Lessons from Camp Meenahga of Peninsula State Park, 1916-1948

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Transformation in Changing Times: Lessons from Camp Meenahga with Kathleen Harris

What can a twentieth century girls camp tell us about ourselves and today’s Door County community? Camp Meenahga (Peninsula State Park, 1916-1948) offers surprising stories of intention and resilience. Camp yearbooks, written by girls like “Angel of Bataan” Adolpha Meyer and Aldo Leopold’s niece Edith, allude to issues that vexed our nation then and now: shifting gender roles, contrived social divisions, and the provocative intersection of athleticism and femininity. Meenahga thrived for over thirty years. It survived a crushing financial crisis and two global world wars, yet always offered exhilarating summer fun. How did Meenahga do it? And can we cultivate similar things in our lives to do the same?

Kathleen Harris is the author of From the Lookout: Peninsula State Park’s Summer Camp for Girls (2020, Wisconsin Historical Society Press). After twenty-five years as Peninsula’s naturalist, she now works as an educator at the Ephraim Historical Foundation.