For memory makers as timeless as canoe races and songs around the campfire, start here.

The Classic Camps

CAMP NAMANU

503-224-7800
www.portlandcampfire.org

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 6-17
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:8
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $535- 695

IF YOU’VE EVER read Ramona the Brave, you might recall that the Beverly Clearly character wore a Camp Namanu T-shirt, referencing the writer’s own days at the Sandy-based camp. Now with an active alumni association (if you’re not a third-generation Camp Fire kid yourself, you probably know someone who is) and more than 80 years in operation, Na-manu is a bona fide Portland tradition. Each year, weeklong camps offer more than 1,000 children the opportunity to race rowboats in the duck pond, sleep in a tepee, tackle the 40-foot climbing tower and get to know the camp elf, Mr. Skriggleboggle. Even if your family is new to Namanu, after visiting the 550-acre property below Mount Hood and hearing the staff talk about molding your little ones into compassionate leaders, you—like Ramona—will no doubt end up with a stash of Namanu tees in your wardrobe.

Construct a shelter for an overnight under the stars

CAMP COLLINS

503-663-5813
www.campcollins.org

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 6-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $485-605

ONCE GRADUATED into the “Questors” tribe at YMCA Camp Collins near Ox-bow Regional Park in Gresham, your teen will spend the week mastering a skill the younger “Explorer” and “Pioneer” campers only dream about. Choices include mountain biking at Powell Butte Nature Park; climbing the 55-foot practice wall or a real rock crag at Lewis and Clark State Park; learning lifeguard skills before rafting down the Sandy River; even building a fire to cook a wilderness meal (note to Questors: marshmallows are not a survival food) and constructing a shelter for an overnight under the stars. Back at camp on the banks of the Sandy, kids settle into one of the six cabins—including the unique Treetops Village built among Douglas firs—and end each night with “embers,” a time for reflecting on the day’s events, such as an epic game of Capture the Flag. And according to executive director Willard Burks, most attendees end up capturing camp fever as well: 64 percent returned last year.

B’NAI B’RITH CAMP

503-452-3429
www.bbcamp.org

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 6-16
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:8
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $955

ORIGINALLY PARTNERED WITH the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, this 89-year-old residential camp near Lincoln City invites kids of all denominations to spend a week splashing among the lake-side fleet of 18 paddle and motor boats. Also on deck: A gym donated by the Trail Blazers, a ceramics studio and field-trip options as diverse as rafting adventures and Shakespearean plays.

SUMMER AT DELPHI

800-626-6610
www.summeratdelphi.org

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 8-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:3
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $5658-6122 for four weeks, $6814-7440 for six weeks

IF YOUR CHILD asks for brain teasers long after the bell rings, then you might consider a Summer at Delphi (which offers four- and six-week sessions), sponsored by Delphian boarding school in Sheridan. Here, indoor lesson plans on physics and other topics can be applied to outdoor activities like archery. (Fun Fact: The elastic energy of the bow is converted into kinetic energy once the arrow is released.)

CAMP SILVER CREEK

503-399-2759
www.salemymcacamps.com

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 6-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:6
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $225

BUILD UP your first-time camper’s confidence with a three-night, four-day stay at this YMCA-sponsored camp set in the old-growth forest of Silver Falls Sate Park near Silverton. Your young camper can learn to set goals by pledging to earn his or her “blue rag,” the first of seven bandannas, as he or she rises through the YMCA ranks, braving longer stays each summer.

WHISPERING WINDS

800-522-2451
www.girlscoutsosw.org

Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 6-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $325-425

DON’T LET THE hushed name fool you: This weeklong camp outside Corvallis is all about girl power. From “Camp Chef,” where cooks create recipes for the open campfire, to horseback riding at “Horse Lover,” these Girl Scouts-affiliated programs are meant to build self-esteem and character—and possibly the budding career of a chef or a cowgirl.

FRIENDS OF TRYON CREEK NATURE DAY CAMP

503-636-4398
www.tryonfriends.org

Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 4-13
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:5
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $123-295

FROM WILDERNESS hikes and nature crafts to sing-alongs and skits, your child can experience a typical week at summer camp—without nights spent missing Mom and Dad—inside one of the metro area’s few state parks, 645-acre Tryon. For those willing to venture farther afield, programs for middle schoolers include an overnight adventure on Mount Hood or along the Clackamas River.