Summer Staff Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Pretty Lake Camp located?
The camp is located in Mattawan, Michigan (in Kalamazoo County), at 9123 West Q Avenue, (zip code 49071), in a community about 15 minutes from Kalamazoo. You will find Pretty Lake Camp about an hour east of Lake Michigan and an hour south of the larger cities of Grand Rapids and Lansing.
The camp itself has over 250 acres of woodlands, fields, lakefront, program areas, and cabins and is a beautiful place to spend the summer. We also have cabins, campfire rings, an outdoor amphitheatre, nature trails, sports fields, a small farm, an arts and crafts building, a playground, a nature building and, of course, a cookhouse.
What are the campers like who will be coming to camp?
You will be working with great kids! Pretty Lake Camp strives to serve the “under-served” or “at-risk” children of Kalamazoo County. These terms are broad. Simply put, we serve a very diverse group of children. This could mean that some of our campers face the following situations:
- They come from a single-parent home or are being raised by someone other than their parents, such as extended family or foster care families.
- They may have suffered the loss of a parent or sibling, or they have a parent who has been incarcerated.
- The campers and their families may have economic difficulties which qualify the child to attend Pretty Lake Camp.
- The camper might be the sole child care provider for his/her younger siblings while the parents are at work.
These are only some examples. Whatever the case may be, Pretty Lake Camp exists so our campers have a place where they can leave these circumstances behind and just be children.
What exactly will I be doing each day?
If you are an Inpost Counselor (3rd – 5th grade campers), you have responsibilities for a specific age and gender group of 6 to 8 campers. You will help your cabin group through the daily routine of wakeup, cabin cleanup, meals, evening programs and special events. You will assist other staff in teaching the campers about nature studies, arts & crafts, boating, sailing, swimming (lessons) and many other activities. Inpost program staff are responsible for teaching a subject area to the campers.
If you are an Outpost counselor (6th & 7th grade campers), you will have a cabin responsibilities for a specific age and gender group of 6 campers. You and your campers will partake in an off-site trip. While on-site, you will do all the regular camp activities like swimming, boating, nature, etc.
If you are a member of the support staff or leadership staff your day will be filled with responsibilities that will help provide a successful camper-focused program. You will have daily opportunities to interact with the campers and be part of the “action”.
Who will I be working with?
If you are fortunate enough to be selected as a member of the Pretty Lake Camp summer staff, you will be working with the best camp staff possible. You will be working with men and women who love children and are willing to dedicate their time and energy to ensure that our campers have the best summer of their lives.
At Pretty Lake Camp, it is all about our campers. That is why our goal is to hire individuals who are patient, compassionate, tolerant and considerate. Our 40+ summer staff members are highly creative, inspirational and resourceful.
Where will I live?
Most staff will live in cabins with children. The Inpost cabins are brick structures which have wood bunks and regular mattresses. They were all built in 1995. There is a small cubby storage area for your clothing and toiletries, as well as a small locker for items you would like secured. The cabins have electricity and full washrooms-sinks, toilets and showers-with privacy and hot water.
The Outpost cabins were all renovated in 2002. They are more rustic in appearance and are located adjacent to the Outpost Lodge, which contains the bath house. The Outpost Lodge and the bath house were also constructed in 2002.
For those who are not housed in a cabin, there is a central Retreat Center. It is a large co-ed dormitory style building that also contains a kitchen, bathrooms and staff lounge. Constructed in 1994, this building is very comfortable and well-maintained.
Will I be given any training?
Yes – tons! Our staff training or “pre-camp” runs for approximately 10-14 days before the first group of campers arrives (exact time to be determined). We will give you a lot of information about working with campers, leading activities, and behavior management. All staff will receive CPR, first aid and waterfront observer training during camp training.
The most important thing that will happen during staff training is that you will become a team with your co-workers, and we will be a united group ready to welcome campers and get camp off to a flying start! Prior to the start of the main staff training, we usually offer opportunities for additional trainings such as lifeguarding – please inquire if you are interested.
Can I keep a car at camp?
Yes. Staff parking is available in a designated lot. No personal vehicles are permitted near the cabins or on the in-camp roads during the summer. If you don’t have a car or cannot bring one to camp, don’t worry. We are located close to the airport and train station and can help you make arrangements for transportation to and from camp.
How can I stay in touch with people while I am at camp?
Mail: Incoming mail will be put in your personal staff mailbox. It is distributed each day. Outgoing mail will be sent from our camp office.
Telephone policy: We ask that you do not use your personal cell phone or camp phone until your free time unless it is an emergency. If someone calls you using the camp phone, a message will be taken for you and put in your staff mailbox unless it is an emergency.
Will I get time off?
Yes! Working with children is a rewarding and demanding job. You will need time off to recharge your batteries and be refreshed, that is why we strive to give each camp counselor two one-hour blocks of free time each day during the 6-day session.
In between sessions, there is also time off. There is anywhere between 24 hours to 2 1/2 days break between each session. During that time, you can stay on camp if you choose or travel off site.
Can I do my laundry at camp?
Yes. We have a staff laundry room with several washers and dryers which you are able to use – free of charge – during your time off. We can provide basic laundry detergent but if you would like special detergent, fabric softener, etc., you will need to provide that.
What if I have special dietary needs?
If you have any special dietary needs, we will try hard to provide you with a healthy diet that meets your needs.
Do I need to have a physical or provide any special health forms?
You must complete a Pretty Lake Camp Camp Staff Health Form, and we recommend that you be up-to-date on all immunizations including Tetanus and TDap.