Saturday, November 25, 2017

Investing in the Anokijig Staff Experience

Camp is for the campers. This is nothing new. We’ve heard this all before. The activities, the friendships, the memories are all geared towards the young boys and girls who spend a special week with us each summer. But, let’s be honest. Without the dedicated staff to engage with the campers and teach valuable life skills through the programs, the archery range is just a field with bows and arrows and targets; the waterfront is just boats and paddles. Without our staff members to develop and facilitate these programs, we can’t have Camp! 

Here at Anokijig, we recognize the efforts and sacrifices our staff make and are taking steps to better meet some of their needs. Many of you currently are or have been Anokijig staff. You probably can relate to the long hours, hot sun, and running the summer marathon. This year, starting with #GivingTuesday, we’re putting the needs of our staff at the forefront. We’re on a mission to raise $1,000 as a start to improving the Camp Anokijig staff experience.

Here are a few things we’re considering:
  • ·       Erecting a seasonal staff lounge area to provide space for relaxation, socialization away from campers, Wi-Fi, and space for charging of electronics.
  • ·      Subsidizing and/or covering the cost of laundry for staff members
  •      Investing in a group off-site experience to give our large seasonal staff an opportunity to connect, grow friendships, and have a shared experience outside of the staff-training and the orientation period

After some feedback from our summer staff at the end of 2016, we closely examined our staff experience. We observed many staff members purchasing simple items out of their own pockets to make their jobs easier. Therefore, in 2017, much to their surprise and
appreciation, we provided our staff members with Anokijig storage clipboards to help keep them organized and Anokijig lanterns to assist them in the living sections. Investing in our staff members and showing them that we support them and care about their basic needs (even as simple as a clipboard and lantern) helps create a better working environment, open lines of communication, and overall better attitude. When staff members feel heard and valued as an important part of the Camp community, they are better able to take care of the campers and provide quality programs and experiences. And really, that’s why we’re all here. Camp is for the campers.

Please join us this #GivingTuesday, November 28th, 2017, to help us give back to the ones who give so much of themselves. Let’s invest in our staff so that they can be the best they can be. Give back to the Staff!

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

To the Anokijig Family,
Passing on the flame of Leadership
 Today, it is with mixed emotions we are announcing that after more than 31 years as Executive Director of Camp Anokijig, Jim Scherer is stepping down from that position and passing the torch of leadership to Darin Holden, who has been appointed to the position of Executive Director.

Jim has a rich history with Anokijig that spans more than 60 years, from Camper to Staff Member to Executive Director.  His experience and knowledge of “everything Anokijig” is second to none.  In the years as Executive Director under the YMCA, he maintained the viability and the exemplary standards of Anokijig in the camping community.  When Anokijig went its own way in 2006, he took it from uncertainty to recognition as one of the premier camps in the Midwest.

Darin has been working alongside Jim for many years and we are confident he will do an excellent job as Executive Director.  His experience and dedication to Anokijig has been a valuable asset and we look forward to a long and successful association with him in this new role.  Jim will be staying on for a while in a supporting role to help make a seamless transition and to support the mission of Anokijig in any way he can.

As you know, Jim has never been short on words when it comes to matters of Anokijig.  Because of your long and continued support we thought you might appreciate an advance look at Jim’s message regarding this change that will appear in the upcoming edition of the Anokijig Arrowhead, our alumni newsletter:

Some of you may not know this but I have seen the seasons change at Anokijig as Executive Director since 1985.  I am so grateful to have had this wonderful experience and I can’t imagine anything that could have been better.  It has not always been easy but the rewards that come when serving children outweigh everything else.  Besides, without Anokijig I would not have met my wife and experienced the magnificent joy of being a father to three wonderful girls.  I have truly been blessed.  The time has come for me to step down and hand the reins over to Darin Holden.  I find that so easy to do because we have been together for many years and I know how capable he is.  I have great respect for Darin because he is honest, reliable, and has a moral compass that represents the values of the Anokijig Mission.  I know that Darin will carry on all the positive traditions that we have worked so hard to develop.  He is very talented and understands the value of an Anokijig Experience.  I can’t wait to see what new wonders he will add to the programs and to the magic of this place.  I am fortunate to be able to celebrate with him and hand off this leadership role to someone so deserving.  I’ll be around for a while working to support him and to help in any way that I can to ensure the future of Anokijig.  Thank you everyone for your friendship, support and the many wonderful memories.  As always, sit back, imagine the campfire, and catch the spirit.  Jim Scherer

2016 has been our most successful year ever and we are very excited about this new chapter in the Anokijig story.  Please join us in honoring Jim for all that he has accomplished at Camp Anokijig and in supporting our new leadership into the future.


