Camp Manitowa

Summer Camp

Camp manitowa

Preparing for Camp

We are thrilled you chose Camp Manitowa for your camper’s summer experience! We look forward to getting to know your child and watching them experience all that Manitowa has to offer this summer.

We are strong believers in the power of summer camp – giving young people time to slow down, open up, and explore. Our summer camp program provides campers with a forum to experience new challenges, enhance self-confidence, develop skills, and establish enduring friendships. Our campers often say they feel more alive, more connected, and their most authentic selves at Manitowa. Our summer camp experience offers campers the opportunity for unstructured play, to meet people from all over the country, to form strong relationships within a supportive community, to unplug from technology, gain independence, and have fun.

At Camp Manitowa,

We create memories that will last a lifetime!

Located in scenic southern Illinois, Camp Manitowa’s 40-acre lakefront abode and adjoining 19,000 acres of adventure and recreation at Rend Lake inspires campers to connect with the natural world and provides endless opportunities for extraordinary summer camp adventures. Our campers, ages eight to sixteen, spend their days immersed in camp life, enjoying exciting activities and sharing the joys of being a kid with their camp friends. The magic of a Manitowa summer becomes embedded in each member of our camp community – in counselors who serve as positive and caring role models for our campers, and in campers who get to understand that being young, joyful, and safe at camp is a gift that will last a lifetime.



While at camp, campers must assume responsibility for the proper care of personal belongings. All clothing and personal items should be clearly marked with the camper’s full name. Laundry service is provided once per week.

Click to download your camper’s packing list.

Campers are not allowed to bring the following to camp:

  • Cell phones, video game consoles, tablets, and personal computers. These items are not permitted at camp and will be confiscated and stored at the camp office. 
  • Items of high value such as watches, jewelry, or expensive cameras. Disposable cameras are encouraged. 
  • Matches, cigarette lighters, fireworks of any kind.
  • Drugs or alcohol substances of any kind, including vape pens and tobacco products.
  • Weapons of any kind, or anything that could be used as a weapon.


Camp is a communal living experience. All campers are expected to contribute to the overall positive atmosphere, cleanliness and respectful care of their living space, village and camp as a whole. 

Camp Manitowa has two main villages: The red village and the green village. Each village hosts 5 yurts, which sleep a maximum of 12 campers. Two to three counselors live in each yurt. Campers sleep in bunk beds and have cubby spaces for their belongings. Each village has an administrator cabin where members of our administration team live. Each village has its own shower house.

Yurt requests can be made through the camper application.

Camp manitowa

Summer 2023 Dates

Camp Manitowa serves campers entering 2nd – 10th grade. Campers spend their time at camp living in a yurt with approximately 12 other campers and a minimum of 2 staff members. Yurts are assigned based on age group and gender identity.

Session 1: June 25, 2023 – July 14, 2023

Session 2: July 16, 2023 – July 29, 2023

Taste of Camp Manitowa:  July 30, 2023 – August 5, 2023 

9th Grade Smoky Mountain Adventure: July 16, 2023 -July 29, 2023

10th & 11th Grade Colorado Rocky Mountain Adventure: June 25, 2023 – July 15, 2023

Camp manitowa

A note regarding session lengths:

We strive to provide the best possible summer camp experience for every camper. We encourage campers to enroll for the entire session, allowing time to get fully adjusted to camp life, gain independence, develop meaningful friendships and foster self-growth & confidence. We offer a 3-week session, a 2- week session, and a 1-week session.

However, we understand that with busy schedules and each child having unique needs, this may not be practical. Campers do have the option to sign up for a shorter duration (in 1-week increments) but must start their summer at Manitowa at the beginning of a session. Please contact us by phone or email if you would like to discuss session lengths in more detail.

Camp Manitowa

A Day in the Life of a Manitowa Camper

Camp Manitowa is the ideal place for a young person to thrive. Each day is curated to provide an exceptional, adventurous, lively day for a Manitowa camper. Each day at camp is filled with activities to foster self-confidence, character-building, team building, and FUN.

By offering structured free choice activities, we encourage kids to feel a sense of belonging and control over their experience, which leaves them feeling empowered and more adept to learn and grow.

