Tapawingo is a Christian girls camp located on an island in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. It serves girls ages 9-17 and is unique because of its beauty and biblical standards of excellence. Campers and staff alike are encouraged and inspired to find meaning and fulfillment in a hurting world.
Tapawingo has been called, "a haven of rest and refreshment" by our campers. It is a place where girls are free to be girls without the pressures and expectations of society. A place where young women have the chance to discover God’s unconditional love for them through Jesus Christ, grow in a deeper understanding of God’s Word and see His best for their lives!
Tapawingo is open during June - August to girls 9-17, regardless of race, creed, or nationality. A well-rounded camping program is offered for eight weeks with a maximum stay of two weeks. Tapawingo has 10 cabins housing eight campers and two staff. Our staff to camper ratio is 1:8, and many activities have a ratio of 1:4.
Our campers come from a wide range of economic, spiritual, social, family, and ethnic backgrounds. We do our best to be sensitive to the multicultural backgrounds of campers at Tapawingo and to hire staff from a variety of backgrounds to provide a versatile ministry team.
Our purpose is to clearly and lovingly glorify Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through personal example, meaningful activity, Biblical direction, and Christ-centered relationships in a friendly environment that promotes healthy growth and development in all areas of a young woman's life.
Tapawingo seeks to provide a place for young women to discover who God is and His best for their lives. It's in this setting of unconditional love, structured challenge, healthy living, and uplifting role models that we hope to help girls discover the truth about the Lord, His love for them and to give them a vision for their future walk with Him.
George (“Pop”) and Etta Tibbitts had a dream about having a summer place open to all Christians seeking beautiful surroundings and spiritual nourishment. In 1900, George Tibbitts purchased a larger piece of land in Lake George to build a place for people to come and vacation. The number of interested guests soon outgrew the property. Land with more acreage was purchased in Speculator, New York in 1914. It was named CAMP-of-the-WOODS (COTW). Today COTW exists in the same beautiful location with the goal of seeing families and people of all ages find Christ and grow up in Him.
In 1947, COTW Board member, Richard Woike, was at a business luncheon with a lawyer from New York City. During their conversation, the lawyer shared how he was having difficulty settling the affairs of one of his clients. “She even owns an island in the middle of Lake Pleasant!” his friend explained.
Immediately Mr. Woike inquired how he could buy the island, and at that same luncheon he purchased it for $5,000. He built a summer residence there for his wife and son including a large house, a pump house and a small one-room cabin for their son. Apparently, Mr. Woike and his family arrived at and departed from the island via seaplane!
In 1950 a violent windstorm or downburst struck the middle of the island and cleared out an area of trees about the size of a baseball infield. Miraculously the windstorm only removed trees and never touched any of the buildings nor caused any injuries. Today we gather in this clearing for flag raising, morning exercises, event hour and cabin prayer. It is our only playing field on this heavily wooded island!
In 1958 Mr. Woike moved to California, and wanted to determine whether or not a girls’ camp could be built on the island before selling it to COTW. The major needs included a large amount of gravel for sewage and water purification, and some renovations to the home. Once it was determined the changes were possible, the board of directors agreed to purchase the island for a summer camp!
The first step toward creating Tapawingo was to bring 400 truckloads of gravel to the island. The only feasible plan for that much material was to bring it over the ice when the lake was frozen. It was difficult to find a company to take the job, since many truck drivers were afraid the ice would break beneath them. One company finally accepted the job and spent a week strengthening the ice by driving a car back and forth from the island to the mainland and pouring water over the path to make the ice thicker. All loads were successfully brought over without injury and construction of the sewage system and water purification began.
The Woike home was converted into the main lodge for the camp and continues to be where our dining hall and offices are located. The small cabin, “Wikiup,” is where the Woike’s son originally stayed. The cabin still stands today and houses staff.
a scary beginning
Tapawingo opened in 1959 with Vida Wood from Taylor University as Director. In 1960 the Director was Jean Schabinger from Taylor as well. Then in 1961 Carolyn Ray (“Miss Carolyn”) from Columbia Bible College assumed the role. During the fall and winter Carolyn taught Bible as history in the public schools of Reidsville, North Carolina. She continued the dual ministry of directing Tapawingo and teaching Bible until her retirement in 1997. Miss Carolyn served Tapawingo for 37 summers! Her legacy of lives reached and changed for the cause of Christ is truly remarkable.
In 1998 Kim Winters, a graduate of Calvin College, became the Director. She was the Director from 1998 to 2004. Miss Kim is a woman that has a great passion for the Glory of God. Her prayers and faithful service to proclaim truth to everyone she meets continue to bless the ministry of Tapawingo. Miss Angie (Willis) Armstrong, a graduate of Tyndale University, served faithfully in counseling and administrative staff roles before taking the reins from Miss Kim. Miss Angie was the Director from 2005-2007. Her heart for Christ is evident to all. Miss Kim (Grubb) Clark began working as Miss Angie’s assistant in the fall of 2006 and stepped into the role of Director for summer 2008. She graduated from Lancaster Bible College and Tapawingo greatly benefited from her many years of experience in children’s camp ministry.
Miss Joy Huseland became the Director in the fall of 2008. Miss Joy began as a camper at the age of 9 and has been blessed to learn from four different directors! Miss Joy led Tapawingo for 14 summers and was an example to all of Christ-like wisdom, humility, and strength.
our grand opening! & a line of directors
Tapawingo expanded the CIT Program in 2021. A new building named Grace Peak was built at CAMP-of-the-WOODS in order to double the size of the program. CITs will continue to experience the same program and continue to be integrated on the island. This move allowed 48 additional campers to be enrolled per summer on the island.
We also launched the Tapawingo Adventure Program. This program was designed to give girls ages 14-15 a different Tapawingo experience. The program consists of daily adventures such as: climbing and rappelling, caving, hiking, canoeing, and camping. Girls will begin and end their week involved in normal Tapawingo traditions.
The former CIT cabin on the island has become the "Marcy" cabin for our oldest campers, thus increasing the number of campers per week on the island to 78.
expanded cit program & new tap adventure program
Tapawingo has had 60 summers of providing Christ-centered ministry to girls ages 9-17! Our total capacity for campers is 72 per week and 18 Counselors-in-Training. We enjoy a program of 15 activity areas including hiking and camping in the beautiful Adirondack Park. Our program has always been centered on Christ and His message of hope for women of all ages.
Miss Joy who has led Tapawingo for 14 summers was an example to all of Christ-like wisdom, humility, and strength.
In the fall of 2022, Miss Joy was promoted to Vice President of CAMP-of-the-WOODS, and in the summer of 2023, Miss Kieran (Mayer) Dollarhide began as the Director of Tapawingo.