The Wetfoot Blog

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Director of the Month - Jon Iltis

This month, the man behind the Camp Manito-wish YMCA property tells all about his team's tasks throughout the year. Property manager, Jon Iltis, gave us a back stage pass to the inner workings of camp and outlined how his team keeps Manito-wish running strong. He also filled us in on the big contruction projects that were tackled this winter.

The Camp Manito-wish YMCA facility in Boulder Junction is large and multi- faceted. Here are a few facts about camp.

•Located on approximately 300 acres of mostly forested land.
•Camp is on more than a mile of shoreline on Boulder Lake.
•As of the last count, there are more than 70 structures on site.
•There are 29 separate septic systems of all sizes and complexities.
•There are 19 different water systems ranging in size from our water tower system to the small hand pump at the Voyageur site.
•We currently have over two hundred beds that are usable throughout year with an additional 4 year-round staff homes. All of our winterized facilities have their own cooking amenities.
•Nash Lodge, the main dining hall, has a capacity of 408 during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. For the winter months, we can feed approximately 110 visitors comfortably in the Manito-wish Leadership Center.

The property management staff is employed with the task of ensuring the facilities are fully functional for programing. Over 3,000 participants utilize Manito-wish's property to some degree throughout each year and, as with all facilities, there are constant repairs and upgrades to be performed. Here is an outline of the seasonal tasks that our team tackle each year.


During the spring our focus is on finishing up winter projects and opening up and preparing the seasonal portion of the facility for the arrival of our summer staff and participants. The majority of clean-up is completed by the Memorial Day work weekend volunteers. As many as 150 volunteers prepare our buildings and grounds for the summer season. They clean all of our seasonal facilities, pick up the brush and firewood that has accumulated over the winter, split and stack firewood for the next year, install the piers, prepare the program areas and blow the pine needles and leaves off the roofs and gutters.


As Staff Training and Summer Camp begin we are primarily focused on helping to get the program staff settled into their program areas. We are kept busy with all the maintenance requests being submitted. As these request begin to slow, we begin to focus on the summer projects such as exterior painting.


As we transition from Summer Camp to our fall Leadership Program our focus remains on warm weather projects. The cooler weather leads to re-roofing, small construction projects, and the cutting of a lot of firewood! Prepping the facility for winter requires our attention as well: water systems get drained, piers are taken out, and much more. This is also the season where we prepare for any winter projects. Major construction projects such as a new facility will require ground work before the freeze-up.


During the winter months, our work is primarily indoors due to the inefficiencies associated with working in the cold. Our program focus during this time of year is on Manito-wish Groups and Leadership Groups. The majority of our time is spent on snow removal and the maintenance of our numerous cross country ski trails.

Most years we have either a new construction or extensive remodeling project. Occasionally, we don’t have one large project going on, but have a number of small jobs. Thus is the case this winter. During November and December we completed the third phase of the Schwartz Lodge renovation. The first stage being the bathrooms, the bedrooms phase two, and the kitchen, living room, and hallways in phase three. Currently we are working on projects such as signage upgrades, canoe painting, and bathroom remodeling in the caretaker's house. The cold months also allow for time to plan new construction projects that will begin in fall.

Then, with the cycle of the seasons, spring has arrived!
- Jon Iltis, Property Manager

We are very grateful for all that our Maintenance Team does to maintain Camp's facilities. Their work builds the infrastructure that enhances our program and contributes to the Manito-wish experience.

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