Friday, February 27, 2009

Freedom & Responsibility

I met with the parent of some campers yesterday and their insight into Anokijig was profound. We often hear stories of how campers and their parents consider Anokijig to be a "magical" experience, but it's often difficult to put a finger on what makes it "magical."
The reason for this may be that there is no single reason why children and families have such wonderful experiences at Anokijig. I do often recognize two unique aspects of the Anokijig experience, that appeal to children- the combination of freedom and responsibility.
Campers at Anokijig suddenly find themselves in a situation, where they are given far more freedom than they see in their daily lives. When campers arrive at Anokijig, they are given choices of which skill periods they would like to choose for the week, but beyond that, they are given even more choices of how to spend their free time at Anokijig. The schedules of kids at home are often filled, from the moment they get up to the time they go to sleep, with school, athletics, extra-cirricular activities and studying.
Although they don't often realize it, campers have even more choices at Anokijig, because their options don't include watching TV, texting, talking on the phone, e-mailing friends or playing video games. It's amazing what the unplugged world has to offer to these kids.
At the same time, these campers are given more responsibilty than most of them are accustomed to having. If they choose sailing for a skill, they are instructed how to set up their boat and then they are encouraged to head out and explore the lake. Where else can kids take boats out on a body of water, without having adults onboard, deciding when and where they should go?
Anokijig campers are also given a trading post account and many face their first life experience with budgeting their finances. If they choose, they can spend all of their trading post money on arts and crafts projects, but they might decide they want to save some for a horse ride or a snack. Ultimately, the decision is their's alone and they enjoy it!
Anokijig campers are also given other responsibilities, including keeping their bunk area neat and orderly and "hopping" their table for meals. Anokijig counselors occasionally remind campers of their duties, but most of the responsibility to remember falls on their shoulders and they readily accept the challenge.
It will come as no surprise to many Anokijig parents, that this behavior carries over to their lives away from Anokijig. How many campers are reminding their parents right now, to register for the upcoming summer? If your kids are in that group, you can take care of registration today, by following this link-

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Casino Night to Benefit Anokijig

A few weeks back we told you about an upcoming fundraiser being held in Racine, to benefit Camp Anokijig. We asked our adult volunteers to pitch in and help if they could and we're so appreciative of the dozens who responded.
Now, we'd like to remind the rest of our adult supporters to attend Las Vegas Night this Saturday at Festival Hall in Downtown Racine.
A Texas Hold'em Tournament will begin at 5:30pm. Doors open at 5pm. A $50 donation includes reservation and entry into Texas Hold'Em prize drawing. Reservations required for the Texas Hold'em Tournament. Call (262) 632-6262 to reserve your spot at the table! Seating is limited.

Las Vegas Night will run from 7-10 pm. Las Vegas style gambling includes Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and Money Wheel. A $5 donation includes entry participation in the silent auction and Grand Prize Drawing, PLUS $100 funny money to gamble with. Purchase your Las Vegas Night tickets by calling Camp Anokijig at (920) 893-0782.

There will also be a Grand Prize Drawing with the following prizes-
1st Place – Trip for Two to Las Vegas PLUS $500 cash
2nd Place - $750 cash
3rd Place - $500 cash
We look forward to seeing you there and thank you for your continued support of Camp Anokijig!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Peek Into the Anokijig Archives

The more things change, the more some things stay the same. This picture of Anokijig's waterfront from the 1950s doesn't look all that different than the waterfront today.

It's reassuring to know that Anokijig in many ways, still remains the same great camping experience, that it's been since 1926. If you have old pictures of Anokijig, that you'd be willing to share with us, please send them to:

Camp Anokijig

W5639 Anokijig Lane

Plymouth, WI 53073

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Are Program Hours Anyway?

So what are "program hours" and why do we often refer to how many of them we pack in during a given summer? The simple answer is somewhat of a mathmatical equation and it lets people know how much time kids are actually spending "doing stuff" at Anokijig.

Assuming a typical camper shows up on a Sunday afternoon and falls asleep exactly when the bugle blows taps each night and doesn't wake up until they hear reveille the following morning, program hours are the time campers spend engaged in activities at Anokijig. In a typical camper week ending on Saturday, we conservatively estimate this total to be about 80 hours. We know this number is conservative, because campers don't always fall asleep or wake up exactly according to schedule and these numbers don't include the hundreds of campers who stay for multiple weeks at a time, which results in even more hours of programming over the weekend.

These numbers also don't take into consideration the fact that many of our campers are spending their first extended period of time away from home in their life! It also doesn't take into account the experiences many of these campers have, while they are laying in their bunks after taps or before reveille. They hear sounds they've never heard in their beds at home- the wind blowing through the trees, owls in the distance, crickets and frogs calling out to each other or the gentle tapping or raindrops on their tents. For many Anokijig campers, these are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

The true impact of program hours really hits home, when Jim Scherer announces our final summer numbers. In 2008, Anokijig hosted 2,534 campers. That equals more than 200,000 hours of programs and activities at Anokijig, just during our nine weeks of summer camp! That is a huge number to wrap your head around and as I try to explain how long 200,000 hours is, I often draw the comparison to my son's youth basketball team.

If my son plays on a team that practices once a week and has one game a week, over the course of a 12-week season, he will be actively involved in a basketball program for a total of about 36 hours. If he has ten kids on his team, the entire team will have about 360 hours of basketball at the end of the season. If the league has ten teams, that still only equals about 3,600 hours per year. Kids at Anokijig spend about that much time engaged in activities each day during the summer.

There are a few other things to remember about our 200,000 hours of programs and activities. This number only accounts for the time summer campers spend at Anokijig and does not include the countless groups and families, who use Anokijig throughout the other 41 weeks of the year. This also doesn't include the amount of time young adults spend in Anokijig's leadership programs throughout the year. While many camps charge a fee for these programs, Anokijig has always offered them free of charge.

We feel fortunate to provide so many unique opportunities to our campers each year and we thank all of you for your wonderful support of Anokijig!