The Wisconsin Lions Foundation is thrilled to share the summary of another successful summer camp season at our Wisconsin Lions Camp. This year, we had the privilege of serving 857 Youth and Adult Campers, an increase of more than 200 campers compared to the 2022 season. This year also marks a milestone summer for Camp Director Andrea Yenter. The 2023 camp season was her 20th anniversary as Camp Director, and according to Andrea, it was a summer to remember.
“This was quite a summer for my 20th year at Camp. I truly love and appreciate our staff, campers, and facility,” said Andrea. “I’m so glad to share the joy of Lions Camp with others!”
Read on to discover more improvements, personal stories from Camp staff and campers, an overview of our camp population from the 2023 season, and a look ahead at the 2024 Wisconsin Lions Camp schedule.
New-and-Improved Camp Amenities
With the help of a generous donor, the Adventure Course received a much-needed shade structure. The structure significantly improved the ropes course experience, allowing course participants and spectators to cool off with well-deserved shade during hot afternoons. The shade structure also created a space for staff to store more equipment. We are extremely thankful for the remarkable donor contribution that made this construction possible, and we look forward to this being a popular Camp feature for many summers to come!
More projects are in the works for 2024 – including the construction of the multipurpose hard court, a shade structure in the boating and swim areas, and the renovation of the archery area. These exciting new amenities and activity updates are not possible without the generous contributions of donors. We’re grateful for the continued support and look forward to providing further comfort and fun for our 2024 campers with these improvements.
The People Behind the Camp
Our Camp staff is truly remarkable. With only 21 full summer seasonal staff, we were able to accommodate 224 additional campers than last year. The team of 21 seasonal staff was supported by our full-time staff in both the Camp and Foundation offices, many weekly counseling and medical staff, and our healthcare, food service, housekeeping, and maintenance staff. It truly takes a remarkable group of people to make Camp happen. A listing of the staff is part of our 2023 Who’s Who report.
Andrea spoke highly of her staff this summer. “The staff worked very well together, and it was moving to see their teamwork come to life creating the magic of Camp for campers.”
This year, Camp welcomed two new full-time staff — Bobbie Wanserski, Food Service Supervisor, and Cailee Jandt, Program Supervisor. Both did an exceptional job learning their new role and contributing to another successful season at Camp.
Although a small crew of staff, we couldn’t be more proud of this team and all they do to support Camp.
Stories from Around the Camp Fire
With all the hard work put in by our Camp staff, the joy of our campers is something we take great pride in. We look forward to hearing about their experiences each year and what was most meaningful.
With 20 years of Camp under her belt, Andrea has seen and heard a lot of growth from the start of summer to the end. “The biggest message I got from campers this summer was they were someplace they felt safe to be themselves. In other words, to be who they are — their disability not being the main matter at hand. It’s powerful being with others who understand the difficulties they face, and that those perceived “issues” are not issues here.”
That feeling of belonging is a main component of what makes Camp so special – and for many campers, this bond with Camp builds over several years.
“Friendships are made and relationships are formed between staff and campers who spend many summers with us. For the Youth campers who turn 17, hugging them goodbye at the end of the summer and being proud of who they have grown into, is bittersweet,” noted Andrea. “It is a bit sad when they move on to new adventures.”
Yet, with each Camper who spends their last summer at Camp, so many more get to enjoy their first. One camper in particular shared the joys of their first time at Lions Camp with us.
Lydia, 14, enthusiastically noted, “Thank you so much for letting me come to Lions camp. This was my first year and I had so much fun. I made so many friends and enjoyed all the activities. My favorite game was Nine Square because everyone could play it and everyone enjoyed it together. I can’t wait to come back next year!”
2023 Lions Camp Numbers
We are fortunate to have returning campers and new friendly faces each year. Each summer we create a detailed Who’s Who report with a breakdown of attending campers from each week and which Lions district they belong to. The Wisconsin Lions Foundation serves five populations of campers: blind or visually impaired, with intellectual disabilities or autism, deaf or hard of hearing, with epilepsy, and with diabetes. In 2023, Lions Camp hosted 10 weeks of Camp, serving 857 campers.
|Camper Weeks||Camp Population||Total Attendees|
|June 4-8||Adults who are Blind or Visually Impaired||105|
|June 11-15||Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired / Youth with Epilepsy||49 / 93|
|June 18-22||Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||93|
|June 25-29||Youth with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||112|
|July 2-6||Youth with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||67|
|July 9-13||Youth with Diabetes||101|
|July 16-20||Youth with Diabetes||85|
|July 23-27||Youth who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||94|
|July 30 – August 3||Youth who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||86|
|August 14-18||Adults who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||41|
- District A1: 134 campers
- District A2: 110 campers
- District B1: 110 campers
- District B2: 142 campers
- District C1: 89 campers
- District C2: 22 campers
- District D1: 133 campers
- District D2: 40 campers
- District E1: 34 campers
- District E2: 43 campers
2024 Camp Schedule
The table below outlines everything you need to know about the 2024 Lions Camp, including the dates a particular camp population will run and the applicable age ranges for each.
|Camper Weeks||Camp Population||Age|
|May 19||First-Time Camper Open House||All|
|June 2-6||Adults who are Blind or Visually Impaired||18+|
|June 9-13||Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired / Youth with Epilepsy||6-17|
|June 16-20||Youth with Diabetes||10-17|
|June 23-27||Youth with Diabetes||10-17|
|June 30 – July 4||Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||18-25 (by invitation only)|
|July 7-11||Youth with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||10-17|
|July 23-27||Youth who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||94|
|July 14 – July 18||Youth with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism||10-17|
|July 21-25||Youth who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||6-17|
|July 28-August 1||Youth who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||6-17|
|August 10||Hustle S’more & S’more Fun at Lions Camp||All|
|August 12-16||Adults who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing||18+|
Applications will be available in January 2024.
That’s a Wrap
What an incredible summer 2023 was! We look forward to another successful, memorable camp season in 2024. We are fortunate to operate such a successful camp, and wouldn’t be able to do so without our wonderful Camp Staff and Camp Director, Andrea Yenter.
As Andrea celebrates her 20th year as Camp Director, we reflect on how the Lions Camp has shaped her life, and the lives of so many others. Andrea attended Camp herself between 1987 and 1992, finding her way to Camp Director after serving as a seasonal staff member and program supervisor. Andrea’s Camp story is both unique and unsurprising – many Lions Camp staff, volunteers and supporters began as campers themselves. Such is the magic of Camp!