In 1996, Camp Daniel, Inc. was formed as a non-profit organization and purchased a former Salvation Army campground on Little Newton Lake in Athelstane, WI. Work began that year to start construction of camp. To date, the majority of the Little Newton Lake Campus has been constructed by volunteer labor, allowing the camp to extend each donation further than otherwise possible. Because of this, Camp Daniel is moving at a pace that allows the construction phases to match the available donations of money, materials and volunteer labor. In the 21 years of construction, the following have been completed:
Building Camp Daniel
- Multipurpose building (includes chapel, game room,
maintenance area, storage space, and workshop)
- Camp Daniel office
- Two group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Arts building
- Picnic pavilion and activity area
- Snack stand
- Dorm buildings
- Nature center
- Outdoor learning areas
- Accessible paths
- Reworking of the lakefront
- Gift shop
- Homes for Camp Daniel staff
Why are you still building the campus?
The focus of Camp Daniel has always been serving people with disabilities through summer camps and other programs; it has NOT been all about building a campus. We are a simple organization that has accomplished much more that should be possible. And yet, we can only do so much at once, while remaining debt-free and volunteer driven. We have built the campus as money is available, all the while keeping construction and overhead costs as low as possible. As excited as we are to be able to have camp in a creatively designed space specially made for our campers, we would not have built the relationships with people we have if we spent all of our time and energies on capital campaigns and construction. Instead, Camp Daniel has chosen to offer as many camp sessions as possible, with the best programing around for the past 20 years. We are now reaching the end of the construction journey with the goal of the Camp Daniel campus being fully complete by 2020. The goals to complete during this last phase are the construction of the dining hall, outdoor amphitheater, ball field, sidewalks and roadways. At that point, Camp Daniel will no longer be forced to rent a local youth camp that is in disrepair, but will have camp on a fully accessible campground where campers and counselors will be able to focus on the fun.
What will will change when the campus is complete?
Our camps can get loud with music and cheering, those with auditory sensitivity (common with autism) often are forced to go outdoors or away from the group activity. The Camp Daniel dining hall, chapel, and recreation areas will all have specially designed spaces to accommodate sensory sensitivity, while still allowing the campers to participate and be a part of the activity.
When Camp Daniel is not hosting a camp, the grounds will be available for rent for weddings, meetings, church family camps, and camps hosted by other organizations. One benefit will be financial, and will be substantial enough to cover overhead costs throughout the year. Another benefit revolves around disability awareness. Camp Daniel currently has 5 people with disabilities renting rooms. Those people, along with staff and volunteers will be working on the grounds and serving whatever group is renting. We have worked alongside people with disabilities throughout the past 15 years, and that won’t stop when construction is done.