Bill’s Wiffling Camp

Everybody Wiffs

Approximately 60 kids, many of whom attend Parker, swarm around Cafe Brauer in the Lincoln Park Zoo screaming with anticipation. They sport t-shirts that say: “Bill’s Wiffling Camp.” Bill’s claims to be the only wiffle ball camp in existence.

Bill O’Donnell started the camp in 2002. “A parent asked me to take her son and friends to do something fun since they weren’t in camp and school hadn’t started yet,” O’Donnell said. “We went to the park and played wiffle ball, and after that, a few more kids joined.” This was the beginning of Bill’s Wiffling Camp.

The camp is held next to the Lincoln Park Zoo, more or less two blocks East of Parker. The first week takes place at the beginning of summer in June, and the second week is towards the end of summer in August. This year, there were over 60 kids in attendance each week. “This was the most Wifflers we’ve ever had,” O’Donnell said. “We expanded from just a few kids to six teams and three fields to meet our enrollment demand.”

There are many members of Bill’s Wiffle Ball Camp. Sophomore Matthew Gordon has been attending the camp for 4 years. “I really like the atmosphere and the competitiveness,” Gordon said. “Everyone seems to enjoy themselves whether winning or losing.”

O’Donnell changes the camp up a bit every year. “Each year we change the theme and create new team names,” O’Donnell said. Past themes include Star Wars, superheroes, sport movies and fast food restaurants. “The format of the camp stays the same,” O’Donnell said. “A game is played in the morning and a game in the afternoon.”

There are many traditions within the camp. Sophomore Caleb Schatz has been attending for nine years, and enjoys many of the traditions. “Receiving baseball cards is one of the all time favorite traditions,” Schatz said.

“At the end of each day Wifflers get a new pack of baseball cards and old-time candy,” said O’Donnell. “We eat freeze pops and sunflower seeds all day.” There is also a Dopest Jersey fashion show which take place to display the campers favorite jerseys. Additionally, there is a Home Run Derby and there are competitions for the fastest runner, the strongest wiffler, and the wiffler with the most accurate arm. The week is topped off with Finals Friday, a tournament in which all teams take part in.

“My favorite part of the camp is Finals Friday,” Gordon said. “It is a great way to end a great week of wiffle ball.”

If you stick with the camp for years but become too old to be a camper, there is something for you, too. “They enter the Wiffling Hall of Fame and become counselors the next summer,” O’Donnell said. The camp has been going for sixteen years and it looks like it is not stopping any time soon.