Camp North Homes


Sign for Camp North Homes.


The mission of Camp North Homes is to provide powerful new experiences for youth and adults in an outdoor setting. At Camp, we let the wilderness be the medium as we support each other to have new experiences, step outside of old comfort zones and build both personal and practical hard skills. The pillars of Camp North Homes are our adventure experiences, environmental education lessons and teambuilding challenges. We welcome people from all backgrounds and abilities to deepen their understanding of themselves, their group members and the natural world through a combination of education, adversity and support.

Here are just a few examples of the different activities available at Camp!

Adventure Activities & Outdoor Skills

  •   Archery
  •   Canoeing
  •   Swimming
  •   Fishing

Creative and Science Based Lessons

  •   Nature based art projects
  •   Creative writing
  •   Tree, plant and animal identification
  •   Music, dance or skit creation

Team and Self-Confidence Building

  •   Trust building challenges
  •   Team building games
  •   Service- learning projects
Picnic table at Camp North Homes

Through Camp North Homes experiences, youth and adults can have fun, create memories, step out of their comfort zones and gain confidence!

Adventure
Activities &
Outdoor
Skills
Creative &
Science
Based
Lessons
Team &
Self
Confidence
Building

Camp Activities!

Camp operates year round, offering a never ending seasonal rotation of outdoor experiences. Whether it is splashing in the water on a sunny day, creating memories while facing a team challenge under the fall colors or strapping on snowshoes to explore the Camp perimeter trail, there are activities that can be tailored to meet your group’s needs and goals.


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Warm Weather Programming

Canoe at Camp North Homes

Canoeing and Swimming

Camp North homes has 1,000 feet of lakeshore on the beautiful Hill Lake. Hill Lake is around 800 acres in size and offers a beautiful flatwater paddling experience for new canoers. With a fleet of canoes at camp, you can launch right from the sand beach to hone the paddling and communication skills needed to successfully maneuver a canoe.

Swimming is available when certified lifeguards are present. With a sandy point to swim on, youth are invited to enjoy the summer months safely!

Fishing

According to the MN Department of Natural Resources, there are over a dozen types of fish available for anglers to catch. Hill Lake has been stocked for walleye on and off since the mid 1900’s. Fishing is available in both winter and summer.

Teambuilding

Whether it is a group challenge for all to work together to cross an imaginary “chocolate river,” engineer a small machine from simple items or get through a maze using only nonverbal communication- there are endless opportunities for teambuilding at camp. By facing these crafted challenges, you can practice dealing with adversity in a safe setting. By processing what happened, what was learned and what skills could better serve them next time, they’ll be prepared for future challenges- whether they are at camp or in their everyday lives.

Archery

Archery targets.

Archery dog tags.

Camp North Homes features a full National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) approved archery range. Whether it is being used for a beginner’s archery course, weekly practice by local youth or a friendly competition, the archery range offers youth the opportunity to skill build in a fun, safe setting. With trained Camp employees on hand, youth can enjoy the many benefits of archery that are accessible to students of a wide range of ages and abilities. Archery is often praised for its ability to help youth hone focus skills, build a connection to the natural world and develop an ethic that comes with the responsibility of firing a bow.

Bows.


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Winter Programming

Winter sunset at Camp North Homes.

Camp is beautiful in the winter! From the base of the “North Homes Chalet,” seen below, people can enjoy a variety of winter activities. A normal week at camp will find youth setting out on snowshoes (many for the first time in their lives), doing a cross country trip around the lake perimeter or auguring a hole in the ice to catch a variety of fish. Walleye have been stocked over the years in Hill Lake and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to study the lake as it is considered a great example from the “northern forest and lakes” region.

Snowshoeing

Archery targets.

Archery dog tags.

Great for beginners and the experienced alike, Camp’s full selection of snowshoes are ready for the next adventure. A quickly growing yet age- old sport, it is a very novice friendly way to enjoy winter. One recent student event commented that “snowshoeing was the first time I’ve ever had fun in snow!”

Skiing

Snow shoes and cross country skis.