Peter Anderson, President

Friends of Camp Anokijig, Inc.

Friday, February 12, 2016

What Summer Camp Taught Me by Gillian Hines

Here at Camp we often struggle to find the best way to explain why Anokijig is so important to those involved. We think former camper and Jr. Staff member Gillian Hines hit the nail on the head with her article recently published at

What Summer Camp Taught Me by Gillian Hines

I went to summer camp for eight years: five as a camper, and three as a counselor. And those weeks I spent at camp over the summer - they were the best times of my life. Not only were they filled with outrageous fun, but they taught me incredibly important life lessons that shaped me as a person. Without my experiences at camp, both as a camper and as a counselor, I wouldn't be who I am today. The people I met and the lessons I learned will stick with me for life, and I am so incredibly thankful. 
Summer camp was the first time I had any sort of freedom or independence as a kid. It was a week away from home, away from my parents. Of course there were camp counselors, a schedule, and in general, people keeping track of me, but really it was my first time making choices completely for myself. I no longer needed to check with my mom before doing something, I just did it.
My summer camp isn't as structured as some camps are. We have long free periods every day - three hours in the afternoon where every "skill area" (read: activity) is open and campers can do what they want. Of course there were still rules and counselors, but campers aren't being told where to go when. They get to choose for themselves.
As a child I definitely noticed and appreciated this new-found freedom, and lessons I learned from it stuck with me. At my camp, we had a song called "On The Loose," and it's a popular campfire song, I bet you've heard it. This song is about being able to choose your own path in life, or at camp. To this day "On The Loose" means a lot to me. As a camper it stuck with me, made me realize that I no longer needed to ask for permission and made me feel grown up. Now, it makes me realize that I am my own person, and I have the freedom to decide who I become. I shape myself, and nobody else can do that for me. Camp taught me that I get to decide who I am, what I do and where I go in life. I don't have to have a plan or follow a set of guidelines. I can just be who I am. As the song goes, "There's a trail that I'll be hiking, just to see where it might go. Many places yet to visit, many people yet to know." Every day, I'm hiking the trail of life and finding out where it takes me. If there's a fork in the path, I choose where I go, nobody else.
With this freedom, of course, comes responsibility. I had to learn to make the most of my time, and not waste it. I started learning this at camp, but admittedly I'm still learning it today - I spend way too much time on Netflix or Tumblr or even just sleeping when I could be being productive or at least enjoying myself with friends.
One of the other things we talked about at camp was "Camper Number Three." There are three types of campers: Camper One gets super involved in one thing, Camper Two tries a little bit of everything. (I'm a Camper Number Two. I always wanted to do everything in camp, and I still do in college. Really, you should see my schedule.) Camper Number Three, on the other hand, wastes their time. They sit around and talk to people, pretty much do nothing, and don't enjoy camp at all - until they realize free period is over. Some people live their lives this way, and camp taught me not to be one of them. I learned from the story of Camper Number Three to live life to the fullest. It doesn't matter if you're a Camper Number One or a Camper Number Two, as long as you're doing something you love, and not waiting around. Our time on earth is limited, and we have to be able to enjoy it.
Being a counselor, of course, taught me a lot of things as well. It made me a part of something, gave me a family and provided a support system that I'll have for the rest of my life. It became a home away from home. It taught me about leadership, responsibility, selflessness and self-improvement, putting my campers first, setting a good example, and also how to row a boat. (It's surprisingly hard. Rowboats are complicated.) But these things pale in comparison to those first lessons I learned as a camper - I need to live my life to the fullest, and do what works for me instead of waiting around and wasting my time doing what other people want me to do. Summer camp taught me to always have outrageous fun, because camp was over way too fast, and life will be too.

Special shout-out to the full-time staff at my summer camp and to all the counselors I had along the way, as a camper and as a staff member. You guys all shaped me as a person and made me who I am today, and I will forever be thankful.

