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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.
  • VBYC Volunteer Day

    All are welcome - children under 18 should be accompanied by an adult
    An opportunity to have fun, volunteer and get VBYC ready for our summer campers
    Saturday, May 30 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. * see schedule below
    Van Buren Youth Camp 12370 45th Street, Bloomingdale, MI 49026
    To help beautify & have Camp ready for our summer guests. Also a fantastic opportunity for high school students to earn their volunteer credits for graduation

    How can I be part?:
    Call or email VBYC: 269-521-3855, mail@vbyc.org; Dottie Myers-Hill 269-267-9586, director@vbyc.org; Sue Shirkey Knudstrup 269-569-1030, susanknudstrup@me.com.


    8:45 - 9:00 +
    Coffee & Sign in
    9:00 -10:30
    Work Teams I
    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 12:30
    Work Teams II
    12:30 -1:30
    Potluck Lunch (consider bringing a food item to share)
    1:30 - 3:00
    Work Teams III
    3:00 - 4:00
    Tour of Camp Additions & Improvements
    Download flyer
  • 65th Anniversary Celebration and Alumni Reunion: July 2-5

    Dear VBYC & VBFD Alumni & Friends,

    65 Years! What an accomplishment. VBYC is celebrating! It's also a great opportunity to have a Van Buren Folk Dancer Reunion. Let's take this summer to return to VBYC to celebrate, renew acquaintances and meet new friends of Van Buren Youth Camp.

    The place to be is VBYC, July 2nd - 5th
    Come for the entire weekend or come for a day. It's your time.

    Read more

    We'd love to have people from every decade of VBYC placing this event on your calendar. What a Great Way to celebrate July 4th!! Let's see which decade can have the greatest representation at our celebration weekend.

    Bring your family & friends and indulge yourself in a "VBYC Fix!" Visit with old & new friends - enjoy Camp food - walk the nature trails - folk dancing with friends, of course!* - make crafts - eat a lip smackin' S'mores & of course Horizontal Hour and so much more. * Bring comfortable shoes

    Prepare your taste buds for an old fashioned VBYC Chicken Dinner with all the fixings. I'm certain we'll need some volunteers to help grill the chicken to help educate our younger "chefs." Every night following "Evening Rec" we'll end the day with a traditional campfire. A call to all musicians, who added so much to our Camp time; Bring your guitars!! We really need you.

    Bring Camp photos to share or use with a craft. The Museum Committee has been busily assembling photo boards for our Celebration/Reunion.

    Folk Dancers will Reunite - All VBFD plus a special 40th Reunion for the folk dancers who made the Poland Tour. Tom Riley is heading up this part of the reunion.

    **Please call or email your reservation to mail@vbyc.org or (269)-521-3855.**

    - Meals available from midday, Thursday, July 2nd-breakfast, Sunday, July 5th.
    - Cabins & the Campgrounds are available for those wanting to stay at VBYC.
    - A list of a number of local hotels/campgrounds are on the website.

    Alums, Friends of Camp, the Board, Director Dottie Myers-Hill, the 2015 Summer Staff, the Van Buren Folk Dancers and other special volunteers are helping to make this 65th Celebration a very special July Weekend.

    Come Join Us!

    Let's reconnect at least one more time before our 75th . . . So, Please Register Now. Call or Email VBYC @ (269)-521-3855 or mail@vbyc.org today!

