Director, 1990 – 1999

John Stanley brought 16 years of YMCA experience to his new position at Camp Manito-wish YMCA. While he was the first director who had not had a Manito-wish experience, he proved a good listener, a strong supporter of camp values and a tireless visionary and advocate for what was to become the Leadership Program.

Leadership training had always been a mainstay of Manito-wish philosophy, principles and practice. Stanley’s grand vision would build on this foundation, but reach out beyond the confines of Summer Camp and Outpost, establishing a year-round program designed to reach students and their teachers and attract them to Manito-wish for dedicated leadership training.

Stanley’s proposal was ambitious and required expansive new facilities. Thanks to generous donations, the new Leadership Center and Smith Leadership Village were dedicated in August, 1998. A curriculum based on collaborative leadership — qualities possessed by alumni — was the guiding vision.

Stanley promoted the new endeavor, traveling throughout the Great Lakes region to tell the story to principals and headmasters. Today, the program stands as a testimony to Stanley’s vision, and offers an effective way to provide a Manito-wish experience to participants.

“The basic tenants of the Leadership Program were simply observations of how Manito-wish trip leaders have led canoe trips for seven decades.”


“Not only did students come back from this trip describing how amazing it was, but they came back acting in a way that reflected what they learned.  I have witnessed them be more consistently engaged in volunteering at school and in the community, be more mindful of their peers, and in many cases, be enthusiastic about returning as mentors for a new class of participants.  This is all the result of the intentional and dynamic way that Camp Manitowish Staff talked with us beforehand about outc…
Michael Greuel, Social Sciences and Theology Teacher