Gillian Hines
Lawrence University '19
Kappa Alpha Theta

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Achieving Success In and Out of Camp

Meet Gina Scala.

She’s been coming to Camp Anokijig for 9 years; as a camper, Junior Staff member, and will return for her 2nd summer as a Senior Staff Wrangler for 2014. Gina loves camp but she also loves riding horses and playing the baritone saxophone in her college jazz band.

Gina was recently honored as this week’s Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Week for her outstanding talents as goalie for the Kalamazoo College Women's Varsity Lacrosse Team. This is her first season of varsity competition and her first time being honored as Player of the Week, but Gina has been playing lacrosse for the past 7 years. She says that her positive experiences at Camp Anokijig have served her well as she continues her personal growth outside of Camp. She says,

            “Camp has influenced me to constantly strive to be at my best. I’m always working to improve as an athlete, a teammate, and as a person. The values and skills that I have picked up at Camp Anokijig have had a huge impact on how I play lacrosse; respect, accountability, adaptability, teamwork, confidence, positive leadership, and communication are absolutely key qualities on the field.”

It’s so wonderful to see members of our Anokijig family doing positive things outside of Camp. Congratulations, Gina!

If you know of an Anokijig family member who's accomplished great things, please let us know. We'd love to highlight the achievements and accomplishments of our former and current campers and staff members. Send us an email:

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Winter Hibernation Here!!

In the dead of winter, schools may close, but at Camp, things are just heating up! Have you ever wondered what happens at Camp outside of Summer Camp? Well, you’re probably familiar with the outdoor ed. school groups, weekend rentals, and family camps, but how about in the dead of winter?  Just like the magical rest hour from 1:30pm – 2:30pm every day of the summer, Camp uses the months of November, December, and early January to rest, repair, and renew.

Come mid-January, the gears are already turning as we look ahead to Summer Camp 2014. By this time, all reservations for the specialty camps, day trips and adventure trips  have been made, the brochures are printed, and Carol and Gale are busy processing summer camp registrations.
Jim is busy preparing a new budget and working with Mary to secure grants and other fundraising projects. Scott Stewart and Preston keep the roads clear of snow, maintain the buildings, keep the horses fed, and repair things for the upcoming season. Heidi and Jim selected the new Trading Post offerings, with a great outpouring of your suggestions. Thank you!

This January, the Program Team (Jim, Darin, Scott M., Claude, and Heidi) has taken on a new, but necessary challenge to review and revamp both our Senior and Junior Staff Training Programs. (WARNING: intentional teaser. You’ll just have to attend to get all the details!). Each off-season, we also take a close look at our current programs and research and tweak them to make them the best they can be. We’ve also been implementing a new social media campaign (you may have noticed more frequent and interactive posts on Facebook) to go along with our other camp marketing activities. Click here to start following us on Facebook.

On top of all that, Anokijig has been entertaining and hosting several weekend groups. These groups of adults and children typically come in on Friday night and stay until Sunday morning. They spend the weekend tubing down the tube hill, playing broomball and curling on the rinks, ice fishing and ice skating, snowshoeing on the trails through camp, and even taking a horse-drawn sleigh-ride, all to be warmed up with a delicious spaghetti supper and multiple cups of hot cocoa from Linda and her kitchen staff. 

As we look ahead to February and March, we’ve got hiring, employment, and recruitment on the brain. The Program Team is hitting the road, visiting many of the colleges and universities looking for talented and energetic individuals to be part of the 2014 Senior Staff. Claude is also pouring through the junior staff applications, selecting the best candidates and scheduling their weeks. (If you submitted a junior staff application, results are expected in late February). Scott Mabie is putting on the miles delivering camp brochures to many of the school districts throughout Southeast Wisconsin and Illinois. And lastly, the program team spends just about every weekend in February and March at multiple Family Fairs and Kids Expos throughout the Midwest, recruiting this year’s summer campers. Phew! 

We haven’t even begun to talk about putting Camp back together and work weekends. (They start March 22nd, by the way! Click here for more information.) And, you may have heard about a Casino Night Fundraiser with the Racine Rotary Club on February 22nd, which benefits Camp Anokijig.  We’ll be there (and you can, too) helping deal blackjack and assisting during the event. Click here for more information.

