Saturday, April 28, 2012

Strong and Healthy Kids... And Staff from Illinois!

Here's more evidence of YMCA Camp Pendalouan working to make sure children are healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

Thanks to generous donors like you, we're up to 20% of our Campership fund-raising goal! We've been highlighting the stories of parents who are grateful, a letter from a campership recipient, and promoting our Strong Kids Campaign.  Please help us get kids to camp by donating today. Click here to donate online.

Have you heard about Healthy Kids Day? Camp Pendalouan is supporting the Tri-Cities YMCA by offering archery as part of today's celebration. Stop by to see us! For more information, click here for the Tri-Cities Website.

And finally, let's meet more Summer 2012 Staff!

My name is Katie and I'm super pumped for summer 2012! I'm ready to sing songs, play games and meet new friends! I'm currently in Chicago, going to school, playing sports, and hanging out with my friends. This will be my eighth summer at Pendy and I'm crazy excited to get back to camp and beautiful Big Blue Lake! I hope everyone has a great rest of the year, and I can't wait to see you all this summer!

Hey, everyone! My name is Anna and I'm so excited to join the Camp Pendalouan staff this summer!! I am from Oak Park, Illinois. Currently, I'm finishing up my first year at Loyola University Chicago where I am majoring in Elementary Education. As a kid I loved camp and I am so thrilled to finally be a counselor. I'm looking forward to swimming, singing silly songs, and toasting marshmallows. Can't wait for summer! See you in June!

We are so happy to have Katie and Anna joining our team this summer! Parents, make sure your child is able to experience all the fun and character-building that Katie, Anna and all the other staff will provide. Sign up for Summer Camp today; some sessions are already filled! Call us if you have any questions or would like to register (231) 894-4538.

P.S. if you'd like to contribute to our Campership Fund, please click here for more information. We appreciate your generosity and gift - no matter what size! Even a $10 donation makes a difference!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strong Kids and More Staff Bios!

You may have heard that this week we are in the heart of our Strong Kids Campaign. This campaign raises money for Pendalouan's Campership Fund, which provides financial assistance to families who have need some help sending their children to camp. Sometimes families only need a little bit of help, other times, the need is much greater. For example, imagine the following:
Imagine you are a single mom named Rhonda with two young kids. You’re working and attending classes to finish your degree. Your son has had some issues at school, ever since he lost his dad. You know that a summer week at Pendalouan could help turn things around, but can’t begin to afford paying the registration fee.

This afternoon, we were able to connect Rhonda with a summer camp scholarship covering much of the cost. Rhonda is totally convinced of the value of him coming to Beautiful Big Blue lake. “I just can’t do it on my own, but I’m glad to be working and will cover what I can,” she told us. 

Summer is getting closer and closer and families are calling Pendalouan inquiring about financial assistance. Please donate to our Campership Fund today and join us in making sure no child misses the opportunity to have a life changing Pendalouan experience. Every dollar goes directly to our Campership Fund and gifts of all sizes are appreciated. Click here to donate now. We appreciate your willingness to help send kids to camp who otherwise couldn't afford it!


Now, we mentioned above that summer is getting closer and closer... but we've only met a portion of the Summer 2012 Staff! Below we are going to introduce two more staff members, Kelsey and Baylee! Enjoy!

Hey campers, I hope your spring finds you enjoying the outdoors and getting ready for a fun summer at Camp Pendalouan! My name is Kelsey and I am from Muskegon, MI and graduated from Reeths-Puffer high school in 2010. Currently, I am going to school at GVSU for pre-med and impatiently awaiting the end of the semester. In May I am studying abroad in the Philippines to work in a rural health clinic giving vaccines and keeping the community healthy. But, I will be back just in time for camp! This will be my first summer as a counselor and only my second summer attending camp, so I will be learning just as much as you guys. Most of the time you can find me climbing, hiking, or hanging out outside. I hope your ready for a great summer. I know I am!

Hey everyone! I’m Baylee and this will be my second year as a counselor at Camp Pendalouan. I love everything about camp, but if I had to choose a few favorites activities, I would have to say canoeing down the White River, making (but mostly eating) foil dinners, and singing songs. I am currently finishing off my senior year at the Culver Academies and I’m so excited to head off to Furman University in August. But before I go, I can’t wait to have the best summer ever!

