AFL-CIO Community Services Director Will Fischer sends us this report on union members pitching in to make a camp for people with disabilities more accessible.
Since 1959, Camp Pow Wow in Menomonee Park has provided outdoor recreational opportunities for adults and children with disabilities. During the past two years, unions from the Waukesha County (Wis.) Labor Council have donated funds—and most important—their time and talents to make the 470-acre park’s trails and other facilities more accessible.
Earlier this month, volunteers from 10 of the council’s unions and AFL-CIO Community Services liaison Kurt Schmidt built five ramps and railings in the park in a project for the Association for the Rights of Citizens with handicaps (ARCh). Last year, union volunteers constructed four other ramps and railings. Those accessibility projects mean campers won’t have to struggle to participate.
Jeff Arnold, president of the Waukesha County Labor Council when the project began last year, says:
Union members are community members first and foremost. We fight for access and equality on the job, and we want our kids to be able to enjoy the great outdoors with ease and dignity as well.
The camp offers residential and day camp options for people of all ages with a variety of abilities. As one of the first camps in the area established to serve people with disabilities, Camp Pow Wow is committed to accommodating all needs—no one is turned away due to disability or financial circumstance. Says Schmidt:
I’m proud to say I’m a union member and proud to work with the United Way in Waukesha County. This year in Wisconsin, I could not be more proud of the unions that rally in Madison for each other and still find time to help their community. This is what a union looks like.
Volunteers included Painters and Allied trades (IUPAT) Local 781, Sheet Metal Workers (SMWIA) Local 18, Carpenters (UBC) Local 344, Machinists (IAM) locals 66 and 1377, Bricklayers (BAC) Local 8, Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals 494 and 2150, Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local 599, Laborers (LIUNA) Local 113 and the Directly Affiliated Local Union 2411.