plane.

IF YOUR SON IS FLYING TO/FROM CAMP ALONE PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING BAGGAGE POLICY: We are lucky enough to have a lot of boys traveling from all over the country to camp this summer. However, we do not have the vehicles or staff to manage all the campers’ luggage on travel day. So, if your son is flying to Chicago alone and staying with us in Chicago, HE CANNOT TRAVEL WITH HIS CAMP LUGGAGE. YOU MUST USE SHIPCAMPS TO SHIP HIS BAGS AHEAD OF TIME. We have partnered with ShipCamps to give you preferred shipping rates. Please visit the Camp Menominee ShipCamps page to book your shipments.

Baggage Home: Your son’s bags may fly home with him, but all bags need to be pre-paid. This includes southwest as they do charge for overweight bags.

Your son can travel with a small overnight carry-on so he has things for the evening in Chicago and the bus ride the next day.

Shipping Dates:  Please schedule your son’s bags to arrive on Saturday June 17 (Session I, Rookie I, Full Season) or Saturday July 15 (Rookie II, Session II) at the LATEST. Please have your son’s bags be picked up to ship home on the last day of the session.

Campers from the Chicagoland area RIDING THE BUS: we DO NOT allow bags to be brought on the bus. There is simply not enough room for it. This summer we will be working with Camp Baggage Express to transport the boys bags to and from camp. CBE will have a designated drop off day/time window and a pick-up day/time window in Deerfield. All parents must visit the Camp Baggage Express website to sign-up and pay for baggage service ahead of time. Please read this Camp Baggage Info Sheet for cost, pick up/drop off windows, bag size limits, and more information. 

Campers traveling via PARENT DROP OFF/PICK UP: Bags can travel with the camper or shipped via ShipCamps.

Once you decide how your camper’s bags will travel to and from camp, please fill out the Travel form on your CampInTouch dashboard (available April 2023).


If your son is taking any type of medication this summer (prescription and OTC) you MUST read and follow these medication procedures:

Here is everything you need to know:

  • All medications must be noted and explained on page 5 of the camper online Health Form. This is found in the Forms and Documents section of your CampInTouch account.
  • Camp REQUIRES that all medication come pre-packaged for each camper. We have a couple great pharmacy options for you to use. Please read Camp Menominee Medication Procedures thoroughly and follow all of the instructions. The pre-packaging process is VITAL to ensuring your son gets his medications on the right date, time and with the right dose. If you choose to disregard our procedures and send the meds up in the bags or with the campers requiring our staff to pre-package them for your son then we will charge you a larger fee than what any pre-packaging companies would charge you. 

Important Camp Policies

Video: Overview of Important Policies and Must-Knows

Health Center Communication Procedures

Camp Menominee’s Health Club is staffed by at least one full time nurse throughout the summer, and we have MDs on call via telemed through our partnership with Pediatrust. Often times we employ multiple nurses, a CNA and Camp Doctors each week. Should your camper should become ill or injured during his stay at camp, here is how we will communicate with you:

If your camper comes to the health cabin with a minor injury or illness (i.e. headache, nausea, sore throat, scrape, etc.) we will provide the necessary medical care and allow him to continue with his activities at camp without interruption if possible. In this instance we will NOT contact you. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide follow up care as necessary.

In the event of a more significant injury or illness (i.e. fractures or anything that may require antibiotics) we will contact you immediately without compromising rapid assessment, care and treatment. In addition, you will be notified if your camper is going to be sleeping in the health center overnight. You will have a chance to speak to the Doctor or Nurse to discuss your son’s treatment and diagnosis.

Money and the Camper Bank

We get a lot of questions about money at camp, town day and the bank. Here is all you need to know:

  • Your son does not need more than a couple dollars at camp for a sparkling water or the occasional soda during canteen. We do not recommend having cash in the cabin, so you can add a few dollars to your son’s additional spending account that he can withdraw from during the summer. To do this contact the office at

Camp Menominee is a SCREEN FREE camp! No devices please. We are fans of music, however, so if you’d like to send your son with an ipod shuffle or older device we are just fine with that.

