Our Centennial – Celebrating 100 Years Under the Stars at Nawakwa! 

Since its first summer in 1924, YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa has served as a nexus for families from around the world and the great outdoors. Our unique family and group camp programming fosters a safe and encouraging environment for people of all ages to learn new skills, strengthen relationships, and discover their true selves. 

Our Centennial Celebration committee is working on a number of projects as we mark this important milestone. Our plans include a Centennial Trail, commemorative displays at camp, gatherings of alumni, 100th anniversary Y gear, and a capstone gala event to be held on November 10, 2024 at YMCA Camp Duncan.

Join us in celebrating Family Camp Nawakwa’s Centennial, marking 100 years of learning, growth, connection, and play! Stay tuned to this page as we share more details about our history and upcoming events.  

A family out in nature

Own a Special Piece of Family Camp Nawakwa History! 

Become  a Part of Family Camp Nawakwa History!

We’re including a history book of Family Camp Nawakwa, featuring pictures, stories, songs, poems, and more submitted by campers, as part of our Centennial Celebration. If you or your friends and family have photos or stories of camp through the years that you would like to share, please do so through our online Nawakwa Centennial Book Submission page.

Nature at Nawakwa

The Family Camp Nawakwa Centennial Trail

Join Us for the Big Centennial Celebration!

Mark your calendars for November 10, 2024 at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, Illinois to celebrate Family Camp Nawakwa’s first 100 years under the stars!  

Family at Nawakwa

Volunteer for Family Camp Nawakwa’s Centennial

From Seed to Tree — These Are Our Roots

In 1885, camping became a cornerstone of YMCA programming, with the aim of providing children with a positive developmental experience that helps them make new friends, build confidence, and grow self-reliance. At YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa, these goals still hold true today.

Founded in the early 1920s, YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa was originally developed to be a men’s and boys’ camp. Yet as time went on, the camp’s leadership realized that Camp Nawakwa had the potential to be more. So in the 1930s, Camp Nawakwa became Family Camp Nawakwa, providing a safe and friendly environment for the whole family to explore nature, find new talents, gain an outdoor awareness, and make lifelong memories with both family and friends.

Today, YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa serves groups and families all year long. Some of our campers even travel from across the United States or fly overseas just to be a part of our enchanting camp experience. At Family Camp Nawakwa, you're not just renting a cabin. You’re joining a community that holds friends near to our hearts. With few remaining places like Family Camp Nawakwa — where the environment is so serene, the wildlife is beautiful and majestic, and everyone truly appreciates their neighbors — it’s no wonder that our retention rate is so high!