We are committed to strengthening ourselves as the “community’s camp” – a year-round resource for our campers, families, schools, retreat guests and the community at large. True to our founder, Edward B. Desenberg, the core of the organization will be the on-going operation and continuous improvement of all of our programs.
Pretty Lake provides life-changing experiences through free summer camp and experiential learning.
Experiences at Pretty Lake build stronger communities and a more just, inclusive, and compassionate world.
Our Enduring Values
- Community-Focused Service – We remain a Kalamazoo-focused, youth-serving organization.
- Innovative Discovery – We passionately build a place of exploration, thoughtful risk-taking, and discovery for all participants.
- Responsible Stewardship – We act as responsible stewards who care for our physical, financial, and human resources.
- Principled Leadership – We are committed to upholding the highest moral principles to best serve others with integrity, honesty, and respect.
- Authentic Dialogue – We respect open, humble, and sincere two-way communication.
Since 1916, Pretty Lake Camp, a non-profit community organization, has provided a cost-free summer camp experience to over 50,000 youth from the Kalamazoo County area who can benefit most from the experience. Throughout the years, we have enriched the lives of thousands of youth by offering a safe, structured and encouraging environment in a natural setting. We accommodate approximately 600 children each summer.
Pretty Lake Camp strives to remove all barriers that prevent a child from being able to come to camp.
Generosity makes the difference!
Through the financial support of generous individuals and organizations, we provide everything that camper’s need during their session at camp-clothes, toiletries, beddings, linens, food, transportation to and from camp, and activities-at no cost to the family. DONATE NOW.
Step out of your comfort zone
Think of the last time you conquered something that you thought was outside of your normal “comfort zone.” Was it exhilarating? Did you surprise yourself? Did it open doors for you?
The Adventure Centre challenges individuals, teams, and organizations to expand their self-confidence, trust and leadership skills through a variety of outdoor Adventure Centre activities and social emotional learning. Since 1978, the Adventure Centre has facilitated low ropes courses, high ropes courses, climbing towers and team building experiences. Our Adventure Centre combines industry-leading programming an inspiring environment and highly skilled staff.
Boosting Teamwork Since 1978
Since 1978, over 100,000 youth and adults in our community and beyond have had an Adventure Centre experience. Through these experiences, we have increased and strengthened productivity, effectiveness, and relationships for adults and students in corporations, organizations, secondary schools, and colleges and universities.
The results? Teams that work at a higher level by increasing their trust and communication; individuals that find personal leadership skills that previously went undiscovered; and most importantly, an increased sense of personal accomplishment and enhanced self-esteem.
Pretty Lake Camp News
The first weekend in November brought the Great Lakes Men's Knitting Retreat to Pretty Lake for four day and three nights of creativity for the third year in a row! The Retreat brought 19 participants staying overnight in the Retreat Centre, many of whom opted to use...
We recently sent out our Fall Appeal. You can read the full letter from our CEO, Eric Wimbley, below or view the PDF here. Please check it out and consider donating to support our mission of providing free summer camp to the youth of the Kalamazoo area. You can...
During the last weekend of September, Pretty Lake Camp welcomed back PRF Campout for 3 days of music, poetry, and outdoor fun for the Seventh Year! The group gathered around 60 individuals, all bringing their own unique artistic talent to share with one another. Bands...
Founder of Pretty Lake Camp, Kalamazoo Musician and Philanthropist
Born in Kalamazoo on September 9, 1867, Edward ‘Eddie’ Desenberg became an accomplished pianist, and studied abroad for number of years before settling back home in Kalamazoo. Besides music and the arts, Eddie’s compassion was for children, especially those less fortunate. In 1916, Eddie founded Pretty Lake Vacation Camp, a place that he hoped would help make life a little better for the children of Kalamazoo. This was to be his lasting legacy.
Today over 50,000 children have had the opportunity to attend Pretty Lake Camp. We are proud to be a part of Pretty Lake, and honor the commitment Edward Desenberg made to the children of Kalamazoo 105 years ago, to provide a totally cost free camp for children who could benefit the most from the experience.
Our Member Organizations
The generous contributions and tireless commitment of our entire community have made free camp possible for a century of summers.
In particular, the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo and the Service Club (now the Junior League of Kalamazoo) took over camp in 1930 and ran it for many years. Kiwanians, Junior Leaguers, and many others in our community cleaned out cabins, secured food and supplies, and together made camp possible.
Today, Kiwanis and the Junior League continue to devote vital time and support to ensure our summer camp remains totally cost-free, just as it was when Edward Desenberg started Pretty Lake a century ago.
Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo is dedicated to serving the greater Kalamazoo area through various service and fundraising projects. Our club has been in service to our community for 100 years. Click here to learn more
Junior League of Kalamazoo
The Junior League of Kalamazoo is creating real change in Kalamazoo by advancing social activism-focused projects that directly benefit our local community! They make a positive impact through effective action and leadership. Click here to learn more
Contact Pretty Lake Camp
Get more information on attending our free kids summer camp, or planning an amazing event at the Pretty Lake Adventure Center.
Map & Directions
Where is Pretty Lake Camp located?
Pretty Lake Camp is located just ten minutes from Kalamazoo (southwest of the I-94/US-131 interchange) on Q Avenue in Texas Township.