News & Events

Widji Fall Sampler

posted on Mon, Aug 12 2019 10:49 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

Widji is the perfect place to spend your fall school break! The weekend offers the opportunity to canoe, hike, play games, meet new friends, reconnect with old ones, enjoy great food and have terrific fall fun.

October 17-20, 2019
Ages 12-18
$170 per person includes transportation ($50 non-refundable)


Transportation available from the White Bear Lake YMCA. 

  • Departs: 8am on October 17
  • Returns: 2pm on October 20

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Widji Celebrates 90 years!

posted on Mon, Apr 22 2019 10:44 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

By Mark Holloway and Sara Mairs, 90th Reunion Co-chairs

Planning for the 90th Reunion got off to a great start last fall with the formation of the 90th Reunion Planning Committee. The planning process engaged the committee in a detail focused, thoughtful and open minded planning process. A process informed by reunions of the past and expanded upon by our ever-growing, diverse and well represented community of people who hold Widji as a special place. We are striving for fun, connective and inclusive reunion where Widji alumni, family and friends can enjoy camp and the spirit of Widjiwagan. Whether that's by rekindling old memories, making new ones, or both, there is a place for all at the 90th Reunion. 

Our planning committee work has kept us busy in 2019. The registration is up-and-running and the program of events for the weekend is taking shape. We are currently in the process of dialing in the final program details. Here's some of what you can expect:

  • A Barn dance to start off the festivities on Friday evening
  • Yummy food and spirited fun at meal times
  • A wide variety of activities spread throughout each day for all ages (this includes supervised activities for children)
  • Time to connect with old friends and honor Widji's past
  • Time to make new connections and look towards Widji's future
  • Time to simply enjoy being at camp - walk around, go on a hike or paddle, breathe in the fresh Northwoods air and relax at Widji
  • Camp tours
  • Campfires, saunas and singing
  • The Morris Canoe Dedication - Joe Seliga's family canoes from his youth are being restored! There will be a special dedication ceremony at the 90th Reunion. The canoes will be water ready and available for paddling. More information

So...Widji alumni, family, and friends, please make plans to join the reunion this summer for a fun filled weekend to celebrate Camp Widjiwagan's 90the Anniversary. Laughter will echo across the North Arm of Burntside Lake and the loons will respond to our calls. The 90th Reunion will be a weekend not to miss. Come experience, once again or for the first time, the connective and powerful Widji spirit. 

If you have not already done so, get the dates on your calendar and register. 

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Summer Closing Celebrations & Banquets

posted on Mon, Apr 22 2019 10:29 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

By Matt Poppleton, Executive Director

As campers conclude their wilderness trips, family and friends are welcome to join us at Widji for our Closing Celebration. This is a great opportunity to greet your camper, meet their trail mates and Trail Counselor and hear first-hand of their adventures. 

Closing Celebrations are always the day before the session ends. For example, if the session dates are July 12-23, the Celebration is July 22. 

The banquet dinners will also be a part of our Closing Celebration this summer, but space is limited and registration is required. Banquet registration can be completed online.

If our banquets fill up, everyone is still welcome to join the Closing Celebration that starts at 6:15pm.

Closing Celebration Schedule
5:00-5:30 p.m. - Arrive, check-in at the Sigurd Olson Center
5:30 p.m. - Banquet in Kirby Dining Hall
6:15 p.m. - Social time (meet your camper at Kirby Dining Hall if you did not attend dinner)
7:00 p.m. - Camp Tour (starts from the Tripping Center Circle)
7:30 p.m. - Closing Campfire (at the Amphitheater or Kirby Ding Hall depending on weather)

We have recognized in recent years the challenge with not having enough space in the Kirby Dining Hall for the number of family and friends hoping to attend the banquet meal. We have made adjustments to our schedule that allow for attendees to participate in the Closing Celebration even when the banquet meal is full. 

The Widji staff and board have been evaluating new alternatives to our Closing Celebration program that would be more welcoming for all families and not dependent on available seats in Kirby for the banquet meal. No major changes will occur for the summer of 2019, but keep an eye out for a new approach in 2020!

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Well Wishes to our 2019 Voyageurs and Mountaineers!

posted on Mon, Apr 22 2019 10:08 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

By Amy Hadow, Summer Program Director

We would like to announce the names of our 2019 Voyageur and Mountaineer Leaders and campers. Our campers and staff have been planning their trips since January and excitement is building as camp approaches. Groups have already selected their routes and are picking out designs for their hats and sashes. We can't wait to wish them happy trails!

Voyageur Groups

Shawn Cope (Leader)

  • Andrew Bussen
  • Calvin Davies
  • Theo Deitz-Green
  • Charles Collinge
  • Conner Massey
  • Emmett Bikales

Caroline Herman (Leader)

  • Jane Andersen
  • Nardos Scott
  • Valerie Bares
  • Anna Smalley
  • Tatai Guillery

Claire O'Brien (Leader)

  • Luciana Benzan
  • El Boatman
  • Mackenzie Farrell
  • Amelia Evavold
  • Maggie Jones

Brent Saxton (Leader)

  • Zachery Kareken
  • Max DeJong
  • Peter Rock
  • Henry Benson
  • Ben Peters

Maggie Cahill (Leader)

  • Lina Dreshcler
  • Izzy Schwarz
  • Maggie Lafave
  • Emma Watson

Sela Patterson (Leader)

  • Lila Stokiner
  • Carrie MacDonald
  • Madeline Parr
  • Lily Cooper
  • Hazel Deharpporte

Mountaineer Groups

Allie Horick (Leader)

  • Lindsay Boettiger
  • Lizzy Kolb
  • Betsy Romans
  • Eleanor Fuchs

Nick Gardner (Leader)

  • Ian Black
  • Eli Kilpatrick
  • Charlie Moonen
  • Ryan Moore
  • Flynn Opatz

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Traveling to Public Lands

posted on Mon, Apr 22 2019 9:50 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

By Kathleen Floberg, Wilderness Program Director

Every summer Widji groups travel to various wilderness areas, National Parks, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges, Provincial Parks, and other types of public lands in the USA and Canada. We are lucky in that each area has one thing in common: they all support efforts to get kids in the woods. In return, we do our part to respect all the areas in which we travel and our groups strive to be the model of how an LNT camper behaves.

Widji is required to obtain various special use permits in many of the places we travel. This permitting process can be cumbersome and restrictive in terms of the amount of people we can send to each area. For those of you who have ended up on a waitlist for a Bighorns or Rocky Mountain backpacking trip, you have experience these restrictions first hand. Even though these disappointments are frustrating, we try to keep in mind that these regulations exist in order to protect areas from overuse and exploitation. 

You may have seen headlines in the news this winter about the new Boundary Waters permitting system. This new system met with some significant challenges in the initial roll-out and many of the new requirements negatively impacted the camps and businesses in the Ely area. Fortunately, the Forest Service met with a number of businesses in the area, including Widji, after the initial roll out failed. We were able to have productive conversations about how to improve the system for a second attempt. While there are still some kinks in the system, Widji was able to secure the permits we need to have another successful season in the Boundary Waters!

The strong relationships we have built over the years with all these public lands and permitting areas allow Widji groups to maintain these coveted permits. our hope is that these areas continue to be managed in ways that support efforts to get kids into the woods. 

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Calendar of Events

posted on Sun, Jan 27 2019 11:30 am by YMCA YMCA Camp Widjiwagan

Upcoming Events

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