Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Year In Review!

What a year 2011 was for YMCA Camp Pendalouan! We provided high quality character-building and outdoor education programs to over 6,000 campers, we had record numbers in some of our seasonal and family programs and we continued to connect with our friends and alumni.

The first few months of 2011 were characterized by having some wonderful school groups come out to camp for a winter outdoor education experience! In addition to enjoying our year-round classes and activities we provide, these school groups had the added benefit of enjoying our winter activities such as cross country skiing, our toboggan run, and broomball on the frozen lake.

But eventually the snow melted and winter turned to spring. In the spring, we had even more school groups come in and we were thrilled to be able to work with so many great groups of teachers, students and parents. In the Spring we also had our “Spring Break Escape” Day Camp and our two Open Houses for those who wanted to get a feel of what Pendalouan is all about.

Summer is Pendalouan’s busiest time of the year and for good reason! Our summer staff join us early for an intense week of Staff Orientation/Training and then we are going, going, going for 6 weeks straight of Summer Camp Fun. It was an amazing summer! We also welcomed Special Days Camps for the first two weeks in August. In addition to our Resident Camps and Day Camps, the summer is when our Mom & Kids Camp, our Family Camp, and our Father-Son Camp take place. What a blast those all were!


As summer came to a close, the school year started up again and we focused again on our Outdoor Education Programs. School groups ventured in the outdoors with us and grew in our unique learning environment. In addition to our OE programs, we also welcomed over 100 alumni & friends back to camp for Pendalouan Day, had a great group of women for Women’s Adventure Weekend, and had record high numbers for our Halloween Camp. What a great Fall! We also capped our year off with our Year End Campaign. Since we have a few more days until 2012, the campaign hasn’t ended yet, but as soon as it does, we’ll let you know the results!

And now, as 2011 wraps up, we are busy thinking about how to make 2012 the best year yet for Pendalouan. We already have some excited things planned for 2012 including a cool new T-Shirt Promotion, some awesome additions to our summer camp programs, and some innovative Alumni initiatives. Do you have any ideas on how we can make 2012 the best year yet for Pendalouan? If, so let us know! Email with your ideas.

Now the fun part… Resolutions! Some of our 2012 New Year's Resolutions:
  • To continue to offer high quality programs to those who walk through our door
  • To continue to grow in Mind, Body and Spirit as an organization and to facilitate that growth in those we service
  • To constantly work to improve communication with parents
  • To find more ways to share the Pendalouan experience with even more children
  • To find and reconnect with alumni who we’ve lost contact with

Thanks to everyone who made 2011 such a success and we look forward to seeing you in 2012!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our 2011 Year-End Campaign

Even though we don't yet have snow on the ground, we here at YMCA Camp Pendalouan never stop working on Summer Camp! We are already hiring staff, having summer planning meetings, and buying supplies for Summer 2012!

One aspect of summer camp that we work on 12 months a year is our Campership Fund. We are often asked by Alumni & Friends, "How can we help Pendalouan?" And while there are many ways to help out camp (volunteering your time, energy, supplies, etc.), one of the ways that people often like to participate is by sharing the magic of Pendalouan with children who can't afford it.

Right now we are currently in the middle of our Year-End Campaign for our Campership Fund. You may have gotten something in your mailbox or inbox about it (if not it means we may not have your current contact info!).

Our goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of the year. All proceeds will go directly into our Campership Fund, which helps get kids to camp who otherwise wouldn't be able.

Would you be willing to make a contribution to our Campership Fund? Any amount makes a difference, even $10.00. However, the first 50 people to donate $75 or more will receive a 2012 Pendalouan Calendar, featuring some of our favorite Camp Pendalouan photos. There still are Calendars left, so if you are interested in receiving one of these, donate soon!

There are several ways to donate. You can donate online by clicking here. You can give us a call [(231) 894-4538] and make a donation over the phone. Or you can send in a check (Memo line: Year End Campaign) to the following address:

YMCA Camp Pendalouan
1243 E Fruitvale Rd.
Montague, MI 49437

We appreciate your time, energy, and consideration as we continue to help provide a Pendalouan experience to all children who need it.

Hail Pendalouan!

We are extremely grateful for all of our Alumni & Friends who support YMCA Camp Pendalouan in many different ways. If you are interested in volunteering your time and energy, or would like to donate money or supplies for any of our year-round programs, give us a call at (231) 894-4538.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Check Those Off The Wishlist! New Basketball Backboards!

Tis the season of giving! As we all get ready for the holiday season by preparing gifts for family and friends, we here at Pendalouan are so grateful for all our friends and alumni.

Earlier this fall, we published our Wishlist right here on the camp blog. The Wishlist is compiled for the community as a public list that shows what camp's current needs are. Many families and individuals prefer to give towards a specific project or to donate items instead of cash.