One of the best things about summer camp is that the campers can be completely unplugged. Today’s youth spends so much time glued to their screens, and while technology provides a lot of educational advantages, it does not align with our goals for Menominee campers. We want to promote collaboration, teamwork, interpersonal growth and development and so much more. All of which is hindered by technology in a camp setting. As such, Menominee is proud to promote itself as a TECHNOLOGY FREE CAMP. Please help us help your son rid himself of the stresses of technology and support our policy.

All of the following items are prohibited at Camp Menominee: Cell phones, tablets, handheld email devices, computers, video players, iPOD touches and any other electronic equipment. Any of these items brought to camp will be confiscated on the first day and returned at the end of the summer. Camp is NOT responsible for losses. Any camper found with these items after the first day of camp will face appropriate consequences.

Prohibited Items


As youth development professionals we take our jobs at camp very seriously. As such, there are a few things that we ABSOLUTELY prohibit at camp as we feel they hinder development and growth as well as potentially risk the safety of your children:

Gum, candy and other food items – we provide the kids with very good food during our meals as well as canteen. We also are incredibly accommodating of special diets and do all of our food purchasing with every camper in mind. We do not allow any nuts or nut products at camp. As such, we do not allow any gum, candy or other food items in our cabins. WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Please abide by this policy to ensure the safety of some of our campers who have severe food allergies as well as keep our cabins free of ants and rodents as they have always been. Any items found will be taken and discarded.

Airsoft guns, knives, squirt guns, fireworks and other like items – these items will be taken from the campers and not returned.

Electric fans – we do not have enough outlets in the cabins to accommodate this. Each cabin will have a large window fan provided by camp. If you would like to send an additional fan please make sure it is battery powered.

Drugs, Alcohol, Perephenalia, Vaping Devices and other related items – These will be confiscated, parents will be notified and the local police department will be contacted when necessary.

Animals – All animals/pets are strictly prohibited.


Personal Property/Equipment

Other than tennis racquets, baseball gloves and proper clothes/footwear, camp has all the sports equipment on site that campers need. However, we understand that boys like to bring their own equipment like golf clubs, and of course campers and staff bring a number of personal items with them each summer. Therefore, campers and staff must abide by the following policies for personal equipment.

  1. Participants are allowed to bring their own personal sports equipment with the exception of: Archery/Riflery equipment and anything that would fall under “prohibited items”.
  2. All sports equipment, including personal sports equipment belonging to campers, must be stored in a designated, secure area when not in use.
  3. Campers must use sports equipment, including personal sports equipment, in a safe and responsible manner, as instructed by staff members. Staff have the right to confiscate equipment if it is not used properly and safely.
  4. Any damage to sports equipment, including personal sports equipment, must be reported to a staff member immediately, but Personal sports equipment, such as cleats or golf clubs, may be used at the camper’s own risk. The camp is not responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from the use of personal sports equipment.
  5. Camp does not allow metal cleats for any activities.
  6. Any camper who violates these policies may have their privileges to use sports equipment, including personal sports equipment, revoked.


Hail, hail the gangs all here!! We LOVE birthdays!!! It can be tough for a boy to be away from his family on his birthday so we make sure the Menominee family makes it a special day. Each boy will get a special cake made by our chefs and the entire camp will sing our unique birthday song to the birthday boy. We’d be lying if we told you we didn’t jump and scream and dance around the mess hall while we celebrate! This is also the only time you can talk to your son on the phone. We set a time to have a quick happy birthday call with his family.

Does your son have a birthday at camp? Let us know and we can set up something special.

Program Eligibility

Camp Menominee has a program in place to ensure there is an appropriate and safe environment at each of the activities. While we like to challenge our campers to try new activities and achieve various goals throughout the summer, it is very important that we put them in a position to do so while mitigating any potential risk. As such, Camp Menominee has developed various eligibility requirements for certain activities at camp:

Waterfront – every camper needs to pass a swimming test that includes swimming ten lengths (from dock to dock). Those who pass are eligible to participate in all of our activities at the waterfront and are not required to wear a life jacket in the swimming area. Those who do not are given the opportunity to take swimming lessons until they can pass the test. 

