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Van Buren Youth Camp

is a non-profit, co-ed, residential summer camp. Since 1950 we have provided a unique summer experiences for children ages 6-18 at a reasonable cost. Located on Great Bear Lake in Bloomingdale, MI.
  • Bring Oprah to VBYC

    The Chicago Leadership Planning Committee has decided to bring the ultimate leader to Leadership 2014. You should know that this isn't a drill.

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  • 2014 Schedule

    session dates grades cost
    Leadership and Counselor Workshop Jun 15-21 9-12* $310
    Great Bear Jun 22-28 3-6 $310
    Little Bear Jun 29 - July 1 1-3 $100
    Open for rental Jul 2-5 Inquire
    Wolverine Jul 6-12 5-8 $310
    Discovery Jul 13-19 4-9 $310
    Sleep Over Saturday** (limited space) Jul 19-20 4-9 $30
    Frontier Jul 20-26 4-9 $310
    White Pine - Early Leadership Jul 27 - Aug 2 6-9 $310
    Arrowhead Aug 3-8 3-6 $295

    *Students entering 9th grade must submit two letters of reference before attending Leadership Workshop.

    **“Sleep Over Saturday” is ONLY for campers registered for BOTH Discovery and Frontier

  • Winter Newsletter 2013

  • Director's Corner

    During this holiday season, I'd like to take a moment to thank the donors who support our camp program and our campership fund. Seventy-six children were assisted this past summer with registration fees to help make camp a summer reality for them. That is approximately 10% of our total camper population. The thank you notes from these children touch my heart; they are not necessarily flowery or expressive, but straight to the point of what being outside during the summer playing with other kids means. Read more.

    One boy, age 9, said that “coming to camp would allow him to play with other boys his age because all he ever does is play with his cousins who are ALL girls.” One girl, age 12, said that camp gave her the “chance to do new things, meet new people, and make lifelong friends like my mom and grandma did when they went to camp.” A note from a mom said, “You have no idea how much this financial assistance means to my family. Our children love VBYC so much, and the fact that our financial situation has changed so that camp fees are just not in the budget...well, we just really appreciate that there are folks out there making this possible for our family.” What a difference you make for these people and their children!

    VBYC has survived and thrived for most of its 60 plus years by the support of businesses, service groups and individuals. That support has been both financial as well as significant investments of time and talent and tools. Our counselors and our staff spend most of their waking hours making the program fun, interesting and worthwhile...all with thoughts of camper safety first and enjoyment second. It was a joy to be a part of this summer. While it seemed like most of my summer was spent training a new Office Manager (and re-learning with her,) a new Program Director, and a new Volunteer Coordinator; I found time to relax with campers, staff and counselors and participate in activities whenever I could. Now that most of the learning has happened, I look forward to spending more time with the children next summer and taking the VBYC story to the community in new ways.

    In early 2014 I will have the honor of participating in the Nonprofit Leadership Academy offered by ONEplace@kpl, a regional nonprofit management support organization. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about managing and leading VBYC as well as developing meaningful relationships with other nonprofit leaders in SW Michigan. Thank you to the VBYC board, staff, volunteers, and campers for your support as I continue to grow in this position. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    In the Spirit of Camp
    Dottie Myers-Hill, Director
  • Counselor Reunion 2013

    “To Lead Is To Serve”...
    You will hear a great deal about this core mission of our Leadership and Counselor Workshop in the coming seasons. Read more.

    The Leadership campers become our Counselors for each summer season. This has been the case since Leadership Camp first began in the early 1950’s. It is our job to help them be successful by understanding their role in making the VBYC experience meaningful for our campers. So, the volunteer counselors from this past season were invited out for the weekend of the Wild Game and Harvest Dinner. We spent time catching up with each other and evaluating the summer program. We also enjoyed helping the Board of Directors at the Dinner. We decorated tables, washed dishes, served food and bussed tables.

    To finish off the weekend we had our first official Leadership Planning Meeting. This year’s theme was selected and a game plan established to move forward. For the first time ever, the Chicago area teens will participate in Leadership planning with meetings in their area led by Catherine Rector, Program Director. We will each plan our part of the program and will keep communications flowing via Skype and Face Time. Wish us luck in our Leadership Planning for 2014!
  • VBYC Camper Receives STAR Award

    It’s easy to see how Erika Ackerman was named the “STAR Teen Volunteer of the Year” this year. Volunteerism seems to find Erika rather than the other way around. Read more.

    Erika began her volunteer work in the 6th grade after finding out that she was too old to participate in Vacation Bible School at her church. So, Erika chose to be a volunteer helper/leader at VBS in order to stay involved with the group. Around this same time, Van Buren Youth Camp came into Erika’s life. A friend suggested to Erika that she attend VBYC. Erika immediately fell in love with Camp. When asked what made her love VBYC, her response is one we hear a lot ? the immediate feeling of family that grows into a lifetime relationship with VBYC.

    Once Erika attended VBYC’s Leadership Camp, she was able to volunteer as a cabin counselor. This past summer Erika counseled and then had the opportunity to also to be a Staff In Training during Double Discovery Camp. What’s next on Erika’s agenda? More volunteering with VBYC and her church while completing her senior year at Mattawan High School. She’ll also be spending time applying for college scholarships. She plans to attend a smaller college using scholarships so she is able to graduate debt-free, thus allowing Erika more time to volunteer. Congratulations Erika!
  • Women's Wellness Weekend Summary

    Thirty six women attended the 3rd Annual women’s retreat weekend. We were pampered with mini facial treatments on Friday night and enjoyed appetizers prepared by the group. Read more.

