YouthCARE Minnesota

Camp Sunrise


A crew (8 campers 13-18 years old and 2 adult leaders) in the last stretch of their 3 day canoe trip on the St. Croix River. 

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Mission and Description:

Camp Sunrise is a year round youth development program focused on bringing together youth and adults from diverse backgrounds to live and work in an outdoor multicultural environment. Since 1974 Camp Sunrise has been providing youth from Minneapolis and St. Paul with the opportunity to experience a residential wilderness camp for no cost. Camp Sunrise is located on the St. Croix River, 60 miles north of the Twin Cities, near Rush City, MN. Annually, 250-300 youth, 13-18 years old from Minneapolis and St. Paul, are involved in Camp Sunrise summer and school year programs. Over the years Camp Sunrise has received numerous awards and recognition's, including the 2000 Nonprofit Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the Eleanor P. Eells Award from the Fund for the Advancement of Camping, and the Minnesota Parks and Trails for All from the Parks and Trails Council.

Program Activities:

Camp Sunrise works with YouthCARE’s YouthLEAD program to offer year round program opportunities for youth. Program activities include:

Camp Sunrise Summer Program: A ten-week residential summer camp for 225-250 Minneapolis and St. Paul youth, 13-18 years old. Youth participate in one week sessions (Crew Week), two week sessions (Veteran Crew) or a 10 week Leadership Training Program (Junior Counselors and Counselors in Training). Activities include teambuilding and intercultural experiences, outdoor and environmental education, canoeing and camping experience, and service projects that help preserve the St. Croix Scenic Riverway.

Weekend Camping Trips: Weekend Camping Trips are conducted at Camp Sunrise throughout the fall, winter and spring, and bring together 10-12 youth per trip. Activities are planned and facilitated by youth leaders with support from adult staff and volunteers. Activities include teambuilding, cultural and environmental education workshops, community service projects and outdoor activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Campers often go on field trips to nearby Wild River State Park and Interstate State Park.

Safaris in the City: Safari in the City activities are conducted in the urban area throughout the fall, winter and spring, with around 8-10 youth per activity. Safaris are designed to foster an appreciation for the outdoors by introducing youth to the wide variety of outdoor activities that are available in and around the Twin Cities metro area. Activities include rock climbing, mountain biking, rollerblading, ice-skating, and broomball.

Community Camps: Camp Sunrise partners with Minneapolis and St. Paul non-profit organizations to provide opportunities for the youth and adults that they serve to have access to the outdoors. Current partners include the Hmong American Partnership (HAP), Chicanos Latinos Unidos En Servicio (CLUES), and the Institute for Education and Advocacy. Activities include teambuilding, canoeing, environmental education, weekend camping and youth leadership retreats.


Read the Camp Sunrise Newsletters!

June 2011
July 2011
Summer 2012
June 2013
July 2013

Demographic Information:

Serving a diverse population
Camp Sunrise works with about 250 youth ages 13-18 from Minneapolis and St Paul in the following general demographic breakdown:

• African American – 40%
• Asian American – 31%
• Native American – 4%
• European American – 6%
• Chicano/Latino – 7%
• African – 5%
• Other – 7%