|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2011)|
Camp Menominee, has been a boys summer camp in Eagle River, Wisconsin, since 1928. The camp is typically[weasel words] considered a sports camp, however, a number of options are available for campers who are not particularly interested in sporting activities. The camp's primary philosophy is to free campers from the social pressures while putting an emphasis on positive sportsmanship and other life skills and traits. CM is represented by the colors green and white, and is currently owned by Steve and Bari Kanefsky. The camp is certified by the American Camp Association's Wisconsin division, among other organizations.
Founding and early history
In 1928, Nate and Edna Wasserman originally founded what would become Camp Menominee in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Previously, the Wassermans had directed a camp with Al Schwartz, who would later found Camp Ojibwa. After a small start in Rhinelander during the Great Depression, the Wassermans sought out new campgrounds for a larger Camp Menominee and a new girls camp, later Camp Marimeta; however, we all know that Camp Menominee is a camp for boys. The site that Menominee currently inhabits in Eagle River was once the property of Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, and the green and white pillars that currently lie on the camp's perimeter originally came from the original Comiskey Park. Some of the original buildings on the property were kept by Nate and Edna, including a barn which later became the Rec Hall (now named in honor of the Wassermans as "Wasserman Hall"), a chicken coop which became cabins 16 and 17, and a house-like structure which would become the camp's lodge. Additional buildings were erected as cabins, based on a similar design used by then sister camp, Marimeta. Menominee's early staff and program were unique in a variety of aspects, many of which continue on to today. The Wassermans insisted on providing as professional of a camp staff as possible, with both a full-time doctor and nurse, in addition to dozens of counselors. Furthermore, the camp introduced a unique program centered around sports, specifically those in which the boys could not participate during the off season. A large part of the Wasserman's original philosophy continues to dictate life at CM today. Eventually, Al and Elaine Wasserman would take over ownership of both CM and Marimeta from Nate and Edna.
Glenn and Dawn Klein
The Kleins purchased Menominee from Al and Elaine in 1983, though both stayed on for some years to assist in the transition. Glen and Dawn were both long-time participants in Camp Menominee's already rich tradition, and the transition to the first "out of family" owners in CM's history was made smoothly. The Kleins further reinforced CM, adding such staples as Fantasy Camp and continuing and expanding Post Camp. Also, the concept of Associate Directors (ADs) was added, though Bob Bender and Dennis "Koz" Kozloski stayed on as programming and water front directors, respectively. The Kleins also introduced the tradition of the Nate Wasserman Award, and renamed the Rec Hall Wasserman Hall in honor of Nate, Edna, Alan, and Elaine. During the Klein's reign, the camp's program was adjusted somewhat from the 8-week tradition to a new 6-week program, with a two week basketball or other specialty camp.
Camp continues to grow
- As enrollment continued to increase, new facilities were constantly being added to improve camp. Programming additions were also made, as Camper Council and the Senior Cabin's Sunday night "Ask the Director" became camp staples. Many other facility and other changes continued to be made as camp grew, most notably the Senior Diamond being renamed "the Bob Bender Senior Diamond," the tennis courts being named in honor of Jim "Buzz" Wyeth, and campers being placed in what is now cabin 19 above Wass Hall (the Penthouse or Batcave, depending on who you talk to).
- In 2004 a brand new Senior Cabin built, (Cabin 18). This cabin included celling fans, 3 shows, 3 toilets, 4 sinks, TV, and could house 20+, not forgetting the great fire pit outback. This was the ultimate cabin for the senior year at camp!
Steve (and later Bari) Kanefsky
Former camper, counselor, and Associate Director Steve Kanefsy purchased CM from the Kleins during the 1997 season. Many notable CMers continued to stay on board under Kanefsky, including long-time cooks Doris Walkowksi and Terry Zmek, waterfront director Koz, tennis director Lee Libby, Marc Beerman ("in intermediate Twi-Light League..."), caretaker Gene Fleck (who retired in 2005) and eventual Assistant Director David "Woody" Wood. Kanefsky also changed the program some, returning the option of 8 weeks to campers, while creating a new 4 week option. Other new program options, most notably MCAA leagues and Big Ten Activities, were also added. Steve has also been a huge supporter of the physical Camp Menominee, with a number of improvements to the current camp grounds and facilities being made, including new tennis and basketball courts, a 50-foot (15 m) climbing wall, three Ski Nauitques, a water trampoline and "blob", a new Senior Cabin, Klein Grove, improvements to Koz's House (the bath house), and a new home on one of the camp's venerable sand slides. Steve married Bari Freed in 2005 shortly after Post Camp in a ceremony in the backyard of their house. Bari's brother's Max and Jake Freed, then campers, introduced their sister to Steve in 2003. Bari now directs CM with Steve, and has offered a new perspective on camp in terms of camp food and the well-being of individual campers.
