"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:
W5639 Anokijig Lane
Plymouth, WI 53073