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318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

An Inventory of Its Records

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Creator: Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis. Camp Warren.
Title: Camp Warren records
Date: 1917-2010 (bulk 1960-1980)
Collection Number: Y.MPL.005-4
Abstract: Records documenting the administration of the camping programs of the YMCA Minneapolis, focusing on Camp Warren. Available records include committee minutes, finances, evaluations, annual reports, and marketing materials from 1930 to 2005.
Quantity: 5.2 cubic feet (5 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


In 1927, Camp Warren was purchased through the generous Dayton Endowment, including two hundred acres of virgin timberland near Evelyth, Minnesota, near Half Moon and Pleasant Lakes. The property was purchased from a Mrs. O. B. Warren and the camp was named on behalf of her husband. Six cabins were initially built on the property to provide overflow from Camp Icaghowan, and the new camp was filled to capacity from the very first year, 1928.

Officially dedicated on July 8, 1929, Camp Warren provided activities such as canoeing, backpacking, horseback riding, tennis, sailing, and group sports. A long-term facility with four or eight week periods, Camp Warren served the entire metropolitan area, focusing on leadership development in a long-term camp setting. If campers wished for a continued wilderness experience, it was hoped that a traditional and consistent environment at Camp Warren could provide the opportunity to build upon existing knowledge and skills.

Starting in 1929 under Camp Director John Rowe, emphasis on the importance of the staff in providing the best camping experience was highlighted. Camp Warren's goals "depend on many factors, the most important being the influence of the cabin counselor in collaboration with other staff members in all camp activities." Group athletics during this time had a strong influence on camp life. Developing a fruit and vegetable garden, camp counselors taught urban kids how to cultivate, harvest, and clean fresh produce to be used in the general camp meals. During the Rowe years, attendance remained at capacity and beyond, with return rates so high that space had to be reserved some seasons to accommodate new campers. John Rowe served as director for 33 of the first 43 years of Camp Warren.

Due to the interest of boys younger than 10, the age limit set at Camp Warren upon the opening of the camp in 1928, in the summer of 1936 a Cub Camp was established, and eight log cabins were built to scale for the purpose. During World War II, some of the staff and older campers were trained in fire prevention, thus adding to the leadership opportunities at Camp Warren. As natural resources were needed for the war effort, in 1942 the Superior National Forest Rangers with help from the older campers surveyed the surrounding land, selecting trees to be processed.

In 1954, the rebuilding of the caretaker's cabin was completed, as well as the establishment of the Ervin Memorial Rifle Range. Self-sustaining through registration and activity fees, Camp Warren also benefitted from a strong community of giving from other organizations, individuals, and parents, including cash, sailboats and supplies, and horses for the horseback riding program in the 1954 season. A fund-raising campaign in 1956 allowed for the lodge basement rebuilding, an addition to the kitchen, new porch floors for the six intermediate cabins, and improvements to the electrical system.

During the social upheaval of the 1960-1970 decade, the YMCA struggled to create update programming that still resonated with young people. Upon the transition to Camp Director Robert Telleen, a review of the facilities and programs was conducted in 1969-1970, to refresh the camping experience for the teens of the counter-culture revolution. Telleen believed that individualizing the camping experience through an extended stay was one of the basic strengths of the YMCA camping programs. Camp Warren also struggled during this time, to "maintain these strong, basic principles into a philosophy and program which will be meaningful to today and tomorrow's 'urban-oriented' camp in a way which does not merely bring the city into camp but helps prepare the campers for a better relation to and involvement with an urbanized society", according to Telleen. Integrating more diversity into Camp Warren's constituency with few scholarships to offer was a growing concern, as the majority of campers historically came from high middle to upper income families. Finding appropriate camp staff also became more difficult, due to the variety of options afforded to college and graduate students usually tapped for such an assignment.

By 1969, Camp Warren offered canoe trips, horseback riding, tennis, athletics, photography, sailing, arts and crafts, drama, archery, shooting, boating, fishing, swimming, leadership training, international camper exchange, life saving, and field trips to their list of program activities. The question of updating facilities at the current camp location, maintaining the current camp while creating a satellite camp further into the wilderness, or moving to a new location altogether was thoroughly reviewed during long-range planning for Camp Warren in 1970-1972. Several changes within the area occurred during this time to warrant the discussion, such as select portions of land along Half Moon Lake coming up for sale. With encroaching development, it was speculated that the current Camp Warren site would no longer be unable to provide the same wilderness experience it had provided to so many campers throughout its history. In 1972, Camp Warren served some 500-600 people, but by 1976, the camp had served over 1,300 through major increases in the Fall-Winter-Spring program, family camp, father-son weekends, and "girls weekends".

David Silha, a Camp Warren camper for 8 years, a counselor, and finally served as Director of the Canoe tripping program in 1973, was lost in an avalanche while climbing in the Grand Teton mountains of Wyoming in early 1974. In remembrance and celebration of his life, family, friends, and the camp created the David Silha Center for Outdoor Discovery and established a fund for the creation and continuation of extended-trip programs through Camp Warren. By 1976, the Lake Superior/Apostle Islands sailing program offered to train older campers to crew and skipper a deep water cruising sailboat as well as provide a close quarters living situation that requires teamwork and cooperation. In 1977, Camp Warren celebrated their 50th anniversary, and was a season of record for enrollment.

