Graduation day just the beginning of lifelong friendships

Six families with University of Wisconsin Oshkosh ties have gone camping together every fourth weekend of July since 1985.

The core camping group includes: Denise Wirth ’82, and Thomas Wirth ’81, of Eau Claire; Michael Weber ’81, and Lynn Weber of Eau Claire; Sue O’Brien ’82, and Tracy O’Brien ’80, of Ripon; Doug Waterman ’81 and Renee Waterman ’83, of Appleton; Gene Woelfel ’81, of New Holstein; and Ron Jacobs ’81, and Cheryl Jacobs ’82, of Pewaukee. Sometimes the families’ children join the camping trips, extending the UWO legacy another generation.

“It is interesting that some of the children have started their own college camping weekend,” Woelfel said. “I think we may have instilled the importance of keeping connected with your friends and planning a weekend to enjoy everyone.”

Camping is a great time for everyone to catch up and share memories.

“It has been really neat watching our children grow,” Sue O’Brien said. “We enjoy each other’s company and are interested in keeping up with what our families are doing.”

Over the years, the campers have enjoyed swimming, fishing, canoeing, beach volleyball, tie-dying shirts and karaoke.

Denise Wirth said the former classmates have all managed to stay together because they have a lot in common and miss each other when apart. They all went through major life events at the same time, such as graduating from college, building their careers and having children.

“We’ve been through good and bad together,” she said. “And 
it’s just so comforting to know you can count on someone who knows you well. These people are a really solid, caring, loyal group of individuals.”

Written by Jenny Goldade ’17

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