A new structure for Camp Manitou

The Winnipeg Foundation

Camp Manitou
Kids at Camp Manitou.
Photo by Marcus Hoch, courtesy of Camp Manitou.

Camp Manitou, located just five minutes outside Winnipeg, is a summer camp and year-round recreation facility. Programming is targeted to kids from hardworking families struggling to get ahead.

The Foundation has long been involved with Camp Manitou, and a new agreement is strengthening that relationship.

Camp Manitou was established in 1930 on land purchased and donated by The Winnipeg Foundation. It was run for many years by the Rotary, Kinsmen, Cosmopolitan, Kiwanis, Optimist and Lions service clubs of Winnipeg, and by the YMCA.

The Foundation made small grants in support of Camp Manitoba throughout its existence. Camp Manitou also has an Agency Fund with The Foundation that generates around $16,000 a year.

A new ownership structure for the camp is ensuring it will continue to be enjoyed for years to come: The Winnipeg Foundation assuring continued community ownership of the land, while management and programming is provided by True North Youth Foundation.

“The service clubs and volunteers that ran Camp Manitou for many, many years have done a wonderful job. Thanks to their dedication, the camp has been synonymous with summer for thousands of young people over the years,” says Rick Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation.

John Bock: a backbone of camp

Camp Manitou is about fun, friends and connecting with nature. And for many, it’s about building self-confidence.

According to long-time supporter and Board member John Bock, “What the kids simply need is someone to believe in them.”

Not only has Mr. Bock believed in the kids that attend Camp Manitou, he’s also believed in the camp itself and played a major role in its success over the years.

Mr. Bock has lived next to camp since 1957 and has many stories about the importance it plays in kids’ lives, including one about a little girl who was too scared to go up the climbing wall.

“We had a good young person [on staff] and he realized what was happening, so he went over and he said, ‘You’re scared, aren’t you? Me too. But you know if you would help me… maybe I could go up a little ways.’”

In a week, she was at the top of the climbing wall.

That’s the magic of Camp Manitou, Mr. Bock says.

“It’s a place where youngsters from the city can begin to be themselves,” Bock says. “They can say, 'I can actually do something. I can climb, I can row a canoe… I can do anything!’”

Did you know?

The Foundation’s Camperships program is a special grant-making stream which directs about $400,000 each summer to camp programs. Learn more below.

The Foundation’s Camperships program