Frequently Asked Questions
What is Pretty Lake Camp?
Pretty Lake Camp is a non-profit organization founded in 1916 by Mr. Edward Desenberg. We have served more than 60,000 youth from the Kalamazoo area. We provide a totally free residential camping experience to all our campers. In addition, we provide everything a camper needs while at camp – clothing, linens and bedding, personal hygiene items, transportation to and from camp registration, food and activities – at no cost to the camper or their family.
This summer camp experience is made possible in part through rental revenue and voluntary contributions from people who believe in our mission and understand our community’s role in caring for its youth.
How much does camp cost?
While it costs Pretty Lake Camp more than $700 per camper, camp is completely free to all of the children who attend. We provide everything a camper needs while at camp – clothing, linens and bedding, personal hygiene items, transportation to and from camp registration, food and activities – at no cost to the camper or their family. Pretty Lake Camp provides everything at no charge in order to reduce the barriers that prevent children from being able to attend or afford summer camp.
What are Pretty Lake Camp’s funding sources?
Pretty Lake Camp is largely funded by private donations and grants in addition to revenue from Adventure Centre programs, Farm programs, facility rentals.
Has Pretty Lake Camp ever skipped a summer?
No. Pretty Lake Camp has run continuously since its founding – not missing a single summer, even through the wars and Great Depression.
How many children does Pretty Lake Camp serve?
Pretty Lake Camp typically serves between 600-700 children in its summer camp program. Most sessions are five days, four nights in length, and campers can attend one of the sessions if they are chosen to participate. The maximum capacity per session is approximately 108 campers. To date, Pretty Lake Camp has served over 60,000 children.
What are the ages of youth that Pretty Lake Camp serves?
The summer camp programs serve children currently in the 3rd – 9th grades, with the majority (more than 70%) being 3rd-5th graders.
How do children apply to the program?
Our online application typically opens in January each year. Interested parents can learn more about applying online here. Call us at 269-375-1950 with any questions about applying for summer camp.
How are children chosen for the program?
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:
Explorer Camp – Children at camp time ages 8-9.
Pathfinder Camp – Children at camp time ages 10-11.
Trailblazer Camp – Children at camp time ages 12-13.
Leaders-In-Training (LIT) – Children at camp time ages 14-15.
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.
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.
What other programs does Pretty Lake offer?
Pretty Lake has grown beyond summer camp and now serves more than 5,000 people annually, including children and adults, through year-round programming at our Adventure Centre, Farm, and retreat and rental facilities.
Throughout the year, Pretty Lake works with all types of groups, from large corporations to families to churches and athletic teams. We are open during the winter and provide overnight lodging with guests staying in all-season cabins or in the Retreat Center. We also provide full food service that can be tailored to meet each group’s needs.
How big is Pretty Lake Camp, Adventure Centre, and Farm?
The organization comprises 250 acres and makes up 2/3 of the shoreline of Pretty Lake.
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. Complete directions are available here.