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Camp Manito-Wish YMCA named Vilas County Economic Development Corporation’s 2021 Business of the Year

VCEDC 2021 Business of the Year Presentation.jpg
Camp Manito-Wish YMCA
Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director, presents the 2021 Business of the Year award plaque to Camp Manito-Wish YMCA CEO Pat Soldan.

Every summer, more than 1,000 kids and teens come to Camp Manito-Wish YMCA in Boulder Junction.

It’s an overnight camp that focuses on building leadership skills in the outdoors.

“All of our campers on a canoe trip, backpacking trip, or kayaking trip both in the local, Vilas County area, but also throughout the United States and into Canada,” said CEO Pat Soldan.

Soldan said all those campers coming to the area translates into a boost for the local economy.

“We hire 300 staff every year. We have all sorts of projects going on at camp. We’ve got parents that are coming in and dropping off their kiddos for their time at camp and often staying a few days or a week at a time and enjoying everything the Northwoods has to offer. It’s a pretty incredible impact once you actually get down to brass tacks,” he said.

That impact is one of the reason’s Vilas County Economic Development Corporation chose the camp for its 2021 Business of the Year Award.

“We’ve featured a dozen outstanding businesses this past year, and they all bear witness to the opportunity to achieve success in Wisconsin’s Northwoods – so choosing ‘the one’ Business of the Year is challenging, however; one business does stand out,” said VCEDC Board Chairman Jim Tuckwell in a statement. “Camp Manito-wish is one of our Northwoods 'hidden jems' that many of us may not know much about. And yet, they have served more than 150,000 young people since their founding in 1919, with more than 1,000 young people experiencing Vilas County each summer with opportunities for adults to participate in volunteer and family camp opportunities."

Soldan called the award an honor.

“You know we’re just incredibly honored to be nominated and in turn recognized in this way. Thankful for VCEDC, the work that they do supporting local businesses and in turn the local economy,” he said.

A 2021 study by the American Camping Association found that year-round and summer camps in Wisconsin contribute to nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent jobs with an estimated statewide impact of $717 million in economic activity.

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