We are thrilled to have Kelsey and Baylee joining our team this summer! Parents, if you want to make sure your child is able to experience all the fun and character-building that Kelsey, Baylee and all the other staff will provide, sign up for Summer Camp today! We have already filled some sessions for certain genders and Specialty Programs! Feel free to call the office if you have any questions or would like to register (231) 894-4538.

And if you'd like to contribute to our Campership Fund, please click here to find out more information. We appreciate your generosity and gift - no matter what size! And even a $10 donation makes a difference!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Have You Met Brittani?

This past March, we received a note from a former camper who wanted to share her Pendalouan Story with the Pendalouan Community. As a recipient of Financial Aid, she writes of how much camp meant to her and how grateful she was (and is) of those Alumni and Friends of Pendalouan who donated to Pendalouan's Campership Fund. As we get closer to summer, more and more families are calling requesting financial assistance in sending their kids to camp. We hope you enjoy Brittani's story and we hope you join us in donating to our Campership Fund today.


Every day here at Camp is full of moments where we as Pendalouan staff are able to look around and say to ourselves, "Wow. We really do make a difference." But every once and a while, we hear from a camper or alumni and it really hits deeper than our daily reminders. Below are the words of a recent young Pendalouan alumni who recently helped us cement our commitment to creating strong kids and reminded us of why we do what we do. Enjoy.

"I cannot put to words the excitement that arose within me each year as we traveled through the trees down the curvy roads to get the Camp Pendalouan. I always knew that that week at Pendalouan would be full of surprises, support, and love.

I started going to camp when I was seven years old, and I can honestly say that I felt safer and happier at camp then I ever felt at any other point in my life. As a camper, I felt no judgments, no persecution. My counselors just encouraged me to be myself, to enjoy life, to have fun. I knew that at camp, I would be safe and cared for no matter what and that meant a lot considering that I came from a home where love was never consistent.

Pendalouan encouraged me to be more than I thought I ever could be. Camp challenged me to overcome obstacles and helped me develop skills that would allow me to conquer many difficult situations in life. Without Pendalouan, I would not be the strong person I am today. I would have never felt like I was worth anything. Because of Pendalouan, I became a good leader, a hard worker, and a caring person.

I would like to thank anyone who has ever contributed to the Campership program. Without it, my mother would not have been able to afford to send me to Pendalouan, and I would not be who I am today. I look back on my time at Pendalouan and realize now that it was way too short. Those were truly the best years of my life whether it was learning that I was worth more when I was a camper or helping campers understand their importance when I was a counselor. Pendalouan will forever be in my heart, and I hope that many other children will have to opportunity to love camp as much as I do."

-Brittani, Campership Recipient

All proceeds to our Strong Kids Campaign this Spring will go directly towards our Campership Fund, which means every cent of your donation will go towards sending kids like Brittani to Camp this summer. Click here to donate!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wrapping Up National Volunteer Week!

This past week was National Volunteer Week! Pendalouan had several volunteer-focused events, activities and announcements to celebrate. Here are some highlights from the week!

Spring Volunteer Work Day

This past Sunday, in the perfectly timed 5 hour block of sun between two rain storms, a group of about 20 Alumni, Campers, Friends & Staff of Pendalouan got together to work on a few major projects around Camp! Volunteers helped organize Eddie Boersema's Photos that he left to us, removed the tile from the classroom, raked leaf piles away from the retaining walls on the plateau in between Nikana Lodge and East Moon, and gave Great Bear some much needed attention with rakes and new sand!

The event was a huge success! As Bruce Spoelman, Executive Director said during the mid-afternoon refreshment break, "We are not yet done with our work today, but even if we were to stop right now, we would be in a better place than if we had not all been out working here today!" These projects were all important initiatives that accomplished a lot. Several of these projects were especially timely, because they help prepare camp for the coming months.

All three of the physical labor projects were started and completed during the workday and the Eddie Boersema Photo Organization Project is an ongoing endeavor and reached it's next stage (a lot of scanning!).

