Archive for the ‘Lakeside’ Category

By Kathy Landis

In our complex world, we struggle to believe in the difference that one person can make. One of the biggest gifts that my time at Wilderness Wind has offered me is seeing clearly the power of one. Our actions and choices make a difference. Stepping down as Executive Director provides opportunities to reflect on the many years. I am grateful for the many campers, staff, donors, board members and volunteers who have been a part of the journey. I also wish to celebrate and acknowledge how one person’s choices have brought about change within this organization. First and formost, each all of our donors need a generous thank you. I won’t list you by name here, but I know that without you, Wilderness Wind would be significantly different. I will, however, add one photo of thanks for those who donated towards the kevlar canoes… though it is from 2010, the photo was never published and we continue to be quite grateful for them.

Back to campers, at the risk of missing an important camper, here are a few who stand out as change makers of Wilderness Wind during the time I have been Executive Director of Wilderness Wind. THANK YOU. Volunteers, staff and board members will come in an additional blog. Stay tuned. 


Canoe trip Campers:

Kendall Bauman: Kendall’s passion for the Northwoods brought numerous youth from Eastern Mennonite High School. Not only did the youth experience a six-day canoe trip, they also volunteered at camp before their trip. Kendall enjoyed the creativity of a lay-over day on every trip and was able to transfer his passion and understanding to the youth with such skill that several of them have returned as staff.

Zeb Holsopple: Zeb made noteworthy contributions to Wilderness Wind while on staff. Since then he has continued to make a name for himself. He is a Club 5 member (those who have paddled in the Paddle-a-thon for five or more years), and has developed a strong relationship with Goshen High School’s environmental education program. As a part of this class, Zeb has brought up youth for three consecutive summers. Each group has shared both their interest in the wilderness as well as shaped Wilderness Wind through their service projects prior to their canoe trip.

Brenda Sawatsky Paetkau: Prior to becoming  a Wilderness Wind board member and before even going on a Wilderness Wind trip, Brenda included Wilderness Wind in the four-year youth cirriculum at Eighth Street Mennonite Church. As I have heard other youth pastor’s say, “Wilderness Wind provides a strong emphasis on faith development. This is a good balance to the Mennonite Church’s strong leaning toward service projects and attending conference.  Brenda understood this and since 1999 a youth group of Eighth Street youth come to camp every four years. They have been a gift in an of themselves, but we have also seen staff and Paddle-a-thon paddlers as a result.

Teresa Wasick: Teresa was a board member more than ten years ago, and her contributions continue to shape us annually.  She has taken on maintenance projects that weren’t the most enjoyable, but needed to be done. Her help in the kitchen, or office. or… yes, even caring for the composting worms has been life-giving. Her advocacy in introducing others to Wilderness Wind has bridged canoe trips, Lakeside guests and Paddle-a-thon donors. Teresa has a knack for offering to open or close camp just when we really need her. She has been one of the more committed volunteers to help with such. AND one of those tasks was taking on the first round of renovations to the food prep kitchen… for which I am very grateful as it helped us all envision a new and bright kitchen.

Val Hershberger: Hands down, Val has single-handedly introduced more people to Wilderness Wind than anyone else. Val has brought up trips with Goshen College since 2000, organized family gatherings both as canoe trips and as Lakeside guests, and introduced many friends to the Northwoods.

RED: Otherwise known as Rob, Ed, Dave – These three individuals seem to deeply understand the benefit of an annual canoe trip. I am not sure which year in the running tradition 2012 will be, but if has been ongoing for numerous years and even if they all can’t make it, one or the other seems to go out of their way to get to camp… often bearing gifts from the farm, farmer’s market, or maintenance supply house. And to Rob, Ed and Dave, I just came up with RED. After all these years, it seemed a nickname was in order… and it was better than ERD!

Temple and Waltner families: Though almost an annual tradition, these two families also go out of their way to get to the Northwoods… and some of them have been involved with Wilderness Wind since the late 80’s. They are at the top of the list when I think of families who are committed to water adventures and passing on their love of this place to the next generation.

Lakeside Campers:

Susan and Virgil, Maggie and Lucas: Undoubtedly the most committed household to making an annual extended stay at the cabins. The light and creativity that  you each express has been inspirational to me… and Virgil’s ability to catch fish on Armstrong Lake has bewildered many. I am grateful for the way you “carry” your Wilderness Wind experiences onto others.


