About the Camp


Camp Knutson was founded in 1953 when former Minnesota Congressman, Harold Knutson, donated his summer vacation property to be used as a summer retreat for children with special needs.

We partner with other organizations to host camps for youth and adults with identified needs such as autism, heart disease, skin conditions, down syndrome, burn survivors, HIV/AIDS and youth experiencing homelessness. Campers are enrolled through our partner groups, who work in collaboration with our staff to provide specialized care and curriculum for their campers' needs. Camp Knutson is open year round hosting retreats, meetings, trainings, and other social gatherings September through May.

Camp Knutson is a service of the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). Camp Knutson serves all individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, and diversity.

Our Camp Partners

Our partner organizations handle camper registration, individual camper support, and medical support during camp. Programming is provided in collaboration with Camp Knutson staff to offer activities that best meet the needs of each camper. Activities might include archery, horseback riding, boating and swimming, arts and crafts, outdoor games and much more. Camp Knutson provides a medically-sound environment, fully accessible facilities, supportive programming and an inclusive, welcoming community.


Camp Benedict

June 3-7, 2019
Camp Benedict is an educational/recreational week-long family camp that is provided free for families who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Camp Benedict offers support and education for the entire family.  Recreation time includes horseback riding, pontoon rides, beach, crafts, or just relaxing on one of the sunny decks with a good book.


Down Syndrome Foundation

June 9-13, 2019
A Summer Camp for Youth with Down Syndrome. Summer Camp is a rite of passage for many young people. Down Syndrome Camp is no exception! It is where new friendships are forged through shared experiences and the unforgettable adventure of being away from home overnight. Lifelong memories are made and happiness abounds!


Camp Discovery (American Academy of Dermatology)

June 16-21, 2019 | June 30 - July 5, 2019
Camp Discovery offers children living with a chronic skin condition a one-of-a-kind camp experience. Provided at no cost to the families, Camp Discovery is one week of fun for kids with conditions ranging from eczema and psoriasis, to vitiligo and alopecia, to epidermolysis bullosa and ichthyosis.


Camp Hand in Hand (Autism Society of MN)

June 23-28, 2019 | July 28 - August 2, 2019 | August 4-9, 2019 | August 11-16, 2019

AuSM-trained camp counselors and experienced program staff carefully plan and maintain a well-run, relaxed, and rewarding camp experience. All four sessions of Camp Hand in Hand are held at Camp Knutson. Campers are all paired 1:1 with a staff member and participate in activities that focus on social interaction and communication.


Camp Odayin

July 8-12, 2019 | July 15-19, 2019 | July 22-26, 2019
Camp Odayin provides fun, safe and supportive camp experiences and community building opportunities for young people with heart disease and their families. Our mission is based on a holistic approach to healing hearts, a desire to nurture and develop independence, confidence, and acceptance throughout our camper’s lives, the importance of a sense of community among our heart family, and an emphasis on having fun and celebrating life!


Camp RED: Realize Every Dream (Firefighters for Healing)

August 19-22, 2019
Camp RED is one of the first children’s burn camps in Minnesota. Currently we offer one summer residential session in August. Whether your camper was burned recently or years ago, you are all progressing through recovery with developmental changes and challenges. Camp RED gives burn survivors (ages 6-16) the opportunity to live beyond their scars and to be kids again. Our hope is that your time at Camp RED will help you Realize Every Dream for a better tomorrow!


LSS of Minnesota Youth Services & TheShop Brainerd

August 26-28, 2019
LSS youth services from the Twin Cities, Brainerd, and Duluth along with local youth serving non-profit TheShop, team up with Camp Knutson to put on a precious, well deserved camp experience for youth experiencing homelessness. This opportunity allows the youth to put their worries to rest while they are at Camp and htlps them build coping skills and resiliency.


Minneapolis Community Group

September 2-6, 2019
Thanks to the long-term partnership with Plymouth Congressional Church and Hennepin County Social Services, each September, Camp Knutson is able to offers a week of camp for adults with mental health needs. It is a week that provides adults living with mental health needs time for rest and relaxation along with fun camp adventures and activities.