Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tube-A-Thon is Coming!

It's that time of year again, for winter fun at Camp Anokijig! The snow has been falling and the tube hill is primed and ready for an invasion.

Camp Anokijig's annual Tube-A-Thon event is scheduled to be held on the weekend of January 9-11, 2009. Tube-A-Thon is a very important event for Anokijig, because it raises money for camperships for children whose families are unable to afford to send them to Anokijig.

We receive many requests for camperships each year and given the state of the economy, we expect 2009 will be a record year for requests. Please visit this site- to find out how you can help us provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for deserving children to come to Anokijig.

The first Tube-A-Thon was held more than 20 years ago and we've come a long way since then. The efforts in our first few years raised several thousand dollars and helped a handful of kids come to camp. Last year, more than 200 kids came to Anokijig on Camperships and our goal for Tube-A-Thon 2009 is $40,000.

Those of you who participated in our early Tube-A-Thons may remember sliding down Vesper Hill, into the parking lot. Our venue has changed significantly since then as well. We now have a dedicated tubing hill, nestled in the woods behind the archery range, complete with lighting, hay bale barricades and switchback trails coming up the hill.

We hope you can join us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get Ready for 2009!

Happy Holidays from Camp Anokijig!

It’s December 2nd, and 8 inches of snow have arrived at Anokijig……….. What better time to think SUMMER 2009!

See all of the news, new schedules, and programs at

Online Registration for 2009 is now open at

A new camper fundraising option is available for all campers or Anokijig Supporters. Beat the economic downturn with Online Magazine and Gift sales with the profits going to camper accounts or the campership fund. The Store is open and active NOW.
See the fundraising details for: Campers at:
Camper Family and Friends at:
Camp Supporters in general at:
SHOP WITH A PURPOSE this holiday season at the online fundraising store.

Candy Sales will begin January, 20th 2009 and run through May 2009. Call the camp office at 1-800-741-6931 for all the details.

Check out the Holiday specials and sales at the Anokijig Trading post at:

For those of you in South Eastern Wisconsin or Northern Illinois we invite you to a great new Anokijig Benefit at the Racine Founders Rotary Casino Night. See all of the details at: .

The alumni newsletter is headed out in the mail with news and 2009 registration information, but you can see a copy now at Email us at if you would like to get just a link by email instead of the printed copy.

The Annual Staff and Alumni Tube-a-thon date is set for January 9-11, 2009. If you are 14 or older and would like to help send some kids to camp for 2009 check out the details of this annual Fun-draising weekend at Anokijig. It’s an incredibly fun weekend of events plus tons of prizes. Start raising funds now to send a kid to camp. See the details at:

Recruiting for 2009 Anokijig Senior and Junior Staff has now begun. If you know of a great person who would be an excellent staff member have them visit for all of the details and applications.

We look forward to seeing you all at Anokijig sometime in 2009!

Take Care,

Darin Holden
Program Director

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank You For A Fantastic 2008!!!

As 2008 winds down, we look back on the fantastic year we've had at Anokijig. Thousands of children and families re-connected with each other and with nature, all while having the time of their lives. It was a challenging year in many aspects for us. We're still working hard every day to eliminate the debt incurred to save Anokijig and we're happy to report we're on schedule to have our principal balanced reduced to approximately $4.1 million as of January 1st, which is down significantly from the original purchase price of $5.5 million just three years ago.

We were unsure how our summer attendance would turn out. We had hundreds of children on our waiting list in 2007 and decided it was appropriate to expand our capacity for 2008. As time went on, we grew concerned that the economy would not allow as many families the opportunity to send their children to Anokijig in 2008. Fortunately, families found a way to make it work and we again experienced record attendance in 2008.

Unfortunately, the economic outlook for 2009 still doesn't look good. Anokijig is still one of the most affordable traditional youth summer camps in the country and with the wide variety of program areas and specialty camping options available, Anokijig has few contemporaries that can offer anywhere near the same amount of activities for a comparable price. We're hoping families continue to appreciate the importance of an experience at Anokijig in the lives of their children.

We're so thankful for all of our wonderful supporters and hope they will continue to help us provide these amazing opportunities for children and families. Many of you have made multi-year pledges and we sincerely thank you for your support and confidence in our mission. We hope we have proven our value and that you will consider renewing your pledges to Anokijig. This is especially important, given the fact that some of our supporters who have made pledge commitments simply cannot fulfill them at this time, due to the economic climate.

The kids that need an Anokijig experience don't know how much the Dow Jones has fallen or what the tax implications of a new administration could mean for them. They just know that Anokijig is a very special place, that they'd miss very much, if they weren't able to come next year.