Weight Room – you must be at least 13 years old in order to use our weight room. Every camper in camp, regardless of age, must be given written permission by his parents AND be supervised by a counselor while using the weight room. 

Target Sports and the Climbing Wall – There are no age restrictions as it relates to these activities, however, each camper must sit through an extensive safety orientation before participating. If a staff member deems that the camper can not follow the rules or the camper has violated any of our rules, the camper will be banned from the activity at the Activity Leader’s discretion.

Other Activities –during our instructional periods where there might be a broad demographic of campers participating, the coaches are encouraged to split up the group by age and ability in order to provide a competitive but safe environment for the campers.

FAQs Page

Please visit our FAQs page for an extensive list of camp policies and important notes. 

Must Knows During The Summer


Camp Menominee Partners with Waldo Photos to host our daily albums:

  • We post a daily photo album of every picture we take to the Camp Menominee photo gallery.
  • Bookmark this link so you can go straight to it each day. We ask for your patience as our internet connection is often slow. The uploads might night show up until 2-4am. 
  • Visit our Photo Gallery Instructions page for more information on how to access the camp photos.

We also post a selection of photos to our Facebook page each day. Please make sure you follow the page so it appears on your feed.

Email, eLetter Replies, Letter Writing and Packages

Mail/Email: The kids are required to write home twice a week and can write every day if they wish. As much as you like receiving letters from your boys, they love getting mail from you! Please make an effort to email or write frequently. You are also able to email them and they can send you an eLetter back.

Your CampInTouch account will allow you to send your son emails as much as you want. You can also create guest accounts for your relatives. Finally, you can set up eLetter replies to receive letters back right to your inbox! Check out our CampMinder Email Instructions and watch our Email and CampStamps Help Video on how to do this.

To ensure that you get letters from your son, and he receives your mail please do the following: 1) Send your son up with pre-addressed envelopes. 2) With all letters and emails we ask you to PLEASE write your son’s cabin number on the envelope or in the email subject.


Heath Center Communication

Camp Menominee’s Health Club is staffed by at least one full time nurse throughout the summer. Often times we employ multiple nurses, a CNA and Camp Doctors each week. We will also be providing telemedicine through Pediatrust, a network of Pediatric practices throughout the Chicagoland area. Should your camper should become ill or injured during his stay at camp, here is how we will communicate with you:

If your camper comes to the health cabin with a minor injury or illness (i.e. headache, nausea, sore throat, scrape, etc.) we will provide the necessary medical care and allow him to continue with his activities at camp without interruption if possible. In this instance we will NOT contact you. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide follow up care as necessary.

In the event of a more significant injury or illness (i.e. fractures or anything that may require antibiotics) we will contact you immediately without compromising rapid assessment, care and treatment. In addition, you will be notified if your camper is going to be sleeping in the health center overnight. You will have a chance to speak to the Doctor or Nurse to discuss your son’s treatment and diagnosis.

For communication policies and practices related to COVID-19 at camp, please refer to our COVID-19 Headquarters.

Read our Blog "Woody's Word"

If you haven’t heard about Woody’s Word by now, you are missing out! Our Assistant Director Woody writes a beautiful blog almost EVERY NIGHT recapping the day and telling you everything that is going on at camp.

Listen to the Podcast

Every night, Jason does a 10-30 minutes recap podcast with a few of the campers called the Camp Cast. You can find select episodes here and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Read our Staff/Camper Run Newspaper: The Megaphone

We have a camp newspaper called the Menominee Megaphone. We post 4-5 issues a week with articles written by our campers and staff. Check in daily to see if your son is featured!

Follow Our Social Media Accounts
  • Check Facebook for photos and videos. Make sure you follow our page so it shows up on your feed.
  • Follow us on Instagram as we post daily.
  • Subscribe to our YouTube page. Our media team of campers and staff are always putting fun videos up. We will feature a Top Ten Moments of the week, Cabin Tours, Question of the week and other videos throughout the summer. 
Contact the Office If You Need Anything

We have incredible office managers that will help you with anything you need. Contact our office at or 715-479-2267 with any questions or concerns. 

