Camp Kupugani Blog

Camp Shines as a Beacon of Social Progress

LEAF RIVER, IL – Acts of hate and racism, whether online or in person, are painfully visible these days,” said Phillip Martin, a senior investigative reporter at WGBH, a contributing reporter to PRI’s “The World.” The US Department of Justice has noted a sharp increase in hate crimes. One summer camp has a proactive approach to celebrating and appreciating diversity. This summer, Camp Kupugani, a multicultural camp for children ages 7 to 15, celebrates its thirteenth summer of creating positive change by empowering campers in an intentionally diverse environment to Read more…

See Other People’s Kids as 3-Dimensional Humans

At Camp Kupugani, our multicultural overnight summer camp two hours west of Chicago and 90 minutes south of Madison here in the beautiful Midwest, each child is treated as an individual. From arrival, each camper is individually recognized whether a first-timer or a 5-year Kupugani veteran.  We celebrate and appreciate each child, trying to meet them where they are, while simultaneously challenging them to become even better. Each child deserves to start with a clean slate.  Often, one encounters adults saying things along the lines of: “oh, that kid, s/he Read more…

The American Experience Varies

We are Camp Kupugani–an overnight summer camp 90 minutes west of Chicago.  We are in the United States of America, a nation which purports to have equal opportunity for all.  Camp Owner/Director Kevin is a brown man. Camp admin Aaron is white (beige-ish really). Their American experience varies. What Aaron can do that Kevin cannot: Without realistic fear of being shot, Aaron can reach into the glove compartment if pulled over by police during a car stop. Aaron can go into any store without the perception or reality of being Read more…

How We Celebrate & Appreciate Identity

At Camp Kupugani, our Midwest summer camp not far from Madison, Wisconsin (and also convenient to Chicago, Illinois), we strive to help campers celebrate and appreciate themselves and others in all aspects of identity.  We intentionally move beyond “clumping” (hanging out only with those who we perceived to be exactly like us) to interact with a variety of people in our cabins, teams, tables, and camp activities.  Research shows that early exposure to people that are different than you helps you to become more understanding/welcoming as an adult.  We pride Read more…

3 Ways to Raise a Generous Kid

When children attend Camp Kupugani, our Midwest summer camp 90 minutes south of Madison, we want them to grow at camp and at home, so that they become the best versions of themselves.  Please see below for some bullets from a recent Washington Post article on how to raise a generous kid. You can check out the full article here.   Model It! Children learn by what they see. Pay for coffee for the person behind you.  Be kind to the waitstaff. Say “please” and “thank you.” Be Intentional! Give Read more…

How to Prepare Your Child for Overnight Camp

Even though it’s winter, it’s not too early to start planning for summer. If you’re the parent of a prospective first time camper, consider your goals for your child. Summer is a great time for her (or him) to try new things. Whatever new experience you’d love to introduce, be sure that s/he is involved in choosing a program.    That way s/he keeps a sense of control, which helps to ward off any transition issues if s/he’s going off to a sleepaway camp.    As a good parent, you also want to make sure that you Read more…

6 Ways to Avoid Punishing Children for Being Human

At Camp Kupugani, our premier Midwest summer camp (near Chicago), we treat our minor campers with the same respect we treat our adult co-workers, friends, or family.  A recent article by the folks at Creative Child brought to light that children are sometimes “Punished for Being Human.”  As part of intentional empowerment process, we do not solve problems for our campers; we support them to handle situations at their maturity level.  A well-intentioned parental mistake is for one to tell a child, “Stop crying, you are fine!”  This can apply Read more…

13 Ways to Help Our Children Be More Patient and Less Lonely

At, Camp Kupugani, our multicultural overnight summer camp in the beautiful Midwest (and close to Madison, WI, and Chicago, IL), helping our campers feel connected and cared for are top priorities. We do this by facilitating children’s spending time being electronics-free, connecting with peers from different backgrounds and age groups, and enjoying unstructured time in nature.  A recent article from Your Modern Family discusses why our children are less focused and more lonely; bullets below, and the rest of the article here. Let kids be bored! Boredom helps your child Read more…

10 Reasons Pre-Teens Need Less Social Media

Here at Camp Kupugani, our multicultural overnight summer camp about two hours west of Chicago (and less than 90 minutes south of Madison, WI), our campers appreciate the importance of tech-free time. They do this while at camp (and hopefully carry the momentum) to apply this when they get home. There was a recent article from TODAY Parenting Team community discussing why middle schoolers don’t need social media. Check below for bullets and see the full article here!  Social media was not designed for children. Snapchat, Instagram all were originally Read more…

7 Tips to Maximize Your Well-Being

At Camp Kupugani–our multicultural summer camp near Chicago–we’re all about having an awesome life! Each camper and staff member is charged to be their best, striving to live a good life. When coming across this blog post about how to live a long, awesome life, we thought it was cool to summarize and share.  Bullets below, with the full article here (from the folks at Barking Up the Wrong Tree). Each one of these 7 steps constitute something that you can start today. Follow that step for two weeks, add Read more…

Good Intentions & Bad Ideas Setting Up for Failure

At Camp Kupugani, our overnight Midwest summer camp (located two hours west of Chicago), we empower our campers to be independent both at camp and home. While reading a book called Coddling Of the American Mind, camp director Kevin Gordon came across some interesting excerpts. Read below for some ways we as parents inhibit our children’s ability to fend for themselves. Check out the book’s website for more details by clicking here. We should allow our kids to struggle on their own and avoid trying to “fix” or “manage” everything Read more…

10 Ways to Ease the Homework Struggle with your Child

At Camp Kupugani, our overnight summer camp in the beautiful Midwest (just two hours northwest of Chicago), we recognize that great campers often make great students, who often become great adults.  As child development professionals, we recognize that it’s sometimes a challenge to navigate the craziness of parenting! A recent article from the Washington Post elucidated some of the challenges and proposed ten ways to take the struggle out of homework. Kids procrastinate or shut down because they fail to see the relevance of a task, prefer other distractions, or Read more…

Kupugani touches on all the core values and enrichment that we hope to instill in our [child]. My husband and I absolutely love Camp Kupugani. Our [child] gained immensely from camp.

Lisa G.

Everyone…was just so, so personable, kind, and the kind of person I want
my [child] looking up to and spending time with.

Laura V.

[My daughter’s] face lights up when she speaks about camp, it’s a priceless experience.

Kenya P.

I have never come in contact with such a wonderful group of people at a camp before. Everyone did an outstanding job, the camp was so organized, it was unbelievable.

Joe M.

She absolutely loves the camp, the staff, and all the friends she makes there. I consider Kupugani to be a big influence in helping her grow and expand her mind each summer.

Luci A.

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