For 29 years Camp Wapogasset Christmas Dinner Theaters have been well attended and cherished by guests. This year’s productions start Dec. 6 and run through the 15th of the month.
2018’s shows sold out more quickly than any in the past. 160 viewers will watch performers on each of the eight nights of performances. “Many people have made it a yearly tradition to attend, which is really special,” said Camp Wapo Executive Director Heather Eggert.
These evenings filled with three and a half hours of food, music and drama could never take place without the kind help of volunteers. Approximately 100 people between kitchen help, set-design, choir and cast make each night go off without a hitch.
If you have visited Wapo as a dinner theater guest, volunteer or as a camper, you have very likely noticed that they have outgrown their ability to serve all of their guests in the current dining hall. During the summer season, Wapo serves an average of 500 people per meal. To better serve close to 16,000 annual guests, a $3 million capital appeal known as “Gather” will fund an expansion and renovation to the current dining facility.
According to Wapo’s “Gather” website, “The current dining hall facility is not large enough to seat all of our summer campers at the same time for meals. Staggered meal times create a rushed mealtime environment. The hall is also not flexible to serve retreat groups in an accommodating way and it is not conductive to hosting special events. At Wapo we are lacking flexible meeting space for our retreat guests, especially during inclement weather, and finally, Wapo doesn’t have an obvious point of entry for our campers, parents and guests. It is difficult to know where to check in when you arrive.” This building will serve as the center of hospitality, community and fellowship. The public can do a one-time donation gift or do a pledge paid over three years.
This year’s dinner theater season brings an extra special gift to the community. A very generous family from Amery has offered to match every “Gather” gift that Wapo receives during the dinner theater season up to $25,000.
This family’s gift will impact thousands of people who are fortunate enough to visit the camp. For 70 years Wapo has served generations of campers and retreaters. It has provided a gathering place for summer campers, school visitors from area districts, retreat attendees from local hospitals, boards, churches and many more. An infinite amount of memories have been created at the treasured little lake settlement. The future opportunities for area groups to congregate and continue to make memories will be endless within the updated space.
The gathering space that it provides is only one of many reasons Camp Wapo is an asset to the community of Amery. The camp offers employment opportunities for both full and part time employees. Some are seasonal positions, while others keep workers busy year-round.
Wapo also draws people into the area when they visit. It is not uncommon for people to drive into town when traveling to or from the camp. Visitors buy gas, eat, shop, and have the opportunity to fall in love with Amery.
For anyone who would like more information on Gather, or to take the local family up on their thoughtful offer and make a donation to be matched, visit gatheratwapo.org. Donations can also be mailed to 738 Hickory Point Lane, Amery WI. 54001