Some of my best camp memories are from being in units. When I was in Rangers in 2005, there was 9 of us. It was session 3, Christmas in July. Four of us were going into 6th grade, 5 going into 7th grade. 5 were from The United States, 4 were from Mexico. We went tubing down the Muskegon River and stayed the night at Sanderson’s farm, where we learned Mexican nursery rhymes and children’s songs. We sang and laughed all night long. Since then, camp has really been growing with more campers coming every year. Tripping storage has moved twice, Lang Lodge has been winterized, the Gaga court was built, and there are more than twice as many Rangers campers for Christmas in July. Many things have stayed the same. Camp Newaygo is rooted in tradition. Some are formal like, Scarving, Wishing Boats, and July Torches, others are more playful, Tuesday night cookouts, Christmas in July and Pi Banquet. One tradition that is entrenched in Newaygo history is always be ready for change.
Every summer, we strive to improve each camper’s experience at Camp Newaygo. It is an on-going task to make each summer at camp more memorable than the last. Units are a huge part of the camp experience. In recent years, our number of campers entering units has grown tremendously; many campers have had to bypass the Rangers unit due to limited bunk space in the unit. From the planning stages of the new Health and Leadership Lodge, we knew we wanted to find a new purpose for the nurses’ station. As of September, it has been moved and renovated to become a new addition to our unit living options! Rangers will now consist of the current Rangers Outpost and the Rangers Station as a sister unit. This will allow “Rangers 1” and “Rangers 2” that had previously all stayed in Rangers Outpost to spread out, have their own defined space and identity. This will ultimately improve campers’ experience in the unit and ensure more space for campers in Rangers.
Our goal is to make camp even better by improving the unit experience and allow more space for campers to attend the session of their choice. In most cases:
*7th graders and younger will be in our cabin area
*8th graders will be living in Rangers Outpost or Rangers Station
*9th graders will be living in Tinuwen
*10th graders will be living in Wakonda
*11th graders will be living in Pioneer
Now, all 7th graders will be able to spend a final summer in cabins together with unique program and overnight opportunities as the oldest girls in the cabins. We are very excited with all of the great options this provides for older camper here at Camp Newaygo.
-Kori Swieter, Program Director