Bugs 'N Bunks: Summer Camp for Little Ones!
May 24th, 2013 by Mark B. Olson, YMCA Camp Pendalouan
YMCA Camp Pendalouan's traditional Sunday through Friday overnight camp is offered for boys and girls ages 7-15, but what about younger kids or first time campers who want to experience the magic of Pendalouan, but aren't ready for that full week yet?
Have no fear! Camp Pendalouan's Bugs 'N Bunks Program is here!
Our Bugs 'N Bunks Program is for boys and girls ages 6-8 and lasts three days and two nights. Younger and/or first time campers will thoroughly enjoy this introductory overnight experience.
Our little "Bugs" move around as a cabin group and do a wide variety of activities including:
- Face painting
- Nature hikes
- Parachute games
- Visiting the horse barn
- Climbing wall
- Campfires and more!
The Bugs 'N Bunks program is run by specially trained staff who guide their cabin groups throughout all the activities. Many have been working with the Bugs 'N Bunks program for several summers!
Our two Bugs 'N Bunks mini-sessions are offered during the same week of our Resident Camp Session Two.
- The first "Bugs" session (B1) is from Sunday, June 23-Tuesday, June 25.
- The second "Bugs" session (B2) is from Wednesday, June 26-Friday, June 28.
We still have spots available in both B1 and B2, but spaces are filling fast! A limited amount of financial aid is also still available. As of May 2, this is what we have available:
June 23-25 B1 FULL for girls; 4 spots avail for boys
June 26-28 B2 2 spots avail for girls; 8 spots avail for boys
SIGN UP TODAY to make sure your little one gets to experience the magic of Pendalouan Summer Camp! Camp Pendalouan also has programs for boys and girls ages 7-16, as well as teens and families. If you have any questions about any of our programs, give us a call at (231) 894-4538 or email email@example.com. We'll see you this summer!
West Michigan Summer Camps Reach 100th Anniversary
April 10th, 2013 by GRCF
Two West Michigan summer camps will have extra reason to celebrate when this year’s sessions begin. YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin and Camp Roger are each enjoying their centennial anniversaries.
While much has changed in a century, some aspects of the camps have not. Doug Vanderwell, executive director of Camp Roger, said “Camp Roger's mission, feel, and style have remained almost unchanged.” Campers can also still enjoy games played in the 1940s.
Greg Dodd, executive director of YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin, said that while Camp Manitou-Lin’s mission and location have been unchanged since 1913, the world around the camp has evolved. Lake Barlow, where the camp is located, had just two homes on its shores when Manitou-Lin was founded. Now the camp shares the lake with over 280 private residences. Manitou-Lin has also transitioned from hosting only boys to serving campers of all genders, and has grown from 30 acres to 160.
It is unsurprising that, over the course of a century, an organization face some difficult times. According to Vanderwell, there was a time when finding counselors at Camp Roger was a challenge.
“During World War II it became very hard to find male counselors,” Vanderwell said. “During the height of the war, many of our staff members were drafted.”
Each camp attributes its continued success to unwavering support of the community and campers.
“Camp has always been very well supported by the Greater Grand Rapids Community,” said Dodd. “Those that have attended camp in the past solidify the future. Their experience was so valuable to them, that they would make sure nothing would happen to camp.”
Doug Vanderwell echoes Dodd’s statement and adds that families are very loyal to Camp Roger.
“Generations of families return to camp because they want their children and grandchildren to have the same fantastic experience that they had when they were campers,” Vanderwell said.
Camps that have been around for 100 years have seen time and time again the benefits that adolescents get from a summer camp experience.
“Camps are a very safe place that will allow you to take chances, meet new friends and have experiences that will last a lifetime,” Dodd said. He said that young people “experience life differently” at camp.
Vanderwell acknowledged that campers learn to problem solve, make decisions and navigate friendships while at camp. Camp is also a place where they can discover their gifts and talents.
“What I think really keeps campers coming back,” Vanderwell said, “is the friendships that they make at camp. Kids can have fun at the mall or the beach or at Cedar Point but at Camp Roger they make lifelong friends.”
Neither camp sees its 100th anniversary as a reason to stop developing. Manitou-Lin has plans to renovate structures, like the camp lodge and welcome center, and build additional facilities. A new nature center and trail will also be added and renovations to cabins will be made. The camp is also partnering with the National Inclusion Project to become totally inclusive.
