Pretty Lake Announces Eric Wimbley as New Executive Director
Posted by Eric on Thursday, May 12, 2016 | 4 Comments
The Board of Directors of Pretty Lake Camp (PLC) is proud to announce their next Executive Director, Eric Wimbley. Wimbley will join the Pretty Lake team on June 1, 2016.
A graduate of Siena Heights University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Wimbley has experience both in education and law enforcement. He served over 25 years with the Michigan State Police, retiring as Post Commander, has taught Criminal Justice at the Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center and since 2014 has served as Director of Security for Kalamazoo College.
Wimbley, a Kalamazoo native, has a long history with Pretty Lake Camp. He was introduced to Pretty Lake as a camper in the mid-70’s, was on staff from 1981-86 and has been an active member of the Board of Directors since the late 90’s, serving two terms as Board President. Wimbley was chosen after an extensive regional search led by a committee of PLC Board Members and community leaders. The Pretty Lake Search Committee felt Wimbley’s enthusiasm, professionalism, vision, and understanding of Pretty Lake Camp’s mission would allow him to step right into the shoes of Executive Director.
The PLC Board believes that Wimbley is the perfect choice and that he will both continue the rich heritage and historic mission and move PLC forward into its next 100 years.
“Pretty Lake has impacted my life in many ways going all the way back to my time as a camper. Camp taught me to find hope and joy in my community, in those around me and to find the good in people. The community’s support of Pretty Lake and the experiences it provides to young people, and gave to me, are life changing”, says Wimbley.
Sonya Bernard-Hollins, Board President also a native of Kalamazoo and Pretty Lake Camp alumna states, “Eric is an amazing role model and testament to what Pretty Lake Camp can do for youth who take advantage of all we have to offer. Not only was he a camper, he came back as a counselor, which provided him the leadership skills he would need in his future careers in law enforcement and security. His role as president of the board, and now as executive director, allows him to take the lead in providing kids with memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.”
“I’ve had job opportunities outside our community, but I was always drawn back to Kalamazoo. I owe a debt to Pretty Lake Camp for what it brought to my life. I am thrilled and honored to have been selected to help steward the next stages of the camp’s development,” said Wimbley.
Says Hollins, “As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, and hear stories from alumni of their camp experiences, we are proud to have a leader who knows first-hand what Pretty Lake Camp can do. Our founder, Edward Desenburg would be proud to know that what he started with 15 campers, has blossomed into more than may have ever imagined.”
Since 1916, Pretty Lake Camp, a non-profit community organization, has provided a cost-free summer camp experience to over 50,000 at-risk youth from Kalamazoo County. Throughout the 100 years, PLC has enriched the lives of thousands of youth by offering a safe, structured and encouraging environment in a natural setting. Over 800 children attend camp each summer.
Many of the youth who attend Pretty Lake Camp would not have the opportunity to participate in any special summer activities – especially attending a summer camp – were it not for the cost-free programs and services provided here.
Through the financial support of generous individuals and organizations, PLC provides everything that campers need during their session at camp – clothes, toiletries, bedding, towels, food, transportation to and from camp, and activities – at no cost to the camper or their family or caregiver. PLC’s focus is to assist in the development of campers by teaching life skills and helping campers cope with life’s challenges.