    In the Spirit of Camp,

    Sue Shirkey Knudstrup VBYC Board President

    Kermit "Tim" Washburn VBYC Board Life Member
  • 65th Anniversary Celebration - Accomodations


    - Stay at VBYC
    Cabins & the Campgrounds are available

    - Hotels

    Hotel Allegan
    1208 32nd St, Allegan
    269 673-7104

    Budget Host Inn
    1580 Lincoln Rd, Allegan
    269 673-6622

    Comfort Inn & Suites
    153 Ampey Rd, Paw Paw
    269 657-2578

    Econo Lodge
    139 Ampey Rd, Paw Paw
    269 657-2578

    Super 8
    111 Ampey Rd, Paw Paw
    269 657-1111

    Hawkshead Links
    523 Hawksnest Dr, South Haven
    269 639-2146

    Comfort Suites
    1755 Phoenix St, South Haven
    269 639-2014

    Baymont Inn & Suites
    1555 Phoenix Rd, South Haven
    269 639-9900

    Old Harbor Inn
    515 Williams St, South Haven
    269 637-8480

    Sunset Inn Bed & Breakfast
    72 N Shore Dr, South Haven
    269 637-7777

    Hotel Nichols
    201 Center St, South Haven
    269 637-8725

    Super 8 Motel
    618 Maple Hill Dr, Kalamazoo
    269 345-0146

    Baymont Inn & Suites
    2203 South 11th St, Kalamazoo
    269 372-7999

    Red Roof Inn
    5425 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo
    269 375-7400

    - Campgrounds

    Tri Ponds Family Camp Resort
    3687 Dumont Rd, Allegan
    269 673-4740

    Swan Lake Store and Campground
    658 42 St, Allegan
    269 521-6510

    Covert/South Haven KOA
    39397 M-140 Highway, Covert
    269 764-0818

    Giles Swan Lake Campgrounds
    928 44th St, Pullman
    269 521-6171

    Fireside Campground
    4252 105 Ave, Allegan
    269 521-4528

    Jensen?s Camp Ground and Motel
    7366 N Shore Dr, South Haven
    269 637-3544

    Singing Sands RV Park
    262 74th St, South Haven
    269 637-3919

  • 65th Anniversary Celebration - A special note to friends from the 50s & 60s

    This is a very special message to all of you who, like many on our Board, are eligible or close to being eligible for "the wisdom discount" at a favorite store.

    Read more

    Most of us are retired and have more time to travel and enjoy our own personal interests. So maybe one pleasure could be to travel to Van Buren Youth Camp & create some new memories with great people.

    Many of us are making time for travel; the visiting special people while we still can. Camp has lost several fabulous alums, folk dancers & friends in the past several years and we can have an opportunity to celebrate their lives during the weekend.

    One alumnus wrote to say, the four summers at VBYC, were the most formative in my life. They went on to say they are in Michigan every summer for at least a week or two and "one of these times I am going to make it a priority to visit the Camp." Their words would be true for many of us.

    If live close by we hope you'll be around to come visit - it's still a fantastic place to be during the summer!

    Please come back and be a part of VBYC for just a little while again.
  • Shop on Amazon.com and donate to VBYC

    Amazon will donate .05% on each of your eligible purchases on Amazon to VBYC when you sign in to your Amazon account with this link. It is an easy way to give more to Van Buren Youth Camp. Thank you!!
  • 2015 Schedule

    session dates grades cost
    Leadership and Counselor Workshop Jun 14-20 9-12* $325
    Great Bear Jun 21-27 3-6 $325
    Little Bear Jun 28 - Jun 30 1-3 $110
    Extended Little Bear Jun 30 - July 1 1-3 $150
    Wolverine Jul 5-11 5-8 $325
    Discovery Jul 12-18 4-9 $325
    Sleep Over Saturday** (limited space) Jul 18-19 4-9 $40
    Frontier Jul 19-25 4-9 $325
    White Pine - Early Leadership Jul 26 - Aug 1 6-9 $325
    Arrowhead Aug 2-6 3-6 $295
    Women's Wellness Weekend Sept 25-27 Adults  

    *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

  • Discovery Photos

  • Wolverine Photos

  • Leadership, Great Bear, Little Bear Photos!

  • Meet the 2014 Staff!

  • 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
  • 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!
  • VBYC Video

    Made by our very own Erika Haynor. Great job!

  • 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!

trans Sign Up NOW!
Registration (Drop-Off Process):
Sunday 3-5pm

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