When you think of Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort in Volo, you don't often think of a score card. But you'll need one. Not for the visitors to the popular resort. It's for the 75 years and five generations of ownership.
Alfred & Emilie Keil founded the resort in 1939.
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To honor their humble beginning, the families will host a 75th anniversary beach party on May 31, as well as other events throughout the summer.
A love for the lake and the resort has kept the business and traditions going. There have been many family members involved.
The founders had a daughter, Yvonne Keil. Yvonne, the second generation, married Delmar Maassel and they had two daughters Yvonne Cheryl, known as YC, and Desiree, now the third generation.
YC is married to Randy Crow and they have two children, Christiana Crow and Joshua Crow, known as the fourth generation.
Christiana is married to Rory Hebel and they have one son, Christopher, the fifth generation.
Desiree married Bob Jung and they have three children, Ryan, Connor and Delaney, part of that fourth generation.
"We lost our mom to cancer 5 years ago, she was the true visionary for Fish Lake and we still often think 'What would mom do?' when making decisions about Fish Lake," Desiree Jung said.
So they're going to honor their founder grandparents by celebrating the 75th anniversary on May 31 with a beach party, including a DJ and dancing on the beach along with games, prizes and birthday cake.
Desiree and YC said that the property was bought by Alfred Keil in 1939 while his wife, Emilie and daughter, Yvonne, were visiting relatives in Switzerland. When Emilie and Yvonne returned, Alfred, then a butcher in Chicago, showed them the "fishing camp" he purchased.
Since then, the property has increased from 40 acres to about 160 acres, including 80 of those acres used for campers. The family is looking to update or change amenities to accommodate visitors who enjoy fishing in the lake or swimming in the pool.
Over the years, guest cabins came and went and tents overtook campsites in the 1960s. Now campsites are checkered with a combination of park homes, recreational vehicles, campers and tents, they said.
Fishing from pier or rowboat, enjoying ice cream or a hot dog at the general store, cooking at campsites and squishing toes in the sand never go out of style, they said.
Paddle boats, outdoor movies, sand volleyball, themed dances under the pavilion, pool games and sitting around a campfire have become tradition.
"The industry is changing again and we're looking into other recreational things," Desiree said. "We want to keep up with the hospitality industry."
YC, a registered nurse, said their family always encouraged the children to find their own path in life, but many still returned to Fish Lake to build their family business.
"I worked during the season and then the other six months as a nurse," YC said. But eventually she became full-time helping out at Fish Lake.
Desiree is an audiologist, but she mostly works at Fish Lake.
"My true love is Fish Lake," said Desiree.
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