Parent Resources

FAQs

We want our campers and their parents to be aware and informed. The more you know, the better you can prepare. If you have a general question about camp, check out our FAQs to see if we have an answer for it. If you can’t find your question, one similar to it, or need a more in-depth answer, contact us and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

General Camp Questions

The best way to learn more about camp is to come and visit us! We offer three Family Fun Days, one during each month in March, April, and May. Come visit us and tour our property on March 22, April 19, and May 17 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. If you can’t make it out don’t worry – click here to view our Summer Camp brochure or call 888.909.2267.

We are available to give tours at any time! If the Family Fun Days do not fit your schedule, give us a call at 888.909.2267 to set up a tour and discuss summer camp options.

Overnight camp is for ages 7 to 16 and day camp is from ages 4 to 14. To participate in Horse Overnight or Horse Day Camp, campers must be 8 at the time of camp. Teen Programs include: Leader in Training (15 yrs.), Counselor in Training (16 yrs.), Junior Counselors (17 yrs.).

Overnight campers are usually brought to camp by their parents/guardians on Sunday at 2:00 pm and picked up Friday evening or Saturday morning. Overnight Camp allows for more independence at camp. You will have the opportunity to be part of a cabin group and team and will make great friends.

Our day camps run Monday through Friday. Day campers may take a bus to-and-from camp every day from various bus pick-up locations in and around Grand Rapids. Day Camp is a great starter program for a new camper. They will get a chance to sample many of the camp activities.

Yes, all of our programs are co-ed.

No, each week has a different theme to make it interesting for campers attending multiple weeks. There will be core activities repeated each week (team building, arts and crafts, building friendships, nature, rock climbing, learning our core values, etc.) but the theme will vary to reflect the week. Your camper may also enjoy a specialty camp like Water Sports, Horse Camp, or Skateboarding Camp.

YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin offers multiple healthy, nutritious options which includes a full salad bar at lunch and dinner, as well as a full cereal and cold breakfast bar where your camper can choose yogurt, fruit and other delicious items. For campers with special diet concerns, every meal includes vegetarian, nut-free, and gluten-free options. For more information contact camp at 888.909.2267 or email camp@grymca.org.

We offer food that is kid friendly, such as chicken nuggets, pizza, burgers, etc. We will always have a salad bar with food options for campers. Vegetarian options are available upon request.

Please be sure to carefully communicate any food and other allergies that your camper may have. Our staff team is committed to providing the best possible experience for all who visit YMCA Manitou-Lin. All allergies and/or health concerns should be listed on the Health Forms. We also host a Gluten Free Camp in July.

A Registered Nurse is in residence at our Infirmary, and our camp physician is on call 24 hours a day. In case of emergency, Pennock Hospital is only 12 minutes away and accepts our campers as patients. Emergency transportation is readily available. As indicated on the Summer Registration Form, the YMCA is authorized to secure emergency medical treatment. Should any serious accident or illness occur at camp, we will contact parents/guardians immediately. We reserve the right to send a child home if our Health Officer or physician so advises.

In case of medical or family emergency, contact YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin at 888.909.2267 or 1.269.795.9163. After office hours, our voice mail system will give you the cell phone numbers of the onsite directors. In the event of an emergency, visits by a parent/guardian are allowed after contact with the Camp Director.

Let us know! We will celebrate with the whole camp and sing Happy Birthday to your camper.

Part of the magic of camp is making great friends while being away from home. Please take the opportunity to meet staff, tour camp and talk with the Camp Director at one of our Spring Family Fun Days, and during camp arrival or departure. We ask that there be no visits to campers during sessions as it can be very difficult on other campers.

Part of the magic is making great friends and memories while away at camp. We do ask that campers do not bring cell phones to camp. In the case of a family issue/ emergency we would allow phone conversations. We try to have the parent talk to the counselor or director and relay the message to the camper.

Every year we hire excellent staff from around the globe and look forward to the unique talents and world perspective they share with our campers and staff.

Campers can swim every day. On the first day of camp, all campers take a swim test that consists of swimming from one end of our swim area and back, which is about the width of the pool at the Y, and treading water. Our Waterfront Director is highly qualified and certified lifeguards carefully watch campers that choose to swim. In addition to the lifeguards, camp staff who have taken a Basic Water Safety Class are in the swim area if any camper needs help. Campers are not allowed near the water without a lifeguard. Campers that choose NOT to swim can play games with the staff by the waterfront.

Parents have the option of depositing money into a Camp Store account. Parents are encouraged to do this BEFORE the camp session begins. For Overnight Camp, parents can deposit money at Check-in. For Day Campers, money must be deposited prior to the first day of camp. Campers should not have any cash in their possession. Most parents deposit between $25 and $40, which can be used for YMCA Manitou-Lin T-shirts, hats, slushies, snacks, and other items. One cabin or trail group photo for each camper is included in your camp fee. Additional Camp photos may also be ordered on the first day of camp and will be ready for pick-up on the last day of camp.

Camp is prepared to make sure that kids have a great time, rain or shine. If it is just drizzling, we will continue with activities. If there is thunder or lightening in the area, everyone is inside. We have multiple indoor spaces where staff will lead campers in all camp activities.

Yes. There are Family Camps on Memorial Day and 4th of July Weekends. Information about those programs are on our website https://www.grymca.org/camp or you can call camp to be placed on the mailing list.

