Pretty Lake Camp
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Summer Camp at Pretty Lake

Summer camp can be a powerful experience in a child’s life. It can be a time to explore, laugh, learn and develop independence. Pretty Lake Camp provides a unique residential camp experience that resonates with children throughout their lifetime.

Children are selected to attend our camp based on need – whether financial, social or emotional. During their time here, campers are given the chance to be outdoors, play, try new activities, learn to swim, have fun, and meet new people. All of this helps to build a child’s self-esteem, independence, skills, and ability to care for others.

For over a century, we have welcomed over 50,000 children! In all our programs, over 800 campers will attend Pretty Lake Camp this summer. We are excited about this summer and hope your child will be one of our campers!

Camping Programs

We offer 7-day/6-night and 5-day/4-night sessions to Kalamazoo area children, each program based on their age and experience level.

Eligibility Requirements for Summer Camp

Pretty Lake’s core summer mission is to provide free summer camp because the Camp is offered free-of-charge, we have general and specific eligibility guidelines campers must meet in order to be considered for the program.  Rules for acceptance and participation are the same for everyone without regard to race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin, or any other legally protected status.  The general requirements for our campers are: must be managed socially and behaviorally in a group with one staff and eight campers, independent in their self-care skills, and a resident of Kalamazoo County or attending school in Kalamazoo County or Mattawan School District.  If your child requires special medical or health attention or care while attending camp please contact Camp Director to discuss how we can make camp successful for your child.  The specific requirements for each program are listed below:

Inpost Camp – Children currently enrolled in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade.

Outpost Camp – Children currently enrolled in 6th or 7th grade.

Leaders-In-Training (LIT) – Children currently enrolled in 8th or 9th grade.

Application Process

Applications are scored and children are selected to attend camp based on need – whether social, emotional or financial.  Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate every camper that applies.

Camp Activities

Listed below are some of the many activities we offer at Pretty Lake Camp. All activities are supervised by trained staff including certified lifeguards and instructors.

  • Archery – learn proper use of equipment and go for a shot at the bull’s-eye.
  • Biking – riding mountain bikes around the camp property.
  • Boating – canoes, kayaks, pontoon boat, and sailboats for lessons and leisure.
  • Campfire – skits and songs to delight campers of all ages.
  • Crafts – projects and lessons in arts using nature and other materials.
  • Field Sports – learning and playing field games such as disc golf and baseball.
  • Performing Arts – playing instruments, singing and even dancing at Camp.
  • Environmental Education skills – learning about the natural environment and outdoor skills using our beautiful facility.
  • Swimming – leisure in Pretty Lake.
  • Low ropes course – this is a course which is 2-5 feet off the ground under the supervision of Adventure Centre staff.

For those who meet safety and age requirements.

Challenge Courses – Try the high confidence course with elements 25-30 feet above ground wearing a safety harness and helmet or tackle our 35-foot rock wall wearing a safety harness and helmet.

Inpost (Grades 3, 4 & 5)

Our Inpost program welcomes girls and boys who are currently in the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. During each of the five camp sessions, up to 108 campers will enjoy a variety of fun and safe activities in a co-ed camp setting.

Outpost (Grades 6 & 7)

Our Outpost program welcomes girls and boys who are currently in the 6th or 7th grade. During each of the four camp sessions, up to 36 campers will enjoy a variety of fun and safe activities in a co-ed camp setting.

Leaders-in-Training (Grades 8 & 9)

Our Leaders-in-Training (LIT) program welcomes youth who are currently in the 8th and 9th grades. Campers must apply to participate in this program. During one session, up to 36 campers will enjoy an advanced camping experience in addition to traditional camp activities.

What Pretty Lake Camp Provides

Pretty Lake Camp provides everything a camper needs to make his or her week at camp a success – free of charge. We do this in order to remove any barriers that might keep them from being able to attend camp. We provide the following:

  • Adaptable healthcare in an inclusive and active camp environment
  • Bedding, towels, clothing , swimwear, and personal hygiene items (toothpaste/brush, deodorant, sun screen, shampoo, etc.)
  • Transportation to and from camp registration in downtown Kalamazoo
  • All food and basic health care
  • Supervised programs and activities
  • All arts and crafts materials and supplies

Your child does not need to bring anything with them to camp. If you prefer, your child can bring underwear, socks and a bathing suit. If for whatever reason you can’t provide this, we can give these items to your child.

Goals for our campers:

  • Foster positive self-concept development of campers.
  • The opportunity for development of a more positive attitude and the realization of individual capability.
  • Promote greater independence.
  • Develop a personal awareness and relationship with the natural environment and to be “unplugged” from electronics such as cell phones and television.
  • Opportunity for social interaction and the development of social skills.
  • Development of outdoor recreational skills.
  • Provide opportunities for campers to have fun in a safe environment.

The goals of Pretty Lake Camp are achieved when campers demonstrates any of the following:

  • Indicates to others in some way that they are having fun and a good time.
  • Is able to socially interact harmoniously with cabin mates, fellow campers, and staff and develops positive relationships during the week.
  • Acknowledges in some way an appreciation, awareness, and understanding of the significance of the natural environment in their life.
  • Able to perform at least one or two new physical skill which they could not perform before coming to Camp, or which they now performs at a higher level.
  • Has contributed as a member of the cabin group in decision making, choosing activities, creating a schedule, and participating in Camp life.
  • Has participated in a new challenge or adventure.
  • Expresses that their expectations, hopes, and interests they wanted met at Camp were fulfilled in some way.

No Cost to Kids (or their Families)

We are able to provide everything at no cost because of the support of others. Camp is made possible through financial donations of all amounts from others, in-kind donations from our wish list, and income from renting our facilities for meetings, gatherings or events. We rely on others passing the word about our programs!

Pretty Lake Camp Staff

We strive to hire the very best summer camp staff who have a heart for children, and who enjoy and respect children.  To ensure the safety of our campers we screen all of our paid and volunteer seasonal employees annually using the following: voluntary disclosure statement, criminal background check, central registry clearance check, check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry, personal interviews, and reference checks.  We also screen our year-round staff on a regularly scheduled basis.

Our staff go through intensive 10 day training before the camp sessions begin, along with on-going training throughout the summer.

Our staff’s main priority is the safety and well-being of our campers, while creating a community that encourages campers to develop confidence, self-esteem, respect for themselves and others while having a fun and memorable time at camp.