In the coming weeks, many of you will receive a request for support from Anokijig. We hope you will support our ongoing efforts to serve children and families and thank you very much for your past support and consideration. If you've moved or are not on our mailing list, please visit this link for more information on how you can help Camp Anokijig-

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Newest Addition to the Anokijig Fleet!

Camp Anokijig is the proud owner of a new (to us) 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck. This truck came to us by way of several very generous donors and a very gracious man from Texas. Some of you may remember that Anokijig just added another new (to us) pickup truck to our fleet a few months back and wonder why we need this one?

The answer is simple- Anokijig is an enormous place with a lot of work to be done every day, just to keep things running smoothly. In addition to the 80 seasonal employees who work at Anokijig and the volunteers, who contribute more than 52,000 hours of their time each year, Anokijig also employees nine full-time staff members.

Two of these employees use trucks extensively in their jobs. One is Preston Shoup, who makes sure our buildings and grounds are kept clean and orderly. The other is Scott Stewart, who is our Facilities Director. Between hauling refuse, spare parts, feed, lumber, towing horses and plowing snow, both of these men use trucks extensively. While they make every effort to use our smaller, more fuel-efficient Kubota RTV when possible, many of their tasks require more muscle or space than the Kubota offers.

So why did we get a 1994 Chevrolet pickup? Because Anokijig is committed to green initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint. That sentence may not make sense to a Prius owner, who looks at this truck as a gas-swilling road hog, but looks can be deceiving. Upon closer inspection, one will notice that this truck has a propane tank in the bed, which allows it to operate on a much cleaner-burning fuel source.
Acquiring this truck wouldn't have been possible, without the generous support of several donors, including Twin Disc, Blain's Farm & Fleet, ZBB Energy Corporation and Web-Pro L.P. Gas. We thank them and all of our other wonderful sponsors and donors for the generous support of Camp Anokijig!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Helping Anokijig the Ebay Way

There are many ways to help Anokijig, through the donation of time, talent or treasure. One unique way our supporters can help us is by using the Missionfish program available at Ebay. This program allows Ebay sellers to donate anywhere from 10-100% of their final auction price to Camp Anokijig, with a minimum of $5 per item. If a seller donates 100% of their final sale price, Ebay won't charge them any fees for listing the item! You can learn more about this program at their web site-
Missionfish understands that not all of the people who use Ebay sell items, so they make it easy for buyers to help their favorite causes as well. All items currently listed to benefit Camp Anokijig can be found here-

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank You Case IH!!!

Camp Anokijig is proud to announce the arrival of a brand-new RBX563, as well as a brand-new DCX131, courtesy of the very generous folks at Case IH.

These beautiful, big, red machines will be put to good use at Anokijig, but what exactly is that use? This equipment attaches to Anokijig's Case tractor, with one being use to cut hay and the other being used to bale it into those huge, round bales that you probably see lined up along the fence lines of farms.

Anokijig uses hay to feed our herd of horses, which now numbers between 50 and 60 strong. The Broken Circle A Ranch has been Anokijig's signature program area for many years and a deciding factor for many of the campers and groups who choose to come to experience the great outdoors at Anokijig. Each year, we farm about 80 acres of land and bale more than 7,750 bales of hay, with the help of countless volunteers, who toil under less than ideal conditions to keep our horses fed.

This is thankless, time-consuming work, which had been done with aging, unreliable equipment. Thanks to Case IH, it has just gotten a whole lot easier. We can't thank Case IH enough, but we also owe a debt of gratitude to the Racine Founders Rotary Club, who helped connect us to the key people at Case IH, making this donation a reality.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Need Indeed

Behind that cloud of smoke is Camp Anokijig's pontoon boat. While it has served us well over the years, it has seen hard use during it's stay with us and it is definitely showing it's age. Our Waterfront Director, Don Hill, has made pontoon boat maintenance an annual event, spending the winter months welding the old lady back together and re-carpeting the deck.

Don has done an outstanding job of keeping her afloat, but even he has his limitations and overhauling the pontoon boat's dying outboard engine falls behind his skill set. While we would love to have a new(er) pontoon boat, we really need a new(er) engine for the one we have now. As you can see from this picture, our outboard is clearly not as eco-friendly as the beautiful electric launch donated by Ernie and Bernie Styberg.

While we do have other boats we can call on in case of emergencies on the water, it's always nice to know that boats can be relied upon to start when needed. Another boat was generously donated to Anokijig several years ago, which we also use on a regular basis for our fishing program. Much like our pontoon boat, this fine craft has served us well, but is also now showing it's age.

It has gotten to the point now, that starting the boat requires a series of specific actions, well beyond the typical priming of the tank and setting the choke on the start. As our Program Director, Darin Holden, illustrates below, even though this boat once had an electric starter, that has not worked properly for quite some time and this motor must now be started by removing the engine cover and manually winding a rope and pull-starting the engine.

