It is with regret that we need to inform you that Camp Winnebago is closing after this summer camping season. You have been strong supporters of the camp over the years. We appreciate that support. All the personal and financial support that you gave, including this year, was critical in keeping the camp open for the 2017 season.
As you know, Camp Winnebago was started in 1966 when a group of people recognized the need for a recreational area for people with disabilities. At its peak the camp provided this for about 450 – 500 people each camping season. That number has diminished to less than 150 people each season. In part, this is a result of people with disabilities becoming more integrated into our communities. They now have opportunities to live, work and recreate as we do. Many have found alternative vacation opportunities. Camp Winnebago has the Mission Statement of “Providing recreational opportunities in a scenic natural environment for people of all abilities.” We (the Board of Directors) believe that the mission has now been accomplished.
It has become increasingly challenging to financially continue to operate Camp Winnebago. There are now more regulations to meet, aging buildings and grounds to maintain, employee shortage, and other increased costs. For some people with disabilities the cost of camp is no longer affordable. While you have generously given money to help defray the camper’s cost, it still does not cover the full cost of camp.
This has been a situation that the Board of Directors has been studying for quite some time. This was not an easy decision. Many alternatives were explored but in the end, the decision was made to close Camp Winnebago.
As a non-profit, Camp Winnebago must follow a specific set of guidelines in order to cease operations. It has retained an attorney to guide it through the process. The camp will be sold, and proceeds will be used to pay the camp’s debt and creditors. Any amount received over and above that amount will be directed to a non-profit that serves the same population as Camp Winnebago.
At this time, we plan keeping lower camp seasonal sites & facilities operational through the remainder of this camping season and will be in touch with those campers in the near future. We will no longer book events for the conference center or cabins.
We truly appreciate all the support that has been given to Camp Winnebago over the years.