Choosing the right summer camp for your child can be a challenge filled with questions from the start . . . Where do I begin? How do I know that my son will be happy at this camp? How do I tell so many camps apart? Here at Winona we understand you have many options in summer camps, so we’ve created this list to tell you what sets Winona apart, and to help you decide if Winona is the right camp for your son.
- Winona is known for our development, understanding and programming specific to boys and young men. At Winona we are very active and we have A LOT of fun, but our trained staff are just as attentive to building character in our campers. Winona has long been a leader in teaching boys how to develop confidence, leadership, community living skills and life-long friendships.
- Winona emphasizes wilderness trips, traditional in-camp activities, sports and simple living in a non-denominational setting (no religious affiliation). Campers and staff live in 16’ canvas tents with six cots. There is no electricity in the tents. Winona is the perfect place for your son to unplug and make genuine connections with his peers, plus it provides the opportunity for him to make daily decisions on his own (this allows for tremendous growth over a short period of time!). At Winona our campers do not use electronics: no cell phones, no iPods, and no tablets. Only digital cameras are allowed. (To find out how you communicate with your son at Winona, click here.)
- Winona is a traditional, residential camp (220 boys each session). Our sessions are 3 or 6 weeks in length. We are located in the “Lakes Region” of western Maine at the foothills of the White Mountains (about one hour west from Portland, Maine). Our location is the key to our success with Winona property covering hundreds of acres and nearly one mile of shore frontage along Moose Pond in Bridgton. This allows us immediate access for all water based activities: canoeing, kayaking, swimming, water sports and sailing. See our map.
- Winona is an ACA accredited camp (what does this mean? click here) and has been in continual operation since 1908, which makes it one of the oldest boys’ camps in the country. We are owned, directed and staffed by 110 men and women each summer. We have a 90% return rate for our unit staff. Winona remains a private camp, owned and operated by the Ordway Family for 50 years. Meet our directors, who live and work year-round at Winona.
- The meaning of Winona Camps derives from our physical set-up into four units which act as separate, smaller camps: Junior (ages 7 -11), Intermediate (ages 11 – 13), Senior (ages 13 – 15) and CIT (ages 16 & 17). (each of these link to unit pages under Campers) This set-up allows us to offer separate staff and facilities for each activity, in each unit. For example, there are three sets of archery staff at Winona and three locations for archery. An 8 year-old camper is learning from staff trained for his age group in one location, while 15 year-old boys are learning archery from different staff in another location.
- At Winona, our campers choose their own activities daily. We do not set a weekly schedule for them, nor do we require boys in each tent group to attend activities together. At Winona, we have assemblies in each unit in the morning and afternoon. The campers hear what is offered for that time period, and then each boy decides what he would like to do. For example, your son may decide he wants to go to horseback riding, ecology and tennis in the morning, while in the afternoon he signs-up for climbing and woodworking. Winona strongly believes that this process leads to better engagement and higher skill development for our campers.
- Winona offers a diverse community that is unique to most summer camps. We have regional diversity with campers from over 30 states and 15 foreign countries. We do not “draw” campers from any one area, which means we rarely have more than two or three boys from the same school or hometown. We also have loyal and generous alumni, which supports our Campership Fund and allows us to offer camp to boys’ families who not otherwise afford the tuition. We feel that diversity is crucial to a community which teaches young men to be understanding and encourages boys to learn about people who are different from themselves.
Winona’s mission is to preserve a sense of earned accomplishment and perseverance, over instant gratification; to encourage let-me-experiment attitudes, over show-me boredom; and to replace the fragmentation that characterizes many activities of young people with a renewed sense of patience and concentration.