Important 2022 Emails & Information So Far

COVID and the Summer of 2022
Summer 2021 Update and Protocols

ATTENTION PARENTS:  We have a new page dedicated to COVID-19. Our COVID-19 HQ will have all of our protocols, procedures,  updates, videos, and articles on there. Please visit that page for all information on Camp 2021 and COVID-19.

Camp Decision 2020 Archived Messages

A Video Message from Jason to our Campers

Jason’s Letter to Our Camp Community – May 28, 2020:

Camp Menominee Family,

We will not be having camp this summer. 

I said that out loud for the first time just yesterday. I never thought I would speak those words. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where I would have to. Menominee is my life, the boys are my children for the summer, and I would walk through fire for our boys, our staff and this camp.  

I have been through every stage of Menominee life, and am trying to put myself in everyone’s shoes. The first-year camper who was so excited to prove he could do well away from home, or follow in his dad’s footsteps at camp. The boy returning for year 2 or 3 hoping to accomplish those goals he came so close to achieving last year. The 4-year camper who spent all year thinking about who would present his five year jacket. The Senior Cabin member itching to lead his Twilight League team or get selected as a Green & White captain. The CIT approaching his last year with his age group after spending all those years together. The returning staff member who was pining to impart the wisdom to his campers that he learned from his role models at camp as a boy. The veteran counselor on the precipice of entering the “real world”, but pushed their full-time job start date because one more summer at camp was worth it. The CM alum following our every move eager to hear the results of our competition. Everyone in the Menominee Family hoping to reconnect with their best friends.  

I am so sorry that I can’t provide this for you all this summer. 

This email could go on for days. I could share all the things that have and have not changed since I wrote my last email on Saturday. I could dive deep into the minutiae, the science and break down our encyclopedia of an operational manual but at the end of the day none of that matters, because we end up with the same painful reality of too many unknowns, and too many ways it could go wrong.  

I do want to share, however, what has been important to me throughout this process. It was important to me to involve our parents and seek out your feedback before making a decision. It was important to me to listen to professional guidance, weigh expert opinions, collaborate with my peers in the industry and develop a full plan of action to the best of our ability. It was important to me to put everything I had for the last few months into this and fight for this camp, so I can look you all in the eye and truly say that I tried desperately to make this work. 

It has almost become a cliche in camping to say, “let’s give our campers the summer they so desperately need”, but it is the truth – our boys needed camp this summer. This is what drove me to explore every angle and try to clear every hurdle, and it’s hard for Jeff and me to shake the feeling that we let our boys down. I envy some of the amazing camp directors out there who are in a position to make this work, and have excellent plans to do so. I have constantly stressed that, despite our collaboration, every camp is different which allows every camp to operate on their own timeline with their own plan. For Menominee, however, we are at the end of the road. 

My heart breaks for our boys and our staff today but let me be clear about one thing: Menominee is not going anywhere. Every ounce of energy and effort that we put into trying to make this summer a reality will be directed to keeping camp operating and thriving. We will come back stronger in 2021.

I know there are many of you who have financial and logistical questions. I ask that you extend me a couple more days of patience before emailing about refunds, then we will present you with all of your options (including for your clothing orders). 

Attached you will find a couple additional messages to share. The first is a video message to your son. Everyone grieves in their own way, so please share it with him when you feel it is appropriate. The second is a note to our CITs and the third is a note to our staff. Jeff and I will be here for all of our boys and staff whenever they need us this summer and beyond. In the coming days and  weeks we will set up Zoom calls with all of these groups to answer any and all questions. 

During our annual Alumni weekend before my first summer as the owner of Menominee, our camp veterans gave me a little bound green notebook, with our “sailboat” logo imprinted in black on the cover. Inside there are pages and pages of thoughts and ideas about what the Menominee Way means. Every so often I refer back to it for guidance or wisdom, but it has been a while since I read through it. After struggling so much to find the right words for this email, I turned back to the book for inspiration. The first page reads, “We do not simply inherit camp from those who have gone before us. Rather, we are nurturing it and preserving it for the many thousands who will follow in our footsteps.” 

