Adventure, Culture, Education, Travel — June 2, 2019 at 12:56 am

Camp Thunderbird: Adventure of a Lifetime


While the people are the heart and soul of the camp, so is the perfect setting. With Boys and Girls Camp nestled in the Northwoods of Minnesota, on pristine and quiet Lake Plantagenet, there is plenty of room for exploration and adventure.

Don’t take our word for it check it out yourself:

Nature at It’s Best
Situated in the Northwoods of Minnesota not far from the headwaters of the Mississippi, Thunderbird’s 700 acres and over two miles of pristine shoreline provide a prime location for adventure and growth. Here, nature is definitely their playground.

Campers (with guidance and support from counselors) choose daily adventure/activities from over 30 activities. The campers create their own adventure fueled by their personal interests and passions. And, whether your camper is an athlete or a performer, an adventurer or an artist, each day, they choose to focus on a favorite activity or try something completely new and exciting.

If it’s a bigger adventure your camper wants, they’ve got that too. Never pitched a tent or made a campfire before, they’ll learn and become an expert it that as well. Go from kicking a soccer ball to kicking it in the Cascade Mountains, from a first canoe ride around Lake Plantagenet to paddling the Boundary waters, from passing that swim test to whitewater rafting in Northern Oregon. Our campers have many overnight to multiple day/week opportunities available to them. The offerings are truly exceptional and have something for the hesitant to adventure seeking camper.

And, while each adventure is unique, what makes Thunderbird special for many families is their shared experience for both boys and girls in the context of a single-gender camp environment. Many of their camp families have both sons and daughters at Thunderbird. Their programs are mirror images of one another, allowing siblings to have a shared camp experience, while still carving out their own adventure.

A Chance to Expand Their Horizons
While camp is about adventure, at the heart of the experience are the life skills of collaboration, perseverance, problem-solving, and self-reliance. The staff know that sending campers off to Thunderbird might seem challenging to the parents, but camp Thunderbird provides an opportunity for growth, increased autonomy, and the development of leadership and social-emotional skills. Being away from home means that when children face challenges and overcome obstacles, they own the experience. Campers can confront preconceived ideas of who they are and reinvent themselves, while further developing passions and interests they might never have explored.

Allowing each camper to choose their activities daily, gives them the freedom to select areas of interest they will focus on and set goals to achieve over the course of the summer. The consistent practice, dedication, and commitment to specific goals leads to tangible growth and, in turn, greater self-confidence. In addition, wilderness adventures foster unparalleled personal growth while challenging kids to be their best selves.

At Camp Thunderbird they believe summer camp is not a sprint, but a journey along a path lined with celebrations, challenges, and success. A single session or full season allows campers to become immersed in the camp experience and routines, develop profound and real friendships, try a variety of new activities, and work toward and attain goals outside of their comfort zone. The staff want campers to feel at home at Thunderbird and to do that they need to truly experience the Thunderbird way of life.

“I think camp is the best emotional preparation for a successful college experience, because you practice being on your own, keeping track of your clothes; you practice living in a community and getting along with roommates [. . .] — all of the skills you need for true independence. . . . It’s very helpful to start the process of learning to live independently and also in community earlier.”

Where Friends Become Family
They just keep coming back. The strong bond that alumni feel is a testament to their sense of belonging. Friendships built here last a lifetime, rooted in encouragement and collaboration. In the single-gender camp environment, Thunderbird campers are celebrated for taking risks, working together, showing kindness, accomplishing goals, and being uniquely oneself. Campers are able to forge deep social connections without the pressures of the boy-girl dynamic that they face during the school year and the focus remains on the core values of growth, friendship, fun and adventure. Intense and deep bonds form when the emphasis is on brotherhood or sisterhood.

Thunderbird provides a safe and supportive environment for healthy competition that fosters positive sportsmanship and community building. Campers find a place where they can genuinely bond with peers, be free from materialism, and unplug. Their strong stance that technology has its place outside the camp community, is rooted in the belief that kids need a place to reconnect with one another, to nature and to their true selves.

Pure Fun in a Safe Environment
While campers are busy having fun, the staff are working hard to ensure campers safety, both physically and emotionally. They begin their focus on social-emotional growth with their foundation of a single-gendered environment. By bringing campers from all over the world, they thoughtfully create a cabin group that is free from school dynamics.

They hand picked qualified group of staff that make the camp a safe environment for the campers. With an average age of 21, their staff consists of around 30 certified lifeguards at each camp.  The majority of their staff that work directly with children are First Aid/CPR trained and/or certified. All wilderness leaders have Wilderness First Aid or Responder Certification. The health staff consists of two full-time nurses at each camp and an on-call physician. Approximately twelve miles away, the town of Bemidji has a large regional hospital and specialists such as orthodontists and orthopedists. At the waterfront, their lifeguard-to-camper ratio is 1 to 6 for all lake activities and PFD are worn for all boating and recreational water activities. Their buddy board system ensures that all campers are accounted for the entire time they are at the waterfront. Safety, while having fun is no doubt their number one priority.

While times have changed, the core values and beliefs at the heart of Thunderbird remain the same. Thunderbird’s leadership lives by a deep sense of history and purpose as they help parents grow their boys and girls to confident and capable strong young men and women all year round.




Summer Address: (June 1 – August 31)

Camp Thunderbird for boys: 49300 Tbird TrailBemidji, MN 56601 Phone: 218-751-5171 Fax: 314-596-4228
Camp Thunderbird for girls: 49536 Thunderbird DriveBemidji, MN 56601 Phone: 218-751-6761 Fax: 314-596-4228

Winter Address: (September 1 – May 31)

Camp Thunderbird, Inc. 802 De Mun Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105 Phone: 314-647-3168 Fax: 314-647-7218

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