About Us

Removing barriers for children

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.

Pretty Lake Campers love to spend time at the playground between activities

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. 

At Pretty Lake Camp we step outside of our comfort zone

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.

Our Future

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.

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Our Mission

Pretty Lake provides life-changing experiences through free summer camp and experiential learning.

Our Vision

Experiences at Pretty Lake build stronger communities and a more just, inclusive, and compassionate world.

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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.

Inclusion Statement

Inclusion is about the actions we take each day.  Our culture is the result of our behaviors, our personal commitment, our curiosity, how we collaborate, and the ways we courageously share our perspectives and encourage others to do the same.  Pretty Lake is committed to providing a welcoming and equitable environment with opportunities for engagement regardless of an individual’s ability, age, appearance, ethnicity, gender identity, geographical location, national origin, professional level, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

Our History

Pretty Lake History

Edward Desenberg

Edward B. Desenberg

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.

Kalamazoo Kiwanis Logo

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 Logo

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

Our Facilities

Click through the photos below to see our facilities including conference rooms, gymnasium, cabins and the beautiful outdoors. 

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.

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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. 

Become a Donor Today




Become a Donor Today