We require submission of the following forms every year before campers arrive:
- Physical Examination
- Contact Information & Agreement Form
- Out-of-State Transportation Form (Out of State Campers Only)
- Insurance Card
- Insurance information will only be used to facilitate outside medical treatment if required.
- Campers traveling to Canada must bring a valid passport to camp and send us photocopy of their passport prior to arrival. This includes Quetico Canoe, Advanced Explorer Canoe, Voyageur Canoe and Advanced Explorer Backpack trips.
- Camper Questionnaire: Optional but highly encouraged!
All of these forms as well as information on out-of-state transportation assistance and gear lists are available to download from the Forms and Publications tab. Forms may be returned by mail to YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, 651 Nicollet Mall, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN, 55402 or faxed to 612 223 6322 or uploaded here.
Widjiwagan has a proven safety record that spans more than 90 years. While we cannot guarantee accident-free travel, our priority is the health and well-being of all our campers. Our attitude and investment in accident prevention and incident response enables our staff to respond appropriately and situationally. We train our staff members in professional-level wilderness first responder skills, provide them with a thorough knowledge of the areas we travel through, and have established policies and procedures designed to reduce the likelihood of illness and injury. In addition, we provide communication devices to our trip leaders to allow them to access additional resources whenever technology and the environment allow. In the event of an illness or injury, it is important for parents and campers to acknowledge that communication with emergency medical services is not always possible due to the remoteness of our trips.
Covid 19 Considerations
We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to run a full summer schedule in 2021. However, prospective campers should be aware that the Covid-19 pandemic will likely have an impact on our programming. We may need to alter some traditions like group size, in-camp activities, session structure, trip length and travel destinations. Please note that the Canadian Border currently remains closed. We will update families and adjust our session pricing to reflect any significant programmatic changes that are necessary to align with national and state guidelines and other risk management considerations.
Camp Widjiwagan has weather radios and access to weather radar and monitors these resources. Onsite campers and staff will be moved to safe location inside a building in the event of severe weather.
Parents, guardians and campers should be aware that no place in the backcountry is safe from lightening and severe weather. Severe weather is an objective hazard of wilderness travel. Widji counselors receive training on policies and practices designed to minimize this risk in accordance with industry best practices and NOAA’s recommendations on Lightening Risk Management.
Illness and Injury
If your camper shows any symptoms of illness before coming to camp, please notify us.
If your child is sick or injured while at camp:
- Campers that require non-emergency medical treatment while staying onsite at Widji receive first aid from an onsite healthcare provider.
- Campers that require non-emergency medical treatment while in a backcountry wilderness setting will receive first aid from their Trail Counselor who is trained in professional level wilderness first responder skills.
- In the event of a more serious injury or illness, a camper who is staying at Widji will be taken to a local clinic or hospital and a parent or guardian will be contacted.
- When necessary, Widjiwagan will work with local contacts to remove ill or injured campers from the backcountry and transport them to medical care.
- In the event of an illness or injury that precludes a camper from continuing with our programming, a parent or emergency contact will be called to make arrangements for pickup.
Widjiwagan operates on the policy of “no news is good news.” In order to preserve every camper’s wilderness experience, groups only make contact with Camp if they are in need of assistance or additional resources. The Widji Administrative team also follows this policy in communicating with families. We will not contact you unless we have a pertinent update on your camper’s experience.
Campers spend the majority of their time outside. There are mosquitoes and flies in the area, and many campers choose to bring bug repellant. They are encouraged to check themselves for ticks daily. Widjiwagan staff will provide appropriate assistance, as needed, for tick removal.
Health Service Office
Widjiwagan’s Health Service Office is staffed by volunteer Health Professionals who stay onsite and are available 24-hours a day. Our Health Professionals rotate on a weekly basis. Widjiwagan’s advising physician oversees the Health Service Office with support from the Wilderness Program Director. Ely, MN has a well-equipped hospital located 15 miles from camp in the event that a camper requires medical care than falls outside of the scope of what we can provide.
Medications will be turned over to the Health Professional when campers arrive at Widji. The Health Professional will administer medications while campers are onsite. This responsibility transfers to a camper’s counselor when the group departs for their trip.
All medication should arrive at camp in the original bottle. This includes both prescription and over the counter medications. Prescription medications should be labeled with the camper’s name as well as clear dosage and frequency information. Dosage and frequency information for over the counter medications should be indicated by the parent/guardian in the Health History portion of the camper’s registration or written on an attached note.
Be sure that there is enough medication for the entire session including the three nights at Widji at the beginning of a camper’s session and one night at the end of the camper’s session. Please send a few extra doses in case they get wet or damaged while on trail.
Please reach out to the Widji team if your camper requires assistance administering their medication or a medication has special or complicated directions. We will work with you and your child’s medical providers to create a plan or explore reasonable accommodations.
We aim to give campers agency in shaping their wilderness experience to suit their unique goals and those of their group. Campers work together with their counselor and group mates to plan a route for their trip that everyone feels excited about and is the right pace. That being said, canoeing and backpacking are physically demanding activities. We recommend that campers prepare to have the most fun at camp by being physically active before arrival. One need not be an athlete to enjoy the wilderness, but conditioning is important for one’s safety, the safety of others and the overall success of a Widji experience. Walking at a solid pace, going for runs and playing group sports are all great ways to get ready for Widji!
Check out the section below to learn more about the physical and emotional expectations of campers. The Camper Readiness page outlines additional considerations. Please feel free to reach out to the Widji team directly at (612) 822-2267 if you have specific questions your camper’s readiness or selecting the trip that best meets their needs.
Physical and Emotional Expectations of Campers
Camp requires effort and the ability to communicate. To ensure your child has a safe summer camp experience, your child must:
- Be able to understand, remember and follow instructions
- Be able to respect and relate responsibly to others in a group
- Be able to participate in primarily outdoor activities in large and small groups
- Canoers should be able to:
- enter and exit a canoe independently or with moderate assistance from a companion
- right themselves and remain face up in the water with the aid of a Personal Flotation Device (lifejacket). PFDs are provided by camp and must be worn and zipped in all boating activities.
- Backpackers should be able to:
- Hike with a backpack weighing up to 45-55 pounds.