Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thank You Zeta Chi of Lakeland College!

Normally, when someone sees a fraternity mentioned in reference to beer, it's for all the wrong reasons. That's not the case this time. Anokijig has had an outstanding relationship with Lakeland College throughout the years and we hope they feel the same way. They frequently send busloads of students to do volunteer projects at Camp and many of our former staffers have chosen Lakeland to continue their education.

One of our Anokijig Alumni, Markus Savaglio, happens to be both a Lakeland College student and a member of the Zeta Chi fraternity. For the second year in a row, his fraternity is running a Micro Brew beer-tasting event to raise money for Anokijig. The event will be held at the David & Valarie Black room in the Laun Center at Lakeland College on Saturday, November 7th, from 7PM to 10PM.

The event is open to anyone 21 years or older and tickets can be purchased at the door for $10. If you have questions about this event, you can contact Markus directly at of by calling 920-207-4910. Good luck Zeta Chi and we hope everyone who participates in this event does so responsibly!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Camp Anokijig- Life Skills Factory

The environment at Anokijig offers these teens and young adults a unique experience that may be as close to parenting as many of them will get, until they decide to have their own children. Many young people may work as babysitters or in youth programs in their home towns, but very few get the opportunity to spend extended periods of time with younger children.

It's one thing to spend one evening with a child who misses their parents or even an entire workday. It's something entirely different when our staff are put in a position where they spend a week or even longer around a large group of younger children. When they are at Anokijig, our staff essentially lives with these children.

There is no timeclock here and for the time these campers are at Anokijig, our staff serves as the closest thing to parents that these children will have, on-call day and night. That gives them a unique perspective few of their peers are able to experience. They teach, lead, encourage, console, discipline, mediate, guide and mentor these kids. In turn, our campers teach our staff important life lessons in patience, dedication, persistence, honor, altruism, integrity, and a host of other parenting skills.

What does this mean in the long-run? Feedback from our former staff indicates they left Anokijig with a much greater appreciation for what it means to be a parent and be responsible for another human life. That's never a bad thing.

If you have a high school-aged son or daughter, that you think might be interested in volunteering at Anokijig and learning these valuable life skills, call Camp today at 920-893-0782.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Anokijig's Little Elkhart Lake Named One of Wisconsin's Top Lakes

Milwaukee Magazine recently ran an extensive article on Wisconsin's 15,081 lakes. It was a very comprehensive article, which focused on the health of Wisconsin's lakes and efforts made over the years to combat invasive species and other threats to these waters. It also discussed the rapid rise in popularity of Wisconsin's lakes in the early-20th Century.

The article really reminds us of how lucky we were to have people like Ray Vance and Uncle Adolph Gillund, who founded Anokijig and were responsible for locating our current site on Little Elkhart. The two men started the first summer of camping at Anokijig in 1926 and the Milwaukee Magazine article states that by 1932, so many people from Milwaukee, Chicago and the Twin Cities were vacationing in Wisconsin, that Vilas and Oneida counties had 221 resorts, 3,995 summer homes and 73 camps or clubs.

If people at that time were willing to drive that far for a getaway, the shoreline on Little Elkhart would've certainly gotten caught up in the rush, had those two men not secured it for Anokiig's use years earlier. The article also talks about the gradual near-extinction of the middle-class lakefront property owner in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Jeffrey Thornton is the principal environmental planner for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and he was quoted extensively thoughout the story. One of his most eye-opening quotes talked about the lakefront real estate boom of the 1990s, where cottages fell three at a time to make room for massive year-round homes for the wealthiest Midwesterners. "With the lakes' water quality improved, property values soared. Vacant lots in Waukesha County with 100 feet of frontage on 90-acre lakes started selling for $1 million.

Little Elkhart is not quite that large or convenient to Chicago, but Anokijig's water frontage on Little Elkhart measures in the thousands of feet. One can imagine what plans developers had in mind when Anokijig was put up for sale in 2005.

The story also talks about the threat posed to lakes by residents who think they are cleaning up their shorelines, by removing fallen trees and anything else that "looks messy." The article claims these efforts directly impact blue gills and largemouth bass, who grow three times slower in lakes without woody habitats. Anokijig's shoreline is chock-full of this habitat, which might help explain why we have such a vibrant fishing program.

The article also lists Wisconsin's top lakes in several different categories. Given Anokijig's presence on Little Elkhart, it should come as no surprise that a panel of Wisconsin DNR lake experts rated our lake as one of Wisconsin's healthiest. Nearby Elkhart Lake and Crystal Lake were also named the best swimming lakes in Sheboygan County. We know Little Elkhart was left off this list, because we have no public beach access. However, Anokijig has the biggest and best beach on Little Elkhart and we know it to be every bit as good for swimming as the public beach areas on our neighboring lakes.

In short, we can't overstate how fortunate we are to have such a tremendous natural resource in Little Elkhart Lake. If you'd like to read this article in it's entirety, you can follow this link-

If you find a story that would be of interest to us, please drop us a line at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Wonderful Wedding Gift

Some of our long-time readers may remember a post we made almost a year ago, discussing the current state of some of Anokijig's boats and the need for some upgrades- The Anokijig Insider: A Need Indeed

We're happy to report that our call to action has been answered. Mike McGrath of Minocqua, Wisconsin heard of our need for a newer pontoon boat and he happened to have a boat he was considering selling. The boat is a beautiful, 24-foot Manitou Limited pontoon boat and it is just what Anokijig desperately needed.

Two of Mike's good friends were married this past summer and he knew of their affinity for Camp Anokijig. As a very generous wedding present, Mike offered to donate his pontoon boat to Anokijig, in honor of their union.

Even though the boat is 14 years old, the Manitou Pontoon Boat company makes a high-quality boat, as this one looks nearly-new and is in great shape! It features comfortable seating for up to 12 passengers and a 90-horsepower Honda four-stroke outboard motor. That's great news for camp, as this motor is far more efficient (and quieter) than the motor on our other pontoon boat.

What will become of our other pontoon boat? Our waterfront director, Don Hill, has spent countless hours over the last several winters, reparing and welding that other pontoon boat back together. It no longer has any fixed seating, but he thinks it could still make an excellent boat for our fishing program. In order to make this happen, we would need to upgrade the outboard motor that is currently on the boat. It is simply too costly to operate and seems to burn as much oil as gasoline.

Ideally, we would like to replace it with a smaller outboard in the range of 20-25 horsepower, since it would only be used for moving campers to all the prime fishing spots on Little Elkhart. If you know of someone who might be able to help us find such a motor, please have them call Camp Anokijig at 920-893-0782.

Thank you again Mike McGrath for your wonderful gift to Camp Anokijig! Check out this video of her maiden voyage-