One of these families is the extended family of Emily Adama. Emily was a 7 year camper in the 90s. In addition to working as a Summer Staff member in 2005, she has recently helped Pendalouan as an occasional Outdoor Education Instructor. This year, after looking at our Wishlist, Emily talked to her family and they decided to donate two new basketball backboards to camp for Christmas!

We caught up with Emily to talk about her family's donation.

Camp Pendalouan: What is your family's connection to Pendalouan?
Emily: I was a dedicated summer camper from ages 7 to 14, to me it was a place of joy and wonder, friends and imagination, adventure and challenge. My memories of camp have always inspired me to creatively seek the best out of life and people. My older brother came to camp as a thirteen year old - he remembers this time as one of the best weeks EVER as a young fella. My Mom has been a big supporter of camp both by sending me and my brother, but also by financially supporting other campers to go.

From left to right is Paul, Emily, Aaron, "Rusty Pony", Jeanne, Anna and little Elijah.

CP: How did your family come to the decision to donate to camp?
Emily: My family has been trying to change the way we do Christmas for several years, we realized that we just don't need more stuff, that there are plenty of people who do, and that we have the resources to make that happen. It takes a little more planning and effort, but the result on Christmas morning when we creatively share about our project and what we accomplished together is way more meaningful than opening up presents that will probably end up in the trash.

CP: Why did you decide to give to Pendalouan, as opposed to elsewhere?
Emily: The great thing about giving to camp is that we feel personally connected to it, both because of the impact it's had on my life, but also because we see the great need for future generations to be exposed to what camp has to offer. We want my nephews to be able to enjoy camp!

Our Current Basketball Hoops. We are excited to get new ones that will provide a better basketball experience for our campers.

CP: How did you choose basketball backboards?
Emily: My family is BIG into basketball, we love the game, so the backboards were a natural choice, and I'm pretty sure the backboards have been the same since I was a camper. The wishlist made it easy to know that our giving was going directly to a real need and have a real impact on the lives of campers.

Thank you so much to the Adama/Papes Family for providing camp with TWO NEW Basketball Backboards! The matching backboards will be used for years to come!

We are currently in the middle of our Year-End Campaign. If you or someone you know is interested in donating items from our Wishlist or cash to purchase these items, take a look at our giving page on our website or contact Bruce Spoelman, Executive Director, at or call the office at (231) 894-4538.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Because of Pendalouan..."

There is no doubt that a camp experience can make a major difference in a child's life. In fact, when Alumni call us up or stop by for a visit, often the first thing they want to share with us is the impact that Pendalouan had on their lives.

A few years ago, the American Camping Association created a video titled "Because of Camp." This video featured successful people commenting about the impact camp had on their lives. The video can be seen below.

At Pendalouan Day 2011, we decided to ask our alumni & friends to share some of their thoughts on how camp has affected their lives. We also posted the question on our Facebook Question of the Week. Below are some of the responses. Enjoy!


"...I know that no child should go without at least one summer of camp."
Abby Hollinhead
former camper

"...I am a better parent than I would have been."
Mandi Garvey
former staff member

"...I am a "whole" person. :-)"
Lindsey DeLuca
former camper and staff

"...I've learned to be myself, and to respect other people."
Riley Grunow
current camper

"...I have not only come to appreciate and love the camp experience, but over the years I have become a better individual. I've become a better role model, leader, teacher, student, sister, and friend. I've come to truly appreciate life and all it has to offer, and I've met many amazing people and friends along the way. So thanks Camp Pendalouan, and here is to many more years of life changing experiences! :)"
Elizabeth Marks
former camper and staff member

“...we learned teamwork, we learned how to make friends. The thing that has stuck in my mind all the way through, was – and it’s more from Pendalouan than Emery - was I’m Third. And as I grew up, I always remembered God First, The Other Guy Second, and I’m Third.”
Judy Evans
Camp Emery Alum, Parent and Grandparent of Pendalouan Campers

"...I learned how to be responsible for my actions and how they would impact others, how to work, how to have a job. I learned how something so small can have such a great impact on someone else in a good way and a bad way. And I learned how to make mistakes and how to learn from them. I think that's the greatest thing I learned here - how to make mistakes and it's okay to make mistakes. And I leanred how to teach kids that friendship is the most important thing you could ever have in your life."
Kalin Franks
former staff member

"...I learned a lot about teamwork because in life you have to work together as a team."
Katie Wampler
former camper/CIT

"...I am who I am today. It made such an impact on my life. I'd hate to think about not having those years here at camp."
Jim Toth
former staff