Situated on dozens of acres in Wisconsin's Northwoods, Camp Menominee is one of the largest area summer camps in terms of physical size. Bordered by County Road D, the two sand slides, and Sand Lake, CM also features numerous fields, courts, and buildings, all of which are a crucial part in camp life. Some notables are:
- The Waterfront: featuring Koz's Bath House (Redone in the winter of 2012), the ski dock, trampoline and blob, waterslide, sailboats, Ski Nautiques, and other watercraft, as well as a small beach and sand volleyball court
- It also features a new improvement of 2007, the ICEberg, part of Steve's focus on ice, during the summer of 07 (The ICEberg sadly "Melted" in the summer of 2011.
- Cabin Compound: the majority of camper cabins lie here, other notables include the paddle-ball courts, tether ball poles, grass volleyball, Klein Grove, and Wasserman Hall/cabin 19
- The Lodge: home to the camp's administration, and also serves as Steve's office and administration center
- The Messhall: self-proclaimed the nicest in the Northwoods, features the one-way system served buffet style!
- The Gully: site of Capture the Flag, Midnight Manhunt, and other camp traditions
- Jim "Buzz" Wyeth Tennis Courts: four new courts
- The Mike Dunleavy Basketball Courts (1 & 2): two new courts featuring glass backboards. (Repaved in winter of 2011)
- The Hockey Rink/Sport Court: new wood boards added in 2003
- The Climbing Wall: 50 feet (15 m) high and a zip line over... Al Lewis Field
- Al Lewis Field: hard-ball field
- Soccer Pitch: also home to CM football
- Golf Course: including several holes and a dog-leg. Along with several Frolf (Frisbee Golf), added in 2010.
- Bob Bender Senior Diamond: the BBSD, home to Senior softball (Recently redone in the winter of 2011)
- The Senior Cabin: built in 2004, the new senior cabin features three showers and satellite television
- The Canteen: cool guy pop guy and a favorite Senior Cabin and CIT hangout. Also the ONLY Red and White Building In Camp!
- Cabin 11: The "hotbox": It is referred to as the hot box because it does not receive a breeze off of the lake, due to its location.
...and numerous others.
- Cabin 19: The Top of Wasserman Hall (AKA "The Bat Cave").
- OCR (Old Counselor Road), said to be hunted my the infamous "Meat Man"
- Final Four Activities (Formerly known as Big Ten): coined by current director Kanefsky, the Final Four is Menominee's "traditional" activity program, and currently involves four rotational periods that the campers personally choose
- MCAA League Action: up until 2006, MCAA leagues took place only during first session, but now an expanded version with additional sporting events has been added for the entirety of camp. Veteran MBA, MISL, MFL, MHL, and MLB leagues were joined by new additions in virtually all program areas, including tennis, water sports, ping-pong, shuffle-board, and many others.
- British vs. American: traditional first session competition, involves events such as All Camp Squirt Gun Fight, British Bull-Dog, Creatively Acquire the Energy Source, and Message to Garcia
- Trip Week: features trips a variety of age groups, including Copper Falls, canoe trips, the Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis, and white water rafting
- Twi-Light League: originally only second session, the 2006 program changes saw "TLL" taking place for eight weeks. The winning senior captains after the championship game take home the first session trophy and second session Steve Ehrlich trophies for the off season. Current holders are Senior Cabin members Xander Grayson (first session) and Adam Slutsky (second session)
- Ojibwa, Timberlane, Chi, and other inter-camp competitions: feature a variety of sporting events divided into agegroups
- Kawaga Competition: the grand-daddy of CM's inter-camp competitions, features a first and second session competition in a variety of sports, most notably softball and the all-important Senior 16A game. Camp Kawaga won the first session competition, and Menominee won the second session competition in 2009, with Camp Kawaga winning overall.
- Green and White: CM's largest intra-camp competition, features three Senior Cabin overall captains and numerous events, including Vroom, Menominee Monopoly, the Sing, Midnight Manhunt, D-Day (added in 2006 after a Camper-Counselor Swap Day trial), and of course, the final Relay
- Camper-Counselor Swap Day: a more recent addition, elected Senior Cabin members serve as director and assistant director, and other campers serve as counselors
- The Way: headed by the CITs and Steve, not to be spoken about outside of the dog-leg
- Fourth of July: typically accompanied by a banquet of steak and brats, followed by the traditional social with former sister camp Marimeta, including a counselor softball game and fireworks show
- Last Day Brunch/Final Banquet: last day festivities abound with a late breakfast following a morning of TLL playoffs, finished off by a Final Banquet of steak, chicken kiev, and baked Alaska
- The Mooning*: When the counselors unanimously moon the campers as they drive off on the buses on the final day of camp. It is usually accompanied by a lot of giggles.
The Menominee Way
At Menominee, we love to have fun. . We also believe in growing and learning while at Camp. We believe in the 'Menominee Way'. This is based on the following six principles:
*Attitude *Determination *Heart *Leadership *Spirit
We believe that these six principles will help us bring out the best in our Campers. These lead to a family environment with an emphasis on loyalty. These principles help us prepare our Campers for what is in store for them in later phases of life.
- Camp Menominee's Official Home
- Home of Camp Alumni
- As featured in a series about Wisconsin summer camps
- Current Director Steve Kanefsky featured in a Jewish News article
- Article about the camp by the Sports Camp Federation