While we would love to have these boats in tip-top shape, we simply don't have the resources in our budget to make that a reality. We would love to have brand-new engines for these boats, but we'd certainly be appreciative of newer engines, that are easier to start, pollute less and use less fuel.

Even if that's not possible, we'd love to have someone who is familiar with outboard engine maintenance and repair, who is willing to donate their talent and time to freshen these engines up as much as possible.

Do you have a boat or a boat engine that you just don't seem to be using much anymore? Are you tired of paying for extra insurance, winterization and winter storage on a boat that only gets used once or twice a year? Perhaps you might consider donating it to Camp Anokijig. Since Camp Anokijig is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity, all in-kind donations to Camp Anokijig are tax-deductible at their fair market value. Just remember the old saying, "The two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day they get their boat and the day they get rid of it."

I couldn't think of a happier ending for a boat owner, than to know their boat will be enjoyed by thousands of children and families. Call Anokijig today at 920-893-0782, if you'd like to add a boat or engine to the Anokijig Armada.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anonymously Assisting

Horses are expensive! Just ask anyone who boards a horse and they'll tell you the same thing. In Wisconsin, boarding a horse year-round typically costs about $300 a month.

That expense puts horse ownership out of reach for many folks, which is one of the reasons Anokijig's Ranch program is so popular. The Broken Circle A Ranch provides thousands of children with the opportunity to learn about these beautiful animals and interact with them each year.

Anokijig's herd fluctuates between 50 and 60 horses at any given time and while it probably doesn't cost us $300 a month to maintain each of them, they are still very expensive. In fact, our board often wonders if the nominal fees we do charge campers actually comes close to covering the costs associated with running the program. We always arrive at the same conclusion- even though the fees may never cover the expenses, we know our Ranch program attracts countless summer campers, schools, weekend campers and many others, who might not otherwise choose Anokijig.

One of our wonderful donors recognized the importance of our Ranch program and wanted to help offset some of those expenses for us this year, but didn't want to be publicly recognized for their generosity. This happens sometimes and we respect the desire people have to maintain their privacy and will often refer to those donors as "anonymous," if needed.
In this instance, the donor asked that their donation recognize another group instead, the Forest County Potawatomi, and we were happy to oblige. It's a win-win scenario for everyone involved and we're so grateful for their support. As Jim Scherer and so many others have said- "There's something about the outside of a horse, that's great for the inside of a kid."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Anokijig Memories

Anokijig held it's annual Alumni reunion day last Sunday. As always, we had a wonderful turnout of former Anokijig campers and counselors, some of whom first set foot at Camp way back in the 1940s and 50s!

Besides seeing all the old friends and familiar faces, one of my favorite parts of the event is the huge display of old camp photos, yearbooks and other memorabilia. While our collection is large, there are quite a few holes in it and we could use some help in filling in the blanks.

We've done a pretty decent job of documenting Anokijig's recent history, but as we move back into the pre-1980s, things start to thin out for us considerably. If you have old photos of Anokijig, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, patches or other Camp items that you would be willing to donate to our archives, we would greatly appreciate it. Even if you have photos that you couldn't bare to part with, if you could loan them to us so we can scan them for our collection, that would be helpful as well.

Our mailing address is: Camp Anokijig, W5639 Anokijig Lane, Plymouth, WI 53073 and you can mark your letters "Attention Archives"

If you missed out on this event, don't worry. We hold this event on the same Fall Colors weekend every year. If you can't wait an entire year to come back to Anokijig, then don't. Someone is always at Camp and we always welcome back old friends and visitors.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thank You Faith Technologies!

Camp Anokijig finally has a new work truck! That may not seem remarkable to the casual reader, but this is very welcome news to those who are intimately familiar with Anokijig's inner-workings. A work truck isn't the most glamorous of donations, but at Anokijig, a good work truck is vital to our mission of serving children and families and the story of how this wonderful 2002 Ford F250 came to Anokijig has as many twists and turns as the road leading into Camp. We actually received the truck a few weeks back, but it was pressed into duty immediately and we weren't able to even snag a picture of it until this week.

Perhaps the most telling sign that Anokijig needed a new truck, was the fact that our facilties director, Scott Stewart had been using his personal vehicle for Camp business for quite some time now. Between taking care of our 50-60 horses, plowing roads, hauling around equipment and supplies and generally keeping this place running, camp vehicles tend to see very hard use and it bothered us very much that Scott was using his own truck for this hard work.

Some may ask what happened to the red 1992 GMC pickup Anokijig had for many years? It served us well, but eventually, the hundreds of thousands of miles of rough use caught up with 'Ol Red and we had to put it out to pasture near the end of 2006.

