Girl Scouts Camp Nawakwa Endowment Fund

"You're a link in this chain of Girl Scouting continuing to teach these values to make the world a better place."

At Camp Nawakwa we are building girls of courage, confidence, and character.

For Alana Gerrish and Gabrielle Sweitzer, who remain in a Chippewa Falls troop they joined seven years ago, the Girl Scouts' Camp Nawakwa east of Cornell helps to keep the spark alive. "It feels
like you're on vacation with all of your friends," Gabrielle said. Alana, who joined Girl Scouts because "I wanted to try something new and I really didn't want to play sports," takes aim at activities such as archery and kayaks at camp.

"You do things like go swimming. You get to hike in the woods. We also do like to eat," she said. These 12-year-olds, who start seventh grade at Chippewa Falls Middle School this fall, are among the many Girl Scouts with fond memories of Camp Nawakwa, which celebrated its 80th-anniversary last year.

More than 1,000 girls and adults have used the Chippewa County camp for troop events and meetings, overnight stays, camping, service projects and ceremonies over the past year, said Sherry Jasper, a Girl Scouts volunteer and school counselor for Halmstad Elementary in Chippewa Falls. She formerly served on the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes (GSNWGL) council's board of directors.

"A lot of people love the camp," she said, and now they can support it through the Girl Scouts Camp Nawakwa Seedling Fund. When the fund reaches $10,000 and disbursements occur, all money will be used to maintain and improve the camp. Jasper explained when longtime Girl Scout and Camp Nawakwa alumna Jean Chisholm passed away in February, her family asked for memorials to the organization in her honor. That inspired some of the organization's alumnae to establish a fund for donors who want to give locally versus through the GSNWGL administrative offices in Appleton.

The camp is used primarily by girls from Chippewa, Eau Claire, Dunn and Barron counties.

"It was the right time to give community members another way to support Girl Scouting. The Community Foundation of Chippewa County has a strong reputation. They do an amazing job of marketing funds so that donors know their interests can support funds in our community. We are supporting a program that builds girls of courage, confidence, and character," Jasper said.

"One of our goals has been to increase the visibility of the camp. We are meeting our goal of re-growing that connection to the camp," she added.

This summer marks 17-year-old Megan Fenner's 11th year at Camp Nawakwa. Megan, who will be a senior at Chippewa Falls Senior High School this fall, is a counselor-in-training.

If not for Nawakwa, "I wouldn't have done anything for 11 summers," she said, adding she would not have attended a camp located farther away as often.

Nawakwa is one of the best places to build courage and confidence when girls are out of familiar surroundings and without technology, Jasper said. "It's very primitive and intentionally so. They can handle bees and bugs, thunderstorms, and using a jackknife. One year we cooked out in over an inch of rain." The skills and memories built at camp last a lifetime.

Grants support the Girl Scouts Camp Nawakwa in Chippewa County.

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