A special thanks to all who made it out to help us on these important projects and who made all this work possible!

Craig & Jessa Lytle, Gwen Glatz, Jack Sheridan, Dorothy Cooley, Liz Taylor, Eric Veurink, Mark Olson, Chuck Jarasek, Andrea & Kameron Walter, Deb Brauer, Bruce Spoelman, Dan Willson, Matthew & Zach & Lucy Abel, Tracy Lynn Bednarick, Eric Brenner, Ron Leatherman and Cat Neal.

Click Here For More Pictures & Here To Get Your Name on a Volunteer Opportunity Notification List

New Volunteer Opportunities

We had such a great showing at our Spring Volunteer Work Day last Sunday and we've had so many people asking about volunteering that we created a form on our website for those interested in volunteering for/at Pendalouan. Click here to see all of the opportunities! There is something for everyone and filling out the form does not commit you to anything!

There is always work to do! Luckily, Pendalouan is blessed with a great group of individuals and families who care about Pendalouan and support it with their time and energy! Thanks again to all who volunteered this past weekend and all of those individuals and families who volunteer throughout the year! Camp can't thrive without you! If you have any questions about volunteering, feel free to give us a call at camp at (231) 894-4538 or send us an email at

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Busy Week & Our Teen Staff!

With less than 60 days until Summer 2012 kicks off with our first campers coming for Session One, we are in high gear getting ready for Summer! Two days ago, we had our Spring Volunteer Work Day. This coming Sunday we have our first of two Pendalouan Preview Days. And then we have less than 50 days until our Staff make their way to Camp for their week of Staff Training! You'll be hearing about our Spring Volunteer Work Day and our Pendalouan Preview Days on our blog later this week, but for now, let's introduce more Summer 2012 Staff!

Today, we'll be finishing meeting our leadership team by introducing two long-time staff members, Will, our 2012 Teen Director, and Leah, who will the female Teen Counselor. Read on to hear about these two amazing staff members!

Hi! My name is Will, and I will be the Teen Director this summer. I was a counselor from 2007-2010 before taking last summer off to do research into wastewater treatment. I am graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and I plan to someday become a high school chemistry teacher. While at school, I like to play my euphonium (small tuba), read with St. Louis kids, and going hiking and climbing with my friends. I am SUPER pumped to be heading back to camp this year, especially to run and hang out with the teen programs. Bring on the fun!

Hi! My name is Leah. This summer will be by 4th summer on Pendalouan staff, making this my 10th summer at camp! Until summer starts, I will be finishing up my junior year at the University of Michigan, where I am studying Biomedical Engineering. I am already counting down the days until I am back at camp having an amazing summer with all of you! I love playing on the ropes course and cooking foil dinners, especially if I am surrounded by amazing friends! I am very excited to hang out with the CITs and LITs this summer! This summer is going to be awesome!

Will and Leah provide a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to training our future counselors and leaders in the CIT & LIT programs. They also will have a very prominent role in Camp, so even if your child is not a teen, they will most likely interact with these two staff. Is your child registered yet so that can enjoy all the fun that Will, Leah and their Counselors-In-Training and Leaders-In-Training will provide this summer? Give us a call (231) 894-4538 or head to our website to register today!

YMCA Camp Pendalouan is a fully accredited resident and day camp. While at Pendalouan, kids and teens make friends, create life long memories, and learn new skills all the while having fun in a safe environment. At Pendalouan, you are a part of a family and campers are lead by highly qualified and trained staff. If you would like to learn more about Camp Pendalouan, check out our website, the Camp Blog and our Facebook page.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Case You Missed It...

We are over 25% done with 2012 already! Isn't that mind-boggling? It seems like just yesterday we were saying goodbye to 2011 and getting ready for Mayan Apocalypse.

We here at Pendalouan know how busy everyone's lives are these days, so we decided to compile some of our most notable blogposts from the past 4 months... just in case you missed them.

We hope you enjoy reading (or rereading) them!

TRADITIONS: In January, we started a blogpost series on Pendalouan Traditions. The series is ongoing, but so far we've highlighted our Camp Songs, The Hike to Sleepy Hollow, & our Opening and Closing Campfires.

