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Camp Katharine Parsons Restoration Project

Camp Katharine Parsons Logo

Since 1957, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center has owned a piece of property on Oak Lake in Carver County. There, for nearly 50 years, Camp Katharine Parsons served as a haven for Northside youth, who spent summers in nature, exploring, learning, and growing into outstanding individuals.


With the restoration of Camp Katharine Parsons, PWCC will carry out the wishes of Ms. Katharine Parsons once again, and begin, again, to provide youth day camp experiences for kids who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity — focused on individual development and outdoor adventure, and aimed at helping raise great citizens within the community.


We invite you to join us in our mission and donate to our Camp Katharine Parsons Restoration Capital Campaign.

Camp Katharine Parsons: History Shaping Vision for Future


For more than 40 years, generations of Northside youth spent summers at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center's Camp Katharine Parsons, a natural oasis and a unique piece of Minneapolis’ cultural heritage. There, kids and teens from our neighborhoods learned valuable life skills that prepared them for success as adults; they experienced nature and all of its benefits for the mind and body; and they found the mentorship and guidance, stability, safety, and structure they needed to grow into strong citizens.

By the early 2000's, the camp's infrastructure began to fall into disrepair. PWCC closed the summer day camp out of concern for safety and its inability to bring the property up to code. Mounting costs and reduced financial support rendered PWCC unable to continue to sustain the beautiful 100-acre piece of property and its buildings. Camp Katharine Parsons, which sits on a peninsula jutting into Oak Lake in Carver County, has lain almost completely dormant for 20 years, reverting to a natural habitat for birds and other wildlife and a conservation site in the midst of the suburbs.


Despite the organization's precarious financial outlook and several opportunities to sell the property, PWCC retained ownership of Camp Katharine Parsons, always hoping to see its revival and return to serving its donor's intended purpose — to give poor, urban youth the chance to experience summer camp in Minnesota.

Today, under new leadership committed to making the organization a central resource in our North Minneapolis area once again, Phyllis Wheatley intends to see the camp fully restored and able to provide the important services it once offered to youth and families in our community.


To learn more about Camp Katharine Parsons and how you can get involved, read on below. We will continue to update our neighbors and supporters as we learn more about the history of the camp, and of PWCC. To see updates, please check here back soon.

The Camp Katharine Parsons Legacy

Watch to learn more about Camp Katharine Parsons history and why it matters to Northside kids


Hundreds of people who grew up on the Northside remember summers spent at Phyllis Wheatley's Camp Katharine Parsons. We've documented just a few of their stories to share the many ways supporters of the camp's restoration benefitted from the unique opportunity for outdoor experience the camp offered, why they think the camp is so important to youth development, and how today's kids can learn, grow, and thrive at Camp Katharine Parsons, once again. 


Camp Katharine Parsons 2023

Donate to the Camp Katharine Parsons Restoration Project Today

Phyllis Wheatley Community Center is committed to empowering the youth of North Minneapolis. With the restoration of Camp Katharine Parsons, a youth day camp for disadvantaged kids where programming will focus on development, mentorship, and raising great citizens by providing outdoor adventures, environmental education, and individualized support and mentorship. Help us give the next generation of Northside kids the inspiration they need to dream big, and find hope for better futures, for themselves and their community.

We want to hear your stories

Do you have memories of summers spent at Camp Katharine Parsons when you were a youth? We want to hear from you! Your stories can help us as we work to piece together our organization's nearly 100-year history as an advocate for African Americans in Minneapolis. 

Please contact Katy Nelson, Development and Communications Director at PWCC, at to tell your story, reconnect with Phyllis Wheatley, and help us better understand our rich history in the community we share. 

Thanks to our Camp Katharine Supporters

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