Although we had other trucks to use, they weren't really an improvement, in fact, we sometimes wondered if the mid-1970s Ford F100 we were using actually leaked more gasoline than it burned. By June of this year, another camp work truck with several hundred thousand miles on the odometer was finally retired. It's currently resting by our supply shed, if you'd like to stop by and visit it.

The truck we've been using most recently is this green F250 donated by our good friend, Norman Voigt, whom we all miss dearly. Norm's truck filled a role, when we desperately needed it, although it's never seen a gas pump it didn't like. Like it's two predecessors, Norm's old truck now sounds like it's running on five or six cylinders and with several hundred thousand miles on the clock, we're just hoping it hangs on for another month or so, until we can replace it with another donated truck.

As we turn our attention back to our new F250, the name Phil Binks needs to be mentioned. Phil is one of those very special Anokijig alumni, who even after several decades, have kept in touch with Anokijig and helped us a great deal over the years. Phil's name is mentioned, because it was Phil's son, Dan Binks, who was able to connect us with Rollie Stephenson and the wonderful folks at Faith Technologies, Inc., who spearheaded this effort to update our aging fleet.

After Phil told Dan how much we needed a new truck, Dan took it upon himself to find someone who might be able to help Anokijig with a newer work truck. When Rollie and the folks at Faith Technologies heard about our need, they responded in tremendous fashion and quite honestly, overwhelmed us with their generosity. We should also mention that the great folks at Bergstrom Automotive, Auto Trim Design and Zero to 60 Garage also made this truck a reality for us and we are grateful for their support as well. With our Alumni Renunion taking place this Sunday, we hope many of you can join us and see the newest addition to Anokijig in person!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Disc Golf is Coming!

Disc Golf is coming to Anokijig in 2009! Great news, right? But your next question might be, what exactly is disc golf? Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and is popular amongst adults and children alike.

Disc Golf is similar to traditional golf in some ways, but there are obviously significant differences, the most obvious being the equipment. Discs, which look similar to frisbees are used, instead of golf balls and the metal apparatus in this picture is called the "disc pole hole."

The discs themselves are generally smaller than frisbees and although there are many to choose from, advanced players divide their discs into three different groups- putters, mid-range discs and drivers. Casual players can easily enjoy disc golf with one disc, while professionals (yes, there are professional disc golfers) will carry a dozen or more discs with them during a typical round. Just as with regular golf, disc golf courses have different tee boxes, which allow players of different ages and skill levels to all enjoy the disc golfing experience on the same course.

Disc golf is an excellent fit for Anokijig, because unlike traditional golf, it doesn't require a well-manicured course. In fact, many disc golf courses are situated in areas very similar to Anokijig, where rolling hills, trees and a variety of other natural obstacles are all incorporated into the disc golfing experience.

Although you may not have heard of disc golf before, it is growing quickly in popularity, with hundreds of courses now scattered around the upper midwest, as well as local, regional and national clubs and tournaments.

We think disc golf will be an exciting addition to Camp Anokijig's program offerings and we are looking forward to seeing it in action in 2009. We are extremely grateful to Camp Anokijig Board Member, Chris Regis, who has spearheaded this project and provided the initial funding for it.

If you'd like to be a part of our disc golf program, hole sponsorships will be available and if it is as successful as we anticipate it will be, future plans call for additional holes to be added.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fallapallooza- Another Success!

Camp Anokijig would like to thank everyone who made Fallapalooza another wonderful success- our staff, many volunteers, fantastic sponsors (see the links on the right side of this page) and of course, all of those families who were able to attend.

Fallapalooza was a fantastic opportunity for many of the families who were able to attend from the Plymouth/Sheboygan areas and beyond. It never ceases to amaze me, how many folks who live in the area around Anokijig, have never been there before.

Even though we're now into October, Anokijig is still running at full steam ahead. Our Fall Colors weekend is coming up on October 10-12th. It's a very special time at Anokijig, as the leaves are at their peak colors and the crisp fall air is broken by the crackling sounds of a warm campfire. It's also the weekend we invite all of our alumni back to visit Anokijig.

If it's been a while since you've been to Anokijig, we'd love for you to come back for a visit. Our Alumni Day starts at 11AM on October 12th. We'll have a lunch and Camp Review (which is kind of like a shareholder's meeting) at 12:30 and activities and tours running until 3PM. We hope you can join us!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fallapalooza! This Weekend!

