End of era for Badger Camp Telethon

Lennie Ballosh, General Staff

Since 1973, the Badger Camp Telethon has helped raise money for Badger Camp, a weeklong program for individuals with developmental disabilities. The telethon will be discontinued after its 41st year because of a lack of resources.

Last year the telethon raised over $74,000 through an auction and donations from the Platteville community. The money raised goes toward helping campers who need the money in order to attend the weeklong Badger Camp.

The telethon was aired in the Platteville community and the residence halls last year, as well as streamed online.

“All of our other resources that would distribute our cable signal have been allocated for other programs on these networks,” Russell Hill, production manager for media production services, said.

Prior to the networks cutting the telethon, citizens in southwestern Wisconsin could view the telethon on local television stations.

“We do not have the resources to continue doing the Wisconsin Badger Camp Telethon,” Hill said.

In order to get the telethon ready for showing, students and staff put in over 1,400 hours, most of which come from Media Technology Services staff.

The students spent over 540 hours last year to set up and prepare for the telethon. The students’ work is divided between filming the camp throughout the summer and doing practice runs for the telethon during the week leading up to the event.

“The week prior to telethon we [Media Technology Services] work our typical shifts along with our practice runs,” Tyler Tollefson, videographer and editor of media technology services, said. “Last year, I worked 147 hours.”

Fewer students volunteer every year at the telethon, increasing the workload for the staff and students who do help with the event.

“A huge chunk of the work is done by Media Production Services when it comes to getting the [studio] set ready,” Robert Snyder, professor of video production and media studies, said.

Snyder volunteers with the Telethon every year, as he and his video production crew fill a two-hour segment.

“I have been doing the Telethon off and on since 2001, mostly on,” Snyder said.

Every year, Media Technology Services staff puts up flyers and sends emails to inform the campus and alumni of the telethon. The telethon attracts alumni who come back to help by dedicating their time to volunteer.

The telethon includes a live call-in auction, for which Badger Camp and other company sponsors donate items to be auctioned off. Certain items are only up for auction during specific time slots while some are up throughout the entire telethon.

The telethon hosts a variety of talent live on television, the majority of which are music acts, live on television. There are three hosts throughout the telethon, who introduce auction items, talent acts and winners of auction items.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville students host the event and are chosen through an audition process.

The telethon will be making its 41st and final appearance on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 5-10 p.m.