Cross country and back country skis are available to tour the perimeter of the beautiful camp property, venture out on Hill Lake or travel a short distance to some of the many beautiful locally groomed trails. According to VisitGrandRapids.com, the Grand Rapids area offers more than 212K of skiing on 19 groomed trails, just waiting for the next adventure.


Awards table at Camp North Homes.

Other winter time activities available include ice fishing, snow shelter building, campfire cooking and a winter Olympics weekend event! The possibilities are endless.


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Educational Programming

Recently, a group of forty girls from Centennial High School came up from the cities for a day of teambuilding and canoeing. It rained all day and was a blast “facing adversity” and learning to work together. Camp Director Lindsey Lee could be seen out in the rain talking to the girls about safe space and stepping from the green or “your comfort zone” and into the “yellow zone” to face challenges. Out in the canoes, certified lifeguard and seasoned canoe expert Sue Kavanagh could be heard instructing both novices and experienced girls alike on how to paddle the canoe into the wind.

If rain isn’t your thing, no worries- Camp operates on beautiful sunny days as well! As soon as the snow flies, our winter chalet will be open as a base for snowshoe, ski and ice fishing adventures. With the ability to groom trails on site and a close proximity to all that the Grand Rapids area has to offer, it is sure to be a busy winter!

Programming Cost Information

The rates listed below are for day programming options. Included in the cost is coordinating an ideal visit, curriculum and activity facilitation, materials and equipment and the “behind the scenes” costs of using the property such as insurance, restroom facilities, maintenance, etc. It does not include meals, but adding a cost and providing meals is a possibility for the future.

North Homes is choosing not to charge for adults attending, with the agreement that they will be assisting in activities, managing behaviors and working with the children. A camp waiver will need to be signed and on file for each student and adult that attends Camp North Homes.

Day Programming (0-3 hours)
$9/student

Full day programming (3.5-8 hours)
$18/student

As we work to meet the needs of local schools and if we determine there is a more resource heavy activity that would benefit students, there may be an additional fee for materials. One example of an activity like this would be building bird houses.

Compared to local Environmental Learning Center’s you will notice our rates our lower. Camp North Homes will provide quality programming as we continue to build our equipment and property. We are working to be competitively priced to local and regional environmental learning centers, and are looking forward to working with your school to provide these experiences close to home.


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Summer Camp Program (CTSS)

Camp North Homes wrapped up its first summer of the brand new Children’s Therapeutic Supports and Services (CTSS) camp program in 2017. All summer long, youth grades k-12 were taking on new challenges and experiencing adventures while creating life long memories; which is exactly what any kid deserves from a summer “at Camp!” All youth who attend the program have received a diagnostic assessment and are receiving mental and behavioral health support services. Instead of traditional “camp counselors” leading activities, youth are working directly with Mental Health Practitioners in a skills based program.

Picnic tables indoors at Camp North Homes

The daily schedule finds youth sharing breakfast and lunch together in the newly renovated Lodge, then splitting off into their smaller groups to go to their outdoor “home spot” for a welcoming game or sharing activity. The idea is to get youth building camaraderie and forming friendships with their group members while learning important life skills such as communication and being a good friend. Most days include either a team building challenge or a reflect-share activity.

Paddle boarding at Camp North Homes

Paddle boarding at Camp North Homes

Groups then travel through stations together. The favorite stations this year were Archery, Fishing, Swimming, Canoeing and using Camp’s new stand up paddle boards! Other stations have included a wide range of activities such as wilderness skills like fire and shelter building, fire safety followed by “s’mores and stories,” garden lessons while picking fresh raspberries, nature scavenger hunts, a variety of nature based crafts and so much more!

Picking berries at Camp North Homes

Picking berries at Camp North Homes

The end of the summer wrapped up with a slip and slide kickball tournament that had everyone splashing around laughing. A camp wide Amazing Race took place as youth demonstrated their skills with an archery tournament, canoe races, raspberry picking and so much more. Calls from families after the last day reported their kids “tried so many new things” and were “at home upset because they’re so sad Camp is over!” We look forward to many more fun, memorable and exciting summers at Camp North Homes! Registration for camp begins in early spring- contact Camp if interested in learning about how the CTSS program could be a good fit for your child.