Camp manitowa

Camp Life

Every day at Camp Manitowa is an adventure. With each new experience, campers gain confidence and form meaningful relationships with one-another. Camp Manitowa provides a wide variety of programming and opportunities designed to encourage campers to pursue what they love while also encouraging them to try new things. The activities we offer tailor to kids with all different interests and passions. From water activities, such as tubing and water skiing, a high-ropes course that stands 50-feet in the air, daily sports competitions, outdoor living adventures, visual arts, hiking, performing arts, etc., there are numerous activities for every camper at Manitowa to find worth-while.

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Food is a significant part of the camp experience.  We offer a balanced menu and many of our camper’s even report that the food is a highlight of their time at camp! With our busy days full of endless activities, we want to be sure that campers have all the energy and food fuel they need to feel their best. 

We are a nut-free facility, and actively work to be sure to accommodate every food allergy and special dietary need of each camper. Please communicate with us prior to camp about any dietary restrictions or food allergies so we can work with our chef to ensure your camper gets alternative meals / options when necessary.

Camp manitowa

Health & Wellness

Our number 1 priority will always be the health and safety of each camper. We always have a licensed nurse at camp, with an air-conditioned health center that is stocked with the standard over-the-counter medications, so there is no need to send these items. In the unlikely event of a more serious illness or injury, Camp Manitowa is located just 5 minutes from the Franklin Hospital in Benton, Illinois. Additionally, many of our staff members are trained and certified in Red Cross Water Safety, CPR and First Aid.

If your camper has been taken to the doctor/hospital, receives a prescription, or spends the night in the health center during their time at camp, you will receive a call from us.

Medication at camp – As part of the enrollment process, you will be asked to complete various wellness forms, including our Medical/Health History, Health Care Provider, and Immunization Forms. These forms give our Health Professional Team access to a camper’s health history, allergies and Epi-Pen use, medications, treatments, and more.

All medications sent to camp must be in original packaging with prescription and listed on their health form’s. Over-the-counter medications, vitamins/supplements, along with dosage and time taken, must also be listed on the Healthcare Provider Form.



Thank you for helping to build my child’s confidence, for opening his heart and mind, and for giving him the best summer! He loved EVERYTHING

My son enjoys these adventures so much so I hear about it all year long. He makes new friends and looks forward to seeing old returning friends too. His confidence and self esteem matures with each camp session. I'm ever grateful for all they do for each camper.

Camp Manitowa becomes more and more special to me each year I get to be a part of it and watch each group of people enjoy and grow from it. The happiness, positive energy, gratitude, connection, FUN and overall joy I felt and witnessed all summer was magical.

I truly believe this camp has made the biggest impact on my life. I’ve met the most incredible people at Manitowa and I don’t know where I would be without them. Camp has taught me so much and it really is hard to explain just how amazing it is.

My summers spent at Camp Manitowa have shaped me into the person I am today. It is my favorite place in the world and I can’t imagine a better home. I am so grateful for the role models and friendships that I've gained from this special place.

Manitowa has been a huge part of my life for the past 11 years. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this remarkable place. The summers just keep getting better, and I’m already counting down the seconds until I get to go back. I am so proud to be a part of the Manitowa community.

I spent the majority of my childhood spending summers at Manitowa, and when they tell you that you'll form lifelong bonds, they aren’t lying. I always felt like I could be my crazy self here and live out my summers to the fullest. SO many special memories with amazing people whom I will never forget.

Camp Manitowa has been my home away from home. I came into my own here as an individual, a team member and eventually a leader and administrator. As always, it’s the people that really make the place special. All the friendships and memories I’ve made at camp are the most cherished in my life.

Manitowa was the place that taught me how to be independent, how to be myself, and gave me some of the most important and influential friends I’ve ever had.

Thankful for the place I walked into as a shy and quiet 16 year old and walked out 7 years later as a confident, 22 year old leader.

I love Camp Manitowa because it’s a place you go to be exactly who you are.

Camp Manitowa is a community like no other and I feel so proud to be a part of its magic! The friends you make truly become a part of you no matter distance or time.