Reeling in Memories

May 14, 2024

Menomonee Valley

Summer Camps

How one Camp Experience Turns into Summers Full of Fun

What’s your favorite fish? This is likely a question you don't get asked often. Well…unless you are a summer camper at the Urban Ecology Center. With flowing rivers and a big blue lake in our backyard, having a “favorite fish” is common here! 

During our Adventures & Fishing summer camp in the Menomonee Valley, Korbin (pictured below) not only discovered his favorite fish, he caught it – a smallmouth bass! Other water wonders in his catch were bluegills and even a snapping turtle.

For Korbin - and many campers like him - this was his first time fishing! He enjoyed being able to “just look at them for a little bit and then release them”. When you try something for the first time it can be a daunting task, but the right mentor can make all the difference! Korbin praised his camp leader, “Miguel taught us how to use the hook right and make sure you don’t hurt anybody or yourself”.

Left: Korbin, an African American Korbin, UEC Summer Camper & Milwaukee middle schooler holding a fishing rod and a caught fish on a line. Right: Two UEC Summer Campers hold their fish by the mouth before releasing them.
Left: Korbin  UEC Summer Camper & Milwaukee middle schooler holding a fishing rod and a caught fish on a line. Right: Two UEC Summer Campers proudly hold their fish before release.

Korbin’s grandmother, Jane, explained that, “sometimes it's the people with the kids who really get them excited. Everyone at the UEC is just very nice and enthusiastic about nature.”

Connecting to nature in this way has been really profound for Korbin. His favorite thing about summer camp is the wildlife. He explained that “going to the zoo is kinda like going into nature; it shows you animals that you've never seen before”.

Jane is ecstatic to see her grandson enjoying the outdoors and, grateful for the opportunity: “UEC offered us a really nice scholarship because we do need scholarships. That’s probably the only way he’d be going to this camp”. Your support makes scholarships possible - with over40% of our campers receiving assistance each year.

Jane and Korbin are eager to utilize community offerings (and the “new, big, beautiful building”) at Washington Park now, too. Their plans include walking the trails, fishing on the lagoon, and attending seasonal festivals. We always encourage our summer campers to visit again with their families. Our hope is that the first experience at summer camp will turn into a second and third, with a lifetime of outdoor adventures ahead! 

Make a Summer Camp Gift!

By making a gift today, you’ll give a child the opportunity to catch their first, and maybe favorite, fish - just like Korbin!

Click here to make a Summer Camp Gift today

Past Employee
Guest Author
Development Communications Manager

Michelle is UEC's Development Communications Manager. With a degree in Zoology and Environmental Studies, she began her career as a zookeeper. An American badger remains her favorite animal - having raised one from a cub. After making some difficult professional decisions, Michelle ended up in the nonprofit sector where she’s happily stayed for 8+ years.  Having started in January 2022, she still feels incredibly lucky to be part of the UEC team - a team who, like her, cares deeply about the environment and those, both human and not, that depend on it. When she’s not at the UEC, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband, two young children and their deaf English setter.

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