A fish painting on wood done by a camper.

Camp North Homes shirt on a camper.

I am a daydreamer and a night thinker artwork done by a camper.


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North Homes Youth and Families at Camp

North Homes Children and Family Services serves youth and families through a wide reaching continuum of care.

Youth served in North Homes’ Itaskin Center, Cottage and group home programs also regularly program at Camp year round. Coming from typically high trauma backgrounds and with histories that can include abuse and neglect, the opportunity to come out to Camp can be huge for them. Learning how to work together to start a campfire for s’mores, processing frustration and joy during a first time ever skiing, catching their first fish and learning how to operate a power drill on a wood project are all experiences that offer many lessons. Kids who have lived their whole lives in northern Minnesota and never been in a canoe have the chance to learn how to safely paddle on Hill Lake, and so much more.

The comments from youth on their good days are the heart and soul of this Camp. From hearing a young woman with a history of abuse say “I liked using the drill- it made me feel powerful!” To the boys group after a teambuilding exercise expressing that they are “learning we can work together instead of argue.” Another young woman commented after skiing “that was the first time I can ever remember having fun outside in the winter!” Even though- she didn’t want to go and took lots of convincing, that is a memory that can last a lifetime. Kids who are in programs getting support they need, have a chance to come out to Camp and play, learn and grow “like a normal kid” even though their past life experiences have been anything but normal. While Camp is open to all ages, abilities and backgrounds to program as separate groups, Camp North Homes was originally purchased to serve youth and families who are working with North Homes. An expansion in services to school and community groups has greatly benefitted all- as the growth of Camp continues, so will the opportunities and resources for all who experience it.

Picking berries at Camp North Homes

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Staff Biographies

Lindsey Lee
Camp Director
Camp Director Lindsey Lee

Lindsey has a background as a wilderness canoe guide and several personal trips totaling over 3,500 miles. Closer to heart however, are the experiences she has had working with youth as an environmental educator, teacher and coach in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Nevada, Utah and California. Two years working 24/7 settings in wilderness therapy at Thistledew and New Vision Wilderness created a passion and varied toolbox to craft teachable moments out of pouring rain.

Lindsey says “a good day is when people are out having fun, making memories and being kids at Camp. The best days are when they are having brand new life experiences, stepping out of their comfort zones in a healthy way, forming positive bonds with peers and staff and learning that they are powerful.”

It is seeing these occurrences happen naturally in an outdoor setting that drives Lindsey’s passion to create the best possible outdoor experiences for whoever she works with. Whether it is watching a group come together on a team challenge, a young woman experiencing the thrill of woodworking for the first time or a team processing frustration at learning how to paddle a canoe, youth and adults alike will have the opportunity to create positive growth and memories at Camp North Homes.

In her spare time Lindsey can be found canoeing, rock climbing, cooking and challenging anybody she can to a handstand contest!

Susan Kavanagh
Lead Facilitator

Sue has rich experiences of the wilderness stemming from her many years as a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness guide and program director. Sue has spent many years working with youth in a variety of backgrounds such as a special education teacher, an outdoor education professional and much more. She has a knack for matching energy and reading her group to ensure a valuable experience. Hardworking and hilarious, try to keep up with Sue as she facilitates your group’s next experience at Camp! Look to the sky on a weekend and you might see Sue enjoying her new found love of flying.

Eric Stark
Wellness Coordinator and Facilitator
Wellness Coordinator and Facilitator Eric Stark

Eric combines a background in wellness, coaching and strength training with a patient and fun personality that engages groups easily in activities. His ability to create a safe and supportive space makes him an ideal facilitator for your group’s next adventure!

 

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Contact Information

For more information about Camp North Homes and about the possibility of scheduling your next school, business or community event, please contact Camp Director Lindsey Lee at Lindsey.Lee@NorthHomes.org.

Lindsey is also happy to take calls at 218-244-2304. We look forward to creating powerful new experiences with you at Camp!

 

Camp Address:

35520 691st Lane

Hill City, MN 55748