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.

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