First of all, Camp Anokijig would like to thank everyone who attended and volunteered at our Laughter in the Woods event last weekend. Because of your commitment and support, we were able to raise $14,000 for our campership fund, which helps provide opportunities for underprivileged and deserving children to Camp Anokijig.
This past summer, we distributed more than $120,000 worth of camperships. In fact, Camp Anokijig has never denied a child the opportunity to come to Camp, because they could not afford to do so. We simply could not do this without your support and on behalf of all of the children who receive camperships each year, we thank you very much.
If you were unable to attend this event, but would like to help provide a wonderful camping opportunity for a deserving child, you can always make a donation online- Please be sure to specify "campership" in the alternate e-mail address column, so we can make sure your donation goes exactly where you intended.
This weekend, Camp Anokijig is swinging open it's doors for our annual Fallapalooza open house. All of Anokijig's program areas will be open on Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30AM to 3PM, including the waterfront area, horse rides for kids, arts and crafts, archery and much more. In addition, Anokijig's kitchen will be serving an all-you-can eat bunch-a-brunch on both days.
We'll also have special events, including an arrowhead dig, carnival games and an archery contest. There will even be an opportunity to win a week at Anokijig in 2009. Admission is just $8 for adults and $5 for kids. Anyone under three years old is admitted free of charge!
If you haven't been to Anokijig in a while, this is the perfect opportunity for you to pay us a visit. We hope to see you soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Sneak Peak at Laughter in the Woods

Camp Anokijig's Laughter in the Woods charity dinner and silent auction is just around the corner (Saturday night at Western Lodge). I wanted to give you, the Anokijig Faithful, a sneak-preview of some of the incredible items we'll have available at this event, which will benefit our campership fund for underpriviledged kids.

Many of you know Gordon Clapp for his Emmy-winning role as Det. Greg Medavoy on the hit TV show, NYPD Blue, but Gordon is also an accomplished stage actor, who was nominated for a Tony, for his role as Dave Moss in the 2005 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. Last year's autographed NYPD Blue script was such a popular item at our auction, we asked Gordon if he had any more he could send us. Gordon not only sent us another script autographed by the entire cast, he sent us an autographed cast photo as well! Thanks Gordon!

We also have autographed Milwaukee Brewer merchandise, including Greg Jennings, J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Bill Hall.

For the outdoorsmen, we have several fishing baskets, a Minn Kota trolling motor, co-pilot wireless depth finder, fish finder and many other great items.
Golfers will be interested in a round of golf for two with a cart at The Bull, four rounds of golf with a cart at Quit Qui Oc, private lessons with the head golf pro at Whistling Straits or a framed and matted photo of Tiger Woods (we still can't get our hands on any more Chris Regis-autographed photos).

This auction isn't just for men who fish, play golf or watch sports. We also have a Tastefully Simple gift basket, a gift certificate to the Otter Creek Wreath Factory and McGinley & Baker of Elkhart Lake have donated an arrangement of flowers per month for an entire year!

We also have a Starbucks gift basket, a wide assortment of gift certificates to area restaurants, unique Anokijig items and several autographed items from Donald Driver, Jerry Kramer and Brett Favre, including a autographed and framed Favre jersey (we couldn't start off with Brett, now that he plays for the Jets).

This event wouldn't be the success that it is without all of our wonderful donors, guests and sponsors and we thank you all for your support of Camp Anokijig. There are just a few spots left for this wonderful event and we hope you can join us. Please call 920-893-0782 to make your reservation today!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Laughter in the Woods

"Laughter in the Woods" isn't just something that seems to happen whenever kids come to Anokijig, it's the name of our annual fall gala at Western Lodge, to benefit our campership fund. Since 1926, Anokijig has prided itself on never denying a child an opportunity to come to Anokijig, simply because they could not afford to do so.

Anokijig distributed more than $120,000 worth of camperships to deserving children in 2008. Many of these camperships were funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, but the total amount of funding for camperships never covers the amount of camperships we distribute. There is never a shortage of children in need of a positive experience at Camp Anokijig and we love to provide that for them.

Our Laughter in the Woods event is one way we can help these children, while having a great time enjoying the hilarious antics of the McMann & Tate Comedy Group. Western Lodge is transformed into an elegant (but slightly rustic) dinner theatre, with steak, seafood and libations for everyone to enjoy. We also have a silent auction, which includes fantastic golf packages at area courses, autographed Packer, Brewer and Hollywood memorabilia, gift certificates for many area restaurants and businesses and some very unique Anokijig items.

This event hits the core of Anokijig's mission, "To Serve." These camperships provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for many of the children who receive them. Children who have never gone fishing, sat around a campfire or ridden a horse. I hope you can join us at Anokijig on Saturday, September 20th, for this wonderful event. You can call the Camp office to make reservations at 920-893-0782.
If you are unable to attend our event, but would like to help our campership fund, we are always accepting donations and would gladly welcome your generous contribution. As with all donations at Anokijig, if you would like to direct your contribution specifically to benefit camperships, please note that with your contribution and you can rest assured at that 100% of your donation will go directly where you want it. Thank you so much for supporting Camp Anokijig and we hope to see you on the 20th!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time, Treasure & Talent

Camp Anokijig is the beneficiary of a great deal of assistance every year. This help comes primarily in three forms- time, treasure and talent. The Racine Founders Rotary Club is a great example of a group that helps in all three regards. This past summer, club members came out to Anokijig and assisted us with a variety of projects.

