Our Mission

We strive to facilitate learning through time spent in awe and wonder, and to inspire people to investigate the many facets of the world around them.

Memberships

From a quick visit to enjoy the cafe area and free wifi, to meandering through the gift shop, to a full day of interacting with the exhibits, there are many options available to satisfy different commitments and budgets.

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Volunteering

Can you start a conversation with anyone? Do you like to take little ideas and guide ways to make them come true? Do you like to create and build? We would love it if you would help us aim high for our community!

Get plugged in today!

What we’re about

COGnition is museum style center, full of interactive exhibits that offer hands-on learning opportunities, while being fun and interesting for kids of all ages. This is a place where families can come make memories, generations can connect over shared discoveries and experience, and our youth can see horizons of interest and possibility open before them. May the community be empowered, guests be enlightened, and minds of all ages be challenged and inspired! It may be a small start, but this is just the beginning!

Each person is valuable and has unique perspective. Staff, volunteers and customers will all be treated with respect, honesty and appreciation.
Learning should be fun and breathe new life.
COGnition’s exhibits, atmosphere, and play will encourage creativity.
COGnition desires opportunities for growth and positive change.

Discovery, exploration, and finding knowledge will drive us.
Families of all shapes and sizes are life companions to explore, learn, and play with.
COGnition was founded on the perception of God’s hand all around us, and the center will strive to highlight the awe and majesty of how intricate the workings of creation are, no matter where people are coming from or what they believe.

Bringing Interactive Discovery and Innovative Inspiration to Northern Michigan

Board of Directors

Kimmee Wenkel

President and Co-founder


Kimberlee has a BA in Family Life Education, college and post graduate experience in fine art, over five years working for a Nonprofit, five years of experience managing volunteers, and the life experience of being the mother of four elementary school age children living in Beulah. Her career includes eight years of child education experience through helping with junior and senior high youth groups and teaching elementary grades at Bay Point Community Church. Through this volunteer involvement and Children’s Ministry position and she has gleaned from the experiences of speaking and organizing for large groups, programing small group activities, leading a team of volunteers, retreat and day camp involvement, and being an integral part of hands-on learning. Kimberlee has also gained invaluable experience and perspective from multiple human service missions within the states as well as two international projects. She is currently involved in the community as a coach for 4-H youth soccer (4 yrs.) and has coached Odyssey of the Mind for the past two years and maintains a level of adventure as she and her husband have a small backyard farm and love to camp, hike, and spend long days roaming the local beaches.

Laura Stanwick

Vice President, Sectary, and Co-founder

Laura’s career, through her BS in Occupational Therapy (using hands-on activities to facilitate and enhance function) brings multiple job experiences; from working in a private psychiatric facility and school-based POHI program, to multiple years working with Developmentally Disabled school-age and adult populations. She served on the Michigan Occupational Therapy Board of Management for many years and Chaired District OT organizations in the North Metro Detroit area and then in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Later, her career took a dramatic shift to hospital-based outpatient Hand Therapy, and then expanded during her last 10 years of practice at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital to include general outpatient rehab and treatment of long term care residents. Post graduate work also includes courses in graphic art and design at Northwestern Michigan College, and marketing duties for a small company in Traverse City for several years. Laura is a mother of 2, grandmother of 6, and lives with her husband Roger, in Frankfort.

Kimberlee Wenkel

President and Co-founder


Kimberlee has a BA in Family Life Education, college and post graduate experience in fine art, over five years working for a Nonprofit, five years of experience managing volunteers, and the life experience of being the mother of four elementary school age children living in Beulah. Her career includes eight years of child education experience through helping with junior and senior high youth groups and teaching elementary grades at Bay Point Community Church. Through this volunteer involvement and Children’s Ministry position and she has gleaned from the experiences of speaking and organizing for large groups, programing small group activities, leading a team of volunteers, retreat and day camp involvement, and being an integral part of hands-on learning. Kimberlee has also gained invaluable experience and perspective from multiple human service missions within the states as well as two international projects. She is currently involved in the community as a coach for 4-H youth soccer (4 yrs.) and has coached Odyssey of the Mind for the past two years and maintains a level of adventure as she and her husband have a small backyard farm and love to camp, hike, and spend long days roaming the local beaches.

Laura Stanwick

Vice President, Sectary, and Co-founder

Laura’s career, through her BS in Occupational Therapy (using hands-on activities to facilitate and enhance function) brings multiple job experiences; from working in a private psychiatric facility and school-based POHI program, to multiple years working with Developmentally Disabled school-age and adult populations. She served on the Michigan Occupational Therapy Board of Management for many years and Chaired District OT organizations in the North Metro Detroit area and then in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Later, her career took a dramatic shift to hospital-based outpatient Hand Therapy, and then expanded during her last 10 years of practice at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital to include general outpatient rehab and treatment of long term care residents. Post graduate work also includes courses in graphic art and design at Northwestern Michigan College, and marketing duties for a small company in Traverse City for several years. Laura is a mother of 2, grandmother of 6, and lives with her husband Roger, in Frankfort.

Julie Bretzke

Board Member

Julie is a native of Benzie County and a third generation retail hardware owner in Benzonia for 17 years. She and her husband Jeff live in Beulah with their four children, ages 9-17. She’s been an officer and member of the Benzie Area Zonta Club service organization since 2005. She has also served on the Crystal Lake Coop Preschool Board, the Crystal Lake PTC and as a member of the Crystal Lake Community / Business Association. Julie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Lake Superior State University.

Subha Chako

Board Treasurer

Subha is a supportive individual with a true servant’s heart. Among her various talents are skills and education in accounting and multiple certifications in the office management field (NMC). Subha was hired as Benzonia Township Deputy Clerk in 2016, and recently received her realtor license and began her realtor career at Coldwell Banker in Benzonia. Subha is an active mother of two children, 11 and 13, in BC Schools. She has been a dedicated and dependable volunteer at Crystal Lake elementary since moving to the area from downstate in 2011.

Sylvia Bennett

Board Member

Sylvia is the Master trainer/ nurse planner at NADONA/LTC. Over her career she has shown her skills and knowledge in her leadership position as the Director of Nursing at multiple facilities including Fulton Medical Care, Rivendell, HCR, and most recently Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital. She has also been Nurse Consultant Equipment Sales at Save Medical Supply. Sylvia completed her studies at Wayne County Community College, Wayne State University, and Graceland University. Sylvia currently lives in Frankfort with her husband Charlie, and serves as the consultant to a legal firm representing facilities in multiple states. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of four.

Rosemary Naulty

Board Member

Rosemary earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Dayton and has since blessed multiple institutions with her knowledge and talent, including United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. Among other valuable contributions and achievements, Rosemary was responsible for creating the Revitalize Consulting Network, a firm dedicated to business development, management, product delivery and customer service. She served as the Development Director at the Springfield Museum of Art and is now the Manager of Institutional Advancement for Antioch University. She has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector both professionally and through the years of dedicated volunteer services in multiple counties in Ohio, where she raised her four children. Rosemary and her husband Jeff are in the process of settling into their new home in Beulah.

Do you like to go above and beyond?