When I was a young counselor in the late ’70s and early ’80’s, we would sit down by the docks at night and take in the Milky Way. Every once in a while we were treated to an aurora borealis. More often, we’d see a thunderstorm gracing Echo Lake with lightning strikes and waves of rain—or the light of the moon dancing and shimmering the night away.
Such a place, camp. We are nestled on the lake, surrounded by a brimming of birch and pine. Whether the loons are calling or it’s the bugle, klaxon, or crackling of a campfire, all our senses lay claim to this place.
Back on those starry dock nights, we used to debate what made Winnebago so special for us. Was it the place or the people? I’ll stick with my gut on this one. It’s the people.
This August, I was able to be with these people of Winnebago. Since you’re reading this, you know what it was like. We were in bunks together, went on trips together, ended, we counted the days until camp would start up again. When the day finally came, we’d run off the bus—just like we did the year before, just like we did every year—to see which bunk we were in.
We celebrate this place; we celebrate our people. We celebrated our 95th anniversary in Fayette; we celebrate anywhere Winnebagans gather. And we honor these celebrations—we give them real purpose—by giving opportunities to every boy regardless of his background. When we do that we ensure that we, the people of Winnebago, will always be worth celebrating.