For many families a summer camp experience has been a part of their lives for generations. When the camping movement began to gain traction in the United States around 1900, many children from city environments, whose parents could afford to send them to overnight camp, began to enjoy the benefits of eight weeks amid pine trees, cool evenings, refreshing lakes, and activities that weren’t accessible at home.
Not only did these children gain a sense of independence and confidence, but they met new people from across the country – or even other countries – who became lifelong friends. Camps also offered a unique culture, often with a Native American theme, where belonging to the community fostered a sense of security and comfort.
Agency and non-profit camps grew along with the private, independent camps so that today of the 12,000 camps in the U.S., 9,500 are non-profit. Many of these camps are affordable to a much wider range of families than independent camps such as Nebagamon and WeHaKee.
Reduced tuition for campers at Nebagamon began many years ago when Muggs and Janet Lorber were the directors. Occasionally family circumstances made a camp experience at Nebagamon unaffordable for families. Since Nebagamon was founded in 1929, just months before the stock market crash and the Great Depression, the Lorbers reached out to families who were hardest hit. This practice was continued when Sally and Nardie Stein assumed the reins of Nebagamon in 1960. Not only did the directors support families in financial need, but campers were sometimes successfully recruited to bring greater diversity to the camp community.
Prior to 1995, the responsibility of providing financial aid to camp families fell solely on the shoulders of Nebagamon’s directors. With birth of CFN – and the creation and successful funding of the $1 million Muggs and Janet Lorber Endowment – Camperships for Nebagamon has provided a structure for supporting camperships and adding to the diversity of Nebagamon and CFN’s partner girls camp, Camp WeHaKee.
Since completing the initial funding of the Muggs and Janet Lorber Endowment in 2000, CFN has slowly and steadily built its ability to provide camperships, monitor progress towards its goal of providing partial funding to 15% of all campers at its partner camps, and change the lives of youth who would not otherwise have access to Nebagamon and WeHaKee, enriching and diversifying those camp communities in the process. Since 2007, we have given over 500 camperships, totaling over $2 million, to help over 250 children attend camp.