    Shelah Davis, Certified Fitness Professional, and former camper, counselor & SIT, joined us for the weekend to share tips on physical and emotional wellness. We enjoyed yoga, massages, Art with Wyatt, and learned about Bare Form Running. Gonzo (Greg Haner) and Brian Hill from Gonzo’s Bigg Dogg Brewing Company visited on Saturday night to teach the ladies about different styles of beer.

    The highlight of the weekend had to be the weather. The sun was shining and the temperatures soared to nearly 80 on Saturday. So, amidst the massages and yoga classes, most ladies spent much of the time outdoors . . . on or around the water . . . kayaking, canoeing, shooting archery, reading or chatting with friends. Sunday afternoon a small group of us biked the Kal-Haven Trail into South Haven.

    Mark your calendars for the weekend of September 26-28th, 2014 for the 4th Annual Women’s Wellness Weekend. Details of next year’s event will appear in future newsletters as well as on vbyc.org.
  • Board Update

    Marge Durm-Hiatt
    When I first started coming to Camp, (some 55 years ago) I think Cleo the moose was still running wild!!! I was here in the 50's as a camper; the 60's as a counselor; then on staff teaching Archery - I never lost my love for Camp. My daughter and son were campers. I have always stayed connected with VBYC. Read more.

    Now that I have retired, serving on the Board just seems right. I look forward to protecting the VBYC traditions and Spirit of Camp while helping Camp continue to be progressive in meeting the needs of our youth.

    Joy Conrad
    I am very excited to join the VBYC Board of Directors! Camp has always held a special place in my heart. I was a camper for many years, counseled and started my staff years under the direction of Uncle Bob. I have so many fond memories of VBYC. Due to my love of Camp and the outdoors, I attended Central Michigan University majoring in Outdoor Education and then worked at a YMCA camp year-round for four years. Read more.

    Since then I moved to Kalamazoo and became the proud mother of a wonderful daughter (Montana) who will be a first year Leadership camper this summer. I work in the sales office of a Japanese automotive lighting manufacturer where I have a bonus opportunity to learn about another culture. In my spare time, I can usually be found outside in my garden, in my kitchen trying to perfect my salsa recipes, or out hiking with my large lap dog Ziggy. I look forward to a wonderful 2014 camping season!
  • A Book About VBYC in the Works!

    Our new/old director and a former staff member, Dottie Myers-Hill and Julie McLeese, are writing a book about VBYC. The working title is "Camp Is For Kids...Or Is It?" Their plan is to finish by the end of 2013 and to have copies available for sale by spring, 2014.

    They are collecting stories from past staff, campers, nurses, board members, community supporters, etc., to create a loving treasury of VBYC memories. They will also be including Camp history, maps, and a glossary of definitions (because we all know Camp has its own vocabulary). Please consider sharing the stories of your VBYC experience.

    Julie and Dottie welcome stories of any length and topic? think camp log type stuff? "Wills and Dedications," interviews, poems, short stories, drawings and sketches. Camp quotes will be placed throughout the pages along with trivia tidbits. What was your favorite Camp song, scary story, place to be, favorite person? What was your favorite Camp meal? Maybe you're not a former camper but married into someone else's love of VBYC? we want your stories too! We know there are hundreds if not thousands of you out there who have stories to tell. No story is insignificant!!! We feel that Camp stories can be inspiring for generations to come. Will you please help us get our story out there?

    Stories/questions can be e-mailed to director@vbyc.org or mailed to:
    12370 45th St.
    Bloomingdale, MI

  • Meet the 2013 Staff!

  • New Camp Director Dottie Myers-Hill

    Dottie Myers-Hill's Bio Greetings from the woods! My name is Dottie Myers-Hill and I'm your new (but old) Camp Director at Van Buren Youth Camp. My last summer on staff was 1993 so my life has come full circle in the last 20 years and I find myself immensely grateful for the opportunity to "play" out here again... read more

  • VBYC Video

    Made by our very own Erika Haynor. Great job!

  • CBS Detroit lists VBYC as one of Michigan's best camps!

  • Parents, please fill out all your forms

    1) Login
    2) Look for the link seen below.

    3) Fill out any remaining forms. For example:
    • Camper_Parent Consent
    • Health History
    • Camper Packing List
  • New alumni registration!

  • Great Parent Resource: Recommended Read or Reference Source

    Health KidsHealth® KidsPool Explores Children?s Stress, this title and short article in the (March/April 2010) edition of Camping magazine caught my attention, and sent me on web search for the link so that I could share it. It is a short, fast read, giving parents insight about what causes kid?s stress and the healthy and unhealthy was they deal with it.

    Read more »

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Registration (Drop-Off Process):
Sunday 3-5pm

Deregistrtion (Pick-Up Process):
Saturday 10am
- Explorer: Fri 5pm
Quick Links:
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Kiss the Moose
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12370 45th St. Bloomingdale, MI 49026 269-521-3855 Fax 269-521-6668 mail@vbyc.org