Sunday, April 9
Just imagine going on a free six day/five night residential camping experience next summer. That’s what Pretty Lake Camp in Mattawan will provide for 700-800 area youth most of whom face significant challenges. They have been providing this experience to disadvantaged kids since 1916.
Applications are distributed online and through area public and private schools, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Department of Human Services, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Portage Community Center and the Gospel Mission. Submitted applications are reviewed to find children who demonstrate the greatest need based on financial, social and/or emotional difficulties. The camp serves 3rd- to 11th-graders with the majority (80%) in grades 3-5. These lucky youth receive bedding, towels, clothing, swimwear, personal hygiene items, food and basic health care, transportation to and from the camp to downtown Kalamazoo, and art and activity materials at no cost to the families to remove any possible barriers that would prevent a child from participating. During the week they have the opportunity to meet new friends, build self-esteem, learn to swim and participate in a variety of other activities including those that “promote opportunities to experience, appreciate and steward our environment.”
It costs approximately $500 per child. On April 9th our church service collection will be donated to the camp to help provide these opportunities to children who would otherwise never know such a camping experience.