Questions Campers Ask

First-time campers are equal parts excited and nervous. While we’re confident you’ll feel at home at Kamaji within minutes, answering a few questions ahead of time can help you understand what your summer at Kamaji is going to be all about!



Questions Campers Have Before Coming to Kamaji

How do you pronounce KAMAJI??
Say it as if it were written “comma-G.”
What is Kamaji?

Kamaji is a sleep-away summer camp for girls. It is a place to have fun, make new friends and learn new things.

Why is Kamaji a camp just for girls?

img_0512Camp Kamaji is a place where you are judged not by your appearance, not by your grades, not by your athletic ability, not by the clothes you wear.

At Kamaji each camper is free to be whoever she wants to be – and to discover whomever she wants to be! We want Kamaji’s campers to have fun, to make new friends, to learn, to try things they’ve never tried before; and to grow and develop at their own pace in a positive way. We want each camper to simply be herself. This philosophy began over 100 years ago when Kamaji started in 1914, and we have continued in that tradition.

Most importantly, we want who the camper is on the inside to be the person we see on the outside. We hope that being in this environment will help you do all of that. We also hope you discover how important and special friendships are with girls and young women are to you and how supportive those relationships can be for the rest of your life. We want to build up our campers’ confidence and view one another as allies and a healthy support system.

Where is Kamaji?

kamaji-mapKamaji is way up in northern Minnesota, not too far from the Canadian border.

Check out the map here. Find your state, then look for the big red star in Minnesota. Hopefully, that will give you a bit of an idea of where camp is from where you live!!

What does Kamaji look like?

There are lots of trees and a lake that is big enough to do all our waterfront activities.  Kamaji sits on 135 wooded acres of towering pine trees.

There are several well-marked paths throughout camp which lead to the different cabins and activities, riding stables, archery field, tennis courts and Council Fire ring. Kamaji has almost a mile of shoreline on Big Wolf Lake – a secluded lake where Kamaji’s waterfront activities take place!

How long do campers stay at Kamaji?

Great question with two answers:

  1. Each summer girls attend Kamaji for either four or eight weeks – it’s your choice.
  2. Most campers come back summer after summer: four, five, six – even seven years in a row!
What are the other campers like?

The youngest girls are 7; the oldest are 15. Campers come from all over the United States as well as other countries, too. 

Most importantly, they’re people very much like you. They like to have fun, learn new things and make new friends. Kamaji’s campers are energetic, fun-loving, friendly and excited about new experiences. They are also quiet, loud, reserved, outgoing, short, tall, athletic, artsy, theatrical, bookish, adventurous… okay, okay, truth is, we cannot define a Kamaji camper as any one “thing”.  Campers of all different backgrounds and personalities are represented here at camp, that is part of what makes camp so special!

Where would I live at camp?

You’ll live in a cabin with eight to ten other campers who are the same age as you. Campers live with girls from many different cities, most of whom have never met until coming to Kamaji.

Also living in your cabin will be three counselors who are there to help you have the best time possible and who will, if you let them, become some of your closest friends at camp.

What if I don’t know anyone else at Kamaji when I first get there?

Not to worry! In fact, a lot of our first-year Kamaji campers do not know anyone when they first arrive at Kamaji and few, if any, come to camp with a friend-from-home. Camp is a great place to make a brand new start with a brand new group of friends. Would you really and truly want to go to a camp where everyone in your school classroom ended up being in your cabin group? Or would you rather make a group of camp friends who are separate from your at-home and at-school friends?It is our preference that sisters, cousins, friends-from-home and friends-from-school not live together in the same cabin group while at camp. If you live in separate groups than you can introduce your home-friend to your new camp-friends and your home-friend can introduce you to her new camp-friends, and you’ve already DOUBLED the amount of people you know at camp!

Plus, we have several different ways that we work to help you meet new friends at camp. Besides the girls you live with in the cabin, you’ll choose the activities you take each week which means you’ll be mixed in with girls of all different ages and cabins, you’ll also enjoy a different all-camp activity each evening with everyone AND we have something called “tribes” at camp where you will be initiated into one of 6 tribes and be part of it for the rest of your life. Tribes are made up of girls of all different ages and you’ll return each summer to participate in tribe activities with these friends and meet new tribe friends as new campers join us each summer.

What exactly is a “camp friend”?

A camp friend is much more than a friend you meet at camp! Camp friendships are unlike those you have home and school. In fact, camp friends likely will be the only people in your life — other than your family — who understand you the best, love you unconditionally, encourage and support you when you are feeling bad, celebrate with you when things are great, and cheer you on when you are successful. Even when camp is over, a camp friend is someone you can talk to anytime . . . and amazingly it won’t even seem you’ve ever been apart. The times you spend at camp together will always be an amazing connection. A big part of why these friendships are so special is because you are living together, away from your family and they become your “camp family”, they see you at your best and forgive you when you’re at your worst, that is one of the reasons why going to sleepaway camp for 4 (or 8 weeks!) is so great, those friendships are formed over time, time together.

How will I make camp friends at Kamaji?

