Western Illinois Youth Camp

  • Hundreds of memories hang on the walls, painted on the oars that stand guard over hungry campers.
  • Flips flops litter the docks, signs of canoers who have taken to the water.
  • A dock like this cries for a long run and a flying leap into the cool water.
  • The sound of arrows whizzing through the air is not something that I am used to or comfortable with, but these kids would probably do fairly well defending a castle.
  • The sound of arrows whizzing through the air is not something that I am used to or comfortable with, but these kids would probably do fairly well defending a castle.
  • You better bring your game face to the game tables, these kids are well-versed in the rules and regulations and are not afraid to inform you of them.
  • Hundreds of memories hang on the walls, painted on the oars that stand guard over hungry campers.
  • Dozens of tiny yellow flags mark the hometowns of all of the campers who have found their summertime memories in the woods, cabins and waters of Western Illinois Youth Camp.
  • There are two types of tetherball memories; the first is happily smacking a ball with your friends on a hot summer day, the second is taking a tetherball to the face on a hot summer day.  Either way, tetherballs are a classic toy and I’m so glad that these campers get a whack at them – literally and figuratively.
  • Arts and crafts are like a staple at the camp of my dreams, so when the counselors whipped out the glue sticks and pipe cleaners, I was probably a little more excited than I should have been.  Tissue paper, sequins and ribbon?  Yes, please!  I didn’t get a chance to make a pencil holder, but I’m just saying that I think I may have excelled at it.
  • A camp where my job would be to lay on a chair and read?  SIGN ME UP.
  • The WIYC is filled with tiny little beautiful spots that you stumble upon when you’re not looking.
  • A day at camp begins with rhymes, rules and songs and a touch of reading to keep the kiddos mentally agile for the upcoming school year.  With a large percentage of the amazing camp counselors being teachers, the love for reading and learning is evident and wonderful.  I’m so giddy, I’m ready to wrestle a book out of a kid’s hands and curl up in a tree root.
  • A day at camp begins with rhymes, rules and songs and a touch of reading to keep the kiddos mentally agile for the upcoming school year.  With a large percentage of the amazing camp counselors being teachers, the love for reading and learning is evident and wonderful.  I’m so giddy, I’m ready to wrestle a book out of a kid’s hands and curl up in a tree root.
  • So, I’ve decided to become a permanent camper.  If you need me, I’ll be hanging out with the kiddos; reading in the shade, flipping canoes, making the best pencil holder you’ve ever seen and hopefully one day painting my name on an oar … and if anyone sees Ben, tell him I totally fit in here.
  • Campers anxiously wait for the canoe flipping demo.

by Khara Koffel

“Dear mosquitoes: Please don’t treat me like a buffet. Love, Khara”

I’d like to say I’m a true woman of the woods but I was attacked by a butterfly last week and I ran. I think that nature is gorgeous, I love a good roasted marshmallow and I can definitely appreciate the delightful sound of the lapping of a lake on the shore, but the closest I have ever been to enjoying camping was when I pretended to do so in order to impress a boy named Ben when I was 15 (sorry, Ben). I spent my summers on the Jersey shore, so I have never had the true summer camp experience, so imagine the shock to my system when I entered the grounds of the Western Illinois Youth Camp (WIYC) and was greeted by the most charming and beautiful little slice of camp heaven that I could imagine … but could I cut it as a camper?

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