News & Events

Taking S.T.E.P.S. toward Equity at Family Camp

posted on Thu, Jul 15 2021 11:52 am by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

Tseganesh Selameab

After enjoying four years of family camp in the Northwoods, Tseganesh Selameab feels the comfort and familiarity of the YMCA of the North’s Camp du Nord and Camp Northern Lights. Now her goal is to make Camp Northern Lights a place of respite for everyone.

Tseganesh’s family was among Camp Northern Lights’ first summer campers, and she was invited to join and develop the new community board. She said yes because of her love of camp, but more importantly to be part of creating a place of inclusion from the start and to insist it becomes a home for everyone and not just for some. 

The Taking S.T.E.P.S. Campaign (Supporting the Transformation of Equity and Power in Outdoor Spaces) was created as an awakening – or new beginning – to recognize the reality of racism and racial injustice. Camp leaders, like Angela Wunderlich, shared in their outrage at the many terrible acts of racism and felt the weight of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 as they entered staff training last summer. These feelings, which had been present for a while, prompted them to create tangible changes to address inequities that happen in the camp world. Tseganesh feels hopeful and glad to see “…known barriers for families of color are being addressed.”

Tseganesh believes this equity energy is just starting and wants to expand on that to ensure this inclusivity extends to the LGBTQ+ community and people with diverse abilities.

Taking a step back, volunteer leaders know this work begins with acknowledging the land where camp is located. Camp Northern Lights is not the beginning of this land’s story, nor will it be the end. New stories will continue to build on its history because we change and evolve. We are stewards of this land, not owners.

Camp volunteers and team members also recognize there is more to being equitable than inviting people into this space. It’s more complex than that. It is in how comfortable and prepared our campers feel being in outdoor spaces. They’re looking at multiple areas where inclusion is sometimes left out, such as water safety, staff training, and considering how safe a person of color feels as their family travels to camp. The summer team didn’t think it was right that someone who identifies as BIPOC felt like an outsider in this camp setting. Everyone should enjoy nature and its ability to restore – but they also need to feel safe. The way we help campers prepare for their time outdoors will determine success. The Camp Northern Lights Board is having conversations around engaging new campers with touch points throughout the year to give them a better understanding of what they can expect. Hopefully, they can meet some camp counselors and see photos of the spaces, so they already have a sense of familiarity when they arrive on check-in day.

When families and individuals get to camp, they should feel they’re joining a community that actively promotes equity. They should see people who look like them, giving them a natural comfort of belonging. Kids should have fun and enjoy a level of freedom to explore. Camp experiences create fond memories and instill values in young people. At family camp, they learn to be tenacious and motivated to do good things. When they see success in their hard work, they learn resiliency. It’s not just the kids, it’s the grown-ups who also learn to be brave and to try something new.

When campers get to Northern Lights, they should not only feel welcome, but know it is a space created intentionally for them.

Learn more about getting involved in Taking S.T.E.P.S. at Camp Northern Lights.

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Become a Sustaining Donor to Camp du Nord

posted on Thu, Mar 12 2020 11:49 am by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

We're excited to offer financial donors another option for giving. Rather than a one-time annual donation, donors can now choose to commit to automatic monthly donations. Many organizations have moved from focusing solely on annual capital campaigns to year-round sustaining efforts. "Things change through the years, including camper demographics and the amount people can give," explains Stephanie Malon-Rufi, chair of Camp du Nord's Mission Advancement Committee. "Our financial stewardship strategy - the annual fund campaign - remained largely unchanged for years. It was time to revamp fundraising to give us a better idea of continuous income."

This year's fundraising goal is $154,000. Donors have the flexibility to spread donations over 12 months and incorporate their giving into a budget. Plus, it's super easy to set up! And you'll receive a special Camp du Nord Sustaining Member sticker!


