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Camp Ihduhapi



From the Collection: The collection consists of records created by individual camps and material related to the administration of camping programs of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

On January 1, 2012, the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul merged to form the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. All camps that had been operating under the Minneapolis YMCA or the St. Paul YMCA continued their operations, but under the newly formed YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

The bulk of the collection documents camping in the Minneapolis YMCA prior to the 2012 merger. Records include program administration materials, correspondence, reports, memoranda, articles, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, scrapbooks, and document the development of camps Icaghowan, Ihduhapi, Menogyn, Warren and camping services in the Minneapolis YMCA from 1914 to 2007. This material formed the original basis of the collection.

The collection also includes some records related to camps St. Croix, Widjiwagan, and duNord that were established by the St. Paul YMCA. Records of these camps date from 1929-2011. Camp Widjiwagan is particularly well documented; there are board records, annual reports, committee records, promotional material, trip logs, camp rosters, building dedications and plans, manuals, songbooks, and cookbooks. The Camp Widjiwagan records date from the founding of the camp in 1929 to 2004.


  • 1904-2010
  • Majority of material found within ( 1960-1990)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Biographical / Historical

After an exhaustive search lasting almost a decade, in 1929 Camp Ihduhapi (EE-doo-hop-ee) - Lakota for "Independence" - was established on land purchased from Mrs. Annie Forbes. Totally 31.18 acres, the heavily wooded site located on Lake Independence had a 600-foot bathing beach. Camp Ihduhapi was located just 22 miles west of the Twin Cities in Loretto, Minnesota. Minneapolis community leaders, including George Nelson Dayton, and A.C. Andrews, who owned grain elevators and served as the chairman of the Boys' Work Committee for several years, were instrumental in the development of the camp. The committee worked closely with the Minneapolis boys' work secretary, Paul B, Bremicker, who made extensive studies of other modern camps across the U.S., and supervised the actual construction. Layout of the camp was planned carefully with the assistance of Charles H. Ramsdell, a local landscape architect.

Officially open on July 31, 1930, the camp was initially known as "Lake Independence Camp", a rustic experience designed for younger boys. Ihduhapi became the first fully winterized YMCA Minneapolis camp with a main lodge, 14 sleeping cabins, dining hall, caretaker cottage, and handicraft cabin, in addition to other buildings. The main lodge fireplaces consisted of rocks from over ten different Midwest states. Unlike the other Minneapolis YMCA camps which had to be retrofitted, Ihduhapi was constructed with a modern septic tank system, complete sewage, water and underground electric system all thoroughly approved by state inspectors prior to opening. This camp brought the YMCA Minneapolis yearly camper capacity to 300. During the early years, Camp Ihduhapi began to fulfill the need for year-round wilderness camping experiences. With weekend and overnight meetings after the close of the regular camping season, Camp Ihduhapi's all-year programming was a success. By 1939, a total of 889 summer campers, and 2,863 fall, winter, and spring campers were being served.

By 1947, a new health services building was erected. In 1962, a new waterfront building was given to the camp by the Grafil Club. Four Voyageur cabins were built from 1958-1965. The Camp Ihduhapi program was studied extensively from 1962-1965 with the involvement of Bobo Hardy from the metropolitan staff, and the camp director, Lyle Johnson. Through a survey of the camp site for future development and expansion possibilities, it was recommended that a new cabin unit be built to house another 60 people in five cabins. In 1965, renovations to the camp continued, with the building of a new older boys cabin, placement of all outdoor wiring underground, major landscaping and construction project, including a new stairway and walk from the waterfront up through the cabin area. 1965 was a record year for resident campers, with a new bike tripping program, 20-mile canoe trips, and work camper canoe trips on Canadian border lakes. In 1967, two new camper cabins were constructed, as well as the future of the camp, with plans were firmly established for Ihduhapi to serve equally as a summer boy's camp and a youth-oriented conference camp. Over 179 boys were served during the summer season at Camp Ihduhapi by 1969, from all over the metropolitan Minneapolis area. A significant change that year saw the camp counselors, over 40 in total, sending regular reports directly to parents on their campers, providing a more immediate assessment, rather than routing the reports through the respective branch. A camp office was permanently established on the grounds in 1969, as well as cabin and kitchen renovation and replacement. Through studying a camper telephone survey conducted in December 1969 and statistical material from the previous ten years, it was recognized that there was a "constant need for innovation to attract boys to the camp." It was determined that the camp explore opportunities of school camping and outdoor educational programs with Minneapolis and surrounding area schools, and recognized the need for a second staff person to serve as program director for the camp to conduct community outreach programming.

