Camp changes lives.

Ninety miles north of Chicago, on the shores of Lake Delavan in Wisconsin lies a hidden gem called House In The Wood.  On its 23 acres, boys and girls ages 7 -17 from some of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods, experience often for the first time, the ability to feel safe enough to let loose and just be a kid; exploring the lake and woods, playing games, singing songs and developing strong bonds with the friends and leaders found at Camp.


Inner-City Violence

Evidence markers sit on the ground at the scene where a 17-year-old boy was killed after being shot in the abdomen while riding his bike in the 7600 block of South Union Avenue on Aug. 5, 2018, in Chicago.

Chicago Tribune, August 7, 2018


Camp is a safe environment

At-risk youth are empowered to change the trajectory of their lives after meeting inspiring role models, strengthening their leadership abilities and developing essential life, social and academic skills in a safe environment.


The goal of Camp, which is owned and operated by Northwestern Settlement, is to disrupt generational poverty by opening doors that might otherwise be shut to inner-city children.  At a time when Chicago’s gun violence is making national news, Camp also offers them a life-changing alternative to the streets. 

House in the Wood is more than a typical summer camp.  Many of these children struggle with the effects of chronic stress and trauma living in neighborhoods with violence and addiction problems.  Here campers enjoy three meals a day, swim, learn from role models, run freely and go to sleep feeling safe.

House in the Wood makes a positive impact in the mental and emotional well-being of the campers, leading to improved learning and empowerment for creating a healthier direction in their lives. Through nurturing counselors they learn to develop trusting relationships, self-esteem, respect for themselves and others, responsibility and teamwork.  They learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and set goals for achievement and education. 

The impact is powerful and life-changing.

At House In The Wood...

children engage in outdoor fun activities unavailable to them in the city; they meet personal growth challenges such as climbing that 50 foot oak tree, and become excited about learning biological and earth sciences through doing field experiments with water, forest, and critters.

...they return to the city forever changed.