Van Buren Youth Summer Camps 2023

Van Buren Youth Summer Camps – Overnight, sleepaway camps for kids ages 6-18 on the shore of Great Bear Lake in Bloomingdale, Michigan. Campers enjoy soaring trees, rustic cabins, beautiful sunsets, and traditional camp experiences throughout the summer.

VBYC is a nonprofit residential co-ed summer camp program. Their mission: Van Buren Youth Camp is dedicated to serving youth by providing opportunities for mental, physical, and spiritual growth.

For 73 years the top priority has been a safe and magical experience for children where the focus is on personal and group responsibility, friendship, teamwork, and fun.

Van Buren Youth Summer Camps 2023 Schedule

June 14-17 – Advanced Leadership – Grades 10-12+ – $300
June 18-24 – Leadership & Counselor Workshop – Grades 9-12+ – $425
June 25-July 1 – Great Bear Early Youth – Grades 3-6 – $425
July 5-8 – Little Bear #1 – Grades 1-3 (3 nights, 4 days) – $275
July 9-15 – Wolverine Middle Youth – Grades 5-8 – $425
July 16-22 – Discovery Middle Youth – Grades 4-9 – $425
July 22-23 – Sleepover Saturday – Grades 4-9 – $75
July 23-29 – Frontier Middle Youth Grades 4-9 – $425
July 30-Aug 1 – Little Bear #2 – Grades 1-3 (2 nights, 3 days) – $225
August 6-11 – Explorer Early Youth – Grades 3-7 – $390
August 12 – Camp Fest Family Fun Day – All Ages – COST TBD
September 21-24 – Women’s Wellness Weekend – Ages 21+ – $200

Sessions offer a varied and traditional approach to classes and activities tailored to the age group.

VBYC Classes / Activities Offered Include

Crafts – both nature and art inspired classes offer creative and fun projects – visiting the Craft House during free time is great, too.
Nature – exploring natural habitats and engaging safely with the unique wildlife the 90 + acres provide.
Drama – this class teaches campers how to express emotions, read emotions in others, and get comfortable with silliness in front of their peers.
Song and Dance – learning camp songs, making music with various instruments, and trying out some of our old and new folk dances.
Sporty Initiatives – a combined approach to Low Ropes and sport activities that work to unite cabin groups and teach cooperation through team challenges and games.
Canoeing – traditional canoe handling techniques are taught while campers work together to steer their canoe around Great Bear Lake
Swimming – campers will play games that strengthen swimming muscles and skills. For older campers, this could include introduction to lifeguard training or aquatic observer certification.
Kayaking – kayaks are bright yellow and scoot across the lake so campers can sing camp songs to our neighbors.
Target Skills – Archery and Riflery teach responsible use of weapons but focus more on aiming at a target, dominant eye, and safety.
Polar Bears– early morning swim that gets campers wet prior to breakfast. A super-fast dip, then off to the showers.
Choice Time/After meal activities – at least three times each day campers can choose an activity offered by staff or counselors. The Camp Store is open for snacks, drinks, and camp merch. A great time to interact with staff and counselors in a less structured way. The waterfront is also open for Choice Time.

All Camp Activities Include

Thought – a quiet reflective time sitting by the lake after dinner when cabin groups take turns sharing a lesson on friendship or kindness or how to be a leader.
Evening Rec – this is a large group game or a rotation of small activities where the whole camp is playing together. Friday night is a carnival style dance party.
Campfire – the last group activity each night, campfire time allows cabin groups to tell stories, perform skits, sing camp songs, and wind down before bed.

Van Buren Youth Camp Leadership and Counselor Workshop

The first session each summer – is the longest continuously running leadership program in the State of Michigan. Leadership campers come back week after week each summer to volunteer as leaders for the younger campers, racking up hundreds of volunteer service hours for NHS, high school graduation requirements, or college applications.

All campers aged 6-18 are welcome to attend regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or economic background. Supporters of Van Buren Youth Camp donate thousands of dollars each season to support families financially through the Campership program.

Van Buren Youth Camp
12370 45th Street
Bloomingdale, MI 49026


For more info on Van Buren Youth Summer Camps, visit

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