We love you all and are here for you anytime you need us. 

For the Love of Camp – Jason

Update May 23, 2020

CM Family,

We are in uncharted territory.

Never have we seen a situation with so many unanswered questions, so little data, very conflicting guidance, inconsistent recommendations and such rapidly changing circumstances.

The unknown can be terrifying, and the closure of many camps in the area and around the country only highlights the lack of consensus on how to proceed. However, as we have said time and time again, that is the beauty of our industry. Every camp is different in their own glorious and unique way, and no decisions that camps make can be appropriately judged against the others, because every nuance of a camp operation has to be taken into account. There is no right or wrong.

But you didn’t choose any of the other camps, you chose Menominee, and you chose me. You have trusted me to care for your sons and I strive to do so every single day of camp as if they were my own children. You have trusted me to hire the right staff and train them so camp can be a true extension of your parenting and your values. You believe in the Menominee Way and trust that we will teach our boys the right lessons in success and in failure.

That trust is something that I am thankful for every day and hold near and dear to my heart. I would never do anything intentional to breach the bond we have built over the years. I owe it to you and to your boys to move mountains to put ourselves in a position to open camp this summer. We will not have all the answers, but we will have a plan.

Over the next few days, we will provide you with our plan and methodology for camp this summer. We will make ourselves available for questions via phone calls, zoom calls and webinars and will happily spend as much time necessary clarifying any aspect of our program for you. We will not be selling you on our plan, only informing you of our procedures and best practices.

This plan, however, is not complete and comes with many hurdles to clear before we can welcome our boys through our gates. Today the board of health confirmed they will approve our license to operate this summer. So we have gotten past hurdle number one, but there are a lot more ahead.

We are still in the process of finalizing our full operational guide. This will be based on and guided by the ACA Field Guide published this week, guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the state of Wisconsin, our local health department, and our own independent experts.

Throughout this process, we have asked for your patience as we reviewed guidelines, consulted with experts and tried to get a handle on what it will take to operate a safe camp this summer. So now we will give you our patience and we will not ask for a decision on camp until you are fully informed.

The rest of this email will lay out the birds eye view and basics of our operational plan for the summer. Subsequent emails will unpack the details, logistics and expectations. Make no mistake, we are in this together and we will ask a lot of you. This will not work without the complete buy in from our parents and campers, but anything we ask of you, we will be requiring tenfold of ourselves and our staff who are charged with your son’s care.

We also recognize we exist in this ever changing landscape, and things could be so different a day or two from now, but we wanted to communicate what we know right now, and what we don’t.

To sum up: this is not a cancellation email. We are committing to press on and do everything we need to do to give us a realistic chance for camp to run this summer, if you are in it with us.

The Plan: 6-week Super Camp July 6-August 13 (with a 4-week option ending Aug 1)

We will offer 6- and 4-week session options that both start on July 6th. We feel like this gives us the best opportunity to have the most campers at camp for the longest period of time, while also limiting travel in and out of camp. Creating our own camp bubble is a crucial component of a successful summer. As such we will not be allowing anyone to arrive at camp after the July 6th start date. We also feel like this will give us a realistic chance to secure our full complement of eager and well-rested staff with the broadest skill sets to work with your boys this summer.

Parents, we need to make the following VERY clear: our plan has been designed as if we will have COVID-19 in camp this summer. We are taking every step and precaution to mitigate our initial exposure, including a rigid testing, quarantine, screening and social distancing protocols, and even though probability is in our favor,  it is impossible to ensure that it will not enter camp. Our detailed protocols that you’ll read over the next few days will outline how we will care for campers and staff that have the virus, and your options in the event that your son tests positive.

