From Seed to Tree — These Are Our Roots

In 1885, camping became a cornerstone of YMCA programming, with the aim of providing children a positive developmental experience that empowers  them to make new friends, build confidence, and grow self-reliance. At YMCA Family Camp Pinewood, these goals still hold true today.

For nearly 100 years, generations of youth and teens have delighted in spending part of their summers at Camp Pinewood. 

Purchased by the YMCA of Metro Chicago in 1925 for the solid sum of $10 (can you believe that? Money well spent!), Camp Pinewood was established to offer inner-city youth a different perspective via beautiful outdoor settings and provide a cultural experience beyond  life in the city.

In 1929, Camp Pinewood’s Niles Lodge was built as the first outdoor center of its kind in North America. 

Camp Pinewood was a summer-only operation for most of its first 86 years. Then in 2001, Camp Pinewood moved from a four-month season to a year-round operation by launching Outdoor Environmental Education programs, Group Rentals, and Weddings. 

As the years have gone on, Camp Pinewood has continued to evolve and change based on community needs. 2019 marked the addition of a state-of-the-art climbing tower, zip line, and high ropes course. 

Most recently, Camp Pinewood expanded its family camp offerings, becoming the only YMCA Family Camp in the state of Michigan and one of only a few across the country. With YMCA Camp Pinewood transitioning to YMCA Family Camp Pinewood, individuals, families, and groups of all ages can unplug and participate in the benefits of overnight camp — learning new skills, establishing lifelong friendships, and, most importantly, having fun —all amid the pinewoods of Twin Lake and along the shores of Lake Echo.