SOUTH MILFORD, IND. (WPTA21)-Among the corn and bean fields of Lagrange County is a gem, one that’s been part of 21 Country for a very long time.
“So it’s our goal that while they’re here for a week they try something new and they can achieve something new,” says Camp Potawotami director Katie Taylor. “They feel a sense of belonging with their cabin mates.”
In two months YMCA Camp Potawotami just west of South Milford will turn 100 years old. It was founded in 1920 on the shore of Blackman Lake as a two week camp for boys. The central building, Arrowhead Lodge, was built in 1931. Potawotami’s history reflects the ‘Y’s mission to strengthen local communities by starting with the kids, teaching them to be independent self starters happily embracing all that life offers. You’ll find the usual activities here found at most summer camps, swimming, canoeing, archery, horseback riding. But over the years a stay at Potawotami has become more challenging. There is an immense rock climbing tower. This is the ropes course high in the air where kids learn to face and conquer their fears. But Potawotami’s main attraction is plain old fun, living in cabins, learning teamwork, making new friends, embracing nature. And escaping for a time all the pressures and diversions of modern childhood.
“They’re just kids being kids,” says Taylor. “No one here has their phone or their computer so they’re just able to enjoy outside and spending time with each other.”
Potawotami was founded as a boys-only religious camp but went co-ed in 1973. Today everyone is welcome and despite the YMCA’s Christian origins there is no emphasis on religion here beyond a brief prayer before meals. Generations of families have enjoyed this place, parents, grandparents, great grandparents who were here as kids have brought their own children to this camp to experience what they experienced, create memories they can share. And leave as they did a little stronger, a little more independent with a new attitude toward the joys and responsibilities of life on this earth.