Camp Roger is heading toward its sixth year of record enrollment. The camp will continue to attract new campers by adding activities and attractions. Additions for 2013 summer sessions include a giant rope swing and a hammock village.
Camp Roger is holding a 100 year celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. The public will be able to experience summer camp activities like archery, zip lining and canoeing. Birthday cake will be served, and a special Reunion Dinner will be held for past staff and counselors.
Camp Manitou-Lin will be “Embracing the Past, Celebrating the Future” at their 100th year celebration on Saturday, June 8 from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Michigan Summer Camps Made Me...Me!
April 8th, 2013 by Jason Sherod, Bohemian Adventure
“Non-camp people don’t understand it and camp people can’t explain it.” This is the expression I use when attempting to explain summer camp to my friends and family. It’s difficult to put into words how important camp is to me.
Growing up I spent my summers at a day camp not far from where I live in Michigan. My time at camp taught me what patience, teamwork, leadership, friendship, and life were really all about. My life was scheduled out from the time I was a little boy. The sport of choice for me was baseball. Growing up I played on several travel teams. That meant from August until May I was traveling all over Michigan playing baseball. My life was scheduled to school-baseball-sleep. It was nice, but I didn’t have any time to just be a kid.
Summer camp became that outlet for me. At camp I was able to have fun. I was able to play games and make friends. I had a blast and I didn’t even realize all of the lessons I was learning along the way.
Fast forward to now and I have been working summer camps for the last six years and I’m still growing. I attribute who I am today to camp. My outgoing, happy personality is partly a reflection of all the wonderful kids and friends I have met along the way. My best of friends are all camp people. I love that I get to be a big brother to so many kids at camp. It’s great to get to know them and be there for them during the summer. As an adult it’s easy to live a stressful life. Camp is the perfect time to slow down a bit and enjoy the ride! It’s a magical place where in a few short days strangers become best friends.
I cannot wait to start this brand new journey at Bohemian Adventure this summer.
Jason Sherod is a first year trip leader for Bohemian Adventure this summer. He is from Lansing, Michigan and attends Michigan State University. He enjoys anything outdoors- especially hiking, mountain biking, and climbing.
Spotlight On: Specialty Camps
April 1st, 2013 by GRCF
A great benefit of summer camps is that they offer the chance to try new activities. Many of our West Michigan Summer Camps offer unique experiences, like horseback riding or wilderness training, to campers. These opportunities can introduce campers to new hobbie or hone skills that they already have. YMCA Camp Pendalouan, a resident and day camp in Montague, MI, has many activities that it encourages its campers to try.
Campers at Pendalouan are able, when they arrive at camp, to choose between activities like archery, crafts, mountain biking and drama. Each day they are at camp campers get a chance to learn and grow in these areas. On Thursdays, campers have an extended, two-hour block so they can do activities that can't be done in the normal activity time-frame.
Camp Pendalouan also offers four Specialty Camps that allow even more time in certain program areas. These campers get two hours each day (and four on Thursday) to spend in their Specialty Camps. Below are the Specialty Camps that Pendalouan offers.
Ropers & Wranglers Camp (ages 10-15)
Campers spend half of each day on a horse, at the barn, and on special trail rides. Work hard, have fun, ride horses, have fun, shovel manure, have fun! Available during all resident camp sessions.
Fine Arts Camp (ages 10-15)
Campers are exposed to a wide variety of art mediums including ceramics, painting with acrylics, and drawing with pastels, charcoal and pencils. Available during resident camp sessions 1 and 5.
Aquatics Camp (ages 10-15)
Each morning or afternoon brings a different aquatics focus such as kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling in Turtle Bay, tubing, and swimming. Available during resident camp sessions 2, 4, and 5.
Leaders-In-Training Camp (for 15-year olds)
Each July, we offer experienced campers who are 15-years old a Leaders-in-Training program. This six-day experience allows these students to build a close and respectful community while enhancing their own positive attributes and leadership skills. Available during resident camp session 4 only.
Last year, many of these Specialty Camps had waiting lists! It is encouraged that campers are signed up today at pendalouan.org. Parents can sign up their campers for Specialty Camps during registration. If you have questions, call Camp Pendalouan at (231) 894-4538.