By 1970, the camp consisted of over 152 acres on the northwest shore of Lake Independence, including an island of approximately 20 acres in the northern portion of the lake. During the 1970 decade, girls were integrated into the Minneapolis YMCA Camp programs, "in order to meet the growing need for service to the total family." However, co-ed groups had long been using Ihduhapi during the other 40 weeks of the year when summer camp was not in session. Needed roof repairs were conducted in 1972. As a result of a $15 million capital campaign begun in late 1973, a remodel of the camp was undertaken, to modernize facilities and provide a better camping experience. The camp went from having individual long sessions, to one and two-week sessions only. In the summer of 1980, Camp Ihduhapi celebrated it's 50th year in operation, with an extensive weekend celebration at the camp, with former lay persons, staff, camper alumni and community leaders all participating. Additional renovations, including a new sewer system, were completed in 1981. Sports camps, including soccer wrestling, and volleyball, were scheduled simultaneously with regular camping sessions in 1981 so children could create their preferred experience.

By 1992, enrollment included 1,101 summer campers, grades 3-10; 10 teen-age Youth in Government participants; 11, 467 conference camp participants; 478 sustaining members, and 28,416 participant days. Camp facilities continued to be upgraded, with a major remodeling project completed on the Cedarblade Lodge, including new accessible entrances, and building foundation. A new pole barn was completed for the horse-riding program. Major work continued on a forest management project, done in conjunction with Twin Cities Tree Trust. Camp Ihduhapi continued to adapt to the needs of its communities with a variety of programs served through asthma camp, epilepsy camp, riding and sailing/windsurfing camps. The camp in 1992 qualified as an International YMCA, with staff from Jamaica, Spain,Sweden, and Jordan. In 1993, the board approved the starting up of an environmental education program, and an Ihduhapi Youth Group.

By 1995, the camp now at 175 acres of forest, bog, and prairie, developed an Adventure Learning Center, designed to provide programs that develop individual and group strengths, promote respect for self, others, and the environment, and help people develop self-confidence, motivation and other skills needed to succeed in school and life. The Adventure Learning Center included a 43-foot climbing tower designed to develop teamwork, as well as a High Ropes course, where participants move from platforms stationed 25 feet up in maple trees, using ropes and cables for balance. By 1996, Camp Ihduhapi offered youth programs, primarily after school youth sports, to the surrounding four school districts, including Buffalo, Delano, Rockford and Orono, Minnesota. In 1997, the new Metro Y's Men Welcome Center and bunk house were completed. The Bunk house was designed as a self-contained building housing 36 people, with indoor meeting space and bathrooms. In collaboration with Orono Community Education, it was possible that year to hire a 30-per week Youth Development Coordinator. By 1999, a Community Program Director was hired and Partners Across the Region (P.A.R. 5) was born, which allowed Ihduhapi to offer even more mentoring opportunities, programs for at-risk youth in the surrounding communities, summer day programs and special events held at camp such as the Egg Hunt and Open House for area businesses.

Camp Ihduhapi has remained a vital part of the YMCA Minneapolis tradition, devoted to providing the best experience for the young and first-time campers, as well as such specialty camps as sailing and horse camp. Well-trained staff led quality programs where campers have developed integrity, self-reliance and leadership skills, building life-long friendships and experiencing a sense of community through small age-appropriate, single-gender groups. The mission of Camp Ihduhapi continues to be "providing those experiences in group work context to help individuals grow, become more independent, increase self-confidence and self-esteem, with an emphasis on leadership development." In 2004, Camp Ihduhapi celebrated 75 years of camping traditions.


From the Collection: 18 Cubic Feet (36 boxes)

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area