Summer Camp - A Day at Camp


Schedule and Highlights


Wake up and early morning

Each day at Camp Pinewood is fun and exciting but everyday at camp runs on a very similar schedule as the others.  Each day CPW campers and staff gather in our outdoor chapel to start the morning with a Thought of the Day.  Thought of the Day will be led by one of the camp leadership or counselor staff and the topics can focus on anything from the core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility, to the golden rule or even family.  The Thought of the Day gives each camper the opportunity to focus on one specific thing to help them grow and to become the best camper that they can be.  Often, there is a challenge that campers are given to reflect on later that night during the cabin devotion. All of this happens right before breakfast and flag raising at 8am.  But imagine: your camper may be willingly waking up at 7:30 to jump into beautiful Lake Echo! The Pinewood Dip gives our campers the opportunity to splash some water on their face early in the morning as well as become a part of the very elite and prestigious group of brave campers or staff who brave the early morning waters of Lake Echo.


Swim time at Camp

General Swim or better know around the Pineywood Hills as G-Swim is one of the greatest hours during a camper’s busy day at camp.  During G-Swim campers have many options available to them.  Our beautiful Lake Echo waterfront is open for all campers to swim or to play in the sand.  Other things campers may do during G-Swim are go to the camp store, play gaga ball, and hang out in our hammock star. At the camp store they can buy some really cool Camp Pinewood apparel, or "swag", or purchase snacks.  Our lakeside Gaga Pit is open during g-swim for those who do not want to be in the lake.  We also have our relaxing hammock star for campers to hang out in and relax.  G-Swim is the time when all camp snacks get passed out, as well as camper packages, and any snacks from home will make an appearance in each cabins snack bin.  With so many options for your camper this hour of their day, time, will just fly by!


Unit and Cabin time

A very exciting and special time during the daily schedule!  Unit time is when two cabins, a brother and sister cabin of similar ages, will get together and be able to do anything their hearts desire. Well maybe not anything, but there is a ton of freedom during unit time while their counselors help them to pick activities that they might not get to do during their rotation time.  With ideas coming from their cabin counselors, units will be able to challenge other units to a game or Gaga or Volleyball. This may even be an opportunity for them to come up with something completely new and different!

Cabin time is a single cabin doing an activity together and is utilized as a time for campers to build friendships with their cabinmates. From the traditional activities like climbing and archery or even a nail polish party and salamander hunting, the possibilities are endless! One thing you can be assured, our campers won't be spending this time sitting and staring at one another. We want campers to feel that they got the best our of every day, and each unit and cabin time period will be approved by leadership staff. No camper will ever be bored!


Rest Hour 

Having fun is hard work!! That’s why rest hour is such an important time at Camp Pinewood! Right after lunch campers and their cabin counselor(s) head back to the cabin for rest hour.  This is a time for our campers to sit back, relax and recharge for the rest of the day.  Campers can take a nap, read a book, or any other mellow and restful activity.  Rest hour is also a great time for your camper to get ready for General Swim or any of their other rotations for the afternoon. If you would like to hear from your camper during the week, make sure to send them with some stationary so that they can use this time to write you a letter home!



Each day starts with the whole camp gathering at the Chapel for Thought of the Day and each day ends with devotions or devos in each cabin right before bed.  Cabin counselors will lead devos each night.  It is a great time to share a camper's high and low of the day. Counselors also use this time to check back and see if campers kept in mind the challenge set for them at TOTD and if the Camp Pinewood community has been positively affected.  It’s a time to wind down, reflect, and connect for one final time as a cabin each night prior to bed.


Special Event Days

During our two-week sessions campers have the great privilege to participate in some creative special event days.  Our two biggest special event days happen Saturday and Sunday with some other surprises on the Fridays of each session.  On Saturdays mornings, cabins are able to challenge other cabins to events in our "cabin challenge" around camp.  Saturday afternoons is the Pinewood-athon! NEW this summer, this multi-challenge race puts campers' physical abilities to the test while challenging their mental prowess and each cabins' ability to work as a team.  Each Unit will compete against the other units and they will have time to create some festive Pinewood-athon Unit spirit: we're talking face paint, a cheer or even a handshake to unify their group and challenge other units' creativity.  Saturday ends with our Camp Carnival where each cabin is in-charge of a booth of their choosing.

Sunday, or Sleep-In day starts out with a pajama Thought of the Day at the chapel at 9:45am and breakfast following at 10am.  Then campers get to participate in some of the most anticipated events of the week: Low Down Dirty Day and the Counselor Hunt.  After a whole afternoon of getting as dirty as possible in our mud pit and on the slip-and-slide, it's to the showers and time for talent show prep ran later that night.  After dinner campers will have the opportunity to attend a chapel service or another form of character development ran by our leadership staff.  Sunday night ends with our talent show, devos and then off to bed.