March 27th, 2013 by Ashleigh Munch, Camp Henry
A major goal for our ministry this year is to improve our connectedness to campers year-round. We’ve always hoped that the camp experience would be much more than 6 great days of fun during the summer – but that camp would make a lifelong impact on our campers and guests. We’ve begun branching out in new ways – such as increased utilization of social media, hosting more year-round retreats and events, and providing easier routes for campers and staff to stay connected throughout the year.
In some ways, you might say we want our campers to be rooted in what we do and who we are as a camp. So much so, that we actually have made it our theme for this year. We hope that our message and way of life takes root and that they are able to grow and branch out after they leave camp. Providing more avenues for them to be refreshed and reminded of what camp is all about assists in that growth process, as well as being an excellent opportunity for camp staff to be reminded of why we do what we do.
Our most successful effort has been to introduce “Camp Henry Live” Events. These events have taken place once a month and have been an excellent tool to keep relationships going and keep camp on the mind of campers and parents. We began by having a camper or family host an evening in their home where we’d sing camp songs, do skits, play games, and have a short message. They have expanded into finding other fun places to visit – such as an indoor trampoline park!
The success and life-change that occurs at camp is often a result of the amazing relationships that are built in this environment. We’d strongly encourage you to find ways to stay connected to your camp throughout the year and allow camp to become an even bigger part of your camper’s development and roots. Take advantage of the ways you might be able to maintain relationships throughout the year – be it on social media platforms or even by visiting events sponsored by your camp of choice. Encourage those roots to grow and engage in the places you’ve come to consider a second home!
Program Director, Camp Henry
Two Camps Added to Camp Guide
March 22nd, 2013 by
Registration for nearly all of our summer camps has begun. Has your camper found their right fit? If not, West Michigan Summer Camps has more camp experiences to tell you about! We recently added two unique camps, Bohemian Adventure and Circle Pines Center, to our Camp Guide.
Bohemian Adventure is an active travel camp filled with exploration, learning and discovery. Campers 9-15 years old can step out of their routine and connect with the natural world on bike trails and in campgrounds. Bohemian Adventure campers bike from Kalamazoo to the Lake Michigan coast and back during their session, and will also experience hiking, outdoor cooking, arts & crafts and wilderness education. To participate campers must provide their own bicycle, helmet and tent.
Circle Pines Center is a co-ed residential camp that combines traditional summer camp with cooperative work projects (construction, organic gardening, trail maintenance). Campers learn cooperation by completing daily chores and participate in a variety of educational activities centered on topics like climate change, food politics and social justice. Circle Pines Center is open to campers age 7-17, and also has weekend family programs.
Both Bohemian Adventure and Circle Pines Center offer camp scholarships. See their West Michigan Summer Camps listings for more details.
What Kids Gain From a Camp Experience
February 11th, 2013 by Dave Nieuwsma, Camp Roger
I’ve been a counselor at Camp Roger for the past few summers, and my favorite part about being a returning counselor is having campers remember my name. It’s the best feeling to have a camper come back the next summer and remind you who they are and how much fun they had with you last year. It’s no wonder campers come back to camp year after year.
Kids love camp, and they gain valuable experiences from being at camp for a week- whether they realize it or not. From a counselor point of view, I think there are three main reasons that campers come back again and again.
Summer camp offers experiences that push kids out of their comfort zone. Before going down the zip line at Camp Roger, campers hear the ropes ranger encouraging them to challenge themselves as much as they can – a “challenge by choice.” To some, this means flying down the zip line backwards, blindfolded, or with no hands. To others, just going “on-belay” and getting a foot off the ground is challenge enough! Every camper has something that makes them a bit nervous at camp, and that’s a good thing. Touching a snake at the nature center when you are deathly afraid of snakes is challenging. Sleeping in the woods is a little scary, but it’s often the favorite part of the week for campers. It’s good for all of us to challenge ourselves, and camp gives all kinds of opportunities for that to happen.
Summer camp also lets kids be kids. When I was little, I would run around the woods in my backyard after school. My siblings and I would spend hours building forts out of dead trees, finding the best walking stick, and staining our jeans with dirt. I think kids generally spend too much time inside watching TV or playing every organized sport offered at their school. Kids need time to be kids, and camp gives campers chances to jump in mud puddles and get soaked, to play a huge game of Capture the Flag, or to pick up a snake slithering through the woods, building lifelong memories.
