What Makes Camp a Safe Place?

Safety is more than life jackets and helmets. It’s the knowledge that you can take a risk and try something new without the fear of being judged. It’s having someone to talk to, a friend who cares, and mentors who want the best for you. Safety is the freedom we enjoy at camp. Sometimes it’s expressed in a giggle, sometimes it’s those needed boundaries in life, and sometimes it is a sturdy helmet.

Safety is in the details. Chippewa is special because your daughter won’t notice everything we’re doing in the background, but she will be able to relax and enjoy her experience because she knows she is safe.

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Safety isn’t something that someone can guarantee, but it’s something that you can intentionally plan for.

Cliff Lissner | Owner & Director

A Note From Cliff

The health and safety of your child is of paramount concern to us. At Chippewa we understand that your decision to send your child away to camp is a very sensitive and potentially difficult one. Our responsibility as camp directors is to ensure that we are sending our campers home safe and healthy. Below you can read about the many redundancies that we have implemented over the years, but more important than the list, however, is the fact that Lisa and I are parents too.

Our guiding principle and guarantee to you is that we will never make a decision for your child that we would not also make for our Vivien or Audry under the same circumstances. This irrepressible guideline has served as the benchmark for how we have and will continue to operate as camp directors. I have a personal connection to every element of managing risk and camp health and safety. Parents can sleep at night during the summer knowing that I am absolutely in tune with my camp community and the daily decisions being made there.

We are accredited by the American Camp Association. This organization creates 350+ standards that camps must follow in order to maintain their accreditation. Chippewa has done so without fail since its inception in 1946.

Cliff Lissner
Owner & Director

Safety Facts

  • Chippewa is American Camp Association accredited, meeting 350+ standards, a member of the Midwest Association of Independent Camps, and a member of the Camp Owners and Directors association
  • We are inspected annually by the local health department, our water is tested and our facilities are checked to ensure we are always up to standard
  • Cliff Lissner was an EMT with paramedic training
  • Lisa Lissner was a Water Safety Instructor and Red Cross lifeguard
  • We have a state-of-the-art health center on the camp property
  • There are 2 registered nurses, and 2 certified nursing assistants
  • The health center staff and kitchen staff stay up to date with current allergy protocols
  • Camp is 15 minutes away from urgent care and 24-hour emergency services
  • All waterfront staff are Red Cross certified lifeguards
  • All trip leaders are Wilderness First Responders
  • Climbing/challenge course, horseback, and archery instructors, along with ski boat drivers, trip leaders, and van drivers receive specialized training before camp begins


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Staff Hiring

We take pride in having an outstanding staff at Chippewa. Our hiring process is thorough, as is the background checking that we do for every staff member, every year. We are VERY picky about who we hire to work with our campers.

Staff Training

At Chippewa we run a two-week pre-camp training program. During pre-camp the staff are trained by both experienced Chippewa staff AND outside youth development professionals. They learn camp health and safety, risk management, conflict resolution, and how to deal with the many social issues that can arise within a cabin group.

Waterfront Staff

ALL of our waterfront activities are staffed by American Red Cross Lifeguards. We never run a waterfront activity unless it is more than adequately staffed by certified lifeguards. We do not offer evening swims. We have a very efficient buddy system for both swimming and boating.

Trip Leaders

Trippers go through the most intense training that our camp has to offer. They go through a 9-day Wilderness First Responder medical training. They also have extensive experience in overnight camping.

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Riding Staff

Our horseback riding staff is hand-picked for their vast knowledge and experience in both riding instruction and animal care.

Climbing, High Ropes & Ninja Course Staff

All adventure course staff go though training specific to their area of responsibility. Certified instructors lead staff through an involved training program before each summer season.

Boat Drivers

Each summer Waterski Works trains our boat drivers in accordance with the standards of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation.


Our archery instructors attend Skill & Safety training at Camp Interlocken. This course is a perfect fit for our program and gives our staff the necessary foundation to safely teach the girls the art of archery.

Van Drivers

We don’t just let anyone drive a van at camp. They need to be 21 for starters. From there we hand pick select individuals who we feel are qualified to undergo the training. Once our insurance company clears their record, they are trained through guidelines developed by Coaching Systems (a specialized commercial vehicle operator training organization). Cliff personally sits in the passenger seat for their final test and will not pass anyone to drive campers if he would not put his own children in their vehicle.


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We take pride in our record of safety in every area, including security. We feel it is especially important to take a proactive approach.
  • Our camp is protected by an off duty police officer 24/7
  • We are gated
  • We have a security booth for check-in and check-out of visitors
  • We have an intercamp phone & intercom system that reaches every single corner of camp and every single structure
  • Other security strategies and protocols cannot be shared for obvious reasons, but you can trust that these measures are in place


We have a monitor that is constantly tracking radar and weather patterns. People joke that Cliff is always watching this thing. We also have NOAA weather radios in key places around camp. In the event of a potential weather concern these radios sound their alarms.

Contact with all outbound camping trips is maintained via satellite phone as needed. They are always accessible for pickup should it be deemed necessary to get them.

Chippewa has a fantastic relationship with the local police and fire departments. They keep us posted on any relevant information regarding weather.

We have three shelters in camp and we do drills to ensure preparedness. There are several land terrain factors that make tornadic activity around Chippewa very unlikely.

Physical Health

Our renovated health center takes health to a whole new standard. Exam room, isolation rooms, nurse quarters, etc… Our small medical facility is amply stocked with everything required to treat our camp girls.

We have two nurses on staff and two nursing assistants. Cliff is a trained paramedic and Chippewa has rotating doctors in camp throughout the summer.

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Allergies & Food Allergies

Our health center staff stay up to date on allergy reaction protocols. Trained staff members and trip leaders have access to epi-pens in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

We are extremely sensitive to food allergies. We make it a priority to accommodate all kinds of dietary restrictions and limitations. Our goal is to provide delicious alternative food options when needed. If your daughter has a serious allergy or dietary restriction we would encourage you to call Lisa at 866-209-9322 prior to the summer with questions.

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Emotional Health

Lisa, our “camp mom,” is with the girls all summer long.

She makes sure they are happy and adjust to being away from home. She spends half of her time with the campers and the other with parents. Your calls to her are always welcome.

Campers also form meaningful connections with their cabin counselors. We do our best to maintain a 2-to-1 camper-to-counselor ratio in the cabins, which generally means 5 counselors and 10 campers. With 5 counselors to choose from, each camper finds at least one counselor that they form a special bond with.

Safety Is About Having Fun

We work hard to anticipate and prepare so the summer is simply fun, campers feel at home, and safety isn’t a concern.

Parents are free to call Lisa, Cliff or Sari at any time during the summer. Enrolled parents are given a list of important phone numbers including Cliff, Lisa & Sari’s mobiles.