Enrollment is in full swing. Please visit https://www.ymcamn.org/camps/camp_menogyn/summer_camp to register.
Natalie Owens-Pike is a Menogyn board member extraordinaire! She serves Menogyn’s board on the Diversity and Inclusion committee, Executive committee and Board development committee. Additionally, she sits on the Y’s BOLD/GOLD board. When not at Y board meetings, she serves as the Executive Director at Learning Works at the Blake School. Natalie has been a great promoter of Menogyn in the community. Thanks to her efforts, fifteen Learning Works’ students attend Menogyn each summer. Natalie’s history with Menogyn combined with her professional work have made her a huge asset to Menogyn’s board. Thank you Natalie!
Natalie is one of twenty great folks who serve on our board, if serving on the Menogyn board is of interest to you, contact Meghan Cosgrove at email@example.com.
Each year we raise funds to keep camp accessible to all youth. Please consider making a gift to our annual fund. We have an ambitious goal this year to raise $226,000, assuring that nearly 200 campers who would otherwise be unable to attend camp, will have a place at Menogyn. https://www.ymcamn.org/give/give_online
We will be calling many of you the evenings of February 28th and March 8th. We hope you’ll “pick up the phone for Menogyn”!
From December 27th-December 30th we had nearly forty dedicated campers visit Bearskin! Although it was quite COLD, we still ventured out on day trips to Honeymoon Bluff, Rose Falls, and Caribou Rock. On January 29th many campers had the opportunity to participate in once in a lifetime experience - dogsledding around the islands on Bearskin lake! The group also competed in a rousing round of Menogyn Jeopardy where each team worked together to celebrate their knowledge of Menogyn, Minnesota, and Dogsledding. It was inspiring to see the immense amount of excitement already rising for summer 2018 at Menogyn!
This week marks two months since I started my work as the director of Menogyn. I want to thank everyone for the warm and energetic welcome. It has been a whirlwind as we jumped into Winter Camp, winter programming and preparing for Summer 2018. There is so much love for Menogyn and I’ve really enjoyed getting out and meeting members of the community.
By way of introduction, I have been full-time with the Y for the majority of the last thirteen years. I spent nine years as the executive director of Camp Warren and the last three years working in planned giving for the mission advancement department. Prior to that, I worked at a boarding school in Maine as a faculty member in the Spanish department and the wilderness school. A common thread throughout my career has been living and working in community. I value the interpersonal relationships that are built through shared experiences and I am excited to continue this path at Menogyn.
There are many things that draw me to Menogyn but one that stands out is the rich tradition surrounding respect for others, the place and the equipment. There is clearly no place like Menogyn on earth and the staff team and I look forward to welcoming new and returning campers this summer.
By Tony Lockhart
At the end of January over 400 people, including scores of Menogynites, gathered to celebrate and remember the life of Robert “Skip” Wilke who passed away on December 31 at age 79. Skip was the longest serving Director of Menogyn, holding that position from 1968-1982. All told his association with Camp stretched for over 50 years including his time as director, board member, cheerleader and volunteer. Thousands of campers and hundreds of staff members were impacted by his model of humility and service.
Skip first visited Menogyn in the 1950’s while on the staff of Camp Widjiwagan, and arrived for his initial visit as the director in January of 1968 after snowshoeing down West Bearskin from the Clearwater landing. During his time as director, Menogyn introduced regular and long-trip programming for girls, added a backpacking program, launched Femmes du Nord, Waputiks, and Wahkanees (joining the existing Hommes du Nord tradition.) He helped to greatly expand the number of session campers. He oversaw the acquisition of the property on the south side of Bearskin where the Welcome Center and Brown’s landing now sit. During his years the “new” dining hall and the boathouse were constructed.
However, Skip’s true gift was in the enduring relationships he developed and the spirit of community he built around him. At his memorial, former Femmes and Wahkanees guide CJ Jacobson, finished her observations of 40 years of friendship with these comments: “When I think of Skip, I think of generosity – I’ve been to many banquets and dinners with Skip over the past decades, and I’ve never seen him fill his plate before he was sure that everyone had gotten a share. Skip LIVED service to others, demonstrated integrity, didn’t deviate from his values. Skip wasn’t about to share inner feelings in emotional outpourings ending in group hugs – but we felt love, the caring, his honesty. This morning I’ve had the extraordinary honor of sharing some of my stories about Skip with you. I know that each of us came here today because we each have a Skip story. Each one of us could step up here and share a story about Skip our brother, our uncle, our mentor, our friend, our comrade. There’s an old English word I love, actually three words strung together. Merry-go-sorry. I feel merry-go-sorry about this gathering today. We each have a Skip story, a memory, something to celebrate about having known Skip. And he is feeling delight right now in the way we have come to celebrate through our grief, to share with one another how Skip touched our lives. We’re here, all merry-go-sorry, to celebrate that we have been lucky enough to have loved Skip.”
There is a plaque hanging in the Dining Hall to help us remember what Skip meant to Camp. Recognizing his 50 years of service, it reads “A generous and tireless friend of Menogyn, who when confronted with a challenge or request for help, always replies “No Problem.”
Star-Tribune article about Skip here
CJ Jacobson complete eulogy here