CHMK Backpacking Program

Camp Ho Mita Koda – OHIO

June 24 – 28, 2023

Grades 7-11

Rescheduled for 2025

Camp Ho Mita Koda – MICHIGAN

July 14 – 17, 2023

Grades   7-11

Rescheduled for 2025

Backpack Program Registration

The CHMK Backpacking Program is a backcountry adventure for campers who love or want to learn how to backpack while managing their diabetes.

Campers will face both physical and mental challenges and work as a team as they bushwhack their way to both group and personal success. This program is for those who want to push themselves and accomplish something challenging while building community.

We are small and personal. Our groups are limited to 8 campers led by led by experienced guides, medical staff, and diabetes professionals, creating a highly supervised environment for safety and growth.

Daily camp life includes tent camping, self-esteem development, friendship building, leadership opportunities, yoga, and delicious camp food.

“As a 14-year-old, this camp gave me great insight to leadership skills that I shall endeavor to use in my future. It was great character building for me. Although I was apprehensive about going alone, I built friendships that should last a long time. It has also helped me to personally overcome my anxiety, and I believe that it will serve as a lasting positive experience that I can draw upon for the rest of my life. If you are questioning if you should sign your child up for such an endeavor, take my word that they will not regret the experience, and thank you for the rest of their lives.”

Fast Facts

  1. The group is always small — no more than eight campers.
  2. We always have carefully chosen and thoroughly prepared leaders and medical staff.
  3. Groups typically have a mix of grades (7-12th grades).
  4. The itinerary is crafted to provide just the right balance of activities — the goal is to have every camper love their CHMK experience.
  5. Locations are on private land and state parks, all of which offer full facilities, before and after the backcountry trip. 
  6. Meals are wholesome, nutritious, and varied… and they’re fun group projects with input from everyone and guidance from the leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the backpacking locations?

The Ohio program will head to the beautiful Gerard Hiking Trail, a 36-mile loop located within Oil Creek State Park in western Pennsylvania.

The Michigan program will travel through 1800 acres of private wilderness at D-Bar-A Ranch in Metamora, Michigan.

Where will we sleep?

Several of our nights are spent at “frontcountry” campsites, where we’ll generally have a more developed campsite with running water, toilets, and sometimes cell phone service. This may be a public or private campground. We often stay at the same frontcountry site a few days in a row.

The other nights will be spent “backcountry” camping, referring to wilderness locations where we are most likely out of cell phone service and away from our vehicles, electricity, and other amenities. Many multi-day activities like backpacking take place in the backcountry.

How far will we backpack/hike each day?

Some days are longer than others, with an average “on trail” distance of 4-6 miles per day. Typically, while backpacking, our groups will hike approximately 1 mile per hour and faster downhill. So, if we have a 4-mile day, you can plan on it taking about 4 hours, and, we have the whole day to do it! When we hike, we walk at a pace that all campers in the group can maintain (it is not a race!) and we stay together as a group, taking breaks every 20 minutes to drink, eat, rest, and test.

How fit do I need to be for this camp?

No experience necessary; all skill levels welcome!

Fitness and physical challenge are subjective, so CHMK does not “rate” its trips based on challenge. However, because we’ll be highly engaged in backcountry activities throughout trip, our campers have the responsibility to be physically fit. We know physical fitness looks different for everyone, but it’s important to come prepared so that you and your fellow campers can succeed. While on the trail, it is common for campers and staff to volunteer to switch gear in packs and give smaller or less fit campers less weight.

How should I prepare for camp and backpacking?

For at least a month prior to camp, plan to exercise 3-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Have your hiking boots well worn in before your arrival to camp. Prepare yourself by reading the website and all of the information sent to you by email. Being physically and mentally prepare before camp will bring out the real adventurer in you!

What about footwear?

Your two pieces of footwear are really critical: Boots and camp shoes.

The most important piece of personal gear that CHML does not provide is boots. They should be a mid-weight hiking boot with ankle support. You don’t need heavy mountaineering boots, and you also can’t hike in sneakers. Boots should be comfortable, not too big and not too small, with deep treads. We know that some people prefer low-tops as they are more comfortable. However, we require high-tops because of the evacuation risk of an ankle injury with a heavy pack on in the mountains.

It’s important to give your feet a break after a long day of hiking in your boots. Your camp shoes must be closed-toed to prevent toe injuries. No slides, No sandals, No flip-flops. They should be light-weight with good treads, preferably quick-drying in case of use to cross streams and creeks.

What should I pack?

Packing list coming soon.

Group Gear

Camp Ho Mita Koda provides all necessary group gear, including tents, food storage and kitchen setup. Participants are responsible for bringing all personal gear.

What will we be eating?

Pasta with red sauce, ground beef and parmesan. Beans and rice with chicken, cheese and tortillas. Etc. All meals are seasoned, with an accompanying sauce. Food is incredibly important for backpacking trips, and we know that our campers need to be well-fed to be happy. We’ve done our best to optimize our menu for broad appeal and to maximize nutritional benefit for strenuous activity. And, we can only bring as much food as we can carry on our backs, so every ounce of food is intentionally calculated and packed. Campers are always worried about the food. We promise it’s good and plentiful. We can accommodate most dietary restrictions and sensitivities if given advance notice.

What will we learn?

We want our campers to leave with the necessary understanding and skills to be able to enter the wilderness with safety, respect, and a sense of wonder and belonging. This program is uniquely designed to create an opportunity to feel at home with backcountry living, natural observation, and inquiry. Participants learn how to travel safely in the backcountry, manage risk, and practice on-trail leadership skills. This is all in addition to learning how to properly manage diabetes in the backcountry, cooking over a fire, reading a map, and much more!