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Pretty Lake Celebrates 100 Years of Free Camp (press release)




Matt Claus
Development Director
(269) 375-1950, ext. 119


Pretty Lake Celebrates 100 Years of Free Camp

MATTAWAN, MI (January 28, 2016) – Before Band-Aids and bubble gum were invented, a totally free summer camp for area children opened on the outskirts of Kalamazoo. Since 1916, the gift of free camp has been offered every summer at Pretty Lake Camp.

“In 100 years, we’ve never missed a summer,” said Eric Wimbley, President of the Board of Directors. “Through wars and depressions, we’ve kept our doors open. This year, we’re celebrating all the people who have made Pretty Lake what it is today.”

Current and former Pretty Lake campers, staffers, and volunteers are invited to celebrate the gift of free summer camp. The organization will mark its birthday with a 100th Birthday BBQ & Reunion at Pretty Lake on Sunday, June 12. A “vintage” gala event is also planned for October. Other events are planned throughout the year.

Read about all 100th anniversary events at Alumni are also welcome to join the new Facebook group, Pretty Lake Alumni, to reconnect. For other ways to get involved, or to sponsor an event, contact Pretty Lake at 269-375-1950.


The Community’s Camp

Pretty Lake’s history is part of the Kalamazoo area’s history.

Many adults who grew up in Kalamazoo County spent part of their childhoods at Pretty Lake. In its 100 years, Pretty Lake has provided cost-free summer camp to well over 50,000 children. Many children who did not attend free camp went to Pretty Lake for field trips and other programming.

What started with one building and 15 campers has grown into a 250-acre, full-service operation serving more than 800 cost-free summer campers, 4,000 Adventure Centre clients, 1,800 farm visitors, and 1,500 retreaters every year.

“Every time a group takes part in our programming, they’re supporting free summer camp and providing opportunities for remarkable kids,” said Wimbley. “In 100 years, we’ve grown much bigger than a traditional summer camp. Today, we think of ourselves as the community’s camp.”

To learn more about Pretty Lake’s programming options, visit




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