Finally, summer camp lets kids appreciate God in the glory of His creation. Our mission at Camp Roger is to reveal and celebrate God’s love for God’s children through experiences in God’s world. As a counselor, I am called to show this mission to each camper I have. One of the best times that I get to fulfill this is on our campout, where I lead a dozen excited campers into the woods for a night sleeping in the middle of God’s creation. We all pitch our tents, we prepare our dinner, and we play a couple fun-filled rounds of kick the can before ending the evening with devotions around the dying embers of the campfire. It’s at this moment that I often ask my campers to look up at the stars, listen to the frogs and crickets, and take it all in. After a few seconds of awestruck silence, the campers share how they’ve seen God at work around them, and the comments they share reflect the awe they feel. It’s experiences like these that help kids to grow in amazing ways that can only come from being immersed in His creation and being immersed in His love – which, year after year, God continues to do at camp.
Camper Openings at Camp Blodgett
June 12th, 2012 by Jim Guilfoyle, Camp Blodgett
Camp Blodgett has space for more campers in Session 1: June 18 – 22 for 8 to 11 year old boys and girls, and in Session 2: June 25-29 for kids 11 through 13.
If you have kids whose families are stretched financially, these are the sessions for them.
Registration forms will be accepted right up to 5pm Friday afternoon (June 15) for session 1.
Plus, if you are considering signing up your child for Blodgett session 1 or 2, print off this $5.00 coupon!
Camp fires, group sing-alongs, swimming and more can only mean one thing - Summer Camp Season has arrived!
June 5th, 2012 by By GRCF
Getting ready to send your child off to summer camp can be nerve-racking, difficult and exciting for all.
The experience may be completely new for your family, or it may be an old summer routine, either way, you and your loved ones are in for a day, a week or a whole summer of fantastic moments.
So, what do you do now?
“It is important to prepare your child for a camp experience, whether it is for a one-week sleep away camp near your town or a four-week camp out-of-state,” said Myra Pravda, RN, MSN at offtocamp.com.
Some tips and tricks of the trade:
- Go over the daily schedule with your child so there are no surprises.
- Learn as much as you can about camp life – for your own mindset and for your child.
- Send letters before camp begins so mail is waiting when he/she arrives.
- Don't buy expensive clothing for camp because clothes tend to get dirty, torn, scratched, grass stains, etc.
- Put the camper's name on everything from clothes to toothpaste.
- Send along pictures of your family and pets so your child can show them to his/her bunk mates.
- Pack some of your child's favorite pre-packaged goodies.
- Prepare yourself for your child going off to camp.
For more on Choosing a Camp, Preparing for Camp, Packing Tips and Camp Health – checkout these helpful Blogs and Websites:
A Day In The Life of A John Ball Zoo Summer Discovery Camper
May 29th, 2012 by GRCF
Fellow campers line the walkways, saying goodbyes, talking with teachers, and creating chalk pictures on the sidewalks. In a few minutes camp is off and running! We head inside to our classroom to talk about the day’s adventures. Our class is called Animal Survivor and we’re learning about how different animals survive in their habitats.
Miss Jen reads us a very funny story about an opossum and then explains how they play dead to trick their predators! As we head across the park to the zoo entrance we spy another class heading towards us, Miss Jen shouts “Danger” and we hit the ground to play opossum, a quick “danger’s gone” lets us know that we can wake back up and head on our way!
Today, we are exploring the North American animals. The otter is using its tail as a rudder while it swims and we are all impressed with how well the bobcat climbs around her exhibit. The bears show us some of their survival skills as they dig in their new sandbox! Upon leaving the bear exhibit Miss Jen chants our class motto “Only the clever survive,” we all follow with a hefty “huh!”
Miss Jen leads us down the hill to visit more animals up close in our animal demonstration. A zoo volunteer, Mr. Tim, brings out a Sinaloan snake and we learn that it mimics the deadly coral snake, we get to touch and feel the snake’s smooth scales. We also get to see and touch the wood duck. The last animal Mr. Tim shows us is an opossum! We watch as the opossum wraps its tail around Mr. Tim and he points out how their special toes help them climb trees. The opossum is my favorite, it has soft fur.
Back in the classroom we make our craft for the day, a potato porcupine! I put dirt inside my dug out potato and plant seeds, the seeds will grow into the porcupine’s quills! Miss Jen leads us back out to the curbs where our parents pick us up. I can’t wait to come to Summer Discovery tomorrow, Miss Jen says we’ll be exploring how the African animals survive in the savanna…ROAR!
For more information visit http://www.johnballzoosociety.org/