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.