Here are a just a few practices we will be implementing in order to mitigate risk and provide the best experience possible:

  • We will be bringing the staff in at least 14 days prior to your son’s arrival to allow for appropriate health monitoring during that quarantine period.
  • We will ask you to quarantine your camper for 14 days leading up to camp as well as screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • During the first 2-weeks of our actual camp session, we will operate in a “pod” or “family unit” based model. Each pod will function as their own “family unit” with as little interaction with the others as possible. This will help limit the spread of the virus if it does come into camp, aid in our contact tracing process and give us confidence that we can operate as a full camp later on in the summer if we are symptom and virus free. These pods will be based on cabins and age groups and will vary depending on our camp numbers. It is our ultimate goal to use a phased approach with our pods that culminates in the entire camp operating as one family unit after two weeks.
  • We will be operating in-camp programming only this year, which means socials, intercamp competitions and other trips will not take place.
  • We will not permit anyone to visit camp during the session. As such, There will be no visiting weekend this summer. We will run a 6-week continuous session.
  • We will practice elevated hygiene practices this summer including the installation of more handwashing stations, hand sanitizer stations, increased sanitizing of cabin and common areas, sanitizing and disinfecting of equipment after each use and much more that will be shared with you in the coming days.
  • Testing will play a crucial role in our operations this summer. We are exploring more readily available testing options and putting a plan into place as to the timing and frequency of the tests. Information and data on testing is changing rapidly so we will monitor this constantly and ensure we have the appropriate approach by the time camp starts. When we have the information we need, we’ll share with you how this will be incorporated into our screening and camper care procedures during the summer.

We understand that the above will have an effect on our regular programming this year. However, we have a staff of creative and motivated individuals who bleed green through and through, and they have been working nonstop to put together a comprehensive and action packed in-camp program this summer. We are also going to take this as an opportunity to challenge ourselves to be experimental and push ourselves to new levels of imagination and innovation. Maybe we won’t be able to hug or high five, but I know our community will figure out the best way to show affection, love and support under these new circumstances.
We also know that as circumstances change, we will update our protocols and procedures for evolving data that comes in.

What might cause us to cancel camp at this point?

As we sit here today, we would like to open July 6th for our 93rd Summer. However, there are circumstances under which we will not operate this year:

  1. Circumstances and data are changing rapidly with respect to the virus. If at any point between now and camp we do not feel like we are in the best position to care for the health and safety of our community in a responsible manner for any reason, we will not open.
  2. There is always a chance that Northern Wisconsin sees their condition worsen over the next few weeks and the state or county does not feel comfortable with the influx of people to the state. If there is a surge in cases in the Northwoods or laws like the stay at home order are once again enacted, we will most likely not be comfortable opening.
  3. We are also monitoring the data and cases of pediatric inflammatory disease. We do not see it as a risk to our population right now, but  if we feel there is a risk to our camp community we will make a decision to close for the summer.
  4. We feel like adequate testing is crucial to our operational plan this summer. We are working on finding the most reliable, least invasive and most cost effective tests we can. Our ability to secure testing will play a large role in our ability to run.
  5. The pod/family unit model is a means to an end for us. We do not want to or plan on operating as a 6-week alternative to home isolation. Our ultimate goal is to have the camp operating as one large family unit in as “normal” a way as possible after two weeks at camp. The board of health indicated that, assuming we are virus and symptom free, they will work with us to help that happen. If that changes we do not feel that operating a pod model the entire summer is anything near the true camp experience we are comfortable offering.
  6. At the end of the day, we need a camp community in order to operate camp. This includes complete buy in from our campers, staff and our local community. After we have presented all of you with our full operational protocol, you may decide that camp is still not the best decision for you or your family. If we do not achieve appropriate camp numbers or find ALL of the right people to carry out our protocols, we will not be running this summer.

Where do we go from here?

Here is how the next few days will go:

  1. In the coming days we will finish as much of our operational protocols as we can, outside of a few key items we are waiting to discuss with health officials, physicians and experts. We will also get aggressive in our push to hire the most qualified and well-equipped staff out there to fit our needs.
  2. After the plan is complete (or close to it), we will share our plan with you all and provide you with an opportunity to read it and get your questions answered and cover topics like:
    1. Medical Protocols including screening, quarantine and isolation
    2. How we will respond to COVID-19 symptoms and positive cases when they arise
    3. Telemedicine at camp this summer
    4. Testing protocols
    5. Pre-camp screening requirements
    6. How we will create our “pods” or “family units” at camp during the first 2-weeks
    7. Food service and meals
    8. Cleaning and sanitation
    9. And much, much more.
  3. We will then send out information on the new camp session including:
    1. Cost
    2. Enrollment
    3. Travel
    4. Financials and Refunds
    5. Any other information needed.
  4. After you have been fully informed, we will ask for your commitment to this summer.