While everyone knows Anokijig's boathouse is the place to go for paddles, oars and lifejackets, the boathouse also serves a very important safety role for everyone in camp. When threatening weather approaches, an emergency siren located on the top of the boathouse tower sounds to alert all campers and staff that they should report immediately to Western lodge.
Some of the Racine Founders Rotary Club members happen to have a background in electrical contracting and were generous enough to re-wire our boathouse, ensuring Anokijig's emergency siren will sound properly, whenever needed. This was a fairly extensive project, which involved dozens of hours worth of labor over several weekends and we are extremely grateful.

More than a dozen members of the Racine Founders Rotary Club also came up for a work day earlier this year, in which they assisted our staff with the construction of a fenceline for a new horse pasture at camp. While both of these acts of service are great examples of how people can help Camp Anokijig, they also illustrate the difference between time and talent.

It takes a certain level of skill and knowledge to re-wire a building, which is certainly considered a "talent." On the other hand, putting up a fenceline is more a matter of having enough manpower to get the job done relatively quickly, which is a great example of "time."

The Racine Founders Rotary Club takes their commitment to community service seriously and they also gave of their "treasure." As was mentioned previously in this blog, Anokijig expanded it's capacity in the last year. Expanding the capacity at Camp isn't as simple as adding a few beds and and a few more tables and chairs in Western Lodge. We also need to expand our program offerings for campers, so all those extra kids have enough activities to choose from.

The Racine Founders Rotary Club made a three-year commitment to Anokijig, to fund a new program area, called Digital Photography. In this program, our campers learn the basics of photography, including how to identify interesting subjects and compose shots in a variety of settings. The great thing about digital cameras, is that the campers can view the results of their work right away and there is no ongoing expense of film for the cameras, because favorite images can be printed out and the memory cards can then be emptied for the next camper to use.

As one can imagine, the initial costs for this program were substantial, as we needed to purchase digital cameras, printers and photo paper for our campers to print their favorite shots. This new program was made possible by the Racine Founders Rotary Club and was also supported by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and we are extremely grateful for their support.
If you would be interested in donating time, talent or treasure, please contact us at 920-893-0782 or e-mail us at

Monday, September 1, 2008

Who Are These People, Isn't Camp Closed Now?

Summer camp ended at Anokijig a few weeks ago, yet there are still people having the time of their lives at Camp. How is that possible? Because Anokijig never closes. While it's true that our busiest time of the year is during our nine weeks of youth summer camp, Anokijig still plays host to countless other groups throughout the year.

This past weekend, Anokijig hosted the annual Labor Day Family Camping Weekend. This allows families an opportunity to come to Anokijig together and enjoy all the great activities Anokijig offers to our summer campers. If you're feeling like you've missed out on some great fun, know that you still have a chance to come back to Anokijig this year.
We still have one more weekend of family camping coming up, on the weekend of October 10-12th. It's a beautiful time of year to be at Anokijig, as the leaves are at their peak of color and we have special events, like pumpkin-carving contests and hay rides for the whole family to enjoy.
For more information on our family camping weekends, please visit the family camping area at
We hope to see you soon!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What is an RTV and Why Does Anokijig Have One?

Have you ever seen this orange vehicle running around Anokijig and wondered what it is or where it came from? This vehicle is a Kubota RTV900 and it came to us through the generosity of one of our board members, Ken Cavan and his wife, Melody.

We're not sure what the "RTV" stands for, but we think "Really Tremendous Vehicle" fits pretty well. The RTV is like an ATV, only larger and more versatile. It can comfortably carry two passengers, while hauling a load in it's bed and towing a trailer. It also has four-wheel drive, which makes a big difference around Camp's more rustic roads and is powered by a very efficient diesel engine.

For many years, Anokijig has relied on large, V8-powered pickup trucks to assist our staff and volunteers in various projects around Camp. While effective, these trucks were often overkill, because they were so big and used so much fuel, when sometimes all we needed was something just a little bit bigger than an ATV to get the job done. From hauling camper luggage and hay for the horses, to putting up fenceline (as pictured above), the RTV really gets the job done for us and does so at a fraction of the operating cost and environmental impact of the pickup trucks we'd have to use otherwise.

If Anokijig had unlimited resources, we would've purchased one of these vehicles a long time ago. Unfortunately, we have bigger budgetary fish to fry and have to rely on the generosity of our donors for some of these fantastic additions.

That's where Ken & Melody Cavan come into the picture. Even before becoming a board member for Anokijig, Ken had been a long-time supporter of Anokijig and made regular trips to Camp every year, with Meldoy accompanying him on many of those visits.