"...I am much more respectful, honest, caring and responsible. I am more patient, I understand compassion and empathy. I have made lifelong friends. I appreciate small things like finding a turtle. I appreciate the Seasons. I know who Black Elk of the Oglala Sioux is. I understand what it means to be completely exhausted, warn out, unshowered and still greet parents on a Friday with a smile even bigger than the one presented on Sunday (because I always fall in love with my campers). My love of photography started at camp, my love of climbing started at camp. Because of Pendalouan I know that I can go further, run harder, wake up earlier, push my limits above and beyond anything. I also understand what others are capable of, how far others will push themselves with a little motivation. Children (and adults!) can do big big things with the right resources and a big smiling engaged counselor cheering them on the whole time. Camp is so so good."
Dom Paschal
former camper and staff

“...I learned how to take care of myself and other people. I learned how to be on time for stuff. That’s kind of a big one. I mean I could really go on all day. I think just learning how to be myself and treat other people.”
Tim Mathieu
former camper and staff

"...I am a teacher!"
Debbie (Shivle) Ykhlef
former camper and staff

"...I am going to get my Masters in teaching."
Meredith Freeney
former camper and staff

“...I learned how valuable friendships are, how valuable a day can be. I had a foundation. For me it’s like bedrock. I was here as an adolescent and I could have gone one way or the other, but Pendalouan gave me a great base and it was really the people of Pendalouan as much as the place.”
Mik DeBoef
former camper and staff

Many thanks to all who answered! And don't forget to check out our current question of the week by clicking here.

Do YOU have a "Because of Pendalouan..." story to share? If so, please email and we'll compile it for another post when we get enough responses! We love hearing from our camp families, alumni and friends, so please do not hesitate to contact us!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Camp Newsletters: A Pendalouan Tradition!


That's right! You heard correctly. The camp newsletter, Smoke Signals, is back!

Pictured: Two Camp Newsletters from our Past: A Smoke Signals from 1999, and a Lone Pine from 1983.

YMCA Camp Pendalouan has a long history of providing camp newsletters. And we are excited to announce the revitalization and reissuing of our Camp Newsletter, Smoke Signals!

From as far back as we can remember, Pendalouan has had some sort of newsletter. But the various versions have differed in terms of how frequent they came out, who they were targeted towards, etc. For example, the Smoke Signals of the 60s were produced at the end of each camp session and were given to each camper with a list of names and addresses of campers and staff.

We've also, from time to time, switched the name and format of our newsletters. Deep in our archives, we found a call for campers to write in what they think the name of the newsletter should be. The finalists are seen in the image below (for a clearer image, click the list).
In the 1980s, Pendalouan had The Lone Pine, which was named after a Giant Pine that towered above every other tree on Big Blue Lake. (The tree was later brought down by Boy Scouts, for some wonderful thoughts/descriptions of the Lone Pine, take a look at former Pendalouan Director Daryl Sieplinga and Jack Winans' articles in this 1983 issue of The Lone Pine.

Nowadays, we have two Camp Newsletters: 1) The Pendalouan Press, which is written by our Newspaper Class every week during summer camp (Next summer, we'll be posting those online - Be on the lookout!) and 2) Smoke Signals, which will comes out 4 times a year and recently was sent out in the mail and electronically last week.

Are you subscribed to our Alumni & Friends newsletter?!?! Our next Smoke Signals is set to come out in February 2012. In order to make sure you stay connected and receive a copy of the newsletter, click here and fill out the easy form.

Happy Reading!

Our Camp Newsletter,Smoke Signals, is one of Pendalouan's traditions that we are excited to bring back and continue. Do you have any old Pendalouan newsletters that you would be willing to donate for our archives? Any memories about Smoke Signals or other newsletters? If so, please email or call the office at (231) 894-4538.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Camp Books!

Picture of Volunteer Counselor, Nia Gillenwater. Photo courtesy of the Muskegon Chronicle.

Yesterday was the first day of snow here at camp, which means the cold season is not too far away (not to mention the holidays, but let wait until after Thanksgiving for that) One great thing to do in the winter is curl up with a good book in warm clothes, a blanket and maybe hot cocoa! As you curl up in the cold months, why not think about summer? There are several books out there that focus around the experiences of youngsters (and older folks too!) at camp. Here are a few that we've either read or heard about:

For the Kids
Off To Camp by Myra Pravda and Jeanne Weiland, JSP Publishing
A young girl named Samantha decides to head off to overnight camp! This book was written by two nurses who have worked in camping who believe that "a child should be prepared foLinkr an overnight camp experience." This book may help!

Lights Out!: Kids Talk About Summer Camp by Eric Arnold, Jeff Loeb
The editors of this book spent a summer interviewing kids at camps in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The campers' observations, broken down into such categories as "Why I Went to Camp," "Camp Food" and "Parents Day," give readers a great peek into real-life camp experiences.

The Great Summer Camp Catastrophe by Jean Van Leeuwen
Three mice living in Macy's department store accidentally arrive at a Vermont summer camp, where they have fun and fantastic adventures including fleeing from an owl, matching wits with a dog, and learning to water-ski. Can they stop having fun long enough to return home to New York?

