As parents we hope our kids will have a childhood filled with adventure and mentors who will guide them, but face a real struggle just to get them out of their cell phones.  

COLDWATER leads a variety of wilderness courses for every age where young people can have the adventure of a lifetime and connect with outstanding mentors while preparing to navigate the future.

Youth Programs

Boys & Girls Adventure

[9-10 Years Old]

The perfect age to introduce a young person to the idea of wilderness adventure. A students enthusiasm and curiosity meets with the incredible beauty of the lakes and the forest. In this course students stay in log cabins at Mink Lake but complete a day trip into the boundary waters after practicing and preparing at home base. This 3-day experience is super fun and a great opportunity for students to get to know their leaders and have an adventure together.

Dates: July 3-5 | July 10-12
 Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $150


[10-12 Years Old]

This 5-day course includes 3 days in the Boundary Waters or Superior National Forest. Whether backpacking or learning to paddle this is an opportunity for fun and adventure in God’s amazing Creation. Students learn basic backcountry skills and get to practice them in order to help their group. Students also get to know their leaders who lead with patience and encouragement.

Boys Trip:
Dates: July 1-5 | July 22-26
 Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $350

Girls Trip:
Dates: July 8-12 | July 22-26
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $350


[12-14 Years Old]

/kairn/ noun; a mound of rough stones built as a landmark, typically on a hilltop or skyline, to show the way to a dependable path.

CAIRN is a fun-filled introductory wilderness trip for middle school students looking for a taste of wilderness adventure and backcountry exploration.

Knowing how to recognize a dependable path and having the courage to travel it is one of the biggest challenges for young believers. On CAIRN, you and your friends will be introduced to a number of adventurous outdoor experiences. You get to experience the strength of working together as a team and the importance of offering what you can to solve a problem. Seeing beautiful places doesn’t hurt either! The Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area are ‘must see’ national treasures. Hike beautiful trails, paddle pristine lakes and at night sit around a campfire to share stories about your day. Experience it first hand on CAIRN!

Dates: July 3-12
 Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $450

Girls CAIRN:
Dates: July 17-26
 Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $450


[High School/Ages 14-16]

A wilderness experience for high school students with a strong emphasis on leadership development and spiritual formation.

The Compass experience invites you to explore a deeper commitment to your faith and community, and to challenge yourself with the risks and choices involved in a remote backcountry adventure. Compass takes you into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and is a true wilderness experience. You will encounter problems to solve and experiences that push you outside your physical, mental, and spiritual comfort zones. But you won’t be alone. You’ll be well supported by your Coldwater Instructors and have new friends sharing every adventure. As a young leader, you will practice leadership, grow in responsibility to your team, and develop new friendships. You will paddle through pristine lakes, navigate wilderness waterways, lead with a map and compass, and build a solid sleeping shelter. You will spend time around a campfire, sharing stories with your team, and keeping a journal will help you to reflect on your Compass adventure.

: July 15-26
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp

Trip Fee: $550

: July 1-12
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp

Trip Fee: $550

Boundary Waters East Side Loop

[High School/Ages 15-18]

This is an introductory experience for older students who want to have a solid experience in the wilderness with the opportunity for connection with new friends. This course will have great conversations about our interests and habits in life and offer plenty of opportunity to lead. Come and experience first-hand the pristine beauty of Boundary Waters Wilderness!

Dates: July 28-August 2
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp

Trip Fee: $300

High School Expedition

[High School/Ages 16-18]

This year we decided to offer an expedition length trip for those students who have had some previous adventures and now want to stretch out and see some new landscapes. Wherever the destination, all hands will be on deck prepared to serve and lead the other members of the group. This will be the experience of a lifetime and a great capstone experience to your high school career.

Dates: July 15-August 2
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp

Trip Fee: $650

Service Team

[High School/Young Adult]

Service Team is a community service experience designed for high school students to integrate their faith and work with God’s restorative mission for the world. Students will participate in hands-on service and leadership opportunities rooted in the biblical ethic of care for self, others, and place. Service Team members will be mentored by Coldwater staff, and together will be part of the Coldwater summer ministry. Our goal is for each student to mature in his or her Christian faith. Students will have regular times of discussion, Bible-study, and practice in the spiritual disciplines. This program teaches a strong service-ethic and measurable employability skills. A week-long wilderness canoe trip completes this unique summer of service.

The work you and your team do will include welcoming guest groups to Mink Lake Wilderness Camp, helping to serve meals, taking care of the lodge, and learning to care for and maintain our base camp.

Through a focus on service, our hope is for each student to encounter God in a fresh way, grow in appreciation for His creation, and see the value of the work of their hands.

Dates: June 9-August 4
Location: Mink Lake Wilderness Camp
Cost: $1,200 (funding options available)

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