Owatonna - Activities With Risk

Most campers participate in activities at Camp that have some inherent risk such as waterskiing, ropes course, white water canoeing, mountain man challenge, archery, swimming, woodsman, and Flag Trip. All of our staff members are well trained in their activity areas and are taught to use caution and wisdom in all situations. In addition, our Camps are accredited by the American Camping Association, which holds us to a very high standard in training, safety, and oversight. Please see below for more detail on these activities at Camp. Do not hesitate to call the Executive Director if you have any further questions about any of these or other activities at Camp.


All staff members who drive any camp powerboat have been trained in waterfront and boating safety and have passed a written and practical test on boating and safety procedures. Staff members who drive the waterski boats have had additional training in both the driving of the boats and the teaching of the campers. Safety is always the top priority. As many of our programs practice level progressions, a camper will not be able to attempt an advanced move on the water before completing and mastering foundational movements on the water (for example two ski mastery is requisite before attempting to drop a ski and ski on one ski). All waterskiers always wear a lifejacket when skiing or in the boat.

Ropes Course and Rock Wall

All Rocks and Ropes instructors have been trained by a professional climbing organization in both safety and best practices teaching techniques. Our Ropes Course has been recently upgraded to include more campers at one time while maintaining a ‘fail-safe’ environment by utilizing the newest state-of-the-art equipment.

White Water Canoeing

The campers in the senior division (ages 13 and up) will have the opportunity to qualify for an experience canoeing on white water (rushing water over submerged rocks). Basic levels of canoeing must be demonstrated and mastered before a camper can experience the technical sport of white water canoeing. The first step in this process after demonstrating the requisite skills on the lake is to travel to the Androscoggin River to practice on a controlled mile stretch of river that that campers may run over and over to perfect their skills. Once this level has been passed the camper may qualify to participate in longer wilderness trips on the Allagash, St. Croix, or Penobscot Rivers (all containing levels of white water). All campers in all canoeing (and all boating activities) always wear a life jacket.

Windsurfing, Sailing, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding

All these activities take place under close supervision by staff members trained in their boating area and in Lifeguard Training. Staff members are either in nearby kayaks, on nearby paddleboards or windsurfers, or (for sailing) in a nearby motorboat. All campers and counselors always wear life jackets in or on any boat. If any weather situation were to arise, all campers and counselors are immediately cleared from the water. If a boat is farther out on the lake, a motorboat will clear the campers from the water onto land. Camp sailors have the option of participating in weekly regattas on Long Lake. Advanced kayakers have the option of working toward an ocean kayaking trip; skills are taught including the use of ocean radios and marine maps. Only campers who have successfully gone through advanced kayak training would be allowed to participate in such a trip.

Mountain Man Challenge

This is an optional program offered to senior division campers who wish to compete with others in running/climbing up three nearby local mountains. The first mountain is ten minutes down the road called Hawk Mountain. Any senior division camper can participate in the this first hill run. The length of Hawk Mountain is just over a mile, round trip. In order to qualify for the next mountain, Mt. Pleasant, the boys must have completed Hawk in a predetermined time. This activity is heavily supervised by counselors posting themselves along the trail cheering on and helping the campers.

The final mountain is running up and down Mt. Washington. Only a few campers will qualify to earn the privilege of running up and down Mt. Washington. The winner (lowest time) of the three collective runs gets to wear the coveted Mt. Man Challenge t-shirt. Newfound has a similar challenge run, and their three selected runs have varied.


Every archery instructor at Camp Newfound and Camp Owatonna have been certified to teach the best practices for archery while providing a safe and controlled environment. As in many of our activities, Archery is based on learning progression. As the archer/camper progresses, he or she will be able to take on greater challenges. No archer is allowed to shoot any arrows unless all campers and staff members are behind the safe shooting line. Before any camper can retrieve his or her arrows from the targets, all bows have been put down, as instructed by specific commands.