It's Off to Camp, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz
This collection of comics features the classic Peanuts gang in outdoor situations and in camp scenarious!

For Young Adults
Cabin Pressure: One Man's Desperate Attempt to Recapture His Youth as a Camp Counselor by Josh Wolk
This lighthearted book chronicles one man's attempt to recapture his youth as a camp counselor. Josh returns to his beloved boys' camp in New England for the second time as a counselor, but as an adult now. This most recent return occurs the summer before he is to marry while he takes time off between jobs. His adult perspective provides new insights to lessons learned as a young counselor.

For Adults
Camp by Michael D. Eisner
This memoir by the former CEO of Disney provides one successful business man's story about the impact camp made on his life. In it, he tells in own tale, while weaving in the stories of two scholarship kids that he helped get to camp in the early 2000s.

Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
by Roger Bennett and Jules Shell
This humorous, adult-focLinkused book is a compilation of photos and stories from the camper's perspectives. The authors solicited camp stories for a good chunk of time before piecing them together for this hilarious book. The book does well at providing a good idea of camp culture. Chapters include: "Letter Writing," "Camp Romance," "Counselors," "Camp Fire," "The Last Night."

P.S. I Hate It Here! Kids Letters From Camp Edited by Diane Falanga
This collection of 150 real letters written by children ages eight to sixteen to their parents about their adventures at summer camp are laugh-out-loud funny and will have readers laughing and reminiscing about their own camp days. The letters cover several scenarios of sleep away camp, from acing the cabin lice inspection, to breaking the bad news about a retainer lost in the wilderness.

We hope this book list provides you with a few ideas for books to cuddle up read this winter or to give as gifts this holiday season! What other camp books have you read, do you recommend to the Pendalouan Community?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Camp! What Spooktacular Fun!

Last weekend, Pendalouan welcomed 90 children to camp for our annual Halloween Camp! Our Halloween Camp went for 24 hours and included dinner on Friday, and Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday.

Friday night was a real treat! After settling into their cabins and eating a delicious dinner of worms and eyeball sauce, zombie fingers, and racoon toenails (spaghetti & meatballs, breadsticks, green beans), cabins took turns making their way through our haunted health lodge. The scare-factor was adjusted to each age level as to make sure our younger campers were not too frightened. Cabin groups also had time to work together and prepare a skit or song for campfire! We had cabins perform spooky versions of their favorite camp songs and creative skits involving vampires, werewolves and witches!

On Saturday, after breakfast, campers were able to choose between Archery, Climbing Wall, Candle-Making, BB Guns and a Sleepy Hollow Hike during our Rendezvous Choice-Time. Before lunch we also played an all camp game where kids tried to save Halloween from Dentists who were trying to get rid of the holiday! After lunch, we played a game of Capture the Ghost! Instead of our usual Red & Blue bandanas on our CTF poles, we had red and blue ghosts!

After changing into their costumes, campers trick 0r treated around camp at various locations and met up to finish their stay with a Halloween Carnival around the lodge. Games included: Musical Chairs to Halloween Classics, Pin the Wart on the Witch, Pumpkin Bozo Buckets, and more.

Thanks to all who could make it! Check back on our facebook soon for more pictures! If you didn't get the chance to come this past year, make sure to mark your Calendar for next year to guarantee a spooktacular good time!

Halloween Camp is one of our seasonal camps. You can see a full list of our seasonal camps by clicking here. Our next seasonal camp is our Spring Break Escape, a day camp during Spring Break. You can find more information about that here. If you have any questions, please call the office at (231) 894-4538.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Camp! October 28th-October 29th

Halloween Camp is less than two weeks away! Have you signed up yet? It's not too late! YMCA Camp Pendalouan's Halloween Camp is a 24 hour stayover camp full of costumes, spooks, and Halloween fun.

Campers arrive on Friday at 5pm, enjoy a camp dinner, and launch into a frightful scavenger hunt before enjoying a campfire!

On Saturday, campers enjoy a morning of traditional camp activities like Archery, Riflery, Crafts, and our climbing wall. Did I mention we also do a game of Capture the Flag? In the afternoon, we offer a sleepy hollow hike, open boating, and other activities. We end the day with a Halloween Carnival full of fun spooky activities!

Enjoy these photos from last year's Halloween Camp! And see below for information on how you can sign up for Halloween Camp 2011!

Two 2010 Campers showing off their Costumes.

Not exactly your typical Cabin Photo!

Our staff LOVE dressing up in costumes! No wonder this event is so fun.

Halloween Camp is one of our favorite seasonal events of the year! This 24 hour camp starts on Friday, October 28th at 5pm and goes until 5:00pm on Saturday, October 29th. This event is for grades K-8. The Fee is $60/person. Want to register or have questions? Call the office at (231) 894-4538. You can also register online here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Weekend With Alumni & Friends!