So, while the actual hours in the office become a bit shorter during the off-season, by no means do things come to a screeching halt. In fact, we’re always looking ahead. We look forward to thawing temperatures and reconnecting with our Camp family as the calendar rolls forward and spring programs start up again. Until we see you again, stay warm                                                and keep sharing the Anokijig spirit! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another chance to Make Miracles Happen!

Again in 2013, Camp Anokijig is in the running to be one of the benefiting charities of Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s signature community program – Miracle on Canal Street!

Miracle on Canal Street began in 1994 as a way to carry on the Potawatomi tradition of nurturing younger generations so they grow to lead healthy, productive lives - a mission similar to Anokijig’s!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Miracle program that has raised more than $12.5 million for hundreds of area children's charities in southeastern Wisconsin.  

Half of each $3 Miracle Bingo game purchased goes to the Miracle fund, which totaled nearly $1 million last year! Give the gift of a promising future by playing the Miracle Bingo game now through December 12.  Visit to learn more!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Partnerships - a big part of Anokijig Success Stories

A many of you know, Anokijig is Alive-n-Kickin’ due to the efforts of literally hundreds of individuals and organizations. Our circle of friends continues to grow and they are all instrumental to our continued success. The generous partnership of many individuals, companies, foundations, and civic groups enables us to fulfill the mission entrusted to us.

Recently we were pleasantly surprised and very thankful to be acknowledged by one of our partners, the Alliant Energy Foundation, as one of their success stories!
The Alliant Energy Foundation contributes to projects and initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. Grants are awarded to programs that address community needs in five primary areas, including the environment. Camp Anokijig received a grant in support of our Outdoor Education Program, which offers the opportunity for students to gain a better awareness and foster stewardship for our natural environment while learning lifelong skills and attitudes through hands-on experiences. See the full story here:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Anokijig Insider: Anokijig Announces a New Benefit Comedy Show !

The Anokijig Insider: Anokijig Announces a New Benefit Comedy Show !

The Anokijig Insider: Anokijig Announces a New Benefit Comedy Show !

The Anokijig Insider: Anokijig Announces a New Benefit Comedy Show !

Anokijig Announces a New Benefit Comedy Show !

Get your tickets NOW
Comic, Singer, Songwriter


Saturday November 26th, 2011
Plymouth High School Auditorium

Proceeds to benefit the
Anokijig Campership fund.
(funds from last years' event helped send 266 campers to camp in 2011)

Pat is a multi-talented musician, singer, songwriter & comedian renowned for unique performances of his original songs, including

“We Love The Green and Gold”!

Complete your Holiday festivities with family and friends by reveling in this hysterical show!
Help Benefit A Great Cause!
This will be Pat's only Sheboygan County appearance this holiday season.

Don't miss your chance to see a great show.

Tickets available NOW!

Stay tuned to, Anokijig on Facebook, and The Anokijig Insider Blog for all of your Anokijig News.

Click "Anokijig Pat McCurdy Show" for all of the show details.

Enjoy a Pat's Video of "We Love the Green and Gold" by clicking HERE.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How Can I Help?

Summer camping season may be over at Anokijig, but that doesn't mean Camp still doesn't need your help.  The question is often asked of us- "How can I help?" and there are many ways.  Donations are always accepted and can always be designated for a specific purpose, like funding camperships or helping out the ranch program.

Volunteers are always needed year-round for groups and weekends at Anokijig, as well as special events that take place outside Anokijig, like the Rotary Founders' Club Casino Nite.  Did you know Anokijig now has their own page for volunteers on Facebook?   be sure to check it out and if you can lend a hand on a weekend or during a special event, we'd appreciate the help.

Another way to help is by saying "thank you" to those who have helped us.  Thanking someone for their generosity and support of Anokijig can be as simple as stopping by their Facebook page, liking it and leaving a note on their wall that lets them know how much you appreciate what they've done for Anokijig.  The left side of Anokijig's main Facebook page features businesses and organizations that have helped Anokijig in some very significant ways.  Liking them on Facebook & thanking them on their wall let's them know that their generosity impacts real people in a positive way.

This fall, we will be starting up our "Thank you Thursday" campaign again on our Facebook page and asking our supporters to thank those who have helped Anokijig.  It may sound simple and it only costs a minute of your time, but it is meaningful and it does make a difference.  While we're at it, we want to thank you for your support of Anokijig! See, that felt good, didn't it?