August 01, 2017

Three Generations at YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa

Through the years, YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa has become a beloved home-away-from-home for many families. For the Lopez family, leaving their respective homes in Chicago and returning to Camp Nawakwa each summer has become a cherished tradition — one founded by a seemingly insignificant action.

One day in 1954, while attending a meeting for the former South Chicago YMCA Women’s Auxiliary Board, Connie Lopez was handed a brochure for a YMCA family camp in Northern Wisconsin. She shared it with her close friend Earla Black, who had already considered the possibility of their families vacationing together. Several months later, they set off for woody Northern Wisconsin. After many hours of traveling on two-lane roads and through small towns, they finally arrived at the beautiful lake, the rustic cabins, and the peacefulness of YMCA Camp Nawakwa.

This trek up north was the beginning of the Lopez’s decades-long family tradition. Their annual two-week stay has only been interrupted twice in 52 years, providing them with quality time to create lifelong family memories.

As the years passed, life at Camp Nawakwa changed — wood-burning stoves were replaced by heaters, while running water in the cabins made pumping water a thing of the past. The Lopez family, like Camp Nawakwa, flourished and evolved as it grew to include Lenore, Marina, Amy and Marcy.

Three generations of the Lopez family (Connie and her husband, Chuck, their six children, and their grandchildren), continue to gather each summer to find respite in the woods, to share in fellowship with other campers, and to nurture and renew relationships with each other. With each stay at YMCA Family Camp Nawakwa comes another opportunity for the Lopez’s to foster family fun, growth, and to create more everlasting memories.