These visits gave them both more intimate knowledge of our daily operations and allowed them to identify areas where help was most needed. They knew that by purchasing this RTV for Anokijig, they would not only be adding a useful vehicle to our fleet, but significantly reducing our operating costs and carbon footprint for many years to come.

Ken & Melody have often commented that one of their favorite things about donating to Anokijig is that their gifts go exactly where they were intended. If they want to give Camp an RTV, boat engine or a saddle, they can do that and know that their donation isn't being siphoned off by phantom administrative expenses or redirected to a parent organization's bottom line. We're so thankful for their support and involvement with Camp. It wouldn't be the same place without them!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome To Turtle Island!

Anokijig has a new section for the 2008 camping season, Turtle Island. The section is nestled in the woods, tucked in just behind the Kingdom of Moo, right below Hickory Hillcrest. Expanding our capacity at Camp was not an easy decision, given the size of our mortgage, but our staff and board felt it was the right thing to do for many reasons.
Since becoming an independent camp in 2005, Anokijig has strived to maintain and enhance it's long history of camping excellence, while ensuring that it is accessible to as many children and families as possible. Over the years, Anokijig's enrollment has increased steadily and as many of you are aware, most of our weeks are now at capacity.
Last summer, our waiting list hit 200 campers. While it's great to be so popular, we were also disappointed, that we simply didn't have enough space for all the kids who wanted to visit. Our staff and board recognized this trend back in 2005, so we've been discussing and debating expansion for the past several years. We finally decided last fall to move ahead with a comprehensive expansion project.
Expanding our capacity at Anokijig isn't as simple as just adding a few beds and cooking a little more food. The expansion started with the addition of a new scoreboard (most people call them bathrooms). Sheboygan County and the American Camping Association both have standards & ratios we must maintain and before we could do anything else, we needed to make sure we had enough toilets, sinks and showers for all the new campers. In order to ensure the bathrooms would be ready for the summer of 2008, work began in the fall of 2007.
The Kohler Corporation generously donated many of the fixtures in this new bathroom and several contractors tried to discount their work as much as possible, which also helped defray our costs. We also had several individuals and organizations make important contributions to this project. Even with all of that assistance, the vast majority of the cost for this project remains unfunded, but we do anticipate that the increase in camping revenue will eventually cover the costs of the expansion.
Our original plan was to expand our sleeping capacity by building additional cabins, which might have been similar in style to our Thunderbird cabins. Cabins would provide us with more capacity for groups who visit Anokijig in the early-Spring and late-Fall, when sleeping in a tent becomes too uncomfortable, but those will have to wait for now. Until then, Turtle Island will serve as a relatively inexpensive way to add more capacity to Anokijig and increase our impact on children and families who will benefit from having spent time in such a wonderful, natural environment.
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing more aspects of our expansion project, so be sure to subscribe to this blog, so you can be alerted when new entries are made. Thanks for supporting Camp Anokijig!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Anokijig By The Numbers

"Anokijig is saved!" or at least that's what we hear all the time. On the surface, it would certainly seem that way. After all, the Racine YMCA sold it, a developer didn't buy it and Camp is still open. The reality is, while we're moving in the right direction, Anokijig still has a long way to go before it can really be considered "saved."

Rewinding the clock back to 2005, we can set the scene as the Racine YMCA agreed to sell Camp Anokijig to the "Friends of Camp Anokijig" for $5,500,000. Our group didn't actually have that money laying around, although a day doesn't go by that we don't wish we did. Camp's long history of operational profits and the initial pledge support of many of you gave Community Bank & Trust the confidence to loan us a substantial portion of the sale price, with the balance coming in the form of other loans that have not yet been fully satisfied.

After more than two years of operations as an independent, non-profit camp, we've made significant progress on repaying all of these loans and we've done it without launching a formal capital campaign. Of the original purchase price, approximately $700,000 of principal has been retired.

We obviously have a long way to go, but we do feel like we're headed in the right direction. Anokijig hosted record numbers of campers (more than 2,530 in the summer) again this year and all of our financial numbers are pointed solidly in the right direction. However, many of our initial pledges are close to being fulfilled. It is our hope that after three years of independent operations, our dedicated supporters will renew their commitment to helping save Camp Anokijig and help us secure it's future as quickly as possible.

We understand the hard economic times we all face and the additional strains that puts on everyone's pocketbook, but we hope you can find a way to help us continue our 82-year mission of serving children and families. If your pledge commitment is coming to an end, I urge you to consider renewing your commitment for another three years. If you haven't been able to help us yet, I hope you will consider doing so now.

