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It’s #ThrowbackThursday here at Lions Pride and today we’re looking back to the year of 1959. It was a great year filled with lots of memorable events: Alaska become the 49th state of America, the Grammy Music Awards began and the Boeing 707 came into service, but our favorite event was the birth of the Wisconsin Lions Camp.
Just a few years earlier, a chance discussion started it all. Lion Ray Hempel was in a hospital visiting two blind 12-year old boys. The group was discussing outdoor activities, but when Lion Ray asked if they had ever been to camp, one responded with a statement that changed everything. He said, “Blind kids can’t go to outdoor camp and stuff like that.”
After the conversation, Lion Ray’s imagination ran wild with an idea for camp that would allow children with disabilities to enjoy all the wonders of nature. Seven years later, his dream became a reality, and the Wisconsin Lions Camp was opened.
This year marks the 60th of camp. During that time, over 70,000 campers walked and camped in these woods. Our campers have the chance to become more self-confident, gain social skills, develop a strong environmental awareness and have the week of a lifetime. (If only trees could talk, we’d love to hear about the daily adventures.)
To celebrate the 60th anniversary, the Wisconsin Lions Camp will be hosting an open house on Sunday, August 21, from 9 am to 3 pm. We invite you to join us for a camp tour at your leisure. You also have the opportunity to enjoy a pontoon or wagon ride. Food will be available for purchase from 11 am to 1 pm.
While you are touring the camp, be sure to stop by the Lions Pride office and visit with our Executive Director Geri Schlender. We look forward to celebrating with you and can’t wait to see what the next 60 years have in store!
Visit our website to find out how you can honor someone with a Ray Hempel Fellowship.