It is at camp where you learn not only how to make a friend but also how to be a friend. From the moment you arrive at camp, you will begin meeting new people – in your cabin, in your instructional activities, in your tribes, during your free time and during all-camp programs. In fact, by the end of your first day at Kamaji you will have met far more people than you would meet on any given day back at home and school. Lots of those people – campers and counselors – will become great camp friends.
While each camper has her own way of making friends, at Camp Kamaji we purposely put several things in place so that it will be easier to make friends.

In the Cabin
Cabinmates learn each other’s likes and dislikes; they play together, eat together, work together, make group decisions together, resolve conflicts together, share the same sleeping quarters together, sing songs together, laugh and sometimes even cry together; most importantly, they grow up at camp together. That’s how great friendships begin forming between cabinmates!!

In the Instructional Activity Program
When a camper goes to the different instructional activity periods each day, she does not go with her cabin mates. Instead, with help from Kamaji’s program staff, a camper is placed in activities she chooses — in a skill level that fits her abilities rather than her age. So, for example, if you are a beginner in horseback riding, you would be placed in a riding class with campers who are all beginner riders even if they aren’t in your age group or in your cabin.
Sharing experiences in the different activities are important in helping friendships form. Even a quieter person finds comfort and confidence in knowing that others enjoy the same things – whether it’s waterskiing, sailing, drama or tennis – that she enjoys. She finds new friends too.

All Camp Programs
Each evening Kamaji’s entire population – campers and staff – join together for a single all-camp program. Whether it be an exciting game of Capture the Flag or a Mud Run, a Carnival Night or relay races, a Dance Off or Skit Night, or at dusk when everyone gathers quietly around the Council Fire – all provide another opportunity for every camper to meet and make friends with so many others at Kamaji. Not only will a camper make friends with other campers when joining in on all-camp fun, she’ll also be able to develop friendships with Kamaji’s staff.

Kamaji’s Tribes: A Truly Unique Experience
At the beginning of her first summer at Kamaji, each camper is “initiated” for life into one of Kamaji’s six tribes. Each of the six tribes — signified by the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple — is made up of almost 25 girls of all different ages. Having older girls in your tribe is like having older sisters; and having younger girls is like having younger sisters — much like a family. Tribe members often become some of a camper’s closest friends at Kamaji.

Tribes do a lot of different things together at camp. They take responsibility for raising and lowering the flag, they plan weekly campfire programs, they even take turns setting the dining room tables (which goes quickly with so many people!). Tribes also play together – Tribe Day and Goofy Relays are some of the tribes’ favorite times at camp. Each tribe has its own cheers and songs – many of which have been sung at Kamaji for over 100 years!

There are tribe meetings just about every other day of camp so tribe members spend a lot of time together and, as a result, get to know each other really well. Tribe members have a special connection with one another that allows them the chance to become fast friends.

So will you make friends at camp? ABSOLUTELY!!

What will I do at camp?

Lots!! From choosing your own activities to being “initiated” into one of Kamaji’s six tribes. From eating great camp food to participating in fun all-camp activities. From making new friends to kayaking the Mississippi River. From paddleboarding to taking the horses swimming. From making your own bed to cooking tin-foil dinners and s’mores over a campfire. And so much more!

Is there a ‘typical’ day’ at Kamaji?

While no day is totally the same at Kamaji, here is what you can expect!


Wake-Up!: There is a bell that rings that signals for us all to get up and get moving in the morning.  Campers will head to the washhouses to wash your face and brush your teeth before breakfast.


Warning Bell: This is a 15-minute warning for campers before breakfast.  If your tribe is assigned to table-setting this week, then you’ll already be dressed and at the Dining Hall in order to set the tables.


Breakfast: We eat family-style so you’ll sit at a table with your cabinmates and your counselors.  We start every breakfast with cold cereal, so you can choose what kind you’d like.  And then it is followed by pancakes or French toast or a cinnamon roll or eggs, etc.  The “hopper” (a camper) will go up to the window and get breakfast to bring back to the table for everyone. There is always a type of fruit at breakfast and we also keep peanut butter and yogurt on the breakfast bar in case you need a little more protein in the morning.


Singing/Flag-Raising: First we sing a bunch of songs while we stand on the benches in the dining hall.  We have songbooks so you don’t have to worry about knowing all the words.  And then the whole camp heads to the waterfront to watch the flag being raised.


Cabin Clean-Up: This is SUPER exciting! Campers and counselors head back to the cabins to tidy up.  There is a job chart in each cabin group so that campers take turns with different chores each day.  You might be the hopper (as I described above) or the person who sweeps the porch or maybe the person who empties the trash.  Once your chore is done and you have made your bed and straightened your shelves and your sleeping area, then you can get ready for the first two activities of your day!


First Period: Remember, campers choose what activities they take at camp each week.  So you’ll have a different schedule from the other girls you live with in the cabin.  This is a great opportunity to meet new people at camp and discover activities that YOU love to do! We want you to try new things so we will make sure you have a variety of different activities each week.