We are now reaping the benefits of our patience and diligence. We have been able to read, study, consult and verify our protocols and are still in a position to react and adapt to relevant information and data. So, while many things still remain outstanding, we are in a great position to press on. We have worked so hard to get to where we are today, and we truly want to give your boys the summer they so desperately need right now. We will continue to fight for this as long as we can, and as long as you stick with us. The next email you receive will have a lot more detail regarding our policies and procedures this summer. I hope to send that email soon.

For the Love of Camp – Jason

May 6, 2020

Hi Everyone – I want to take some time today to talk about this summer and try to address some of the questions we are all asking. While we still don’t have all the answers, I am going to do my best to give you the details I have, walk you through how I hope the next few weeks will unfold and address how the decisions to close other camps around the country affect Menominee.

First of all, I want to thank those of you that have checked in to see how I’m doing. It’s unnecessary but appreciated none the less. My stress comes most often from things I can control. Unfortunately, there is so much about the state of our country and this virus right now that we cannot control. So I’m trying to take the information as it comes, and educate myself as much as possible leading into the summer.

The feeling of unease and the unknown can be very intolerable, but if I’ve learned anything at camp during my 18 years it’s how to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of your campers right now are showing a unique amount of maturity during this uncertain time, because they have learned the same lessons at camp as I have.

I do want to tell you all that I am still optimistic and hopeful about camp happening this summer. That statement will naturally beg the question: “Why?” Especially with some camps around the country and more specifically in the midwest deciding to close their doors. Why hasn’t Menominee made a decision yet?

To me this highlights the beauty of camp. There are thousands of camps out there of different sizes, structures, goals, missions and unique identities. Every camp has to make choices relative to their organization and communities they serve. The decision making process for a camp that serves 1000 campers and hundreds of staff going in and out of camp the whole summer looks a lot different than a small camp of 175 campers and 70 staff in a contained environment.

We are lucky to be in a position where we can be patient and wait for all of the relevant information we need to make an informed decision.

But what exactly are we waiting for?

By the end of this week, we hope to receive a full Camp Operations guide from American Camp Association. They have partnered with the YMCA’s of the United States and engaged Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.(EH&E), a Boston-based consulting firm specializing in environmental health, in an effort to put together a comprehensive guide for camps this summer. Their guidance will be based on information gathered from specialists in pediatric medicine, camp medicine and nursing, epidemiology, infectious disease management, biological safety, industrial hygiene, organizational design, and other technical specialties.

Once we receive this guidance we will study it and analyze it quickly. Then we will present it to the state and local public health decision makers, who we expect to give us a go-ahead to operate this summer.

ONLY then will we be fully informed and prepared to decide on the appropriate course of action.

So right now, we have plans A through Z covering a wide range of options for this summer, but we need to consider the guidance from experts and public health officials before moving forward.

Will camp be different this summer as a result of this guidance and best practices? Sure. We might see changes in group sizes, meals, activities, health screenings, travel and much more, but we promise you, it will still be camp.

Given all of that, the bottom line for us is that we will run camp this summer if we feel we are in the best position to care for the health and safety of our community, and if we can still provide the the true MENOMINEE experience.

CM Family, we are doing everything we can to fight for camp this summer. So far you have been by our side in that fight and we ask that you stick with us for a couple more weeks. You can help by checking your emails and texts (and reading them), because when we have all the information we need, the next step will be to rely on your feedback, cooperation and action to help make it work.

Thank you for your trust and your patience and we will continue to update you as we know more and make our final decision. You are all amazing.

For the Love of Camp – Jason

Learn More About Camp