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!

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