History of Oneka
Since 1908, Camp Oneka for Girls has provided a supportive environment for girls to explore nature, make friends and expand personal experience. Starting with Ernest and Persis Sipple, the traditions of Oneka remain, and have changed the lives of countless Oneka campers over the years.
The Sipples opened Camp Oneka in 1908 and moved to the current site on Fairview Lake in 1910. They built the “Lodge” as the first camp building, with a large center room and side rooms for various program areas. The girls stayed all summer, washed their clothes in the lake, and slept in tents along the lakefront. The first cabins for younger campers were built in 1934. The Sipples owned and directed camp until 1940, when Henrietta and Emily Deubler took over camp operations. The present buildings, organization and ongoing traditions of the camp can be attributed largely to their leadership. The Paulins, Lou and "T", worked for the Deublers and, in 1973, assumed full operating responsibilities. In 1986, the Dohners joined the Paulins and in 1987, Dale and Barbara began directing Oneka, becoming the new owners in October, 1991. In 2013, Kevin Mackrell and Rebecca (Dohner) Mackrell joined Dale and Barbara as Directors and have since assumed Director responsibilities of Camp Oneka.
We believe that camp provides an experience that can teach self reliance, cooperation, independence, environmental awareness, and numerous other valuable lessons in a truly unique way. We encourage campers to try everything by scheduling many of their activities but we allow for their preferences by providing free choice time several times weekly. This insures a well-rounded camp experience.
We are also committed to the girls camp concept as a means of allowing girls to enjoy new experiences in a supportive, non-threatening, non-judgmental environment. We believe that Oneka's environment helps girls shed stereotypes that may limit their growth in reaching their full potential by participating in new activities and experiencing leadership opportunities. Activities with neighboring boy's camps provide a balance in our camp program without the constant daily distracting or inhibiting interaction.