summer camp

Frequently Asked Questions

Clearwater Forest is a Christian camp and retreat center, owned by the 5 governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The beautiful site of 1016 acres on the shores of Clearwater Lake is home to a diversity of animals, fish, birds, flowers, and trees. More than 40 buildings provide a variety of settings for any program. Programs are open to anyone of any faith background and include summer youth camps, women’s retreats, spiritual renewal events, non-summer youth retreats, confirmation class retreats, family events, and other senior adult programs. Many guests choose to come for recreational opportunities such as hiking, paddling, skiing or snowshoeing, or to bring their corporate event, family reunion or personal retreat for time away, training or teambuilding.
Clearwater is more than a summer camp. We offer year-round programming that includes: youth retreats, women’s retreats, Family Camps, Creative Arts Festival and much more. You can find out more at by visiting the other parts of this website!
We only hire the most amazing and caring staff – counselors that we would put with our own children. We strive to find people that are spiritually, mentally and emotionally mature to ensure that not only is your child in good hands, but in good hearts. Each staff member has been personally interviewed, reference checked and background checked before they even set foot on the property. Once here, they receive 14 days of intensive job specific training which includes every topic from camper care, behavior management and preventing and/or identifying child abuse to activity and small group facilitation to leading Quest.

While your child is at camp, we make sure every camper is given individual attention and is included in the experience. Your child will be in a cabin with others of similar age, and our counselor to camper ratio ensures their needs will be met. Our highly trained counselors emphasize the importance of teamwork, safety, and respect, and build a strong culture of inclusion throughout the week. We provide a safe and encouraging place for your child to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus and others!

Clearwater Forest is a ministry of Christ called to provide faith-building programming, nurture active Christian community, and be a faithful steward of God’s creation. We will worship, sing, pray and study the Bible in small groups. However, we respect each individual camper’s right to make their own decision regarding any important spiritual matter.
This is completely normal… and we have lots and lots of experience dealing with it! (Many of our staff come from all over the world!) Please read here for some tips to help prevent this before you arrive at camp.
If your child will be attending more than one week of camp in the same program, the experience will be similar. If they register for a different program (i.e. expeditions, specialized camp), the activities and experience will be different. They will have different cabin mates and different counselors the second week.
All counselors are trained in behavior management (specifically Love and Logic) and anti-bullying. If a behavior does arise that causes a disturbance, after the camper is removed from the immediate situation, there is a very caring conversation about a change in behavior. We partner with the camper to come up with a solution that works for everyone, grace is given, and consequences are enforced, if necessary. The strength of our staffing structure lies in many folks to help with solutions (i.e. support staff, program director, executive director). If there is no change in the camper’s behavior, the Director will call the child’s parent/guardian and discuss the options.
During the registration processs, one of the steps gives you the ability to request a cabinmate for your child.
We will have a designated Health/Medicine Officer to distribute medications for all summer camp sessions. We are also planning on having a volunteer registered nurse each week. All summer staff will respond to emergencies, and provide basic first aid care for our resident campers.

  • Any time a camper is sent off-site for professional medical treatment.
  • When a physician prescribes a prescription medication or at the discretion of a physician.
  • When a camper has significant bumps, bruises, or cuts with the potential for scarring (especially in the facial area).
  • Any time there is something out of the ordinary (i.e. seizure).
  • When a camper is involved in a vehicle accident.
  • When a camper has had an exposure to a contagious disease, bug or parasite.

