Skull Island Camp

Set Sail for Summer Fun

In 2003, Kathryn Chipman’s children were unsatisfied with day camp. “My kids hated the place I had enrolled them in. At the time, we owned a small parcel of land on Gale Island on Pontiac Lake. I suggested to my children that if they would play quietly so I could finish my work, we would bring a few of their friends out to the island tomorrow and make our own day camp.” The name, chosen by Kathryn’s son, was inspired because it “sounds scary, but it would be fun!”

The rest is history. Because it really is on an island, and not just a name, campers arrive each morning on one of Skull Island Camp’s uniquely designed 30-foot pontoons—Black Pearl, Flying Dutchman, Jolly Roger, Kraken, or Skallywag. The six-minute boat ride runs in the mornings from 7:45 to 9:30 AM, and several return trips run between 3:00 and 6:00 PM. Campers wear colored wristbands to note their scheduled return time.

“The island is open for play as soon as the campers arrive,” says Kathryn, “with water activities beginning each morning after the daily round-up. We have a floating water park the size of a football field with water trampolines, floating obstacle courses, water slides, zip lines, rope swings, acres of wooded trails, fishing, kayaking, paddle boats, rock wall, petting zoo, foosball, ping pong, basketball, arts and crafts, plenty of soft sand—and no electronics at all.”

Skull Island Camp is recommended for ages 5-12, and the camp has a buddy program to help single campers make new friends. For those ages 12-13+, Skull Island offers a junior counselor program. “Our volunteer program gives them a sense of purpose, a place to go, a little responsibility, and a lot of pride. It’s from our counselor-in-training program that we do 100% of our hiring for staff.”

At full time enrollment, notes Kathryn, “it works out to less than $6 an hour for your child’s care, including all sporting activities, safety equipment, a full buffet lunch, and three daily snacks.” The camp is also planning to be open Saturdays this summer to provide additional options for families.

Find out more at

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