Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Memorable days, nights at Sawtooth camps

Camp Sawtooth and Camp Perkins


So, why should kids go to summer camps?

Signe White, executive director of Camp Perkins, tried to find a all-encompassing answer to that simple question and tracked down a March 15 report on the St. Louis (Mo.) Post Dispatch newspaper website.

The report said that summer camps are important to developing emotional intelligence because kids make new friendships, discover new experiences and sample lots of character-building activities.

Skills emphasized at summer camps like listening, cooperation, sharing and self-control are vital to success at school and in developing healthy relationships, the report said. Those are foundations for making positive contributions to the community and having fulfilling careers.

HEADLINE: Wood River Valley youngsters for many years have made great memories out of their summer vacations by joining up with church camps held in the mountains and lakes north of Ketchum.

Camp Perkins and Camp Sawtooth are two of the best. Christian fellowship is emphasized, but campers need not be Lutheran or Presbyterian to attend. Here are details:

Camp Perkins

Lutheran-run, the camp is located on Perkins Lake downriver from Alturas Lake, 42 miles north of Ketchum. It observes its 56th anniversary in 2011 and has treated generations to special summer treats.

Each day of camp is divided into three sections—cabin group time and relationship building, optional outdoor activities like kayaking, rock climbing, hikes and frisbee, and all-camp get-togethers.

Among newer offerings are a climbing tower that has three sides of varying degrees of difficulty, and a day camp June 19 at Valley of Peace in Hailey.

Camp Perkins offers a variety of camps, traditional and specialized. The organization also has week and weekend camps for families seeking to find new ways to come together.

New this year is a guitar camp with Scott Elliott, praise band leader at Grace Lutheran Church in Pocatello. For kids in grades 6-10, the camp focusing on basic chord and strumming techniques is integrated into the traditional youth camp. No experience is needed.

Other special camps are: Father-Son Weekend for grades 3 and up (July 22-24, $80); a Friends and Family Camp Week from July 3-8 (adults $205, kids $105); a Mountain Biking Camp for boys in grades 7-10, from July 10-15 ($295); and a Ridges Intro Camp for grades 5-8 that spends five days on different Sawtooth Mountain trails from June 26-July 1 ($295).

There are seven camp sessions over the summer. Weekly sessions begin Sunday afternoons. Campers are divided into cabin groups of eight, with assigned counselors responsible on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

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Camp sessions for grades 3-6 are June 19-24, July 17-22 and July 31-Aug. 5. The session for grades 4-7 is July 10-15. There are two sessions for grades 5-8, July 24-29 and Aug. 7-12. The high school session for grades 9-12 is July 3-8.

Cost for Youth Camps are $275. Register online. In addition to the basic camp cost, campers can add activities like a 90-minute trail ride, rafting, sailing and photography. The programs include morning Bible study and nightly devotions.

Call the camp office at 788-0897 or visit Registration is ongoing. The annual work weekend is Friday through Monday, May 27-30.

Camp Sawtooth

Camp Sawtooth, operated under a special-use permit issued to the Snake River mission of the Presbyterian Church, is 79 years old in 2011.

The camp is 10 miles north of Ketchum via the gravel road behind the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters. Camp directors are Steve and Senita Watkins of Nampa. Youth leaders ages 19 and older serve as counselors/staff.

Campers enjoy a variety of activities while living and learning in a Christian environment. Each camp is unique with all campers enjoying a program specifically designed for them by the program staff.

Activities include outdoor games and crafts, hiking and swimming, picnics, road trips and evening campfires. Cost of each weeklong camp ranges from $170 to $300, depending on activities and length of camp.

The check-in for each week is Sunday from 4-5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. Typically, campers spend Mondays getting to know each other through team-building games. They take road trips Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and explore the mountains with a picnic and a hike on Thursdays.

Lodge time each evening is filled with games, skits, singing, shared talents and laughter. Evening chapel occurs around a campfire in the wooded setting.

Here are 2011 planned weeks along with special activities:

Camp dates are June 26-July 1 for incoming students in grades 5-6, featuring a day trip to Redfish Lake for swimming and a picnic; from July 10-15 for incoming middle school and hearing-impaired students with an ice skating activity; and July 5-8 for grades 3-4 with an afternoon of swimming.

Also, July 17-22 for grades 9-10 featuring a trip to Baldy; and July 24-29 for grades 11-12 with whitewater rafting on the Salmon River near Stanley as a special treat for the older kids.

Campers should attend the camp of the grade they will enter in the fall of 2011. Visit or call 208-899-2073 before May 15 for more details. E-mail is The camp phone from May 15-Oct. 10 is 726-1155.

This year's Camp Sawtooth Work Weekend is May 28-30 and meals are provided.

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