Monday, February 28, 2011

Nature- Just What the Doctor Ordered

Today's USA Today has a very interesting story about a national consortium of federal parks and the National Environmental Education Foundation and a new program they are trying, where people are giving "nature prescriptions." The prescriptions encourage patients to eat more fruits & vegetables, step away from the TV or computer and go outside and breathe fresh air, awaken their senses and lose some weight in the process. That sounds a whole lot like a typical day at Camp Anokijig.

We often forget it when we spend so much time at Anokijig, but just the layout of our facility almost necessitates that our campers will walk several miles each day, just going from their section to Western Lodge and around to various program areas. Anokijig's kitchen staff always offers healthy items and vegetarian options and our natural surroundings promote activity amongst our campers.

The story continues to talk about the significant obesity problem our country faces and nature hikes up hills that will "get your heart racing." Nestled in the rolling hills of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine, we offer plenty of those hills for kids to scamper up and explore, all the while living a healthier lifestyle.

We're big fans of programs like these and not just because they very much mirror what we offer at Anokijig. Programs like these help promote our natural resources to the next generation. Kids can sit in a classroom and learn about rain forests and the importance of protecting our environment, but no amount of classroom learning can ever replicate a hands-on experience in a natural environment. When kids have a better understanding of their natural environment, they have a better appreciation for it. That results in a society that truly values these irreplaceable natural assets.

It is a win/win scenario and we hope momentum for this cause continues to grow. We'll keep doing our part! If you'd like to read the entire USA Today story, click on this link.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Help Wanted!

When Camp Anokijig was put up for sale and it's future put in jeopardy, our supporters rallied to keep Anokijig open. They came to us offering time, treasure and talent and we did our best to utilize all of those resources to save Anokijig.

We are now several years removed from those days of uncertainty, but Anokijig still needs your help. The Racine Founders Rotary Club has been holding an annual Vegas Night fundraiser, which in recent years, has benefited Anokijig in very significant ways. The Founders Rotary Club believes in the programs Anokijig offers and they see the benefits we provide to children and families and we greatly appreciate their support.

However, the Founders Rotary Club dedicates a tremendous amount of resources to making this event a success and they do ask for assistance from the organizations who directly benefit from it. So we want to put the word out to all of our tremendous adult (18+) volunteers that we need your help to make this event a success. The event takes place in Racine at Festival Hall on March 5th and we would need volunteers between 6PM and 10PM.

The evening includes “funny money” casino games, a silent auction, a grand prize drawing, and a Texas Hold’em Tournament. We’ll need people to run games, deal cards, help with food, and many other positions. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to run a casino game, part of the program is to teach you.

If you are available for all or part of that time, come join Jim, Darin, Don, the Scotts, Lauren, Mary, and the rest of the Anokijig crew, as we have a great fun time raising money for Anokijig.

If you have always wanted to volunteer for camp but haven’t been able to make it up for an event, a weekend, or week, this is your chance to make a difference! If you are over 18 and would like to volunteer, please contact Anokijig at 1-800-741-6931, or email Darin at, and tell us that you’re “ALL IN.”

We hope to see you there. Keep thinking warm thoughts and remember, we're just 115 away from the start of summer camp!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is the final installment of a three-part story on Camp Anokijig's Western Lodge and was originally published in the August 1949 issue of Western Publishing's Westerner newsletter:

Raymond O. Jondahl of Western Commercial Sales at Racine and Vice President of the Racine YMCA, acted as master of ceremonies at the dedication. Mr. Theodore Johnson, President of the YMCA, accepted the gift on behalf of the Association and pointed out that Western had made more than a mere investment of money in the Lodge.

"You invested in the lives of thousands of young men and women," he told Westerners in his speech, "and your investment will pay dividends in a better America in years to come." Other speakers on the program included Rev. Francis P. Ihrmann of the First Presbyterian Church, Rev. M.A. Simonsen of the First Evangelical United Brethren Church, YMCA Secretary Harold Frame and Camp Director Ray Vance.

The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling by Mr. Wadewitz of the Western Lodge sign, which decorates the front porch of the building and gives it lasting identity. The log from which the sign was fashioned was cut from Wisconsin forests about 400 miles north of Racine by old Indian forestry workers, who know their forest lore.

There are not many pines of this age and size remaining and the log selected is estimated to be about 227 years old, a mere sapling at the time when George Washington was the age of present-day campers at Anokijig. The log was seasoned for almost two years in preparation for its present use. Into its surface have been burned the simple words, Western Lodge.

It is suspended by heavy chains and has been treated for protection against the elements, so that it will long serve to identify the camp headquarters of Anokijig as the gift of Western people who have confidence in our youth and faith in their future.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Anokijig's Western Lodge Part Two

This is the second of a three-part story on Camp Anokijig's Western Lodge and was originally published in the August 1949 issue of Western Publishing's Westerner newsletter:

E.H. Wadewitz, President of Western Printing & Lithographing Company, who made the official presentation speech on behalf of his fellow Westerners, told the gathering of Western's interest in serving the community and its policy of expressing confidence in the future.

"Our best hope for the future of Racine and all America," he said, "is the sound Christian development of our youth so that they will be strong in spirit, mind and body to meet their challenge as the citizens of tomorrow. As an industrial concern, we are vitally interested in the building of men and better men for the future. We are proud that Western Lodge bears our name and we hope it will serve long and well in the interests of American Youth."

Mr. Wadewitz, himself, has been a member of the Racine YMCA for over fifty years and is now its oldest living member in point of service. he stated that many other Westerners had been helped to a good start in life through the fine character-building programs of the YMCA and that, now, their sons and grandsons were following in their footsteps. The boys and girls of many Westerners at Racine today enjoy the facilities of Camp Anokijig, together with hundreds of other youngsters from many Midwestern communities.

Those pictured from left to right are Rev. Francis P. Ihrmann, Rev. M.A. Simonsen, Theodore Johnson, E.H. Wadewitz, Raymond O. Jondahl, Harold Frame & Ray Vance. Tomorrow's final installment includes a unique back story about an Anokijig landmark.