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YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities Camping records

Identifier: Y.MPL.005


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.


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


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Analog (non-digital) material is open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room. This collection includes a small number of digital files that are available upon request. Please contact the Kautz Family YMCA Archives to arrange access to these materials.

Use of Materials:

This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.


Organized YMCA camping in the Twin Cities can be traced back to the Minneapolis YMCA’s first camp on the Baptist Assembly grounds in Mound, Minnesota in 1899. Between 1900 and 1907, the Minneapolis Y held a Boys Camp that moved from Lake Minnetonka (1900-1901) to Lake Francis (1902) to Clear Lake (1903-1905) and to Lake Calhoun (1906-1907). After a long search for a more permanent place, in 1907 the Minneapolis YMCA purchased 5 acres of land on Green Lake near Chisago City, Minnesota. In the summer of 1908, Camp Icaghowan opened on the Green Lake site and became the first boys camp conducted on property owned by the Minneapolis YMCA. Camping proved to be popular in the Minneapolis YMCA and more resident camps were established by the association: Camp Menogyn on West Bearskin Lake (1922), Camp Warren on Half Moon Lake (1927), and Camp Ihduhapi on Lake Independence (1929).

In St. Paul, organized YMCA camping began in 1909 when St. Paul YMCA Boys Work Department members helped raise money to purchase a site for a summer camp in Wisconsin on Lake St. Croix on the St. Croix river. Camp St. Croix was formally dedicated on June 9, 1910. In 1929 the St. Paul YMCA established a second camp, Camp Widjiwagan, as a more rugged northwoods camp for older campers on Burntside Lake near Ely, Minnesota.

In 1950, the Minneapolis YMCA camping program expanded with the establishment of Green Triangle—its first day camp. Prior to the establishment of Green Triangle, all of the YMCA camps operated by the St. Paul and Minneapolis YMCAs had been overnight camps for boys around 10 years old or older (with the exception of Camp Widjiwagan that had started offering a girls program in the 1940s). Day camping was developed for younger boys who were not old enough to sleep away from home, but who would still enjoy an outdoor camp-like experience. Day camping proved to be very popular and more day camps were quickly established to meet a growing need in the Minneapolis YMCA, Camp Manitou (1954), Camp Kici Yapi (1955), Camp Christmas Tree (1958), Camp Guy Robinson (1969), Camp Away-A-Day (1969).

In addition to making camping experiences available to younger boys, by the 1960s and 1970s Minneapolis YMCA and St. Paul YMCA camps had also started to become more inclusive towards girls and women. The St. Paul YMCA began offering a wilderness YMCA camping experience to families with the purchase of Camp duNord in 1960. And by the end of the 1970s, girls were campers and women were counselors at most of the Minneapolis YMCA and St. Paul YMCA camps.

In 2011 the Minneapolis YMCA operated four overnight camps (Icaghowan, Menogyn, Ihduhapi, and Warren) and six regional day camps (Kici Yapi, Christmas Tree, Streefland, Guy Robinson, Manitou, and Day Ihduhapi) and the St. Paul YMCA operated three overnight camps (St. Croix, Widjiwagan, and duNord) and four day camps (Heritage, Kumalya, DayCroix, and Sacajawea). On January 1, 2012, the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul merged to form one of the largest Y associations in the United States—the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Camps that had been owned by either the Minneapolis YMCA or the St. Paul YMCA continued operations but under the newly created organization the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

As of 2018, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities operated seven overnight camps (Icaghowan, St. Croix, Menogyn, Widjiwagan, Ihduhapi, Warren, and duNord) and ten day camps (Christmas Tree, DayCroix, Guy Robinson, Heritage, Day Ihduhapi, Kici Yapi, Kumalya, Manitou, Spring Lake, and Streefland).

(Information taken from Breaking New Ground, Building Strong Lives: 140 Years of Youth Work with the Minneapolis YMCA by Paul Hillmer; from Builders of Men: A History of the Minneapolis Young Men's Christian Association: 1866-1936 by S. Wirt Wiley and Florence Lehmann; and from the collection).


29 Cubic Feet (47 boxes)

24.6 Megabytes (8 files)


Records documenting the administration of camping programs of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Records of camps Icaghowan, Ihduhapi, Menogyn, Warren and various day camps started by the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis are included. Also included are records of camps St. Croix, Widjiwagan, and duNord that were established by the YMCA of Greater St. Paul.

Available materials vary significantly by camp but may include board and committee minutes, financial records, evaluations, annual reports, marketing materials, manuals, songbooks, and correspondence.


These documents are organized into the following sections:

  1. Minneapolis YMCA Camping Administration Records
  2. Camp Christmas Tree
  3. Camp Green Triangle
  4. Camp Guy Robinson
  5. Camp Icaghowan
  6. Camp Ihduhapi
  7. Camp Kici Yapi
  8. Camp Manitou
  9. Camp Menogyn
  10. Camp Streefland
  11. Camp Tamarac
  12. Camp Warren
  13. Camp duNord
  14. Camp St. Croix
  15. Camp Widjiwagan

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.


Additional information regarding the camps of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities can be found in the Minneapolis YMCA General Administrative Records and Minneapolis YMCA photographs, slides, and audiovisual materials, separately catalogued in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

The following related materials are available at other archival repositories:

Saint Paul Area YMCA Records. Minnesota Historical Society.

Processing Information:

The basis of this collection was the records of the Minneapolis YMCA’s individual camps and camping services department. The collection was originally processed by Jesse Harpestad, Kathryn Oosterhuis, and Alex Bentley in March 2014.

In 2018, the name of the collection was changed from Minneapolis YMCA Camping Services records to YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities Camping records and materials from the St. Paul YMCA and the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities were added.

Includes accessions: YTC20211025, YTC20221010, YTC20220921, YTC20210921, and YTC20180213.

Catalog Record ID number: 6448596

YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities Camping:
An Inventory of its Records
Finding aid prepared by Kathryn Oosterhuis and Alex Bentley.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2019: Revised to include new acquisitions
  • August 2023: Revised to include new acquisitions

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area