Iron County camp returns for 78th summer

Throughout the summer new campers arrive each week
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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STAMBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Summer camps across the U.P. are welcoming campers back for another summer.

The familiar sounds of campers singing filled the rafters of Camp Batawagama again. The camp was closed for the last two years because of COVID-19. Camp Batawagama Program Director Matt Riutta credits the staff for a successful return.

“Thankfully, we had many returning staff members from 2019 that made sure we are upholding our traditions and everything is running smoothly,” Riutta said.

The camp has 13 counselors this summer. Many of them were former campers, like Elle Soderberg.

“I do have a big passion to be with children,” Soderberg said. “Getting to hang out with them and teach them skills that I learned as a camper is really important to me.”

Soderberg was a camper for eight years. This is her first full summer as a staff member.

“I am looking forward to meeting all the new kids and getting a new group every week with different age groups,” Soderberg said. “Interacting with those different age groups is really entertaining to watch and I get to see them grow during the summer.”

Each Sunday, new campers arrive. When the campers get there they meet with their counselor to pick out activities for the week.

“We have girls that are really into hiking,” Soderberg said. “Other times we try and do canoe trips, but it really depends on what the campers want.”

After 78 years, Riutta says camps like Batawagama will always be relevant.

“We don’t allow our kids to have any type of electronics while they are here,” Riutta said. “A lot of campers say they appreciate not having the pressure from their friends to respond. They can just be kids.”

This week there are 116 kids at the camp and Riutta says there are still four weeks left. If you are interested in signing your child up to go to Camp Batawagama, you can call the office at 906-265-4476 for an application.

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