VALUES: Here at Pendalouan, we promote and exist in a culture that embraces four character values (honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility). Along with the Camp Motto ("I'm Third"), they help Camp be the great character building experience it is for campers. Read more by clicking here.

NATURE: In March, we highlighted some recent research that showed how important exposure to the outdoors is to children.

APPRECIATION: A few weeks ago, a Pendalouan Alum wrote a letter of thanks describing how much Camp means to her and how much it helped her. It is powerful letter that reminds us Why We Do What We Do.

We're looking forward to seeing what the next 1/4 of a year bring to the camp blog! Do you have any suggestions for blogposts? If so, comment here, write on our Facebook page, or send us an email at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring is in Full Swing... And Two More Staff!

Even though it was snowing just the other day, Spring now seems to be in full swing!

Some signs of Spring around Camp Pendalouan:
  • The "Color of Camp" is starting to turn from brown to green with all the new vegetation and leaves!
  • Our Spring Outdoor Education season is jam-packed with school groups (about 20 kids who are here for OE this week went for a Polar Bear Swim this morning, brrr!)!
  • We are helping wake up camp from the Winter in our Spring Volunteer Work Day this Sunday (it's not too late to RSVP, by the way)!
  • We are getting ready for Summer Camp by starting to train staff, planning All Camp Games and Themed Events, buying supplies (archery equipment) and making sure every toilet, shower and faucet works!

Let's meet some more of our Summer 2012 Staff! Here are the bios of our 2012 Wellness Director and Equestrian (Horse) Director!

Hey Everyone! My name is Marissa, and just like last summer I will be the Wellness Director. You'll see me roaming around camp giving out band-aids and smiles. I am so excited to be back for my fourth summer at camp. It's crazy, because when I started as a counselor in 2009, I only planned on working one summer! During the year, I go to Xavier University in Cincinnati and study non-profit management. Even though I love school, I am so ready to put down the books and make new friends and memories this summer. I can't wait to sit and talk around campfires, look at the stars, swim in big blue, paddle board, and see everyone's smiling faces. See you this Summer!

I'M BACK!!!! Yes, another great summer at Camp Pendalouan!!! For those who don't know me, I'm Robyn! This is my 16th year at this memory-making place. I'm so excited to be the Equestrian Director this summer! I have some great new ideas for camp to be more involved with horses and the barn! I love camp so much - gaga, the waterfront, meals, CTF (Capture The Flag), the rustic feel, the traditions and the feeling of being me!!! Come join me and the rest of the staff for an amazing week or weeks at camp! Hope to see you soon!!

(To read more Summer 2012 Staff Bios that you may have missed, click here)

We are pumped to have Marissa and Robyn back on the shores of Beautiful Big Blue Lake this summer! Both help provide a safe, fun experience for both campers and staff! Are you registered yet so that can enjoy all the fun that Marissa and Robyn and all of our other staff will provide? Give us a call (231) 894-4538 or head to our website to register today!

YMCA Camp Pendalouan is a fully accredited resident and day camp. While at Pendalouan, kids and teens make friends, create life long memories, and learn new skills all the while having fun in a safe environment. At Pendalouan, you are a part of a family and campers are lead by highly qualified and trained staff. If you would like to learn more about Camp Pendalouan, check out our website, the Camp Blog and our Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Less than 70 Days Until Summer!

We had +80 degree temperatures in early March and we had snow falling hard this morning. What a whirlwind of weather this month has provided us!

But none of that changes the fact that we have less than 70 days until Summer 2012 begins!

We are very countdown focused right now here at Camp Pendalouan. And that's because we have a lot on the calendar for the next few months! Let me show you what I mean:

5 Days... Until Our Spring Volunteer Work Day
12 Days... Until Our First Camp Preview Day 
25 Days... Until Our Second Camp Preview Day
60 Days... Until Staff Orientation Begins
68 Days... Until Our First Campers Arrive & Session One Begins


79 Days... Until Family Camp Begins
93 Days... Until Mom & Kids Camp Begins
128 Days... Until Father-Son Camp Begins

Yahoo! We are excited for each of these numbers to get smaller and smaller as they weeks and days go by! We are super excited for Summer 2012 (we have some exciting developments to share) and we hope you are too!