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Pine Pointe Village Gets First Wood-Burning Sauna and Sledding Hill

posted on Thu, Mar 12 2020 11:42 am by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

This winter, Pine Pointe campers kept things hot right in Pine Pointe Village. The beautiful new dual wood-burning and electric sauna is a wonderful option for Pine Pointe campers who want to experience Avanto (Finnish for hole in the ice) without having to ski or drive to the du Nord sauna. The new sauna has also alleviated overcrowding for this popular winter activity. Electric lighting inside and string lighting outside help guide campers to warmth on those cold, dark, north woods nights. Of course, we're excited for campers to enjoy the Pine Pointe sauna in every season!

Another fun improvement for winter campers at Pine Pointe is the new sledding hill. The sledding hill, located next to Morning Glory, is lit up with twinkling lights each night and has made winter weekends extra fun. Grab one of our sleds, and enjoy a magical ride!

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Welcome Kelsey Wood! Camp du Nord’s New Food Service Manager

posted on Thu, Mar 12 2020 11:36 am by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

Few things get campers more excited than the sound of the dining hall bell! Meal times at Camp du Nord allow campers to connect with others and refuel for more fun adventures. We are thrilled to have someone from the local community, with an amazing attitude and experience join our staff. By the way, if you've ever grabbed a pizza from the Wilderness Wood Fire pizza truck during Fest du Nord, then you've already tasted some of Kelsey's ridiculously good pizza. Meet Kelsey!

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Dallas, TX and am a graduate of Texas Tech University. In 2016, my family left Dallas to spend the summer in Ely, and we never left. 

What is your food service background?
Restaurants have been in my blood since a young age because my dad worked in the industry. I've been working in restaurants since I was 14 years old and gained management experience at The Cheesecake Factory and Blue Moose Pizza. I've also consulted for restaurants and assisted with new restaurant openings. Lastly, my family owns a seasonal wood-fired pizza trailer, and we are proudly gearing up for our fourth season serving the Ely area.

Why do you want to work at Camp du Nord?
I'm an avid hiker and camper. My love for YMCA camp began in 2001 when I was a cook at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Winter Park, CO. I love the family of life-long friends and memories I created there. I could tell Camp du Nord was the same when I started selling pizzas at Fest du Nord. I've always heard great things about the kitchen here, and I'm excited to continue the tradition, work hard, and make things even better. Plus, I'm super stoked to work in the most beautiful place ever!

Kitchen goals?
One of my biggest goals in trimming food costs and waste, while getting creative with great flavors in the kitchen and accommodating dietary needs. We have room for improvement in labeling, menu variety, and overall quality and consistency. One challenge I've noticed is the flow of the salad bar line; we're trying a few new ideas and hope to see an improvement this summer. My priority is to make plenty of fresh and delicious food and lead a staff that has fun together and looks forward to coming to work each day!

What's your favorite recipe?
Being from Texas, I love anything Mexican or BBQ. I enjoy making carnitas, pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, salads, soups and chili - and I make sure each has all the proper "fixin's" to go with it!

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Garage Sale

posted on Thu, Feb 27 2020 2:40 pm by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

The Fall Garage Sale has been cancelled.

Our sale needs donated items, shoppers, and volunteers. Be a part of the team of families and friends that make this Garage Sale successful. All proceeds fund the Camper Scholarship Endowment.


Search your attic and basement for treasurers to donate. Donation Guidelines

Donations accepted: Schedule a Pick-up

  • Saturday, September 19 | noon - 7:30pm
  • Sunday - Tuesday, September 2-22 | 9:00am - 7:30pm

Financial donations may be made directly to the Widji & du Nord Endowment Fund.


Whether you want to sit, stand or walk we have just the job for you. Teens earn valuable service hours and families can work together.

Saturday-Saturday, September 19-26
Week at a Glance


Shop for treasures! Huge assortment of books, patio furniture, sporting goods, and more.

Thursday - Saturday | September 24-26

  • Thursday-Friday, 9am - 7:30pm
  • Saturday BAG and Cart Sale, 8am - 4pm

Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Merchandise Mart Building
1640 Dan Patch Ave
Falcon Heights, MN 55108

Questions? Call:651-645-6605

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Calendar of Events

posted on Thu, Dec 21 2017 8:00 am by YMCA YMCA Camp du Nord

Upcoming Events

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