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Camp Tanager

A place for kids to learn and grow.

Established in 1926, Camp Tanager provides day and overnight camp programs to over 1,000 campers each summer. Campers from all backgrounds are welcome to attend our programs designed for fun, fitness, friendship, and learning.

1614 West Mt Vernon Rd
Mt Vernon, IA 52314

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Children of all backgrounds can benefit from a positive camp experience. That’s why Camp Tanager is devoted to providing an affordable, safe, and fun camp experience for all children.

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Day Camps

Monday – Friday
9 Themed Sessions
$240 per week

Our Day Camp Programs meet the needs of the community by providing a wholesome camp experience where kids can make new friends and learn new skills.

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Overnight Camps

6 Day Overnight Program
$450 per camper
Scholarships Available

Our Summer Sleep-Away Camp combines the themed activities of day camps with a week-long camp experience that includes games, campfires, pool parties, and more!

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Health Camps

6 Day Overnight Program

Camp Tanager hosts two specialty health camps for kids living with diabetes and hemophilia. Kids participate in fun activities and work with medical professionals on healthy practices like pump use and infusion.

Financial Assistance

Since its inception, Camp Tanager has valued the importance of getting kids to experience the wonderful mental and physical health benefits of summer camp. Today, we remain true to our roots by providing full or partial scholarships to children who otherwise could not afford to attend summer camp through our Free Campership Program. To be eligible for a camp scholarship, campers should also be eligible for free and/or reduced school meals.

Upcoming Events

Camp Tanager is available year-round for summer camps, seasonal programs, facility rentals, and more.

Child painting at Camp Tanager

Photo Gallery

Get a glimpse of our camp experience by viewing our photos. Each week of camp, we provide camp families with access to a photo gallery featuring daily highlights and activities.


Outdoor Fun for All


Enjoy connecting with nature in our 34-acre purpose-built campsite with wooded areas, trails, and a creek to explore.

Nature Studies

Learn more about nature and the outdoors through onsite environmental science and nature projects.


Free swim, snorkeling, and water aerobics are just a few of the ways our campers enjoy the pool on a daily basis.


Activities at camp include archery, basketball, soccer, gaga ball, volleyball, group games, arts, crafts, and more.


Nothing says camp more than roasting a few marshmallows over an open fire with friends new and old.


Free from cellphones and tablets, camp is a place where kids can unplug from their device and connect face to face.

STEAM Programs

Age-appropriate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math are incorporated into our weekly camp activity schedule.

Making Friends

Through intentional planning, our goal each week is to help campers connect with one another and find a new friend.


It takes an army of excellent staff to provide a safe and nurturing camp environment for our campers! Leading the way are our residential assistant camp directors. Each member of the camp management team bring their own unique flair and passion for the job at hand.
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Reach us year round!

You can reach our Camp Director or send mail to your camper using the links below.

Camp Staff Leadership

The Camp Tanager Team works tirelessly to create exciting programs and activities for kids, learning new skills to enhance the camp experience. Through extensive pre-camp training and conferences, we are confident that your camper will experience success in any one of our programs.

ACA Member Camp

As a member of the American Camp Association, Camp Tanager follows strict rules and regulations put in place to help protect campers and provide a safe environment for all participants.

Work at Camp

We are looking for free-thinking, hard-working relationship builders who want to make the world a better place by changing the way the world interacts with kids! Summer and seasonal camp positions are available.
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kids smiling at Camp Tanager



Camp Tanager Founded

In 1926, public health nurse Elizabeth Johnson identified a need in Cedar Rapids for a place where kids could learn and grow.


Voted Coolest Camp in Iowa

The Philadelphia Inquirer identified Camp Tanager as the coolest camp in Iowa for our unique and expansive program offerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your child gets homesick, don’t worry! We will contact you by phone and keep you informed of the situation. For many, bouts of homesickness pass within a day or so. Our counselors are great at keeping kids involved in activities and with the group.

Feel free to contact us at any time during the week. Our phone number is 319-363-0681. If you need to drop something off for your camper, please call in advance so we can watch out for you. If you have an emergency and need to talk to someone right away, please call Tanager at 319-365-9164 The secretary will be able to contact the Camp Director who will then return your call.

Camp has many weather radios stationed throughout the campus. During severe weather, all campers and staff are taken to our tornado shelter and remain there until the storm has passed.

Ready for Camp Tanager? View our packing list of what to bring (and what not to) to help your camper make the most out of their week! 


Plan Your Next Event at Camp Tanager

From basketball court rentals to birthday parties, weddings, and corporate team-building events, Camp Tanager is available year-round to meet the needs of the community.

Click on the links below to learn more about our rental options.

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The Hills Grand Lodge at Camp Tanager is a winterized, year round facility that seats nearly 300 people. The facility can be rented out for large events such as weddings, graduations, corporate team meetings and retreats, and more. Convenient parking for more than 180 vehicles, and ample kitchen space designed with caterers makes hosting events at Camp Tanager a breeze!

Group Outings and Parties

Let our expert staff create a themed event tailored to your needs. By choosing Camp Tanager, you’re not only getting a unique venue but also helping us further our mission!

School Groups

Camp Tanager offers counselor-led end-of-year field trips for elementary schools in May and June each year. Attending schools have exclusive use of the facility. Camp Tanager staff create a custom program of activities for each school group. Options include swimming, archery, team-building activities, gaga ball, 9-Square in the Air, and more.

Schools looking to use the Camp Tanager facility for team-building events or special events can do so through private facility rentals.

Birthday Parties

There are several options for families looking to schedule a party at Camp Tanager. Popular packages include our Pool & Pavilion package—a two- or four-hour rental that includes exclusive use of the camp pool with lifeguards provided and exclusive use of the open-air pavilion with outdoor grill, sound system, and seating for over 100.

Popular winter packages include Gym & Lodge rental for overnight and custom themed parties.

Corporate Events

Business owners looking to give their employees a one of kind event choose Camp Tanager. Our Winter Lodge sleeps a total of 24 and comes complete with bathroom/shower facilities, full kitchen, main room with seating for over 20, a lounge with comfy couches, and TV and AV systems for work presentations.

Including a 6800-square-foot gymnasium, our facility provides space for group games, team-builders, and activities to get your group moving and energized.

Camp Expansion Project

The first phase of the Camp Tanager expansion project increased our reach by creating a new, larger scale camp prepared for the next century of campers. Phase two of the campaign, Nurture. Grow. Discover, is a campaign to increase impact and opportunity by continuing to extend capacity with a second new cabin plus expanding programming elements such as a pool, ropes course and locker rooms.

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Ways to Help

Our expansion goals cannot be completed without the help of our great community.  There are many ways that you help with our project and help provide camp for many more generations of campers.  Click the links below to learn more.

Experience the magic of Camp Tanager.

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We’re here to help.

If you (or someone with you) are experiencing a medical emergency, or are in danger, call 911 immediately.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or feeling suicidal, call or text 988 immediately.

Your Life Iowa:                      (Facilitated by Foundation 2)

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:

General Information:

Get Involved


Make a difference for children in your community and help thousands of families with a donation to Tanager.


Learn about our reoccurring or one-time volunteer opportunities and help build a brighter future.