Boys, ages 8 – 17
8-week, 4-week and 2-week sessions.
**2-week sessions are limited to boys entering 3rd, 4th or 5th grades.
Camp Chippewa is a summer camp for boys located in the Chippewa National Forest on Cass Lake near Bemidji, Minnesota.
Our mission is to develop Character, through Adventure, inspired by Tradition.
Our History and Values
Founded in 1935 by Otto “Cap” Endres and Helen “Mom” Endres, Camp Chippewa is owned and operated by Camp Chippewa Foundation, a non-profit foundation. A legacy of camping was ensured when the Endres family donated the camp and its property to the newly formed Camp Chippewa Foundation in 1999, helping to ensure that Chippewa will continue as a boy’s camp for future generations.
The tradition of the camp reflects the dreams expressed by our founders, Cap and Mom Endres, when they began building Camp Chippewa. By focusing on life-long sports and activities, we have carefully developed a program that promotes emotional and physical growth, develops confidence and encourages friendships with fellow campers and counselors from around the globe. It is an exciting and fun program created by each camper within a well-developed camp structure.
Boyhood is a special time and Camp Chippewa provides a rare opportunity to slow the pace of our daily routine, to escape the wired world to discover the wider world, and to find true adventure around the glow of a campfire.
Camp Chippewa Leadership
Camp Chippewa’s leadership consists of men and women who exemplify the values, heritage and mission that began long ago. In 1935, with an enrollment of 5 boys, camp felt just like a family. Although Camp Chippewa’s enrollment is significantly larger than that first year, the family feel is still vital in the organization’s philosophy and success.
Cap & Mom Endres, Founders
Founders and pioneers Otto ‘Cap’ and Helen ‘Mom’ Endres began bringing boys to northern Minnesota to escape the summer heat of Oklahoma. Cap was a teacher, coach and military captain. Mom was a bookkeeper, cook and mother to all. During the Depression, they shared a vision that boys needed to stay physically and mentally strong in the summer. Their spirit lives on today in our mission to develop Character, through Adventure, inspired by Tradition.
Mike & Mary Endres, Directors
Mike Endres’ first summer on Cass Lake was 1958. With degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Geology-Geophysics, Science Education, and a Master’s of Education, Mike spent 30 years teaching science before devoting his full attention to educating boys in a wilderness setting.
Mike’s leadership, education, and experience give him the tools to properly train and prepare counselors to understand their role in supervising, counseling, and creating an environment where campers will grow and thrive. Additionally, his ability to see situations through the eyes of a teacher, parent and a camp director give Camp Chippewa a leader who can fully realize its mission.
Mike has paddled thousands of miles and portaged hundreds of canoes over the ancient voyageur trails both as a camper and counselor. His favorite trip is still the paddle from camp to Star Island and back. Mike is an Expert Rifleman and is often found down on The Range teaching a camper how to properly aim, squeeze the trigger and follow through.
Mary Endres was a freelance graphic designer and fitness professional before beginning her adventure as director of Camp Chippewa. She handles the business operations as well as serving families before, during and after their sons’ camp attendance each summer. As a mom, Mary understands the emotions of sending your son to camp as well as the huge benefit both parents and campers receive during this time away. Mary spends her free time assisting in tennis, watching campers in their activities and working in the camp store. Together, Mike and Mary have raised two sons, Sam and Jacob, who continue to be a part of the tradition that is Chippewa.
John “JP” & Cammy Endres, Director Emeriti
John “JP” Endres is the son of Cap and Mom Endres. In 2001, he and his wife, Cammy, became Director Emeriti after more than 40 years as directors. During his tenure, JP developed many of Chippewa’s activities and opened the next chapter of camp’s tripping program with the first Canadian canoe trip in the 1950s. The tennis court still beckons, as do games of washers and stories around the campfire.
If stories keep us connected, then JP’s stories connect us to Chippewa’s past. JP followed in Cap’s footsteps by serving his country in WWII, teaching and coaching, and directing camp for many years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
JP & Cammy support the tennis program and fill the role of grandparents to the campers.
Counselors are selected for their maturity, character and leadership capabilities, as well as their desire to be role models and mentors to our campers. Their enthusiasm creates a fun and engaging atmosphere, while their unique skills help foster growth and mastery in a wide variety of activities. Many are former Chippewa campers who pass on the skills and experiences they gained when they were younger. Counselors from foreign countries share their unique skills and culture. All are college aged or older, with a variety of backgrounds, from teaching to recreation and everything in between.
Our medical center is staffed with a resident physician or nurse. Many of our doctors have returned year after year and consider Camp Chippewa their summer home. Modern medical facilities are found in Bemidji, twenty miles away.
In addition to our background verification and interview process, all of our staff and volunteers must pass criminal background checks that exceed state minimum standards.
Would You Like to Join our Team?
We take great care in choosing our leadership and camp counselors. If you would like to know more about what it takes to join our crew, we welcome you to visit our Staff page for more information.