by Mark Walters
Let’s Save Camp LeFeber
This past week I received a call for help and it was from a group (Baden/Powell Northwoods Experience) that is trying to save an important part of Wisconsin’s past and present. This week’s column is loaded with more info than I have space to put it in.
So I am doing some farm work and I get a call from an Eagle Scout, which is the highest attainable goal in The Boy Scouts of America. This young man tells me about an incredible place that is nestled on 1130 acres of pure paradise in Forest County near Wabeno.
Camp LeFeber was donated, created and has had a continuous stream of Boy Scouts since 1930.
Camp LeFeber is owned and managed by The Three Lakes Council of Boy Scouts of America, which is pretty much the Milwaukee area. When John LeFeber donated the property, which also has three lakes on it, it was with the intention that young men would spend a week or so each some summer working at the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
For the last 50-years the Zimmer family has been the care takers at this incredible place, first it was Emil and Audrey Zimmer who gave birth to two sons Gary and Wayne Zimmer. Gary Zimmer has been the caretaker for the last 33-years along with his wife, Olivia they raised three daughters on the property Maria, Heather and Kristin.
All three daughters have worked at LeFeber and presently Kristin is the Program Director and her husband Adam Rabe is the Camp Director at Camp LeFeber.
Back in the 30’s scouts and counselors from around the country arrived at Wabeno by train and then took horses to camp. The idea behind Boy Scouts of America and its camps is to prepare young men for the real world and to help make them better people.
I spoke extensively with Adam and Kristen Rabe and Jaron Tauschmann. Here is the deal, in mid-June The Three Lakes Council notified it’s past and present members that Camp LeFeber would be closed and put up for sale after this summer’s last scouts left.
Almost overnight past and present Boyscouts, their families and a great many business owners and professionals created a group to save LeFeber. Before I made the decision to do this column I looked at their website www.bpnorthwoods.org and made some calls.
I urge you to look at this website, Wisconsin is about to lose something that it will “NEVER” get back.
So here is how this camp can be saved. Thankfully, the wise leaders of the Three Lakes Council have honorably given this group, that numbers hundreds of past and present Scouts, from their own Council the first rights of purchase and since June 25th they have raised $68,000 dollars and have many people waiting to see what the price of this camp will be, so that they can do the right thing and save Camp LeFeber from a potential sale to a developer or who knows what.
Adam and Kristen Rabe donated the money for their honeymoon (they were recently married) to this cause and it was no small chunk of change.
Just this summer over 800 Scouts stayed at Camp LeFeber where they are taught how to coexist with nature in methods such as ecology, canoeing, fire building and working together.
Each “Patrol” that numbers between 3-11 Boy Scouts, receives all their food for the week on day one, and does all of their own cooking and dishes as well as camp building and even collecting of firewood.
Some of the Scouts take a long canoe trip and hike to a lake where they camp for the night and then canoe and hike back the next day.
A business plan is in the works to make this camp available for Boy Scouts and other youth organizations so Camp LeFeber can be used by as many youth and their mentors as possible in a year’s time. As President and Founder of KAMO I will strongly urge my members/BOD to use Camp LeFeber.
Folks this can work, we the people have an opportunity to save 1130-acres of rustic paradise. If the leaders of the Three Lakes Council keep their word on the right of first purchase, this group just needs a price and then the deal can very potentially be done.
I spoke in great detail about the commitment required should this camp purchase be made by The Baden/Powell Northwood’s Experience
Kristen and Adam Rabe would love to live here and be a part of it (Kristen is a middle school science teacher at Fontana) Jaron Tauschmann created the website and is putting his heart and soul into this project.
Please look at the website and see the literally hundreds of Boy Scouts and their counselors, some that stayed here back in the 60’s as they try to save Camp LeFeber
This column will be published in 63 papers in the Wisconsin the U.P. and Iowa
If you decide to help or you cannot help yourself, possibly you know someone that can.
The clock is ticking! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative