The Pendalouan Experience

Pendalouan is not like other Summer Camps. With over 85 years of tradition and experience to build on, we have developed unique characteristics that set us apart from other camps. Read on to see what makes Pendalouan the best camp in Michigan! 

For a typical weekly schedule, click here.


When speaking to prospective parents, we describe ourselves as a traditional YMCA Camp. We offer activities such as archery, canoeing, swim lessons, hiking, crafts, nature, campfires and horseback riding. Additional items include a climbing wall, Mt. Bikes, camp newspaper, drama class, and kayaking (For a list of activities offered, click here). While we do offer specialty camps allowing more time at the barn, waterfront or craft lodge, specialty campers join in on the regular activities as well.


"The Perfect Sized Camp"

The average size of our weekly overnight sessions is 120 campers and 40 staff members. The average number of kids in each cabin is 12, with at least two counselors. Our relatively small size is a major attribute that sets Pendalouan apart. It allows for both campers and counselors to get to know other kids outside of their cabin. This  gives campers more opportunities to make friends and builds a stronger sense of community and family each time they attend.


Character and Friendships

Campers can learn a lot during their time at Pendalouan - how to shoot a bow and arrow, how to cook a meal over an open fire and tons of songs. However, our real strength, focus and priority is creating friendships, making memories and building character - all while having fun in the sun!


The Camp Motto and the Four Core Values

From the very first day, our campers learn about our four core values (Honesty, Caring, Respect and Responsibility) and Camp Motto (God First, Others Second, I'm Third). We promote them in our daily chapel skits, cabin reflections at night, and in all of our activities. Campers learn that if they just remember the four core values and the camp motto, they will live and lead a fulfilling life. Many camp alumni have mentioned how the camp motto has given them direction years after they left Big Blue Lake.



Our staff are trained to keep an eye out for teachable moments and opportunities that make ordinary experiences extra-ordinary. Since many of our activities are cabin-based, campers often become very close to their fellow cabinmates. We believe strongly in creating a cabin culture that emphasizes teamwork, friendship and respect. As one of our counselors once said of his cabin,"Working together like a team is an expectation, but becoming close like a family is the goal."