As society becomes more results focused, we continue to insist on the process. At Winnebago, we walk a fine line, and do a better job than almost anyone at creating an atmosphere where campers understand that success is defined by their effort rather than the outcome. Winnebagans achieve extremely high results and campers understand the value that being supportive of each other makes, while gaining leadership experience, emotional intelligence, physical confidence and skills over the course of the summer.
At Winnebago, our size, about 160 boys and 60 staff, affords us the invaluable opportunity to know all the campers and they each other. Consequently, we place a strong emphasis on both the older campers and staff acting as intentional and positive role models. This dynamic helps create a positive and close knit community where campers of all ages learn from each other and the staff and influences a culture where boys understand that being nice and respectful to one another is both important and relatively easy.
History and traditions bind generations
Winnebago has enjoyed a remarkably similar, cohesive and grounded philosophy since 1919 thanks in large part to having only four owners in that span. Frederick Guggenheimer (Chief) founded and directed camp from 1919-1956. Howard Lilienthal (Uncle Howie), who arrived on staff at Winnebago in 1943, succeeded Chief upon his death in 1956. Howie’s son, Phil, became the Director in 1974 and Andy, Phil’s son, transitioned with Phil for three years and then assumed the directorship in 2003.
The site of Winnebago was the old Smiley Farm, which had no buildings to speak of on the property. Beginning in 1919, pine and hardwood trees were planted that now tower above and among camp. Buildings were constructed and camp began in 1920. In almost every year since, important additions and improvements have been realized. Since its inception, Winnebago has been considered by many to be among the outstanding boy’s camps in the country, and the world. With definite aims and ideals and a reputation for sportsmanship, responsibility, and integrity, campers regard their Winnebago experience as a developmental keystone of their childhood. Being a part of the Winnebago community continually and positively affects campers and alumni alike.