Every camper will be required to participate in swimming lessons, until they successfully pass out of all of the swimming levels. The swimming program is broken down into age appropriate levels of skills that each camper must master before moving onto the next level. All swimming instructors as certified trained lifeguards(LGT) and many of the instructors are certified Water Safety Instructors (WSI).

Cherry Island and Harrison Swims

Campers who have passed their Big Float Test and have shown the ability to swim ¼ mile, are offered the chance to participate in the Newfound Cherry Island Swim. Kayaks and canoes staffed with LGT certified counselors accompany the swimmers. The distance from Newfound’s kayak beach to Cherry Island is approximately ¼ mile (1/2 mile total there and back). More advanced swimmers are offered the chance to participate in the Harrison Swim, a 2 mile swim from the local town center of Harrison back to Camp. Swimmers must successfully complete the Newfound Cherry Island Swim before attempting the Harrison Swim. Both the Cherry Island Swim and the Harrison Swim take place early in the morning, before many boats are on the lake. Swimmers stay close to shore in the Harrison Swim and are accompanied by LGT certified counselors in kayaks, canoes, and motor boats. Any camper who needs or wants to board a boat at any time is welcomed and encouraged to do so.


Tracking, orienteering, survival shelters, lashing, fire building, tree identification, bird call identification...are just some of the skills learned in our Woodsman Program. Each Camp has experienced counselors to guide the campers into learning these fundamental skills to be comfortable in the outdoors. We have recently integrated our woodsman program to sync up with the Junior Maine Guide (JMG) program that finished its 75th season year last summer. If a camper (over the age of 13) has demonstrated the skills well enough, he or she is eligible to travel to the JMG testing center in Oquossoc, (Rangeley) Maine to participate in a four day testing encampment to test their skills in wet-fire building, cooking (bake, boil and fry), canoeing, map reading, shelters, and more. A camper may begin the journey to becoming a JMG at age 9. One should not expect to complete all of the requirements in just one summer.

Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts Studios at both Camps are staffed with responsible adults. Campers are never allowed to be in the Art Studios nor use the Art Studio equipment without permission and oversight by a counselor. Wood burners and glue guns are used for some projects, under close supervision by the staff member on duty.


Every camper will be offered an age-appropriate off-camp trip during their time at Camp. The youngest campers, Scouts and Springs, mostly participate in day trips or an on-site overnight trip. Such trips could consist of a day hike or an overnight on our own Hairbrush Island. The next youngest age group, Braves and Rivers, typically participate in a one-night overnight trip of either hiking or canoeing. Only those campers who have passed their Big Float Test are allowed to participate in a canoeing or rafting trip. Warriors and Lakes and Chiefs and Oceans usually participate in three day, two night trips that could include hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and sometimes ocean kayaking. Campers must be proficient in climbing and kayaking to participate in those trips. CITs take a week-long trip that could include hiking, canoeing, and/or rafting. It tends to be more challenging, and the CITs train for and participate in parts of the trip planning process.

A camp trip leader and another qualified counselor lead all trips. Our trippers have been trained in Wilderness First Aid, are Maine State Trip Leader Certified, and have their trip itineraries approved by the Head Tripper and the Director. Emergency precautions include planning egress routes, being in touch with rangers in the areas where the trips will be headed, and having all emergency contact numbers for the campers and staff members on the trip and the local hospitals and emergency services along the route. Newfound and Owatonna trips take place in the mountains, lakes, rivers, and oceans of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Flag Trip

For many of the older boys and girls, the annual Flag Trip experience is one of the highlights of their summer at Camp. Flag Trip is a one or two night (two or three day) excursion on camp property where two teams play an extended version of Capture the Flag. The teams build campsites, lash tables and structures out of logs and branches, prepare their own meals, and work together and strategize to capture and defend two flags. While the game does go on after dark, there is enforced "off time" for sleep each night. Spiritual preparation is an integral part of both the lead-up to Flag Trip and each day of the trip itself.