In 1966, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens decided it was time to give individuals with developmental disabilities the same summer camp opportunities other children received. That summer, Southwest Badger Camp gave 48 individuals with developmental disabilities an opportunity to camp, fish, and simply enjoy themselves in the outdoors. As more families heard of the quality experience of other individuals with disabilities, Southwest Badger Camp grew. It grew so much, and attracted individuals from other parts of the state so fast, that Southwest Badger Camp quickly became Wisconsin Badger Camp. To date, Wisconsin Badger Camp has provided camp experiences to over 30,000 individuals with developmental disabilities.

Through the years...

  • 1966 - Southwest Badger Camp was founded by parents, teachers, and concerned citizens that felt that there should be a place for developmentally disabled individuals to go to enjoy the out-of-doors. Wisconsin's Project 6 provided funding. Participation for the first summer totaled 48 campers from six counties.
  • 1967 - For the second year, Camp was held at Wyalusing State Park. During the two weeks, 106 individuals attended.
  • 1968 - Project 6 funding was eliminated and Southwest Badger Camp was required to find funding to continue the program.
  • 1969 - Thanks to fundraising help of many individuals and the Jaycees and Jaycettes, 723 acres of land was purchased. The organization changed to Wisconsin Badger Camp.
  • 1970-1975 - Plans for building and fundraising evolved to build camp's first home. Meanwhile, camp was held at various locations including Wyalusing State Park, Asbury Acres and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Pickard Hall.
  • 1974 - First full-time camp director hired - Richard Fuller.
  • 1975 - Cedar Lodge was built. Badger Camp had a home. The program expanded to include adult as well as children with developmental disabilities.
  • 1976 - A program was developed to offer individuals an opportunity to visit various locations throughout the United States. The first See America trip went to St. Louis, MO.
  • 1978 - The increasing number of individuals wanting to attend camp resulted in the construction of a second dorm. Sunshine lodge was built.
  • 1979 - Wisconsin Badger Camp decided to provide new programming and the horseback-riding program began.
  • 1980 - Accreditation by the American Camping Association was given to Wisconsin Badger Camp. Badger Camp also obtained two new additional buildings - an office and craft center.
  • 1984 - With the combined efforts of the State Eagle and the State Knights of Columbus, an in-ground 20' x 60' swimming pool was built. It was one of the first zero depth pools to be built in Southwest Wisconsin.
  • 1986 - A petting farm was built to provide a new interactive animal program at camp.
  • 1987-1996 - An ongoing cabin and outhouse project was developed so that one or two cabins or outhouses were being built each year at various sites.
  • 1990 - This year camp received three improvements. A recreation shed was built to help maintain and organize the vast amount of equipment used in this program. Camp also obtained a paved basketball court and a large portion of the camp road between the primary buildings was paved. The pavement provided a safer and more enjoyable experience for our campers.
  • 1991 - New addition to the kitchen and infirmary was completed, Cedar Lodge was also resided and a deck was built on the back to overlook the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers.
  • 1996 - 30th Anniversary. The camp season is now ten weeks long and will serve approximately 750 campers each summer. A laundry facility was also built and furnished with new industrial sized washing machines. The primary funding for this project came from the Badger Camp Staff Alumni.
  • 1997 - The State Knights of Columbus provided Badger Camp with the funds to build a camping shed. Local Knight of Columbus and other volunteers built the shed.
  • 1998 - A grant from the State Knights of Columbus provided Badger Camp with the funds to build a new Nature Center. Once again, local Knights of Columbus and other volunteers began construction of the building.
  • 1999 - The Nature Center was constructed by the Bloomington - Cassville - Glen Haven Council of the Knights of Columbus. Furnishings were donated by various organizations including Land's End.
  • 2000 - Wisconsin Badger Camp, in conjunction with the Prairie du Chien Rotary Club, participated in its single largest fundraiser. Badger Camp and the Prairie du Chien Rotary sold raffle tickets throughout the state to help construct a new lodge.
  • 2001 - Wisconsin Badger Camp celebrates 35 years of serving individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • 2002 - Through a grant from the Wisconsin State Knights of Columbus, Badger Camp is able to purchase two 26' x 30' teepees for the new Outpost Program. The Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation provided funding for the new program. Wisconsin Badger Camp is now able to serve an additional 140 campers each summer. Bringing the total to 900 campers!
  • 2003 - The State Eagles and Eagles Auxiliary took on Badger Camp as a state-wide project.
  • 2004 - From the funds provided by State Knights of Columbus, a new maintenance shed was constructed by the Bloomington/Glen Haven/Cassville KC Chapter.
  • 2005 - The bathrooms in Cedar Lodge get a much needed update.
  • 2006 - Eagle Lodge final construction was completed. The 40th Anniversary was celebrated with the unveiling of Eagle Lodge.
  • 2007 - Construction of Music Pavilion and Music Program began with the help of a matching grant from UW-Platteville & 3-M.
  • 2008 - The National Guard put in new culverts to improve the trails on camp. The Upper Mississippi Gaming Corp funded a new golf cart. A new well was installed. A new skid steer loader was purchased.
  • 2009 - A new trailer grill was funded by JCI Wisconsin. Air Conditioning was installed in the dining hall of Cedar Lodge. New dressers and beds were funded by American Legion Post 245.
  • 2010 - A master key system was installed at camp. A horse corral and mount were added to the Primitive Camp. The rescue vehicle was upgraded.
  • 2011 - The apartment and Sunshine Lodge were renovated. Bathroom partitions were installed in Sunshine Lodge and funded by American Legion Post 245. Additional staff lodging was added behind the Music Pavilion. Loren Bahr built an archery shed as part of his Eagle Scout Project. Wisconsin Badger Camp celebrated its 45th Anniversary. Dubuque Racing Association and JCI Wisconsin funded a tram.
  • 2012 - The walk-in cooler in Cedar Lodge was renovated. A dump truck was purchased. Dubuque Racing Association and JCI Wisconsin have donated funds for new hand-held radios.