But before these numbers get to ZERO, let's meet some more Summer 2012 Staff! Today, we'll introduce two more members of our Programming Staff, our Day Camp Director and Waterfront Director! (To read more Summer 2012 Staff Bios, click here)

Hello everyone! I’m Amiee and this will be my second summer here on Big Blue Lake. I spent last summer as a counselor, and this summer I will be returning as (drum roll please) the Day Camp Director! I am thrilled to be counting down the days to my graduation from Michigan State University, and to the days until I will be back on the T-dock! This summer is sure to be filled with crafts, crazy costumes, songs, campfires, and most of all, FUN! I am looking forward to meeting each one of you, hopefully the next few weeks will go by quickly!

Hello everybody! My name is Hannah  and I am the Waterfront Director for Summer 2012! Normally I live in Minnesota and study psychology and education at Macalester College in St. Paul but this semester I’m in Costa Rica for four months studying monkeys! Monkeys are pretty exciting, but nothing like hanging out on the dock at Pendalouan swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and having a great time! I love playing outside, laughing with friends, and eating s’mores with peanut butter. Can’t wait for another amazing Pendalouan summer! See you guys on the dock!

We are thrilled to have Amiee and Hannah back on the shores of Beautiful Big Blue Lake this summer! Are you registered yet so that can enjoy all the fun that Amiee, Hannah and our other staff will provide? Give us a call (231) 894-4538 or head to our website to register today!

YMCA Camp Pendalouan is a fully accredited resident and day camp. While at Pendalouan, kids and teens make friends, create life long memories, and learn new skills all the while having fun in a safe environment. At Pendalouan, you are a part of a family and campers are lead by highly qualified and trained staff. If you would like to learn more about Camp Pendalouan, check out our website, the Camp Blog and our Facebook page.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Introducing... THE SUMMER 2012 STAFF!

With Summer 2012 less than 75 days away, we're thinking it is about time to start introducing the Summer 2012 Staff! We are super excited for Summer 2012 and we having been working hard for the past several months to make sure this is one of the best summers yet!

Throughout the months of April, May & early June, we'll continue to post about events, traditions, activities & other exciting Pendalouan developments on our Blog, but we will also be posting short bios of our Summer 2012 Staff. If you want to make sure you see every single post, you can sign up to receive each post in your inbox. All you have to do is type your email in the box on the right side of the page under "Follow the Camp Blog By Email!"

I hope you are as excited as I am to see familiar and new faces. We have an awesome crew this year who cannot wait for summer. So without further ado... your Summer 2012 YMCA Camp Pendalouan Staff!

A BIG PENDALOUAN HELLO FROM BIG BLUE LAKE!! My name is Mark and I am thrilled to be spending another Summer at Pendalouan as Program Director. This summer will mark my 14th year at Camp Pendalouan! I was a camper for 7 years, and this will be my 7th year as a staff member. I was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois which is right outside of Chicago. Last June, I graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, which is all the way on the other side of Lake Michigan! My favorite things about Pendalouan are Kitchen Staff Parades, boating on Big Blue Lake, hiking to Sleepy Hollow, and Capture the Flag. Thoughts of campfires, s'mores, and singing to Mr. Moon also help me get through the colder months. Summer 2012 will be like no other! Can't wait to see you on the shores of Big Blue Lake!

Hello friends of Chief Pendalouan! My name is Drake, Director of Fun! As Director of Fun, I'll be making sure that every camper has a blast at Pendalouan this summer by organizing all-camp-games, planning different themes for every week, and just being a cool dude to be around. This year I'm graduating from Michigan State University (go green!) with a degree in History. When not at Pendalouan, I like to golf (both traditional and disc varieties), play guitar, listen to music, go for a run, or stay inside with a good book. I'm looking forward to my third summer at Pendalouan! Can't wait to see you there!

We are thrilled to have these two Marks back at Camp for another Summer!

Call camp today (231) 894 4538 or head to Pendalouan's website to register for any session this summer and check back here, The Pendalouan Blog, often to meet more staff members!