Over one hundred years ago Red Arrow was a logging camp so it is natural that most of our buildings are of full log construction. Our large and beautiful Dining Hall and Rec Hall sit under a canopy of virgin Norway and white pines. Both of these buildings were part of the original logging camp back in the mid-1800’s. Nearby are the twelve unique authentic log cabins which house our 100 campers. They were built in 1920 and have been excellently maintained throughout the years. All have screened windows, electric lights and good solid double bunks. There are generally eight boys and two counselors in each cabin.
Program facilities at Red Arrow include a regulation size soccer field, softball diamond, two basketball courts, three top-notch tennis courts, fully equipped rifle, trap and archery ranges, a climbing wall, a high ropes course, a horse stable and riding ring, a well-equipped wood working shop, 4 ski boats, 7 sailboats, 8 board sails, 30 canoes, 8 kayaks, 4 rowboats for fishing and 2 floatboats for scuba trip and cabin outings. Constant maintenance and safety checks on all facilities and equipment is a top priority.
Red Arrow is located in Northern Wisconsin on Trout Lake, often called the “crown jewel” of northern Wisconsin’s many lakes. It is approximately six hours from Chicago and five hours from Milwaukee by car. It is 10 miles north of Minocqua-Woodruff on Highway 51.
Dates & Rates
The dates of Red Arrow Camp for 2018 are from June 20th to August 8th. All campers are in attendance for the full seven-week session.
The cost of tuition for the 2018 seven-week session is TBD. There is a 10% discount for brothers. Horseback riding, optional fishing, sea kayaking and rafting trips are billed in accordance to the extent of participation. There is also an extra charge for campers who achieve their PADI SCUBA certification.
A number of partial scholarships are available at Red Arrow each summer financed by the Charles M Boesel Scholarship Fund which is supported by alumni and friends of the camp. Please contact Red Arrow Camp for further information and a scholarship application.
Red Arrow Camp is under the direction of Dave & Katie Johnson
Dave is a retired teacher who first came to RAC as a camper in 1959. Dave has been an integral part of Red Arrow for many decades, first as a camper, counselor and riding instructor, and later as the trips director. He has been co-director since 2013 and assumed full-time director responsibilities in 2016. Dave is dedicated to preserving the traditions of camp and committed to ensuring the commitment of excellence embodied by our "Yes, I Can" motto while also continuing to improve and evolve camp.
The senior staff also includes Fred Albright & Drew Mueller. Fred has been a counselor at RAC since 1967. He directs the very popular riding program at camp and brings decades of experience at RAC to the leadership team. Drew is the tripping director. He was a 7 year camper and has now been on staff for 15 years.
The backbone of any camp is its staff and Red Arrow is fortunate to have an amazing support staff with a wealth of experience in camping, teaching and counseling. Cabin counselors are carefully selected role models and examples for the campers. They are all college men or teachers and coaches. The counselor to camper ratio is 1 to 4. The return rate for counselors is 65-75% each summer and many of the men are former RAC campers.
Leadership at all levels is experienced, dedicated and committed to their important work at Red Arrow Camp. If you are an energetic and compassionate young man interested in applying for a counselor job at RAC, please visit our employment page
Red Arrow Camp on the shore of beautiful Trout Lake in Northern Wisconsin was founded in 1920, but the site has a fascinating history predating camp. Records show that RAC’s current location was the site of an established Indian village well before the 1800’s. There was a plentiful supply of fish from lake and hunting in the woods provided a meat supply. The site was excellent for gardening because the relative warmth of Trout Lake and the Trout River (Red Arrow’s southern boundary) protected the corn and potato crops from early frosts. Wild rice was harvested in the Trout River in the fall months. The many authentic arrowheads, which to this day are still found by campers at Red Arrow, further attest to the early presence of the Indian village. In that same era, traders came to this lake site and established a Hudson Bay Trading Post located within a stone’s throw of the village site. Rocks from the foundation of this trading post are still visible between the Mess Hall and the lake shore at Red Arrow. The middle 1850’s saw the boom of the logging business and around the 1870’s, the Courtney-Wright lumber company of Merrill, Wisconsin obtained rights to log the Trout Lake area and established their camp on the future site of Red Arrow. This was a very prosperous company and they built some true “luxury” accommodations for their lumberjacks. Five of these beautiful full log buildings are still a part of RAC today including the camp’s Mess Hall, Rec Hall, and Infirmary. Additionally, in the early 1900’s between the lumberjack era and the founding of Red Arrow Camp, these buildings were the basis of a fine resort called Williams Resort.