We don't like to think of Anokijig as a traditional non-profit, that relies heavily upon donations, just to continue operations. Under Jim Scherer's leadership, Anokijig's operations were so strong in many years, that it actually sent profits back to help support the Racine YMCA's other programs and did so without actively soliciting donors for assistance. We would like to get back to the place where Anokijig once was, a place where instead of asking for help, Anokijig provided it.

Remember, when camps like Anokijig close, another one does not open up somewhere else to take it's place. Rather, we're simply left with one less camp for our children to learn from, explore and enjoy. If you would like more information on how you can help Camp Anokijig, you can call us at 920-893-0782 or write us at:

Camp Anokijig
W5639 Anokijig Lane
Plymouth, WI 53073

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Camaros for Camp

Camp Anokijig receives a wide variety of donations every year. Many of them are in-kind donations, which are not cash, but rather an item of value. Last year, we received the very generous donation of this 1979 Camaro.

Is Jim Scherer now making faster trips into Plymouth? Not quite. Our intention (with the donor's full approval) is to sell this car, with the proceeds going to benefit Anokijig. The donor is then able to write off the value of this car, while Camp is able to receive a very nice donation at the same time.

If you know someone who might be interested in purchasing this car, please direct them to this link-

Camp can always use another truck or Suburban (in good working order) or even another Camaro to help raise funds for Camp. If you would like to donate your car, truck or boat to camp, please contact us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thank You Ernie & Bernie!

Meet the newest addition to the Anokijig Armada- The Allegheny. This beautiful boat was donated by Ernie and Bernie Styberg of Racine, Wisconsin. The Allegheny is about 30 feet long and comfortably seats about a dozen campers. Although it looks like an antique wooden boat, it was actually built in the 1990s and is entirely powered by batteries!

This beautiful new boat allows us to significantly reduce the usage of our aging pontoon boat, which helps us reduce our carbon footprint. Because the boat is electric, we're also allowed to operate it on Little Elkhart on Sundays during the summertime, when powerboats are normally prohibited. We're not positive that we are the only camp in the country to have such a boat, but with new models costing well over $100,000, we're fairly confident that no other camp has such an amazing craft. It's so quiet, you can sneak up on the ducks and fish!

Many of the boats in Anokijig's fleet are donated and we are extremely fortunate to have such generous supporters. Anokijig always seems to be packed with campers and the waterfront is one of their favorite areas. As a result, our boats see a lot of use and we are always searching for replacements for some of our older boats. If you have an old canoe, rowboat, pontoon, sailboat, kayak, windsurfer or electric launch that we could use or would like to donate a new boat, please get in touch with us. Our phone number is 920-893-0782 and our mailing address is:

Camp Anokijig
W5639 Anokijig Lane
Plymouth, WI 53073
If it's been a while since you've visited Anokijig, please stop in soon. We'd love to see you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Welcome to the Anokijig Insider!

Welcome to the Anokijig Insider, a blog dedicated to Camp Anokijig. The goal for this blog is to keep our many friends and alumni as updated as possible to the happenings at Anokijig. This won't replace our Anokijig Arrowhead newsletter, but will give our readers more access and information on all things Anokijig.

While the initial author of this blog is Jim McIlvaine, it is our hope that several of our friends and alumni will contribute. If you would like to contribute, please drop me a line at

The 2008 summer camping season is off to a great start and we're expecting to host a record number of campers this year. We have had a few bumps along the way, but that seems to happen every year. The rains that have been so damaging to much of the upper midwest have inflicted their share of damage on Anokijig. A huge thunderstorm washed out a portion of the camp entrance road the night before the opening day of camp. After several hours of work on the backhoe and a truckload of fill, the road was again accessible.
Just last week, another major storm rolled through Anokijig. Once again, our staff did an excellent job of moving all of our campers to a safe location before the storm arrived. The storm did leave it's mark on Anokijig, downing dozens of trees and damaging several buildings. Amazingly, no tents were damaged significantly, but Voigt Lodge and the Southernmost Lakeview Cabin did receive significant damage.

While the damage to this Lakeview Cabin looks very severe, Voigt Lodge actually took a bigger brunt of the storm. Our crack crew of volunteers convered on Anokijig shortly after these pictures were taken and began the process of removing the downed trees, while builder Mike Miller assessed the damage to Lakeview. Fortunately, most of the damage to Lakeview involved the porch area and working through the weekend, we were able to resume using Lakeview for Week 6.

Voigt Lodge is a different story and there is no timetable for bringing it back into use again. While Lakeview looks worse, many of the trusses in the roof of Voigt were broken by this tree, which will likely result in the need to replace much, if not all of the roof. Our insurance company has been very good to work with on this issue and our staff did a fantastic job of finding accomodations for all of our displaced campers and staff.
If you haven't visited Anokijig lately, we encourage you to stop by and say hello. If you can't do that, please be sure to check back here often for updates.