What an amazing weekend we had here at Pendalouan! This past Saturday, over 100 Alumni & Friends of YMCA Camp Pendalouan made their way back to the shores of Big Blue Lake to gather together and share memories, stories and laughs while showing their families what Camp here at Pendalouan is all about.

There were memory displays in the lodge with old camper handbooks, photos, newspaper articles, staff manuals, camp newsletters, craft projects, and other mementos for alums and friends to peruse. We also had a slide show full of trivia and more recent photos from the past few summers. In addition to the slide show, we also projected some of Eddie's old films. We played video clips from 1964, 1970, and 1982. What treasures those films are!

Throughout the day, there were open activities, camp tours, and a warm fire with cider and donuts in the lodge. Before dinner, we also had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the re-dedication of the Sugar Shack and a short presentation about Pendalouan's Past, Present and Future by Bruce Spoelman, Executive Director.

After a delicious camp meal and ice cream sundae dessert, we made our way to Great Bear Fire Circle where we had a multi-generational campfire! It was great seeing kids of former counselors and current campers lead songs side by side.Link
One of our side projects for the weekend was raising money for fences. Many of our old split-rail fences are worn down and need replacing. With the help of our Alumni and Friends, we raised over 230 feet of fence! Thanks so much to all who donated! What a great cherry on top to a wonderful event!

If you could not join us, but would like to learn more about what happened at Pendalouan Day, hear about ways to be involved in future Alumni & Friends events or volunteer projects, please email or call the office at (231) 894-4538.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall at Camp: Busy as Bees!

Camp has been busy, busy, busy! We have been wrapping up Father-Son Camp and Women's Adventure Weekend, preparing for Pendalouan Day, getting ready for Halloween Camp, and teaching hundreds of students in our Outdoor Education Programs!

In previous posts, we recapped our Father-Son Camp and our Women's Adventure Weekend. But would you believe it if we told you that we are already getting calls and registrations for Family Camp 2012! That's right! Attendees from Family Camp 2011 and these other two family-centered camps are getting their registrations in soon, because they know that space is limited.

With Pendalouan Day only four days away, we have been getting volunteers, calling alums, digging out old staff paddles, gathering up old pictures and mementos and getting ready for welcoming more than 120 alumni and friends back to the shores of Big Blue Lake! One highlight has been going through old footage that Eddie Boersema took in the 60s, 70s, & 80s! An alum has graciously donated his time and energy to converting the old 16mm films to DVD. What a treat it has been to see this priceless old footage. We plan on showing some of it during the big event!

We've also been planning our annual Halloween Camp! Expect a whole post dedicated to this wonderfully spooky 24-hour event for campers in the coming week.

School groups have also been out to camp by the busload! Hundreds of students have already come out to camp and learned about Local Native and Pioneer History, the Michigan Fur and Lumber Trades, Food Chains and Food Webs, how to use a compass, and working on their team building skills, among other things! We've had a blast with these groups and we can't wait for them to return in the spring or next year year!

Throughout all this, the trees have been swaying, the leaves have been changing, and the weather has been pleasant. What a wonderful time of year at camp! We hope you can find a way to enjoy it! Call the office at (231) 894-4538 to find a way to get out here before the leaves all fall!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Our Annual Wishlist!

Every year at about this time, we are asked to compile our Annual Wishlist for the community. This year, we've compiled our Top 50 items that Pendalouan could benefit from.

We are putting our wishlist out on the blog so that maybe if YOU have one of these items you can help us out! If you think you're able to help camp acquire anything on the Wishlist please contact us at the office at (231) 894-4538!

Without further ado...

"Camp Pendalouan's Wishlist"

Any Pendalouan relics such as:
Staff or camper autographed plaques and canoe paddles
Copies of photos with names

Under $50
Digital Picture Frame
Ceramic mugs
Wooden canoe paddles, any size, whole or broken
Sand toys
Waterproof tarps, any size
Giftcards to Sam’s club, Gordon Food Service, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Meijer
Adult Sized Costumes (e.g. Gorilla Suit)
Hand Tools
Board games
Office Supplies
Skateboard helmets

Under $100
White boards
Vacuum cleaners
External hard drive

Under $500
Portable shade structures
Push Lawnmower
New basketball backboards and hoops

Under $5,000
Industrial Floor Scrubber
New Industrial Washer and Dryer
Wood splitter
Riding Lawnmower
4wd Utility Vehicle

7-passenger (or more) minivan
Pickup Truck
Monetary Donation for Camperships
Monetary Donation for Facility Improvements
Montetary Donation for Property Acquisition

Facility Projects Needing Funding
Fences ($2.00 per foot)
New Picnic Tables
Paddle boats
Light poles
Luggage pavilion (~$8,000)
Erosion control
Boardwalk along shoreline
Deck for Pawnee Cabin
Replace Climbing Wall
Replace Zipline
Outdoor Wood burning Furnace
Hydapipe showers ($450.00)
CIT Area Cabin/Housing
Wood Fencing for Horse Area
Ropers and Wranglers Cabin

We hope you can help us out! Have a great rest of your week!

