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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Summer Camp Fun For the Whole Family... IN THE DEAD OF WINTER!

Greetings from Beautiful Big Blue Lake!



It may be windy, icy and brisk outside, but in just 140 days, we'll be hearing canoe paddles in the water, buddy check whistles and other great sounds of summer. We always miss summer camp the most when the snow starts to fall and the lake freezes over.  But luckily there are ways to keep the magic of summer camp alive in the winter months as well! Here is a list of campy activities and games that kids can do in the winter when missing summer camp:

  1. Foil Dinners! On Tuesday nights during Summer Camp here at Pendalouan, every cabin enjoys a yummy Foil Dinner cooked over a fire. But did you know that you can also make these delicious meals in your own kitchen? All you need is tin foil, butter, potatoes, veggies, & seasonings! Check out one recipe here!
  2. Go on a hike with family and friends! Here at Pendalouan our favorite hiking destination is Sleepy Hollow, but West Michigan is full of beautiful places to hike! Click here for a link to West Michigan’s State Parks.
  3. Write Letters! At Camp, everyone loves getting letters at mail time, but why should it only be a summertime occurrence? Our campers are encouraged during the school year to write the friends they made the previous summer. And we even allow campers to send mail to counselors! All they have to do is send a letter addressed to their Counselor with Camp’s address. We’ll make sure they get it! But why stop there! Kids can also be encouraged to send mail to their grandparents and other relatives!
  4. Organize a game of Scatterball. Scatterball is a classic Camp Pendalouan game. It is like dodgeball, but with no teams. The ball is thrown up in the air to start the game and then it becomes an all vs. all dodgeball game. Once you get the ball, you can take three steps and then you HAVE to throw it. If you get hit, you have to sit in “Jail.” But if the person who got you out gets out, you are back in! The last person standing WINS!
  5. Make a Scavenger Hunt Around the House or Neighborhood. Camp Pendalouan is no stranger to Scavenger Hunts. We have Scavenger Hunts during our Mt. Biking & Nature Classes, they are a part of our All Camp Games, and sometimes counselors will put one together specifically for their cabin! Making a scavenger hunt with clues that ends up with a note with a special announcement (like a Certificate for A Week at Summer Camp) or a special treat (like a favorite snack) would be a great way to bring a little bit of Summer Camp back home!
  6. Have a Living Room Campout! This activity can be for anyone, young and old, returning or new campers! It may not be quite the same as sleeping under the starts, but it still is a fun way to bond as a family or for kids to do with their friends. Grab your sleeping bags and lay them out in the living room. Instead of turning on the TV, make a fire out of construction paper and grab a few books for telling and sharing stories! And if you get hungry, you can always…
  7. Make Smores! While this is a great Living Room Campout activity, it is also a snack that can be enjoyed anytime! You can microwave the marshmallow instead of roasting it over the fire. It’s almost just as good!
  8. Spread the Pendalouan Spirit! During our closing campfire on Thursday nights, we talk about the Pendalouan Spirit, which is made up of the four core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility and the Camp Motto of “I’m Third.” We share instances from the prior week where we saw the Pendalouan Spirit in action and we challenge our campers to spread the spirit at home with friends when they leave camp and throughout the school year. Sharing these values and the camp motto is probably our FAVORITE way to keep the magic of camp alive during the non-summer months.


We hope this YMCA Camp Pendalouan list gives you and your family some great idea of ways to experience a little bit of Summer Camp during these cold winter months! Feel free to add to the list in the comments section!

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. We are currently nearing the end of our January Promotion in which we’ll provide you with a free long sleeve Pendalouan T-Shirt if you sign up for summer camp before February 1st. If you would like to learn more about Camp Pendalouan, check out our website, the Camp Blog and our Facebook page.

Monday, January 16, 2012

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You!

A Successful End to Our Year-End Campaign

We are happy to announce the successful completion of our 2011 Year-End Campaign!

Smashing our goal of $5,000, we ended up raising a record $15,796 for our Campership Fund! Because of this, many children, who otherwise would not have been able, will experience a week at Pendalouan. This could not have happened without the generous support of our alumni, parents, and friends of Pendalouan and we dearly thank those who donated. While the focus of our Year-End Campaign is camperships, we continue to accept donations year-round for our Campership Fund, as well as capital projects and programming/facility needs.


In the Spirit of Pendalouan,

Bruce Spoelman, Executive Director
YMCA Camp Pendalouan

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Time To Start Thinking About Summer 2012!

That's right folks! Summer 2012 is only 157 days away!
Are you signed up for Summer Camp at Pendalouan, yet?

No? Well here's some incentive:

If you sign up for Summer Camp 2012 before January 31st, we'll give you ONE OF OUR NEW LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRTS FOR FREE!


Our stylish new long sleeve t-shirts

Sign up on our website or call the camp office at
(231) 894-4538 today!



Thursday, January 05, 2012

Pendalouan Traditions: Camp Songs!

We are starting a new series on Pendalouan Traditions! This is the first post about Camp Songs! Future posts will be about ceremonies, rituals, the camp motto, and more! Enjoy!



Camp wouldn't be camp without songs! Singing has been an integral part of camping since in start in the mid-to-late 1800s and, while the nature of the songs has changed with the times, the central place that singing has at camp is still alive and well today in 2012!

Here at YMCA Camp Pendalouan, we sing all day long. We sing in the early morning before breakfast, we sing at Chapel, we sing after meals, we sing at campfires, and we sing at night before bed. We love singing! On Thursday Nights in the summer, we even have a SONGFEST on Thursday evenings before Closing Campfire!

What do we sing? It depends on the time of day.

In the morning, after flag raising, we make our way to the beach and sing "Good Morning Mr. Zip Zip" across the lake to Mr. Zip Zip - the retired postman who lives on the other side of Big Blue Lake. Sometimes he even comes out in his red longjohns and waves hello!



On Cookout Day/ Extended Cabin Activity Night, we sing our TAPS songs before Dinner.

Then we have our hundreds of fun and entertaining "Camp" songs like "3 Blind Jellyfish," "My Dog Lima," "The Princess Pat," "An Austrian Went Yodeling," and "Boom Chicca Boom" which we sing when we have down time, at our Opening Campfire and Songfest, and after meals.

At night, right after snack and right before flag lowering, we have our TAPS time, which is when we gather as a camp on the steps of the lodge or at Wildwood Chapel and sing slower songs like "One Tin Solider," "Blowin in the Wind," or "Country Roads."

And then we have our Camp Song Mainstays: "Hail Pendalouan," "On The Loose," and "I Was Pendalouan Born" (this one is only two years old!). These songs reportedly are the songs that really connect campers and alums emotionally with Pendalouan.


Singing has always been and always will be a part of the Pendalouan Camp experience. When campers come home from summer camp, often the first thing they want to do is share their favorite camp songs with their parents. When alumni from decades out come back to camp, they still remember the songs they sang on the shores of Big Blue Lake.

What is YOUR favorite camp song? We'd love to hear!


Singing "One Tin Solider" before heading down to the Sandlot to lower the flag.


With only 163 days till Summer 2012, we're going to keep singing our camp songs, prepping for what is bound to be the best summer yet. We hope you join us in song!

This post is the first of a series on camp traditions. Be on the lookout for more posts in the coming months on other camp traditions! If you have any questions about our Summer Camp Programs or would like to register, call our office at (231) 894-4538.