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We are proud to be accredited by the ACA. Find out what that means for you, click here.

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Birmingham Magazine 2012/2013 Parent's Choice Awards: Best Overnight Camp. Click here to read!

Open House dates: Come tour camp!

Sunday, April 2nd

Sunday, May 7th

Photo Tour: Take a scenic tour around camp.

FAQ: Some of the most frequent questions about summer camp.

Forms: Need the camper check out form or supplemental food form?

Our Heritage

 Interesting infomation for alumni, parents and campers. Discover Winnataska's 96 year history, and learn how to volunteer. Click here.


The Gift of Camp

Catherine Bentley is back again this week to share a little more about The Gift of Camp! As you can see in the picture below, the experiences you give at camp are PRICELESS!


iPod Touch, Xbox Kinect, a new bike, a princess castle, a basketball goal, superhero toys…does this sound like your child’s Christmas list?  The kids see the latest commercials or the ads in the newspaper and their lists seem to grow and grow sometimes.  The joy of Christmas morning when they open up that perfect gift can sometimes come when you think outside of the box, and we think we’ve come up with that perfect Christmas gift.  The Gift of Camp Winnataska.  It’s a gift certificate that allows that favorite child in your life the opportunity to attend camp for another summer, or of course, for the first time.  

The Gift of Camp is perfect for any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend who is trying to come up with a gift idea that’s more genuine and original than something you pick out at your local Target.  These gift certificates can be written for any amount, and they can be applied to a camper’s account once they have registered for camp.  

When you give a child the Gift of Camp Winnataska for Christmas, think about what you are in essence giving him or her:

·         A week of fun

·         Chances to be make new friends

·         Opportunities for riding a horse, canoeing, swimming, crafts, ropes course fun, and much more.

·         A chance to appreciate God’s beautiful creation

·         Time to learn and sing a ton of new songs

·         A lifetime of memories

That seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. 

Let me know if you would enjoy giving someone the gift of Camp Winnataska this Christmas.  In order to have these ready and mailed to you in time for Christmas, we’ve made the deadline for this for December 15th.  Send me an email at today and we’ll handle it for you!



So, you want to learn more about Winnataska?

Guest blogger Catherine McIntosh Bentley is our camp registrar and the mom of two young boys.  She worked at camp as a Comanche and married former Blackfoot, Paul Bentley. She has been an active member of the Camp Winnataska Operating Committee (COWC) for years, and is the friendly voice who answers all kinds of questions via email! 

As much as camp people love Camp Winnataska, in some strange way, it can be hard to express why we love it so.  If you are a camp person, you just get it.  Once you attend, you are forever hooked.  You understand that feeling of coming home every time you enter the gates of camp.  You marvel at God’s creation each time you sit at Wayside on Sunday evenings.  You will never forget the first time you watched the pageant of The Holy Grail.  You really don’t care that much that camp is hot because you are too busy having fun swimming and playing in the gorge.  You never forget the excitement on the campers’ faces as they arrive on Sunday.  (Campers are the most important part of camp, after all!)

The camp family loves spreading the good news about Winnataska, so this year we are hosting Camp Winnataska recruitment parties.  I had the privilege of coordinating and attending the first Camp Winnataska recruitment party of the year at the lovely home of a family in Homewood, Alabama just a couple of weeks ago.  Sisters Isabel and Lydia greeted me with excited smiles (oldest sister Virginia returned from cheering at a school basketball game later on in the evening).   Mom Rachel and dad Lane were also there and ready to spread the word that Winnataska is the place to be!  

Pretty soon the girls and their moms started arriving.   With greetings and introductions, we were ready to gather together to watch our new promotional video.   I catch myself smiling every time that I watch it and nodding in agreement with everything that is said during the video.  My absolute favorite part comes when Blackfoot Richard Pettey says, “We definitely pour into the kids in all the ways that we possibly can.”  Okay, moms…doesn’t that sum up how at Winnataska, we care about your children and it’s all about the campers?

Coming to camp with a buddy for the first time is a great idea.  However, that doesn’t mean your child won’t come home from camp naming all of their new friends they made during the week.  So, these recruitment parties give campers a chance to tell their friends about camp and invite them to give Camp Winnataska a try.  Once you become a camp person, you are forever a camp person, and you don’t need an excuse to tell others about your love for it…whether you are a kid or an adult. 