Adam and Nicole Linus and Freya: This family’s first introduction to Wilderness Wind was through our first writer’s retreat back in 2008. Adam enjoyed the weekend of writing as he pondered the joys and challenges of parenting two active kids. Year’s later, it is great to hear Linus say, ” Do you know what I love Dad? Wilderness Wind.” Clearly, your love of the place has caught on.


Sundseth extended family: This is another family who first came to Wilderness Wind due to the 2008 writer’s retreat. Since then Minke has offered us both her love of words as well as great photography. Knowing that Wilderness Wind has become  one of the go -to spots for your three-generational outings, has been a gift in many ways.



Marlys Wiens: Marlys joined the first Creator’s retreat in 2008, and has attended each one since. Not only has she understood the value of the natural world and listening to God’s voice as part of the creative process, she also has supported the next generation of creator’s with her ideas and enthusiasm.



Ries family: The timing and contributions of this family have been impeccable. Whether it be attending a retreat, naming the Cathedral (where we gather for worship), volunteering with a generous spirit or finding others to do so, the contributions they have made have rippled in notable ways just when we needed them.







Assembly Mennonite Church,Goshen,IN: In the mid to late 90’s, this community of faith started a tradition of father and daughter canoe trips when the daughters became teenagers. This one tradition has lead to a domino affect of many resulting canoe trips be they with youth groups, adults, or families. Our histories are interwoven as folks from Assembly have been on the board and/or on staff during most of  WW’s 26 years. Simply put, this partnership has shaped Wilderness Wind.

Faith Mennonite Church,Minneapolis,MN:

Faith is another deeply invested community that has significantly shaped Wilderness Wind. This connection was strengthened partly due to demographics, partly due to a key board member, Mike Schrock, who also brought subsequent board members along. The canoe trip tradition that developed was an annual trip of young boys. Given that this congregation is geographically closer, in addition to the many canoe trips, volunteers, and board members, many have also frequented the Lakeside cabins on a regular basis.


New Creation Fellowship,Newton,KS: This is my supporting congregation and the one I attend when I am not in Minnesota. Even given the distance, a generous percentage of this community have found their way up to the north woods for canoe trips or to participate in camp for one reason or another. Just as significantly, they have found ways to support me and Wilderness Wind in offering prayer, prayer shawls, asking good questions, support of projects, encouraging staff, volunteering… the list is long!


Kalona Mennonite Church,Kalona,Iowa: This group fits in this blog as they have been campers… but they could also fit in the next as they have also been volunteers. As campers who have volunteered prior to their canoe trip, they have helped with significant timely projects (putting up of the first yurt, the porch on McComber – an often used Lakeside cabin, and the food prep building). Having these projects completed when they were helped Wilderness Wind’s future unfold perfectly.


God’s Tabernacle in the Wilderness, held at Wilderness Wind’s current location in 1940’s to 1960’s: Though I never met Bessie, the woman who started this community of faith, I have met many whose faith she has influenced. Each summer someone from this church stops in to say hello, and occasionally when I introduce myself to a stranger in Ely, they will share a story about Bessie Van Dyke. It was a gift to celebrate with many of you last summer. It is has been a true gift to stand in this place of such rich and positive history.

Thank you to each of you who has shaped the next section of Wilderness Wind’s history.

And  yes, please check the next blog for volunteer, board member and staff acknowledgments.


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Top ten list

You may have noticed that we created  The Top 25 Reasons to Give to the Paddle-a-thon on the Wilderness Wind facebook page. This list inspired two Lakeside campers, ages 8 and 11, to create their own list as they compared their two summer vacations. Their top ten list follows.

Top Ten Reasons Wilderness Wind is better than Disney Land:

10) No “tinkly” music

9) No waiting in lines

8) No people dressed in scary costumes .

7) Campfires

Callan, 8 years-old from Kansas, reads with his new friend Greta, 9 years-old from Minnesota. Both were staying at the Lakeside cabins in late July.

6) Canoes and kayaks

5) Lakes and loons

4) Rock chunking

3) You can make new friends with the kids staying in other cabins

2) Cool cabins

1) Quietness (mentioned as #1 by an 8 year-old)

Thank you to Jenna and Callan for sharing your top ten list with us!

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