In 1920, a history teacher and coach from Country Day School in Milwaukee named Clarence “Razz” Rasmussen fulfilled his dreams and started a boys’ camp on this former Indian village-lumber company-resort site on Trout Lake. Razz was a very popular man at his school and many of his students’ parents offered to back him financially in this venture. Because of this he was able to have Finnish lumberjacks from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan come in and construct the beautiful log cabins that still house Red Arrow campers and their counselors today. Razz had served with the 32nd, or Red Arrow Division, of the Wisconsin Infantry during World War I and no doubt that is where he got the name for camp. In order to provide the perfect summer experience for his boys, Razz enlisted the help of two key men. They were Paul Waterman (”P.W.W.” as he was known) who was the business manager and a math teacher at Milwaukee Country Day and Rollie Williams, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin who was the school’s first nine-letter athlete. Rollie later became Head Basketball Coach at the University of Iowa. These two men became assistant directors and they helped forge the future of RAC. Between the three of them they recruited a staff of talented, gifted athletes to provide the needed outdoor experiences Razz felt was so important in the lives of his boys. Razz was the director and inspirational leader of the camp, PWW was the practical business manager (rumored to have been somewhat “tightfisted” with the money) and Rollie not only taught and coached sports at camp but also attracted many prominent college athletes to the staff. The mission was to build boys with good solid characters.
The motto “Don’t wait to be a great man, be a great boy” was established from the start as the camp’s guiding principle and that message is one that any Red Arrow boy past and present knows well. It was carved into some logs on the fireplace in the Rec Hall in the early years of Red Arrow and it is still there today. From the magnificent waterfront, to the splendid playing fields to the rustic log cabins where the boys all live, to the “Quad” which is the focal point of all camp life, Red Arrow is still vibrant with the foundations that these men established in 1920!
Razz also recruited several other men who were to be very instrumental to Red Arrow for many, many years. Dutch Reinhart who was Rollie Williams’ young brother-in-law first appeared as a camp boy flunky in 1924 and then stayed on for the next 65 years first as a counselor and then the tripping director at camp. Cal Cooper taught manual arts at Country Day and came to RAC in 1928 to teach the campers woodworking for the next 47 years! The fabled “Red Hauer” who was the cook for the lumberjacks, returned as the original camp cook and later became the maintenance man at Red Arrow until 1956.
Razz got married in 1937, and soon thereafter both he and Rollie reported for war duty, which left PWW to run camp, which he did until 1953, having officially purchased it from Razz in 1948. With Razz gone there was not much money for camp maintenance and improvements and the facilities went somewhat “downhill” during this period.
In 1953, Charlie Boesel, a former student under Razz at MCD and former counselor at Red Arrow, purchased camp from PWW. Charlie had two things camp needed: money and a long standing love for Red Arrow. For the third time camp had changed hands and the new owner/director was dedicated to making major improvements as well as to continuing the traditions of camp. Charlie had a fine sense of humor and was famous for the “games” he played with staff trying to catch them coming in late or taking an extra night out! One of the mainstays of Charlie’s staff was a man named John Runkel who first came to camp in the early 1950’s as a Cabin A counselor and was later to become program director through much of the Boesel era. “Runk,” as he became known, was most famous for his ballet number during Counselor Stunt Night each year.
In the mid-sixties, Charlies’ health began to fail and he initiated a search to find someone new to takeover his beloved Red Arrow. In 1967 fate brought him a young couple, Bob and Sue Krohn, both of whom were teachers and had extensive camping experience as well. They agreed to come to RAC that summer with an option to buy if they were so inclined. From 1968 until 2012, Bob and Sue owned and operated camp, providing a very compatible, happy and ideal marriage of tradition, experience, education and energy. In 2012, the Krohns sold camp to the Red Arrow Camp Foundation to ensure that the camp and its traditions would continue into the next generation.
Prepare for the Summer
Charter bus service is available from Chicago and Milwaukee to Red Arrow Camp on the Wednesday that camp starts. Red Arrow will also be happy to assist families from distant areas in making travel arrangements to Chicago, to meet and chaperon campers to the camp buses. Campers flying to Central Wisconsin Airport (90 miles from camp) will be picked up there as well. Charters bus service to Milwaukee and Chicago (O’Hare Field) is also provided at the end of the summer, or boys may fly directly out of Central Wisconsin Airport.
Health and Safety
Protecting the health and safety of the campers is our top priority. A Registered Nurse lives on the camp grounds and is available throughout the day and nights for any medical problems which may arise. Our nurse works directly with CampRx to ensure the safe and proper distribution of all meds. When a doctor’s examination is advisable, the camper is promptly taken to the excellent Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff, only 10 miles away. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your child’s health and safety at Red Arrow.
Parents, friends and camp alumni are welcome to visit camp at any time after the second week of camp. Boys may take one “day off” during the summer, prior to the final week of camp. If their parents cannot visit during the summer, boys may get permission from them to go on a day off with a friend or relative. Due to the hectic schedule in the closing days of camp, we kindly ask that guests only visit during the scheduled special activities in the final 3 days of the summer.
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