Camp Dark Waters provides a fun outdoor camping experience based on the Quaker values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. Because we believe that each of us possesses an inner light reflecting our goodness, we respect every individual while appreciating the differences between us. We nurture the spiritual, social, physical, and emotional growth of children and young adults as they encounter themselves and each other in cooperative efforts. Here we expect all who come will find a new closeness with each other and with the world around us.


The child-centered philosophy of Camp Dark Waters is the same now as it was in 1928.  Here, we believe that contributing to the growth and development of an individual is the greatest single act a person or organization can accomplish. We believe strongly in the value of a cooperative democratic group living experience.  In keeping with its Quaker tradition, Camp Dark Waters believes that there is “that of God” in each person.

Our free choice activity program is based on flexible planning, attention to each camper’s needs, and the belief that a child’s summer activities should offer alternatives to the regimentation of most school curricula.  Campers are encouraged to develop their own individuality by participation in both activities with which they are familiar and new experiences.  Our program provides for large group activities, individual skill development, creative expression in the arts, and participation in a variety of sports and games.  We plan activities of interest to the youngest and oldest campers, as well as programs which are enjoyed by all ages.  We balance active and competitive programming with quiet and meditative activities in the interest of developing the mind and spirit as well as the body.

Our Campers

Our campers come mostly from the Philadelphia region and South Jersey.  Many more come from New York and Washington D.C.  In recent years, we’ve had campers from over 20 different States, as well as Russia, Spain, England, Belgium and Germany.  We take pride in the diversity of our camper population.  At any given time, children from all racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds will be in camp.  The Dark Waters Scholarship Fund makes tuition possible formany families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a camp experience for their children.  Regardless of who our campers are, or where they come from, we consistently teach not just tolerance, but an appreciation and respect of the unique differences each of us brings to our community.

Camp Goals

Camp Dark Waters will be fun.
Camp Dark Waters will be a safe environment for children.
Camp Dark Waters will provide a residential summer program built on core Quaker values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship for all members of the Camp Dark Waters Community.

How CDW adheres to the Quaker SPICES:

In keeping with the testimony of Simplicity, Camp has identified the following goals:

  • By keeping the program and facilities tied to the environment, campers will develop and appreciate the joy and possibilities in nature.
  • Camp will provide opportunities for canoeing, hiking and wilderness programs.
  • Camp will keep costs low so we can focus on what’s most important.

In keeping with the testimony of Peace, Camp has identified the following goals:

  • The values of non-violent conflict resolution and thoughtful respect for others will be intrinsic to all camp activities.
  • When conflicts arise, camp will provide support for staff to use conflict as an opportunity.
  • Camp will host a weekly meeting for worship during the camp season.
  • Camp will foster ties to the local Quaker community and will offer discounted prices for Friends.

In keeping with the testimony of Integrity, Camp has identified the following goals:

  • Campers and staff will learn skills of self-sufficiency and develop a sense of self-worth.
  • Camp will create a climate where openness and honesty are highly valued so that all problems are dealt with in a rational and sensitive manner.
  • Camp will operate openly so that all members of the community.
  • Campers and staff will learn to embrace and carry through responsibility.
  • Campers will learn the value of new skills and experiences, and will be exposed to opportunities for development.

In keeping with the testimony of Community, Camp has identified the following goals:

  • CDW will maintain a strong sense of community within which all campers will be accepted and celebrated for both their differences and unique individuality;
  • Staff and campers will develop mutual trust and understanding which will enable them to overcome personal challenges, resolve problems and grow into their “best selves.”
  • Campers will have the opportunity to enjoy being part of a number of different communities which include cabin communities and crew communities where they will eat and do chores.
  • Cooperative activities and challenges will build a sense of group cohesion and connection among all members of the camp community.

In keeping with the testimony of Equality, Camp has identified the following goals:

  • Campers and staff will treat each other with respect and honor one another’s dignity.
  • Campers and staff will learn that new experiences and new understandings have intrinsic value.
  • Camp will serve a diversity of campers and staff- economic, ethnic, racial, national, and religious.
  • Camp will work with families to explore weather Dark Waters is a good fit & will make reasonable accommodations for campers with emotional, mental, and physical differences.
  • The Camp Dark Waters Campership Trust Fund (CDWCTF) will increase the availability of funds to provide financial assistance to campers from families of modest means.

In keeping with the testimony of Stewardship, Camp has identified the following goals:

Environmental Stewardship:

  • Camp will endeavor to maintain and develop green practices in buildings and grounds, and in the operation of the camp.
  • Camp will work to decrease or maintain its carbon footprint.
    Campers and staff will increase their connection to the natural world.
  • Campers and staff will participate in the maintenance and operation of the camp.

Stewardship of financial resources:

  • Camp will continue to improve the physical plant while maintaining its simple, natural setting and appearance.
  • Camp will invest money responsibly and ethically.
  • Camp will be mindful of the financial burdens on families and will work with families to make camp available when possible.