Founded in 1902, Culver Summer Schools and Camps is a fun- ﬁlled, naturally beautiful 1,800-acre setting where over 1,400 young people from around the world, ages 7-17, develop positive self-esteem through accomplishment and self discipline. It is a high challenge-high support environment for learning leadership skills that improve personal conﬁdence.
"It was an amazing first class summer. I am so happy to have graduated but sad it is over after five incredible years. I look forward to hopefully coming back as a counselor."
"I appreciate the opportunity I was given to work at Culver with such great kids. It was an amazing experience to go back 13 summers later and I fell in love with Culver all over again. I hope to return next summer and be part of the Culver family once more. "
"I can hands down say that Culver was the best part of my younger years! I now have 2 children of my own and cannot wait for them to have the Culver experience too!!"
"Leadership and character development are what I think sets Culver apart. This part of our children's summer is the main reason why we send them to camp. Of course there are countless others, but this part of Culver is invaluable. Not many children are fortunate enough to experience this type of program and we truly value it."
The first cadre of cadets arrived to start the Naval School in 1902, under the direction of Major Leigh R. Gignilliat and his brother, Lieutenant Commander T.H. Gignilliat.
Throughout the three-year program, cadets attended a wide range of classes, including trigonometry, knotting, naval customs, and nautical astronomy. The young men who completed the program received a certificate of graduation and a recommendation to the Navy with the rank of officer.
When Culver’s second summer program, the Cavalry School, opened in the summer of 1907, success was instant. Under the command of officer Major Rossow, the program reached full enrollment before the first summer began.
Troopers had access to academic courses, but the program’s focus was on practical instruction in areas such as boxing, fencing, and rifle practice. The Cavalry School continues to be fundamental today.
By 1912, Colonel Leigh R. Gignilliat had developed an interest in the Boy Scouts. He enlisted General Baden-Powell, Boy Scouts founder, and Daniel Carter Beard, National Scout Commissioner, to help form the camp program.
In 1977, the Woodcraft Camp became coed. Today, around half of the camp population is female. All Camp attendees enjoy the sports, crafts, canoeing, and Indian lore; core elements of the program from the start.