Please send sunscreen with your camper. Our counselors will ask them to re-apply sunscreen after lunch if the cabin is scheduled to be outside. We encourage campers to bring a water bottle to camp. There are drinking fountains in the summer camp area and the dining hall. We provide a water cooler at the high ropes/archery area.
You can pay by cash, check or credit card. A $100 deposit is required to register. If you have not paid in full, final payment will be withdrawn on or around June 1, from your financial institution that you provided during the registration process. If you register within 10 days of the start of a session, you will need to pay for camp in full.
When any of the camps reach their capacity, the online system will create a waitlist. This list is filtered by the date that you register your child. You will be contacted when a spot becomes available. You will have a limited amount of time to respond to register your camper. If there are no remaining spots for that camp, we encourage you to look at the other camps that are offered.
The discount comes in the form of the tiered pricing schedule.
Yes! A favorite time for all campers, the camp store is open each day and offers clothing (tshirts, sweatshirts, fleeces, long sleeve tshirts, shorts), flashlights, music CDs, Clearwater Forest syrup, blankets, stuffed animals, snacks and drinks. The typical amount entered in the camp store account for each camper is $20. However, if your camper wants a sweatshirt or larger item, you may want to deposit more. Remember, this is an excellent opportunity for your camper to practice independent decision making skills regarding money! (The staff are present to help and guide.)
All necessary registration forms are completed online, including health form, photo waiver, high adventure activity waiver, and release permissions. If the physician signature form is not mailed, emailed or faxed to the camp prior to your camper’s arrival, then it must be turned in at registration.
Check-in begins at 3pm. Campers will meet their counselors and move into their cabins, while parents confirm that all registration information was taken care of prior to arrival. We will begin the week with opening worship in the Pavilion at 4pm, which families are invited to stay for!
Please plan to join us for a closing worship at 9:30am on Saturday. Campers may depart after their parents have checked with their counselor. The camp store will be open after worship.
Yes, we would love to show you Clearwater! Please call the office to schedule a time or you may see the facility through the eyes of your camper when you pick them up from camp!
Click here for a packing list of what to bring and what to leave at home. Please note that older clothing makes sense for all the fun we have at camp!
Please notify the summer program director or executive director at check-in on Sunday. You may also call the camp office to make arrangements.
At Clearwater Forest, we welcome and embrace all kids. If your child has special needs, we ask that you make camp aware. There is an area during online registration that can be completed with details about your child’s needs. Please note that we are not licensed as a specialized camp, but will do our best to accommodate what we can. It may also be helpful to call ahead of time and discuss any questions you may have with the executive director (218-678-2325).
Yes, we can do this! During the registration process, please fill in the information completely regarding what your camper can and cannot eat. We have provided for gluten/casein/soy free diets; a wide variety of allergies, including but not limited to nuts; and all types of vegetarian options.
All medications need to be turned in to the health officer in the original container during check-in on opening day. Counselors will be given a list of camper medications and the time they need to take it. During the camp week, medication will be distributed at meal times. If medications are taken outside of a meal time, the health/medication coordinator will ensure that the camper receives the medication. The staff is very aware of medical needs and is in communication with the support staff and director at all times.
Please visit the daily schedule posted in the summer camp section pages.
Campers love to receive mail! Particularly in our digital age, how fun is it to open a letter or read a postcard? Send early and send lots- campers will receive mail before their rest hour each day, after lunch.
We offer a variety of scholarship options. Please visit this page.
This is completely understandable. Please contact the camp office at 218-678-2325 as soon as possible to make arrangement.
You may call the general camp number anytime. If there is nobody in the office area to answer the phone, a message will give you the number of the executive director.
We encourage you to leave your family pets at home, where they may feel safer. Please be aware that there are many children and others who are either allergic or fearful of many animals (especially large dogs).
Clearwater Forest summer camps are more than fun. Clearwater’s camps provide children with a host of emotional, social, spiritual and physical benefits, as well as numerous experiences and opportunities that they may not have encountered yet. By forming a bridge between school years, camp allows children to continue learning and growing in new fun and exciting ways.
While at Clearwater, children find themselves surrounded by an environment that focuses on helping them to become their very best. The structure of camp encourages children to forge new friendships, experience new activities and to uncover and enhance their strengths. Children learn how to make friends as well as how to be a friend while at camp.

Camp encourages participation in a variety of activities, many of which may be brand new to the children experiencing them. Where else can you spend your day kayaking, exploring in God’s creation and challenging yourself at a high-ropes course? Through this exposure, children find and put to use talents, skills and start to form interests they never knew they had!

Children learn to push their own limits and to persevere by challenging themselves at camp. Through success, children build their self-confidence, not because they are told that they are good, but because they experience their own successful triumph over adversity. By learning to confront and tackle new challenges at camp, children can then transfer that confidence towards exploring and experiencing new challenges at school and at home.
One of the greatest benefits that camp bestows upon children is the ability to take risks in a safe environment. Taking risks is an integral part of life, and it is often one of the most difficult things for a parent to encourage in their children. The very concept of risk infers the possibility of failure and disappointment. Yet, it is through risk that so much growth can occur. Camp revels in the opportunity to provide children with the opportunity to reap the benefits of safe risk-taking without the inherent danger.
Clearwater Forest strives to create a setting that is safe, fun, wholesome and one that will help your child grow in their walk with God. Kids are constantly hearing messages from everyone around them about who they should be or need to be, and sadly, in many cases, these messages (and the messengers) are anything but positive. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your kids could get away to a place where your child is surrounded by positive Christian role models and is encouraged to seek God through worship, Bible studies and spending time in God’s beautiful Creation!

Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center