Land Activities

Our 200 acres of pristine natural woodland and miles of biking/walking trails offer a perfect backdrop for campers of all ages to blend fun, natural wonder and new skills. Our activities include: Archery, Climbing, High Adventure, Teambuilding on our Teams or Low Ropes Courses, Mountain Biking, Adventure Hikes, Outdoor Living Skills and Sports!

Archery–This is a great opportunity for kids to learn fine motor skills while they aim, fire and practice shooting arrows at our archery range. Instructors have been trained to teach campers about sighting, shooting and safety. Campers also learn great life skills like perseverance, encouraging others and having pride in oneself. We have been fortunate to work with Long Range Archery in Twin Lake, MI in 2013 and 2014; so you know your child is using well cared for and great equipment each time they step up to the line.

Climbing–Our 30 ft. climbing tower “Pine Mountain” has been challenging campers for decades. With multiple routes, campers can expect to find a challenging new path to take each time. Our climbing tower rotations can include knot tying, team belay, climbing skills and bouldering.

High Adventure–This program combines our Mid-Ropes Course and our Zipline for some high adrenalin fun. Campers will get to take a walk on the Mids Course with extra challenges from our facilitators. Our course has 9 different elements that challenge your balance, courage and stamina. Our zipline is placed 45 ft. in a tree on the edge of our small athletic field. Campers climb to the top, wearing full body harnesses and while being belayed, have a chat with our facilitator before they are sent down the line. While tethered, they can twist and turn or fly like an eagle.

Teambuilding–There is nothing better than when your camper returns home and has a new sense of confidence, self and pride. Teambuilding allows our campers and cabin groups to communicate better, cooperate more fully, enjoy time with one another and defeat challenges. Our team course includes 5 elements that work the team in a progressive sequence, finishing with our group wall. Our low ropes course encourages individuals to trust their group, communicate and gain confidence while swinging on our elements 2-3 ft. off the ground. Campers on the ropes are spotted by their peers, so that safety of the individual is upmost in everyone’s minds.

Mountain Biking–With miles of trails on site, campers will enjoy learning about their bikes, testing their new toys and riding around our property. All campers wear helmets and are taught safe riding procedures; riding in a line, waiting for others to go down the hill, communicating calmly and efficiently. What better way to check out our beautiful location than taking a ride on one of our bikes!

Adventure Hikes–Yet another time we are able to use our great trails. Your camper will have the opportunity to visit several types of ecosystems: Deciduous Forest, Marshland, Lake Echo, Beech & Hemlock Groves and Swamp. Campers will get the opportunity to swamp log walk, salamander hunt, climbing through tree roots and discover the mysteries of Michigan flora and fauna.

Outdoor Living Skills/Survival–Building fires, shelters and outdoor cooking round up this great rotation. Campers have had the chance to build primitive fish and game traps, collect water, learn about filtration processes and much more. Our survival campers typically get a one night experience within one of their very own shelters.

Sports–Our two athletic fields host a variety of sports: Soccer, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Gaga Ball, Frisbee Golf and international games like Cricket. There is a little bit of everything for the athlete in your family!


Waterfront Activities

Our 45-acre spring fed lake offers a wide variety of activities that your camper may involve themselves. Activities include: fishing, swimming, boating, water and beach games and lake study!

Fishing – With perch, blue gill, sunfish, and large mouthed bass, your child will have the opportunity to catch a whopper! Our fishing program teaches campers all about the use of our open or closed reel poles, tying a lure or hook on a line, different knots, casting and reeling! Campers will use a variety of fresh caught bait or store bought worms. For campers who have acquired beginning knowledge, advanced fishing will allow campers to keep a few of the prized fish to learn filleting methods and have their very own fish fry!

Boating – Camp offers a variety of boating activities for your camper like canoeing, rowboating, kayaking, funyaks and funbugs. If your child chooses one of these, they will be guaranteed to practice stroke development, t-rescues, and much more on the lake. All campers learn about boating safety; wearing life jackets and practicing vigilance on the water is a must! For campers 12 and older, introductory level sailing is available. Campers will practice rigging one of our sunfish, basic sail use, and learn how to steer their boat. We also offer sailing clinics for our advanced sailors. For more information check out our additional programs!

Water & Beach Games – For campers where swimming or boating just isn’t an option, we offer programs that will still allow them to spend time on the beach or wiggling their toes in the water. Activities may include sand castle building, parachute games, and beach volleyball. All activities are geared towards campers who prefer to be on dry land but will help acclimate campers to the waterfront.

