Philosophy & Goals

At Tanager Lodge, we believe that teaching children to live, work, and play in a wilderness setting fosters lifelong respect for themselves, other people, and the natural world. Children also develop self-reliance, creativity, flexibility, and independence.


Tanager Lodge is first and foremost a wilderness camp, named after the scarlet tanager who prefers the quiet of the treetops. We are dedicated to teaching children to value the natural world by learning to live comfortably within it. By cultivating lettuce in our organic garden, cutting wood for the kitchen stove, composting leftovers, and learning which trees serve best for campfires or marshmallow sticks, the children practice sustainable living in the woods. We hope that, as they grow, they will generously share their knowledge and love of the wilderness.


From its founding in 1925 as one of the country’s first non-sectarian, interracial and co-educational camps to the present, Tanager has remained committed to diversity. Living together in a small, close-knit community teaches everyone the importance of cooperation, personal responsibility, and mutual respect. We all work together each day to accomplish the jobs needed for camp to run, and we all share in special adventures and activities such as big overnight trips, a talent show, and our final barbecue. Tanager alums cherish the lifelong friendships they developed as campers and staff.


Our program begins with a focus on foundational skills in boating, swimming, and campcraft that last a lifetime. As the season progresses, campers build on these skills as they pursue their own individual interests, from rock climbing to sailing to sterning a canoe to landscape painting or wood carving. By helping campers set and achieve ambitious goals in a nurturing environment, the staff foster the growth of each child’s self-confidence, maturity and judgment. Children recognize their inner creativity as, without the distractions of modern media, they become more innovative and experience the joy of creating their own fun.