Do you think you can help us out? If so, please contact us in the office at (231) 894-4538 or email Bruce, Executive Director, at You can also make a payment online by checking out our giving website.Link

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Friends & Fun at Women's Adventure Weekend 2011

This past weekend, a group of over 20 women, with ages ranging from the 20s to the 80s, gathered at Camp Pendalouan for a weekend of outdoor activities, memory making, and relaxation.

The weekend started off on Friday with a low key evening in the lodge. The group of women played some fun team-building games to get to know each other a little better. There were so
many smiles and a lot of laughter!

While Friday was relaxing, Sunday was a jam-packed day of activity and adventure! Several women tried their hand on our zipline, climbing wall, and high ropes course. Many commented that it was fun to try the activity that their kids had done while at Pendalouan for Outdoor Education or Summer Camp. Our archery and riflery ranges were also open to enjoy shooting bows and arrows or our air-soft rifles. Another highlight of the day was the canoe trip down the White River - a beautiful trip down a winding, but calm river not too far from camp.

In the evening, there was a Craft Fair in the lodge! The group of women - having bonded quite a bit after 24 hours of fun, laughter and activities - bounced between making journals, bookmarks, Halloween decorations to bring back to the family, while enjoying each other's company and hand-dipped caramel apples.

The schedule allowed for as much or as little participation as participants wanted and there were always opportunities to enjoy our boating and swim areas whenever they pleased. One daring group of women decided to do a "Rejuvenation Dip" in the early morning on Sunday. (sounds a lot like our Polar Bear Swim during the Summer!

Even with such a plethora of activities, the weekend was relaxing and so much fun! New friends, new memories, great times! We can't wait for Women's Adventure Weekend 2012!

Women's Adventure Weekend is one of Pendalouan's Family-Oriented Camps. In addition to Women's Adventure Weekend, we also have a Mom & Kids Camp, a Family Camp, and a Father-Son Camp during the Summer. For more information on any of these camps, contact the Pendalouan Office at or (231) 894-4538.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Recap of Pendalouan Day 2010

Time to go back in time... to 2010! As Pendalouan Day 2011 gets closer and closer, we thought it would be good to recap last year's Pendalouan Day! So without further ado... let's go back to Pendalouan Day 2010...

Pendalouan Day 2010 was a huge success! We had alums from over 20 years present, spanning over 50 years! Red Heeres, former Waterfront Director from 1957-60 shared powerful words at the re-dedication ceremony for Wildwood Chapel, a definite highlight to the weekend.

Other highlights included camp tours, open activities (climbing wall, boating, archery, etc), and the showing of a newly created Camp Pendalouan Memory Video (see below).

A good handful of families decided to go for the full camp experience by spending the night in a cabin, enjoying a multi-generational Pendalouan campfire, breakfast, and a chapel service in the morning.

Just a few of the Pendalouan Alum's that made the trip out; Jason Bertoia, Craig Lytle, Matthew Abel, Dominique Paschal, Dasha Dokshina, Barb & Shannon Gimenes, Brian Fedewa, Shelley Lewis, Jay & Sandy Wright, Mik DeBoef, Nancy Crandall, Jeff Mayberry, Dionel & Rob Jennings, Paul Spoelman, John Leitner, Mark & Stacy Luckey, Steve Leafers, Betty Johnson, Roger Hoffman, Dick Baker, Herb Driver, Matt Sheick, Don Potter and Jeff Cooke. This is just a fraction of the people who joined us, hopefully you recognize a few of these names!

Are you an alum or friend of Pendalouan? Join us for Pendalouan Day 2011? Pendalouan Day/Alumni Weekend is on OCTOBER 15TH, 2011. See the previous blogpost for more information. Please register by October 10th to If youLinkhave any questions, feel free to call camp at (231) 894-4538. We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Announcing... PENDALOUAN DAY 2011

Have you heard the news...? It's coming! What is coming?

A way to get back and relive some special camp moments.
A chance to reconnect with old camp friends.
An opportunity to discover camp improvements.



That's right! Pendalouan Day/Alumni Weekend 2011 is coming up soon on OCTOBER 15TH, 2011. Pendalouan Day is your chance to reconnect with this special place and other friends & alumni of Pendalouan. If you consider yourself a friend or alum of Pendalouan, we welcome you to join us - no matter your affiliation!

Open Activities will start at 2:00pm and will include archery, boating, the climbing wall, a hike to Sleepy Hollow and other fun options. We will offer several camp tours, a presentation on camp improvements, and dinner!

