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!