Registration is open for 2022 Farmers Union Camps. Each summer, hundreds of youth from across the Midwest participate in summer camps at Wisconsin Farmers Union’s Kamp Kenwood on the shores of Lake Wissota near Chippewa Falls.
Farmers Union Camps started in the 1930s, when the organization developed leadership and cooperative training, believing that education was the cornerstone of a better future for rural communities. In the 1940s, Wisconsin Farmers Union President Ken Hones inspired members from across the state to donate their time and funds to build a Farmers Union-owned summer camp where youth could come together to have fun and learn. Named after the visionary who inspired this work, WFU Kamp Kenwood’s 23 acres feature rustic cabins, hiking trails, a sandy beach and historic lodge.
The Farmers Union Camp program focuses on cooperatives, family farms, sustainability, leadership, conservation, rural communities, social justice and civic engagement.
“For over 85 years Farmers Union Camps have focused on leadership development with a cooperative approach,” says WFU Education Director Cathy Statz. “Youth learn about the Cooperative Principles and the benefits of cooperatives to Wisconsin’s family farmers and communities.”
Campers create their own Camp Co-op Store, elect a board of directors, buy shares and receive patronage dividends. They also enjoy traditional summer camp activities like swimming, sports, arts and crafts, hiking, and campfires.
Camp sessions are open to ages 7-17 and available June through August. New this year is a Co-op Kids Camp, open to youth ages 7 to 11 who are looking for an overnight experience geared toward the beginning camper.
Family camps, open for families with children of all ages, will be July 22-23 or August 5-6.
Co-sponsored by a grant from the CHS Foundation, Farmers Union Camps are affordably priced at $115 to $125 per camper for WFU members. Non-members add $30 for a one-year Farmers Union family membership. To register or see camp dates, visit: www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/youth-camp
As far as COVID-19 precautions go, up-to-date vaccination will be required for all participants — campers, staff and volunteers. Guidelines may be adjusted as we get closer to the summer season.
“We hope to continue moving toward a more familiar summer camp experience,” Statz says. “Safety has always been a top priority at Farmers Union Camp, and we will continue to use best practices in health and safety precautions as we consider the impact of COVID on the camp experience. We want our campers to feel safe and remain healthy throughout their time at camp, and for their parents to be confident that we are taking care of the health of their children.”