If you'd like to extend your stay, feel free to spend a night in one of our cabins Saturday evening and enjoy breakfast and chapel on Sunday Morning. There WILL be a campfire - so make sure you practice your favorite song or skit!

Please register by October 10th to If youLinkhave any questions, feel free to call camp at (231) 894-4538. We look forward to seeing you!

Keep checking the blog for updates on Pendalouan Day. Next week, we'll also be posting a recap on Pendalouan Day 2010! Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Father-Son Camp 2011... A Success!

A little more than a week ago, Camp Pendalouan held our annual Father-Son Camp. This rich tradition, which started in 1936, provides fathers, sons, and grandfathers the chance to come together for 3 days of laughter, bonding, and good times.

Father-Son Camp is one of our longest standing traditions here at camp. And its no secret as to why... The weekend is a blast! Throughout the weekend, there are opportunities to swim and boat on Big Blue Lake, hike to Sleepy Hollow, shoot at the Archery and Riflery Ranges, conquer our climbing wall, high ropes course, and take a ride on our Zipline! Horseback riding, Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, and campfires also make the weekend a memorable one.

This year, over 78 fathers and sons - many who were first timers - descended on Camp Pendalouan to have a fun weekend with just the guys. As per tradition, a hat was passed around at the Sunday Chapel to raise money for a specific camp improvement. This year's donations went to new fences. -we need at least a few fences for safety along the trails, as well as protecting some of the more environmentally sensitive areas. We're replacing split rails that were installed over 20 years ago! During Father Son Camp, the families together donated $324 dollars, which will help pay for 162 feet of new fencing! Thanks so much Fathers and Sons!

The strength of the weekend is seen in some of our attendees. We have a few families who represent three different generations of fathers and sons. It is not uncommon for grandpa and dad to have been coming to Father-Son Camp for more than 30+ years in these families! We are proud to have alumni here at Pendalouan who consider it home and we are happy to have all campers, young and old, returning and new, at camp in our various programs and family camps, such as Father-Son.

For those of you who couldn't make it this past August, we hope to see you next year! Mrk your calendar now for Aug 24-26, 2012!

Father-Son Camp is one of Pendalouan's Family-Oriented Camps. In addition to Father-Son Camp, we also have a Mom & Kids Camp, a Family Camp, and a Women's Adventure Weekend in the Fall. For more information on any of these camps, contact the Pendalouan Office at or (231) 894-4538.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer 2011... In The Books

Although the sounds of school bells and lockers slamming are still a few days away, here at Pendalouan, we are saying goodbye to Summer 2011. And boy, what a summer it was!

This past summer, over 800 children experienced the Spirit of Pendalouan while they made friends, enjoyed the outdoors, stepped out of their comfort zone, embraced the four core values (honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility) and learned new skills in our resident and day camps. They sang songs, learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, swam across the lake, played Capture the Flag, and lived and learned how to gain independence and work together as a cabin on the shores of Big Blue Lake.

Some highlights from Summer 2011:

Summer 2011 was one of the cleanest in recent history! While there is bound to be some dirt and sand when living in the outdoors, this summer our campers went crazy for our week-long Cabin Clean-Up Competition! Taking the value of responsibility to heart (and being lured by the incentive of winning an ice-cream sundae party on Friday), campers made their beds, swept their cabins, and organized their belongings in a manner that surprised a lot of Pendalouan Staff. Program Director Mark, who has worked at Pendy for the last 6 summers, said, "I have never seen cabins so clean! These kids worked hard and took that job seriously. Sometimes there was not a single thing wrong with a cabin." A perfect score is very difficult to achieve at Pendalouan... this summer we had four cabins with perfect scores (100 pts). Pretty impressive.

New Games! We worked hard this year to make sure campers experienced new games (all-camp games and smaller group games. That way, even returning campers can enjoy the thrill of learning a new camp game! (Don't worry, we aren't planning on getting rid of Capture the Flag anytime soon)

New Activities! This summer we also made the effort to incorporate new activities into our Activity Offerings and Rendezvous Choices. Some of our new (or updated activities) include: Tumbling, Mad Science, Sailing, Mud Hikes, Creative Writing, and our new Specialty Camp; Fine Arts Camp.

During "Marko-Trivia," a short tradition that happened after morning chapels, campers learned about the following topics depending on the week: Nature and the Outdoors, Olympics, Outer Space and the Stars Jungle/Rainforest, United States History and Culture, and Pendalouan History.

Oh man, we here at Pendalouan could talk forever about Summer Camp, but for now, we'll leave it at that. As the the temperature starts to drop and the leaves begin to change colors, camp transitions to Outdoor Education season, another exciting time of year.

We hope that this Fall, you stay connected with Pendalouan on this blog and in other ways. We'll be updating this blog periodically with news, updates, pictures, and maybe even some contests! Also, be on the lookout for information on Pendalouan Day, a chance to connect with and experience Camp in a different season. The event will take place in October and a wonderful way to meet others who value and care about Pendalouan.