Lake Study – Water ecology abounds in this rotation activity! Campers will join a staff member in discovering everything that lives in the lake and get to look at things they find under microscopes. Children will be asked to question why fish are more active in the morning and evening, where dragonflies comes from, what crayfish eat and much more! Perfect for the scientist in your family.


Evening Activities

Every evening your camper will participate in a fun activity that helps to create cabin cohesion, teaches good sportsmanship, or just allows them to be crazy! Our older campers will also have a second evening activity every night that will allow them to develop friendships with other cabins and help them to gain a stronger sense of autonomy.

The first Sunday of every session campers are involved in a counselor led campfire! Each cabin is encouraged to sit with one another, get up off their seats, sing, dance, and laugh. Counselors lead songs and perform skits. This is also the night that we introduce Raggers: a goal setting program and tradition that has been practiced with Y Camps across the country since 1914.

Monday nights are dedicated to CAPTURE THE FLAG! A huge hit with campers; earlier in the day, camp leaders announce what side each cabin will be on, either red or blue. Our staff act as border guards, strategically placed around the boundaries of camp to watch as campers hunt for the other team’s flag. It isn’t all frolicking through the flora however, as campers can “catch” other campers and escort them to “jail”. Watch out Ottawa cabin; they will always be going for you!

Tuesday through Thursday, campers have the opportunity to participate in great programs. We try to make sure that even our multi-week campers never get bored. A few of the activities that might be offered during the session are:

The final Friday night of ever session is surrounded by traditional camp music and our bead ceremony. During the campfire, campers are recognized for the years they have been coming to camp. One of the greatest traditions; our five year campers are recognized during the ceremony as Thunderbirds. During the session, our counselors and staff develop a name based on the characteristics we have seen that camper display over the years. Following our Closing Ceremony, a slideshow is presented of pictures from the session. Singing “Piney Wood Hills” under the stars and hugging your friends from the session, is one of the most memorable moments of the summer.



The Raggers program at Camp Pinewood is a tradition enjoyed by countless counselors, campers and alumni. The story of the Rag program goes back to the Oakland YMCA in 1914, when Thomas Caldwell was the boy’s secretary at the Y and was making plans to take a group to summer camp. Caldwell had encountered disciplinary problems amongst his boys and was looking for a device to meet certain problems by placing an action upon a positive characteristic. His first idea was to present awards for participation in activities, and was based primarily on athletics. This idea was discarded early on due to a camper with physical impairments, whom they thought would be unable to win an award under this system. Instead, they chose an award system based on healthy habits, promptness, cheerfulness, morals, trustworthiness, industry and helpfulness. Caldwell purchased bandanas for ten cents and several days after the camp period got underway, he called several youths out at campfire and tying the Rag around each boy’s neck, told him in front of the other campers why he was receiving it; thus the Rag program was born.

The concept of “award” has evolved over the years, and challenges now focus on personal growth. The program is designed to encourage campers to take an in-depth look at their beliefs, their strengths and their weaknesses and invites them to accept the challenge to grow in spirit, mind and body. An idea born of simple beginnings has transformed thousands of lives in the past 88 years. What was true nearly a century ago, holds true today: the recognition of positive traits provides an incentive for others and the understanding that we grow by challenging ourselves, setting realistic goals and trying to be our best self. Rags and Leathers aren't magic. They're merely tools used by YMCAs throughout the world to help youth, as well as adults, find direction in their lives. They serve as counseling tools that encourage sharing and the assertion and successful completion of challenges. They're recognized by a simple symbol—an outward sign of an inward goal.

Participation in the Raggers program is not mandatory, nor should your camper feel obligated to take part. It is a tradition that Camp Pinewood has found beneficial to campers and staff and is introduced at every opening campfire as a choice that your camper can make for themselves. Those wishing to accept the challenge of a particular Rag must be first receive one-on-one counseling by a qualified counselor. A qualified counselor for the Blue Rag is a program/directing staff member or a cabin counselor at least 18 years of age who is a Ragger. Campers may not counsel other campers for the Blue Rag. For the Silver, Brown,Gold, Red and Purple Rags, a qualified counselor is a fellow Ragger who is at the same or further step than the Rag the candidate is accepting. For those accepting the challenge of the White Rag, a qualified counselor is a fellow White Ragger.

Each Rag, identified by a specific color, entails two distinct sets of challenges: 1) to grow closer to God by living and understanding a specific set of Christian attributes, and 2) a personal challenge for growth and improvement. The first set of challenges are universal to all Raggers of the same step (color), while the second set of challenges is unique to each individual. With sufficient notice, a Rag may be tailored to a specific faith other than Christian (i.e., Jewish, Hindu, etc.). However, the central focus remains the same: becoming closer to God by living and understanding specific virtues (themes) and self-improvement by accepting and accomplishing personal challenges/goals.