The first ever Warren Women's wilderness canoe trip occurred in 1984. The YMCA World Camp program celebrated 100 years in 1985, with 50 US and 50 campers from around the rest of world spending a day at Camp Warren before journeying north. Camp Warren remained a segregated camp, with both girls' and boys' sessions run separately to allow campers to more easily relate to each other and share experiences without many of the social pressures of daily teen life. As of 1994, the camp was organized into three sections, so each section had its own lodge, dining hall, evening and bedtime programming to provide a blend of programming and interaction between campers of various ages as well as a small, medium and large group experiences. The three sessions included: Cub session for campers from 8 to 11 years, the Intermediate section for campers from 11 to 14 years, and the Senior section for campers ranging from 14 to 16 years. In 1998, the first ever week-long Project Camp WWW program was established, under Bruce Konkler, Project Director. The WWW stood for "Warren Work Week", where former Warren campers over age 16 were invited to contribute to the improvement of the camp through various special projects. Family camping during long holiday weekends throughout the year became a large draw for Camp Warren. In 2001, new camper cabins were constructed attached to the existing six cub cabins already on-site.

In 2002, Camp Warren celebrated 75 years of life-changing experiences. Over 480 acres, Camp Warren remains a vital part of the YMCA Minneapolis tradition.


Available records include committee minutes, finances, evaluations, annual reports, and marketing materials from the 1930 to 2004. Includes material on staff development, and the evolution of the camp from a facility perspective. The bulk of the materials are from 1960 to 1980.


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.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]Camp Warren Records. Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Jesse Harpestad and Kathryn Oosterhuis, May 2012.
Catalog Record ID number: 6443895


Box 79 Activities, undated.
Admissions, 1972.
Alumni association, 1960-1999.
Board of Management:
Box 79 Agendas and notes, 2000-2004.
Board of management, 1972-1985. 2 folders.
Board of management, 1985.
Board of management, 1988.
Directors, 1998.
Inventories, 1984.
Meetings, 1972. 2 folders.
Minutes, 1992, 1994-1995. 3 folders.
Miscellaneous, 1991-1996.
Miscellaneous materials, 1986. 2 folders.
Budget and Finance:
Box 79 Budget and finance, 1972. 2 folders.
Fee records, 1940-1969.
Financial development, 1972-1975. 2 folders.
Box 80 Loan, 1968-1970.
Purchase Orders, 1945-1954; 1964-1973. 9 folders.
Camp study, 1999.
Campaign, 2003.
Campaign plan and statistics, 2003. 2 folders.
Camper list, 1939.
Camping standards, 1960-1969.
Capital campaign, 1976. 4 folders.
Capital fund campaign, 1962.
Committee minutes, 1940-1964. 3 folders.
Committee minutes, 1953-1958. 3 folders.
Committees, 1970-1972. 3 folders.
Conservation, 1947-1960
Contact information, 1997.
Box 80 General correspondence, 1960-1979.
General office correspondence, 1950-1979.
Information requested, 1917-1973.
Communications regarding requests for information on Camp Warren, primarily to send to a family for a child to attend.
Inquiries, 1970-1979.
Prospects, 1960-1969. 3 folders.
Box 81 Letters, 2003-2004. 2 folders.
Letters, undated.
David Silha trips, 1975.
Evaluations, 1930-1969.
Box 81 Buildings for grads,1972.
Cub lodge, 1961-1962.
Furnace, resident managers home, 1946-1948.
Horse barn, 1966.
Kitchen equipment, 1940-1959.
Box 81 Light, power, and gas,1930-1965.
Box 81 Lodge, library project, 1960.
Communications on the remodeling of Camp Warren's main lodge for library and staff quarters.
Organ (electric), undated.
Service manual and specifications for an Estey Electronics, Inc. Model 700-P Organ.
Outboard motor, 1960-1965.
Fund-raising solicitation examples, 2004.
Game and Fish, 1950-1979.
Instructions for office secretary, 1967-1973.
Insurance, 1967-1977.
International Camper Exchange, 1962-1970. 7 folders.
Missing Year 1964.
Long range planning, 1969, 1972. 2 folders.
Marketing and Public Relations:
Box 81 Marketing, 2000-2009.
Marketing and Public relations efforts, 1930-1979.
Box 82 Brochures, 1990-2009.
Contacts, local, 1961-1971.
Emblems, 1940-1969.
Newsenpopple, 1930-1969.
Camp newsletter.
Newsletter materials, 1950-1959.
Promotion, 1930-1973. 3 folders.
Special events, 1930-1969. 3 folders.
Minnesota Department of Health, 1940-1969. 3 folders.
Minority groups, 1969.
Miscellaneous, 1972-2002. 10 folders.
Miscellaneous communications, marketing materials, meeting minutes, etc.
National Council, 1967.
Information on the National YMCA Camp Standards Committee.
National Council statistics report, 1965-1968.
North Central area council, 1968-1969.
North Central Area Camp Directors.
Box 83 Parent and camper instructions, 1950-1979.
Policies and songs, undated.
Program schedules, 1970-1979.
Programs, 1972. 2 folders.
Reunions, 1930-1969. 4 folders.
Rochester prospects, 1960-1969.
Scholarships, 1940-1969. 2 folders.
Song list, undated.
Box 83 Kitchen Staff, 1957-1969.
HR related material for kitchen staff. Applications, letters of recommendation, etc.
Personnel, 1972.
Staff, 1988.
Staff committee recognition, 1960-1969.
Staff manual, 1989.
Staff meetings and development, 1938-1964.
Staff training week, 1989.
Time sheets, 2002.
Statistics, 1930-1968. 3 folders.
Sustaining members, undated.
Trial articles, 1971.
Y- Partners, 2002.
Yacht policy, 1971.


See also the Publications and ephemera records of Metropolitan Minneapolis, separately catalogued in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Camping -- History.
Camps -- Management.
Day camps.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Minnesota -- Minneapolis.
Minneapolis (Minn.).
Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis.
Young Men's Christian Association of the City of Minneapolis.
Camp counselors.