Letter from the President & CEO
I am so excited to share our 2021 Annual Report with you. In it, you’ll find highlights of the year, results, and stories from our nature-based programs.
Looking back at my first year at Camp Fire Minnesota, I can certainly say that 2021 was busy! We welcomed the return of summer camp after a year off, expanded our school break camps, piloted a Nature Immersion Program with Exploration High School, focused our afterschool partnerships on schools without nature programs, and grew our rental business to further expand our youth programs. We also took critical steps in our diversity, equity, and inclusion work to be more welcoming and affirming of the young people we serve, including the introduction of all-gender cabins for overnight summer camp and addressing cultural appropriation by renaming our Excelsior camp property.
We know that spending time outside is healing and after the stressors of the last several years, our mission to help young people find their spark in nature feels more relevant than ever. Through Camp Fire, young people get device-free time to explore the outdoors in every season — during summer and school break camps, PreK-12 environmental education, and afterschool programs.
And we know that simply having access to nature is not enough — young people need to feel comfortable in the outdoors. Our community looks to Camp Fire for programs where young people can enjoy the power of nature and be accepted for who they are. That’s why we’ve made a series of improvements to our property and programming, which you will learn about below, and are continually seeking ways to create more equitable experiences. We’re also developing a formal Inclusion Plan that will guide and hold us accountable along our journey.
None of this important work would be possible without the support of people of like you. Our donors, program partners, camp families, volunteers, alumni, young people, and other Camp Fire friends — thank you for helping young Minnesotans connect with nature and themselves.
Inclusion at Camp Fire
Inclusion is one of our core values, and we strive to live that value every day. It’s our responsibility to create a welcoming space where every young person can engage freely and safely in the outdoors. This year we created an Equity Action Committee, launched an all-gender cabin option for summer camp, and most recently, changed the name of our camp as part of our efforts to address past and current Native American cultural appropriation.
Discover what inclusion looks like at Camp Fire here.
Summer & School Break Camps
Young people in our camp programs gain nature-based experiences that help them build confidence and leadership skills, develop new relationships, and connect with the outdoors.
PreK-12 Environmental Education
Our hands-on, nature-based field trips, virtual lessons, and in-class visits tie directly to Minnesota State Education Standards or focus on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The curriculum is designed around Camp Fire’s diverse ecosystem and customized to supplement in-class learning.
In partnership with Twin Cities metro schools, we engage low-income and BIPOC young people in hands-on afterschool experiences that encourage them to grow their relationship with nature and celebrate their unique interests, backgrounds, and identities.
10 Highlights from our Nature Immersion Program Pilot
Culinary Creations: Cooking Up Fun at Camp
New Aquaponics System Supports STEM Learning
Camp Fire programs give young people the opportunity to be their authentic selves. For Lalo, coming to summer camp is when it all began.
Lalo is a hardworking recent graduate about to begin his teaching career. He began attending Camp Fire Minnesota’s summer camp program at the age of 13, participated in our Leadership Development program, went on to become a counselor, and now serves on Camp Fire Minnesota’s Board of Directors. He grew confidence as a leader and as a future teacher, because camp taught him it’s okay to be yourself.
Watch his story below or read it here.