Second Period: If for some reason you don’t know where to go, you can always ask a counselor, another camper/friend, OR come to the office and someone will walk with you to your activity area.


Warning Bell: This is the time to go wash your hands and get ready for lunch.  Oftentimes campers will meet outside the Dining Hall where we have tetherball and a Gaga pit so you can play with other campers while you wait for lunch to start.


Lunch: The food is so good at camp!!  There is the main meal like pizza, grilled cheese, wraps and then we also have a big salad bar that has all sorts of vegetables, fruit, chicken or tuna salad and peanut butter and jelly on it.  So if for some reason you don’t like what is being served, there is always something for you to eat!  We also have dessert after lunch AND dinner!


Singing again! And a couple times a week we will have a Tribe Meeting.


Rest Period: It is a quieter time of the day, but not a silent one! Campers will hang out in their cabins to read, play cards, make friendship bracelets, listen to music and write letters home.  Remember, letter writing is how you will keep in touch with your family and friends while you are at camp.  Rest period is always fun because this is when you’ll receive YOUR mail too!


Third Activity Period


Fourth Activity Period


Fifth Period/Free Period: This is a time where you can choose whatever it is you want to do around camp! Oftentimes campers will find a buddy and go for a swim down at the swim area because there will be counselors and lifeguards there to watch you.  If you want to take out a sailboat, finish up a tennis match or help groom the horses, just let the instructors know and they’ll be there to help you.  Campers will also use this time to visit friends from other cabins, take a shower, play tetherball or just hang out!


Warning Bell for Dinner


Dinner: Dinner is similar to lunch in that there is a main dish served and then also a salad bar.  And don’t forget dessert!!


More songs! But this time the songs are slower songs and we don’t stand on the benches for these.


Evening Program: This is a GREAT time of the day when the whole camp gets together to do an activity, a game or a theme night.  Each night is a little bit different but we will have a campfire program (Council Fire) every week.  That program tends to be a little quieter but most programs are loud, goofy, silly, dress-up and run-around activities! We’ll do things like Halloween Night, Relays, a Mud Run, a Sponge War and a Color Run (just to name a few).


Evening Program wraps up!.  Campers head back to their cabins to get ready for bed.  Campers will head to the washhouses to brush their teeth and wash their faces and then change into their PJs to hang in their cabin.  Counselors will have something planned to do as a group each night.  It might be a fun “get-to-know-you” game, a card game or sometimes they will read a book out loud to the group, just depends what you and your cabinmates enjoy.

Bedtimes (approximately):

  • 9:30 Girls going into 2nd grade
  • 9:45 Girls going into 3rd/4th grade
  • 10:00 Girls going into 5th grade
  • 10:15 Girls going into 6th grade
  • 10:30 Girls going into 7th and 8th grade
  • 10:45 Girls going into 9th grade
  • 11:00 Girls going into 10th grade


Then you get tucked into bed, get a good night’s sleep and get ready to get up and do it all over again!  While this is a “typical” day at camp, you’ll learn soon enough that there is actually no day that is “typical”!! Sometimes we sleep in, once a week we will have an Adventure Day where you do different types of activities with your cabinmates and sometimes if it is rainy or too hot we’ll adjust the schedule to do something fun.  It’s camp so we just roll with it!!

What instructional activities can I choose from if I go to Kamaji?

IMG_8022SO MANY!  Get ready, here goes…

Swimming, Canoeing, Kayaking, Windsurfing, Waterskiing, Wake surfing, Wakeboarding, Paddleboarding, Sailing and Fishing AND Manual Photography, Ceramics and Pottery, Arts and Crafts, Painting and Drawing, Dance and Drama AND Archery, Tennis, English Horseback Riding, Low Ropes Course, Climbing Wall, Basketball, Campcraft, Mad Science and Wellness.

You can do them all, no matter how old you are! And remember, you get to choose what you want to do!

What kind of wilderness camping trips can I take?

Wilderness Trip ShackIt doesn’t matter if it is your first summer at camp and it also doesn’t matter how old you are; you will have an opportunity to go on at least one overnight camping trip. Campers can canoe lakes and rivers in northern Minnesota AND Canada!

You can also go on sea-kayak trips, hiking trips, horseback riding trips and even rock climbing trips. These trips last from two to eight days.

What’s the staff like at Kamaji?

Most of our staff are women who work as both cabin counselors and activity instructors. Most are college-aged or older. Many were campers at Kamaji when they were your age!  We also have cooks, drivers, wilderness trip leaders, maintenance workers, office staff and camp nursing staff.  All of our staff live at Kamaji.

We do our best to hire staff who are friendly, helpful, likable, responsible and FUN!   Our staff members like to spend time with kids just like you. They like to do the same things you do.

They don’t just watch you play or swim or slide through mud puddles – they’re playing and swimming and sliding, too!

How’s the food at camp?

GREAT!  So GREAT that many of our campers’ parents and staff ask for our recipes! So GREAT that because so many of our campers and camp parents asked, there was a cookbook published with campers’ favorite recipes.  It’s called Just Add Water!

Check out a sample menu from a week at Kamaji!

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