Attending a Camp Winnataska recruitment party is a wonderful way to learn more about camp.  We will be hosting several parties both before and after the holidays.  Check out the “Winnataska parties” link on the homepage of our website to see if we are scheduled to come to a city near you.    If you are interested in attending a camp party, please email me for more information at  I’d love to share Winnataska with you and explain why we are truly “Christian Camping at its Best” and always will be.


Favorite Camp Songs

About 15 years ago, as a resident of Pennsylvania, I attended a “hymn sing” at our church the weekend after Christmas.  This tradition started at the church to give the pastor a break after the hectic Christmas schedule.  We sang many of my favorites that Sunday morning to the piano instead of our regular organ, and I was definitely feeling like I was back at camp. (Except for the bitter PA cold, of course!) 

One congregant called out, “Tell Me Why,” and the church music director busted out those familiar first notes.  I looked around in amazement.  Wait a minute? This was a Camp Winnataska song! What were all these people in Pennsylvania doing singing my favorite song from Winnataska in faraway Pell City, AL?

Then I chuckled at myself.  This has happened several times in my life, and I don’t know why I was as surprised as an adult to find out that a Winnataska song came from somewhere else. I remember the first time that I connected that one of the best-loved Choctaw cheers was actually an Elvis song.  (For all you campers in the 80’s:  ”Well, since my parents left me…”)

Most of what we sing at camp probably has been sung somewhere else, or is a borrowed tune at least. That doesn’t make me love my favorite camp song any less, however.  I remember when I was a Chico director, and sweet 6 year-old Frances Allison was a camper under my charge. (Yes, the very same Frances Allison who was a Comanche this past summer!)  We began singing, “Tell Me Why,” at dinner one evening and she looked over at me and sighed, “This is what my mommy sings me to when I can’t go to sleep.”

And she’s not alone. Several generations of children whose parents attended Winnataska have most likely heard camp songs as lullabies ever since they can remember.  I know my kids knew many words to camp songs before they arrived as Chicos.

Because the internet makes research so easy these days, I did a little digging into, “Tell Me Why.”  First of all, I found many songs called, “Tell Me Why,” from Mary J. Bilge (not ours) to Wynona Judd (also not ours.)  I discovered  that it was written in 1945 by Mitchell Parish, Michael Edwards and Sigmund Spaeth, as a part of the musical, “Stardust.”  I had pretty good luck on iTunes and YouTube.  It popped up as a Girl Scout song on iTunes, and a hit by Eddie Cochran, rock and country star, on YouTube.  I decided however, to share with you a cute grandma and pop duet; because I feel it’s more in tune with the spirit of the song.  * Please remember that YouTube is a public forum, and you should have permission from your mom and dad to view videos there.

I also found a verse to the song that I’ve never heard before.  It’s before the “Tell me why the stars do shine…” chorus. 

It goes something like this:

All through the night, all through the day,
I keep on wondering so.
Sweetheart, will you answer me true?
There's something I want to know:

I went to my neighborhood book club a couple of weeks ago.  I have several friends in book club who are “camp people.”  Not Winnataska folks, but they grew up going to camp and can understand why a grown woman would want to spend an entire summer in the Alabama heat and humidity. Anyway, as we moved from discussing our book to discussing our lives, the topic of camp came up.  As is the case in so many of our fun gatherings, someone broke out in a camp song, “Tell me why the stars do shine...”

Why am I not surprised?



Welcome to our new website!

Lots of cool things happening at Camp Winnataska this fall. Ok, not technically AT Camp Winnataska.....But you know what I mean.

One exciting thing is our new website! We hope you like the new format, videos, and pictures.  Registration for summer 2012 is already open and ready to take campers!

We also have a new blog. This will be a great place for everyone in the Winnataska family - campers, leaders, Comanches, Blackfeet, alumni and parents - to share about camp.  I'm the blog administrator, and I would love to have some guest bloggers share about their camp experiences.  It's like an ever-changing scrapbook, and I can't wait to see how it evolves!

A little about me - I'm a volunteer Weekly Director at camp.  I love camp so much that I have been coming since 1981, AND I am willing to post a picture of myself with a hamburger hat.  That's a lot of love! But one thing that camp has taught me is that you've got to learn to laugh at yourself, and growing up doesn't mean losing your sense of play.

One thing you can do to help us out is to like Camp Winnataska on facebook.  Check back soon for more blog posts. I did promise my children not to post any more embarrassing pictures of myself, but I am on the hunt for some funny pictures from camp!

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