Camping became a cornerstone of Y programming in 1885 with the aim to provide children with a positive developmental experience through making new friends, building confidence and growing in self-reliance.

Those goals still hold true today.

10 Facts about YMCA Camp Pinewood

YMCA Camp Pinewood is part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago serving over 35 Centers, Human Services Sites, and Community Schools in the Chicago Area.

Camp Pinewood was bought in 1925 for the sum of $10.00.  The vision of the YMCA of Metro Chicago at that time was to bring inner-city youth to a wonderful outdoor facility to give campers a different perspective and cultural experience other than life in the city.  We are still accomplishing that vision today.

Located near Muskegon Michigan at the Southern tip of the Manistee National forest and is a 3 ½ hour drive from Chicago.  Camp Pinewood sits within 200 acres of Pine and Oak forest.  The YMCA owns approximately 80% of the shoreline of Echo Lake.  The lake is spring fed and there is no public access.

We serve 1,000 youth and family campers each summer from the Chicago Area, Northern Indiana, Southwest Michigan, and from 6 other countries. We also serve 5000 students from Michigan Schools in our Outdoor Education programs in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Camp Pinewood tripping program utilizes many of the surrounding natural areas: Canoeing on the Pere Marquette River, Pine River, and White River; Sea Kayaking on the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan; Backpacking on the North Country Trail; Mt. Biking at Pines Point; Bike Touring at Mackinaw Island.

In 2011 Camp Pinewood was the host to the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Executive Retreat.  At the last Alumni Event in 2010 we had over 150 people from around the country and had 6 decades of Camp Pinewood alumni attend the reunion.

In 1994, Camp Pinewood was the host site for the Midwest World Camp.  Camp Pinewood’s last land acquisition was in 2008, a 2.5 acre site was purchased with a pole barn and a house and previous to that in 1999, a 16.5 acres was purchased and dedicated as our new athletic field and horse stables.  We still currently use the field as an athletic field for our participants.

Camp Pinewood has operated as a summer only operation for most of the 86 years, however in 2001, Camp Pinewood moved from a 4-month season to a 12-month season by launching it’s Outdoor Education and Leadership programs and began serving the local community year-round.

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

In 2011 over $300,000 was spent on capital improvements and more will be spent in 2012 and 2013.