A program for campers who have completed 7th through 9th grades.

When the Explorer program is offered at each of our sites, these campers are usually the oldest campers we have onsite.  For long-time VLM campers, as Explorers they have moved along the progression to reach this point, experiencing a wide variety of activities, team building, and being challenged outside their comfort zone.  For first time campers to VLM, coming as an Explorer will give them the perfect taste of camping in the northwoods.

Because they are generally the oldest campers, Explorers have a great opportunity to set examples and even be a type of mentor to younger campers.  The other programs at camp will see the Explorer's activities and look forward to the day they will be able to participate in an overnight camping experience, enjoy a day trip by canoe to another part of the lake, stay up a bit later, and dig deeper into their faith.  While there are activities throughout the week for the entire camp to participate in together, Explorers also have many opportunities for games, worships, and experiences planned just for them.

Weather permitting, Explorer campers take a day canoe trip on Tuesdays.  Following morning worship, the group will take a packed trail lunch and head out on the water.  Both Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion have nearby picnic sites on the lake, perfect for a short canoe trip and time away from the main site.  The day's Bible study, lunch, and quiet time happen on these trips, along with swimming for those who might be interested.  Along with the cabin counselors, our Watefront Director often enjoys participating in this trip.  With no set schedule, the Explorer campers are able to take their time and truly enjoy this trip.  Typically they return to site just in time for afternoon canteen.

Wednesday afternoons see the Explorer Village prepare and pack for an overnight camping experience on the property.  At Camp Hiawatha, the group is divided between two campsites on the property across Cty 19 from the main site.  At Camp Vermilion, each cabin is assigned to their own campsite so their overnight is done as a smaller group.  (The sites at Vermilion are set close to another site so a second staff member is available should a counselor need help with something.)  These overnights include helping to cook their supper over the fire, setting up tents, and learning basic outdoor living skills.  Cabin groups enjoy time together in conversation, team building, and devotions.  The next morning, groups wake and prepare their breakfast over the fire.  After cleaning up and making sure they have "left no trace" at their site, Explorers will gather for morning worship as a group.  Some groups will then remain for Bible study, but all groups head back to camp in time for lunch.

Explorer campers live in a cabin with generally 7-8 cabin mates and one of our staff.

  • Housing at Camp Hiawatha is in either Lindberg or Gloria Dei dorm.  Each room/cabin has four bunk beds and an attached bathroom with sinks, toilet, and shower.
  • Housing at Camp Vermilion is typically in our Tree Tops cabins.  This is short distance from the bathhouse, but an outhouse is close by when needed.  Tree Top cabins at Camp Vermilion have five bunk beds and a sink.

A general daily schedule for Explorers looks like this:

  • 7:00 - Polar Bear Swim (an early morning jump in the lake; optional)
  • 7:45 - Morning Mai (morning devotion time with other cabins)
  • 8:00 - Breakfast
  • 8:40 - Kapers (chores or tasks to help keep the camp clean and comfortable for all)
  • 9:15 - Large group games
  • 9:30 - Morning worship, also called Pose (po-say)
  • 10:00 - Bible study with their cabin group; also called Rubbaboo
  • 11:15 - Village game/activity with all cabins in the Explorer program
  • 12:00 - lunch
  • 12:45 - Siesta
  • 1:15 - Afternoon Grovers - usually two or three activity periods with a variety of activities for campers to choose from; includes swimming, creative arts, field games, canoeing, learning a skill, nature activities, and more
  • A trip to the canteen is usually part of the afternoon schedule
  • 5:30 - Supper
  • 6:15 - Cabin Time
  • 6:45 - All Camp Game - sometimes with the entire camp community; sometimes with other Explorer cabins
  • 8:30 - Canteen or snack; prepare for evening campfire
  • 9:15 - Campfire - sometimes with entire camp community, sometimes with other Explorer cabins
  • 10:00 - Prepare for bed
  • 10:15 - Evening cabin devotions; also called Wattape
  • 10:40 - Lights out

With the canoe trip and overnight experiences mentioned above, the Explorer schedule will vary from day to day.

We look forward to having the opportunity to dig deeper into faith and outdoor living experiences with your Explorer camper this summer!  If you have more questions about the program that are not answered on our site, please contact us.

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