Farmers Union Hosting Summer Camps for Kids
Each summer, hundreds of youth from throughout the Midwest attend Farmers Union Camps at Kamp Kenwood near Chippewa Falls. The lodge and cabins nestled beneath the pines on the shore of Lake Wissota have been home to summer fun for generations.
The camp is owned by Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), a grassroots membership organization that is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities, and all people through education, cooperation, and legislation. Founded by a group of farmers who recognized strength in numbers, WFU held its first annual convention in Menomonie in November of 1930. Youth were included in educational programming early on, and in the 1940s, WFU President Ken Hones inspired members to donate time and funds to create a place where youth from throughout the state could gather and learn together. Today, Kamp Kenwood—named in honor of Hones—continues to welcome campers each summer. The camp spans 23 acres, featuring rustic cabins, hiking trails, a sandy beach, and the historic lodge.
Though it was built and dedicated by farmers, the camp welcomes rural and urban campers. It offers all the traditional fun of summer camp—hiking, swimming, campfires, and more—plus meaningful lessons centered around Wisconsin agriculture, cooperatives, and leadership.
The summer of 2023 will mark Grace Clardy’s first season at the helm of the camp program. Clardy spent time in Haiti working on clean water workshops and in Botswana focusing on STEM education. She has a special interest in beekeeping and global issues. She nurtured those passions while working toward her Master’s in Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communications at the University of Tennessee.
“I have a lot of respect for the history and caliber of the camp program but am also very excited to put a fresh spin on it,” says Clardy. “We’re not just teaching youth about cooperatives and agriculture, we’re immersing them in adventures around agriculture and letting them become the leaders of their own camp co-op. Our campers will hear directly from guest farmers, cooperative friends, and Farmers Union staff about rural issues and ways they can engage with agriculture even after their short stay at camp comes to an end.”
Overnight camps in July and August are open to ages 8-18. There will also be Acorn Day Camps for ages 7 to 14 on August 10th and 11th. Family Camp, offering a chance for families to enjoy the camp experience together and with children of all ages, will be August 4th and 5th.
The camps are affordably priced, thanks to support from the CHS Foundation and WFU Foundation. The program is American Camp Association (ACA) accredited and designed to be welcoming to all regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs.
Just as they have for nearly a century, Farmers Union Camps promise a summer experience to remember. To register or view camp dates, visit wisconsinfarmersunion.com. WFU is also hiring summer staff. Learn more at wisconsinfarmersunion.com/youth-camp or by contacting Grace Clardy at 715-214-7887 or email@example.com.
Are you curious about camp but tentative about signing up the kiddos in your life? Wander out to our Open House on May 31st and learn more about the camp, see the lodge and cabins, and enjoy a campfire!
This article was originally published in the May/June 2023 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.