You may have noticed on the second week of ODE that some of your friends were missing from your classes. Lots of ODE families reserved spots in a YMCA family camp in Wisconsin called Camp Nawakwa.
Camp Nawakwa, located in Lac du Flambeau Wisconsin, has been around for almost a century. Homeschool week is a special program that the camp runs in the early fall of each year. In recent years several ODE families have become regular attendees. What happens at this camp? Why are parents opting to pull their kids out of ODE for a week to attend Camp? Nawakwa is a place to go and unplug, and while there is some wifi available in the North Camp Welcome Center, it is sparse. Cell service is almost nonexistent. Kids are able to play with their friends, attend scheduled activities, and get plenty of free play on the provided facilities as well as the great outdoors. Daily activities usually include a STEAM learning activity, an all inclusive game, and various small sign-up programs. This year the STEAM learning activities were themed around the science behind music. The unique thing about Camp Nawakwa is that, while the staff sets up a full schedule you can pick and choose which activities you would like to go to.
The camp also has an array of water activities, including swimming, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards that are free for all to use. While the camp itself is amazing, the campers agree that what makes homeschool week so special is friends and family. There is always someone to talk to and hang out with no matter your age. There is also a group of teenagers that can usually be found leeching off the free wifi in the Welcome Center. The Gaga Ball pit, being a Nawakwa favorite, is rarely empty.
It rained for most of the week. But campers made the best of the bad weather by hanging out in the Welcome Center and playing card games. Exploding Kittens was a favorite of campers this year. One of the teen campers, Amiri Nevels, said “It’s a tradeoff. But I don’t mind it. We didn’t play Gaga as much as usual, but the kids got to talk and play more board games.” However the rain did not stop the campers from playing Capture the Flag or Mission Impossible. Mission Impossible, is a special Nawakwa tradition. Similar to Capture the Flag, Mission Impossible is played at night in the forest.
So if you were wondering where all of your friends, classmates, and students disappeared to, now you know that they were away having a blast at Camp Nawakwa.