Enjoy your last week of Summer and the beginning of September!

Peace, Love, Pendalouan.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Volunteering at Camp Pendalouan!

This past week members from the First Presbyterian Church's youth group, Impact, came to Pendalouan to perform service projects around camp. They cleaned several flower beds, filled in pot holes on the camp road, cleared Willson Beach for cook out nights and removed old fences along the road. Their presence was seen around camp almost immediately.
We want to give a special "Thank You" to Impact leader, Matt Fisher, and all of the members of Impact for their hard work.

If any groups are interested in volunteering their time and skills please contact us at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water Mat Madness

This week cabin groups have spent a lot of time on one of our favorite waterfront toys, the Water Mat! Campers enjoy having "fashion shows," wrestling, jumping on and off the mat. "The most popular game to play on the water mat is King of the Hill. It's a great way to spend an evening with your cabin on Big Blue Lake." says, Waterfront Director, Tim M. Tonight the CITs will be hosting "The Big Event" which is a weekly all camp evening program. This week's theme is Jungle. Staff and CITs will be dressing up as their favorite jungle animals and playing wild games across camp.

Camp on!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Session 1 2011 is nearly history; and history-making it was! 18 CITs, and probably an equal number of inches of rain -was there a day without precipitation? And, perhaps a record number of positive attitudes by staff and campers that helped make it a great week. We hope the first year campers realize that it doesn't always rain at Beautiful Big Blue lake!

Next week is looking great for both weather and a full camp. There are still openings in other sessions, but some are definitely filling up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011



That's right. The first day of summer - do you know why? Because today is the first day of Session One for the Summer Camp 2011 season! Today marks the beginning of another summer filled with campfires, archery, friend-making, swim lessons, adventure, fireflies songs, and skits.

Last week, the Summer 2011 Staff - who you met on the blog this spring - was hard at work getting training by Pendalouan's Leadership Team in Homesickness, Merriment-Making, Emergency Protocol, Cabin Unity, Bedwetting, and several other important areas.

The staff bonded as they went through several of the same experiences that campers do when they head off to a week (or two) at camp. Many reunited with returning staff they knew. Both our 1st year staff and our returning staff members met and made new friends with the 1st year staff. They learned in "Family Groups" - an attempt to simulate the cabin bonding experience. They did Taps Talks (our nightly ritual that involves recaping the day and reflecting upon it) and made Chapel Skits for the rest of the Staff. We raised and lowered the flag daily, and in between we had sessions such as working with challenging campers or incorporating the Four Core Values into teaching activities.

They even had a chance to canoe down the White River, an experience that our older campers especially have been known to love.

Now that Staff Training is over, and our staff is rested from a relaxing weekend, we are so excited for our first campers of the Summer to come and join us for an amazing summer.

On a related note about changing kids lives for the better, Happy Fathers Day to all you Dad's out there!

Peace, Love, Pendalouan.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Less Than One Week!


In less than one week, the Summer 2011 staff you’ve met all spring here on the camp blog descend upon Beautiful Big Blue Lake and begin our Staff Training. Some of our staff are already up here working with school groups, advancing towards their lifeguard certification, or getting trained in CPR/First Aid.

Pendalouan’s Staff Training is an intense experience. There is a lot to learn and much to be done during that week's span. We work hard to make sure our staff is getting the best training out there. We do, however, make sure that it is done in an enjoyable and meaningful way as well. After our week of training and orientation, excited children pour into camp and Session One begins, officially kicking off Summer 2011!

Throughout the summer, please check back and look for periodic updates about how camp is going. There will be about one or two updates per a session. We’ll try to include some pictures too! If you have something you want to see or hear about, let us know in the comment page or on our Facebook wall!

BUT, before we get too ahead of ourselves. Let’s meet the remaining Summer 2011 staff.

Hey everyone, my name is Joselito Robles. I am a junior at Central Michigan University who is currently studying Recreation. This will be my first year on staff at Camp Pendalouan. I’m excited to do ropes course and rock wall belaying. On my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball and riding my longboard. I cannot wait for summer to start because by the sound and look of it, I will have a blast.

Hey everybody! My name is Jack, and I'm very very excited to be returning to work my second year at Camp Pendalouan. I am a graduating senior at Oak Park River Forest High School in Illinois, and will be attending DePaul University in the fall. I love to explore Chicago, play basketball, and hang out with awesome kids! I'm confident that this will be an amazing summer.

You’ve met the 2011 Staff, you’ve heard about our Staff Training, and you’ve gotten updated on what the blog will be like this summer. But have you registered for a session at Pendalouan this summer yet? For information on registration or any camp inquiry, take a look at the Pendalouan website or give the office a call at (231) 894-4538.

That’s it for now!

Peace, Love, Pendalouan.