An event sponsored by Alumni and Friends

to benefit Camp Fire Camp Sweyolakan

Sweyolakan PaddleFest



To live close to nature, to learn to appreciate wilderness, to be removed from the hectic pace of a world driven by technology – this is an summer experience few are still privileged to know. Yet for over 90 years, Camp Sweyolakan has been a haven for young people learning about themselves and their place in the world while acquiring outdoor skills and making lifelong friends. The character traits of a lifetime are nurtured among friends with the guidance of adult counselors in the setting of a carefree summer home. When combined with the principles of Camp Fire, our young people form a solid foundation to build a productive and happy life.


Situated on almost 300 acres of forest, accessible only by boat, Sweyolakan is a little like the fabled Brigadoon. As you cross the water, you enter a magical world, completely remote from the rest of the world and you are marked forever. Camp Sweyolakan offers this magical experience to hundreds of campers each summer. All of the elements of the outdoor camping experience are here, exposing our children to a unique lifestyle close to the land and the water.


Sweyolakan PaddleFest is an effort rising from the alumni group of former staff and friends to support Camp in its ongoing mission, to preserve its legacy and extend the benefits of the outdoor experience to an ever-greater range of today’s youth. In order to accomplish this mission, we are committed to establishing a fund to assist with current necessary expenses, to help with camperships and insure the financial viability of Sweyolakan’s future. As a platform for this fundraising effort, a group of former Sweyolakan staff from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s called the Goldens, comprised the core group for a canoe trip around the entire shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The 104-mile trip was reminiscent of so many thousands of other canoe trips which have set off from Sweyolakan's shores during its 92 summers.


Each of us has been granted significant blessings in this life, in no small part due to being wrapped in the spell of Sweyolakan. These blessings also bring a very real responsibility to preserve the Camp legacy for future generations. We believe the story of how Sweyolakan has brought us together and kept us together for more than 90 years, is a story which still has relevance for people today. By opening our trip to the virtual world and encouraging others to participate in our mission, we will be able to start paying forward for all we have been given.


In our Camp Fire tradition, the Torch Bearer’s rank pledge expresses this view:


“That light which has been given to me,

I desire to pass undimmed to others.”




Preserve the Legacy. . .

Why Camp?

There is so much competition for our children's time in the summer -- sports, summer school, well-deserved vacations. But camp is a gift. If ever our society needed a generation of future leaders who understand the intricacies of living in a community, having tolerance, and being open in nature -- that time is now. Why a Camp Fire camp? We're proud of the role we have played -- and continue to play -- in guiding young lives to an appreciation of themselves and the world in which we all live.

This is Mayah. She is 15 months old and she's wearing a shirt that reads "Camp Sweyolakan Future Camper". She is exactly the reason we work on PaddleFest. We want Sweyolakan to be there for her for the next fifty or sixty years, just like it was for us.



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