Chatcolab Leadership Laboratory
is Celebrating 75 years of
Exploring Leadership and Recreation

Chatcolab Leadership Laboratory, established in 1948, embodies a fusion of the Recreation Laboratory, which originated in the early 1930s at Walden Woods, Michigan, and the time-honored "Chautauqua" model from New York. In the spirit of Chautauqua, Chatcolab annually assembles 'labbers' to engage in a fresh program that nurtures leadership, culture, education, and recreation. People of all ages come together to partake in shared learning experiences within an open, convivial environment.

As an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action, non-profit educational organization, our mission revolves around cultivating leadership through recreation.

The Chatcolab Leadership Laboratory is tailored to provide an invigorating educational experience for those interested in acquiring the skills to lead recreational activities in enjoyable and dynamic ways. This distinctive program caters to both adult and youth leaders. Participants live as a cohesive group, where the exchange of ideas and techniques in the realms of leadership and recreation is paramount.

Chatcolab Leadership Laboratory serves as a respite from the mundane routines of daily life. Group cohesion naturally emerges as individuals grow together through their collaborative efforts in work and play. The core focus is on fostering joy and fellowship. The acquisition of fresh knowledge and skills through the sharing of creative activities leads to mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.

Camp Environment & Accommodations

Chatcolab traditionally occurs in an outdoor camp setting, characterized by hilly and uneven terrain. We make every possible effort to provide suitable accommodations.

The retreat center is a self-contained facility located beneath our dining hall. Just down the hall from the bunk rooms, you'll find separate male and female bathrooms, each equipped with four showers and three toilets. The cabins, with their rustic charm, share two nearby bathhouses, one designated for men and the other for women, although they are not directly attached to the cabins.

For those seeking additional comfort, the Selkirk Lodge offers ten rooms, each furnished with a queen-sized bed and a set of bunk beds. These rooms also include an attached bathroom and shower, available at an extra cost.

The outdoor camp area features various amenities, including a basketball court, a spacious play field, a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, tetherball, a climbing wall, meeting spaces, and two campfire areas.

Chatcolab at Twinlow Camp & Retreat Center

Chatcolab Leadership Laboratory is traditionally located at Twinlow Camp & Retreat Center, on pine-covered grounds on glistening Lower Twin Lake approximately 5 miles north of Rathdrum, Idaho.

Twinlow offers opportunities for individuals and groups of diverse abilities, racial and cultural backgrounds.  It is a sanctuary of hospitality, renewal, and learning within natural world. The amazing North Idaho campus is just below Mt. Spokane, on Twin Lakes and surrounded by forests. 

Twinlow Camp and Retreat Center is a great space for contemplation and and personal growth.

A Glance at Planning Your Week

HEALTH & SAFETY: The well-being, both physical and emotional, of all Chatcolab participants is our utmost concern. We kindly request your cooperation in taking care of yourself and being considerate to others. Please refrain from disrupting classes or activities, and adhere to camp's designated quiet times.

Twinlow Camp strictly prohibits the presence of firearms, weapons, alcohol, or illegal substances on the premises. Smoking is only permitted in specified areas. The use of vehicles is limited to transporting belongings to and from cabins and the lodge, and they should only be driven on designated roads. For safety and emergency purposes, roads must always remain accessible. Access to the lakefront is allowed only when supervised by Twinlow Staff.

ACTIVITIES: We enthusiastically encourage you to participate in all that Chatcolab has to offer. Our presenters and board members have generously volunteered their time and resources to ensure a successful lab. We kindly request your cooperation in being respectful and considerate by refraining from interrupting sessions or activities, and please be punctual for all aspects of the lab.WORKSHOPS: Class locations will be communicated daily. Workshops may have participant limits, age requirements, and/or associated fees. During classes, workshops, or activities, please silence your phones and refrain from using electronic devices.

FACILITIES: We invite you to enjoy the camp's amenities but request that you leave them in the best possible condition to express our gratitude for the privilege of using Twinlow Camp. If you move furniture for classes, kindly return it by the end of the week. If you come across litter, please dispose of it in the appropriate trash or recycling containers. Please report any damaged facilities or equipment.

DAILY DUTIES: Our collective efforts make the workload lighter - when everyone contributes their fair share, no one is burdened with more than their portion.

SUPPLIES & COSTUMES: Feel free to utilize any necessary items during the lab, and take a moment to tidy up after using supplies or costumes.

LIBRARY/RESOURCE CENTER: The reference library is intended for the enjoyment of all participants. Kindly return items once you have finished using them.

IT ALL BEGINS WITH YOU: Participants aged 18 or older at Chatcolab are recognized as voting members and are eligible for election to the Board of Directors. Three volunteer board positions are filled annually. Returning youth under 18 may be chosen by their peers as non-voting Youth Representatives during Chatcolab. The Chatcolab constitution and by-laws will be available for review during the annual meeting, as mandated by the State of Idaho for non-profit corporations.


Over 75 years of gathering together there are many terms that “labbers” use that may not be part of your daily vernacular.  Here are a few definitions:


Any participant who has attended a leader’s laboratory anywhere in the US

Color Crew

Your small planning group that meets to coordinate special activities. Approximately 10 people of all ages per group.  This is your work team for the week.


A gathering of early birds from 7-7:30a for additional activities

Night Owls

A gathering of nocturnal individuals from 8:30-10:30p for additional activities


Prior to meals Chatcolab offers participants an opportunity to share in gratitude from their traditions – this may be a song, poem, short story, prayer, any addition to the fun caring spirit of lab.


Time set aside before and after meals to make brief and simple camp statements / promotions

Chair of the Day

The person assigned to manage announcements at meals for time management

Flag Ceremony

An opportunity to share different presentations of flag raising and lowering each day

Nine Square

Similar to 4-square / located on the basketball court; this is where “the kids” gather between sessions


A rock combination of paths that is a short hike from the main camp area for all to enjoy


Workshops that are offered to everyone (with some age limitations) over the course of 5 days


Select one workshop opportunity to attend all week that are built upon each day.


A one time 2-hour class that usually stands alone, but is sometimes in 2-parts

Share Fair

Time set aside to share a craft, activity, poem, story, song; usually an organized activity


Any place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation, etc.


Chatcolab Northwest Leadership Laboratory is designed as a stimulating experience for people who are interested in leadership recreation.
The Lab is a few days of group living where there is an exchange of ideas and techniques in the field of leadership recreation. The Lab is a retreat from the daily routine.
Group unity flows as individuals develop together in work and play.
Major emphasis in placed on joy and camaraderie.
New knowledge and abilities are gained through the sharing of creative activities - leading to mental, emotional and spiritual growth.


  • A sharing camp, with no distinctions of leaders from campers, pupils from teachers
  • A fellowship separated from any sponsoring institution and self-perpetuating by a process of democracy
  • Goals for the enrichment of all life and not merely to add skills and information to already busy folk
  • Attendance from diverse vocations and backgrounds and never seek uniformity for its campers
  • Those who gather here assume cooperation in complete sharing as a way of life

CHATCOLAB, INC Recreation Leadership Laboratory is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action, non-profit educational organization begun in 1948 to offer leadership development through recreation. Youth and adults come together to build leadership skills. The lab meets annually at a residential camp and offers learning through general leadership sessions and interactive workshops. Anyone interested in personal, professional or volunteer development is welcome.