Why are we called Camp Manito-wish YMCA? The answer reflects both our heritage and our purpose.
When we were established in 1919, the intention was to create a summer camp in Wisconsin’s northwoods. W.H. “Daddy” Wones, the Boys Work Secretary for the State of Wisconsin YMCA, had proposed the plan, which the State Y Board unanimously approved.
Before the new camp could open, it needed a name. Because it was located in the center of the collection of lakes and rivers known as the Manitowish chain of lakes, Camp Manitowish was a logical (and descriptive) choice.
Curious about the meaning of the name “Manitowish,” Wones traveled to the nearby Lac du Flambeau Indian reservation. The Chippewa explained that “Manitou” means the Great Spirit, while “wish” means dwelling place.
Wones decided that the name would be hyphenated as Manito-wish, reasoning that the Indian word “Manito” and the English word “wish” would be combined to convey the wish of the Great Spirit for “all to achieve what’s best for themselves.”