Our year-round programs and activities are designed for campers – kids, moms and dads – as the perfect getaway to focus on a particular skill, interest, or to try something new during a weekend or holiday.

Questions about Overnight Camp

YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin is proud to offer this free one-of-a-kind week of summer camp to qualifying children ages 8-15 in a military family. Click here for Camp Corral Frequently Asked Questions.

There is no formula for when a child is ready for the Overnight Camp or Teen Overnight Camp experience, but the following can act as a guide to communicating with your child about different aspects of camp. The number one characteristic of a Happy Camper at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin is that the camper wants to be at camp.

Visit Camp Early
Many children fare better at camp if they are able to see where they plan to spend a week during their summer. Consider taking a trip to camp during one of our spring open houses. Better yet, come to one of our sleepover weekends or family camps.

Camper Expectations
Developing realistic expectations about camp is very important. Parents/guardians can sometimes over-glamorize the camp experience. Obviously, going away to camp will be wholly worthwhile, but it is important to make sure your child understands that it may not be fun every minute – there may be problems to solve, feelings to overcome, tables to set and new skills to develop. This is all part of the camp experience – and those rainy days can be the most memorable of all.

Friends, Fun, Learning and Adventure
Sharing and group work are an integral part of the Overnight Camp and Teen Overnight Camp programs. In the mornings during cabin activities, canoeing, and BIG games, campers are given opportunities for leadership among their peers and for challenging themselves. Camp is physically active, with long days; participating fully is important and expected at camp.

Values Emphasis
The mission of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Daily chapel, thoughts for the day, graces, and nightly vespers emphasize Christian principles and practices through the YMCA core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Inclusion. Our entire camp family is expected to promote themselves in such a way as to role model these values. We welcome and celebrate all religious affiliations and denominations.

Behavioral Expectations
Campers are expected to behave in the safe, caring, honest, respectful, and responsible manner modeled by our staff. Parents will be contacted if camper behavior is disruptive or out of line with camp values. No refunds are given if a child leaves early because of homesickness or for disruptive behavior as determined by the Camp Director.

 

We make every effort to place campers with requested cabin-mates. We have learned from experience that placing three or more requested campers together tends to negatively impact cabin dynamics. Therefore, campers may mutually request one (1) person of the same age on their Summer Registration Form.

7:15am – Polar Bear Swim
7:45am – Flag Raising
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – Choice Time
10:00-12:00- Cabin activities
12:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm – Siesta
2:00pm – Swimming
3:15pm – Camptivities (Our 3 day progressive skill building classes)|
5:45pm – Flag Lowering|
6:00pm – Dinner, 6:45pm – Camp Store and Open Areas
7:30pm _ All Camp Evening Activity
9:00pm – Campfire
10:00pm – Lights Out

Only offered for our overnight campers, a camptivity is a special two-hour activity period held each day that campers choose based on their interests the first night  at camp.

Horseback: Centered on western riding skills, campers will learn horse wellness, tack maintenance, and riding skills.
Water Sports (Skiing, Wakeboarding, etc.): Build your water sports skills while making a splash on Barlow Lake – from tubing and knee-boarding, to skiing, wakeboarding, and more.
Target Sports: Archery, rock throwing, and slingshots. Mountain golf, disc golf, and more.
Paddle Sports: Canoeing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, and more. 
High Adventure: Low ropes, high ropes, zipline, and more.
Extreme Sports:
Mountain biking, skating, repelling, skateboarding, and more.
Outdoor Living Skills: Hiking, fire building, outdoor cooking, survival, and “Leave No Trace” principles.
Crafts:
Basket weaving, jewelry, and more.
Nature/Science:
Special activities focused on the water cycle, tree and animal identification, insect dissection, and much, much more. 
Team Sports:
Soccer, kickball, cricket, basketball and more.

Please view our Overnight Camp Parent Guide listed above for a list of what to bring.

All Overnight Campers have the opportunity to ride horses during a cabin activity.

Yes! Camp will host two Hold-Over Weekends during the summer if your camper is staying for sessions 4&5 or 6&7. Weekend activities could include a trip to the beach, hiking, mountain biking, siesta, cooking over the fire and catching up on laundry.

Occasionally a camper becomes homesick. Our staff are prepared and trained to respond to homesickness. This can be overcome and will help the camper in developing independence and increased self-respect. Should it be in the best interest of the camper, the Camp Director will contact the parent/guardian. Please find additional resources in our Overnight Parent Guide.

Sending something to a camper?

There are multiple ways that you can contact your camper while they are at Manitou-lin. You can send mail by US Mail or drop off mail for the whole week on Check-In day. You can also send faxes to the office or e-mails through Bunk1.com. Care packages are welcomed, but please refrain from sending food as it invites wildlife into your camper’s cabin. Care packages to share with the whole cabin, including theme-related decorations, glow sticks, books or games are a great way to create a memory for your camper.
Please include camper’s name, session and cabin on all items sent to camp to ensure prompt delivery. All e-mail, faxes, and USPS mail must arrive at camp by 10:45 AM for delivery on that day. We encourage campers to write at least one letter home each week. Do not be alarmed if these letters are brief and irregular, as the campers are busy at camp and “no news is good news” as far as campers are concerned.

 

Address mail to your camper as follows:
Camper Name, session number, cabin name
YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin
1095 North Briggs Rd
Middleville, MI 49333
Fax: 269.795.1629; a fax cover sheet is available during check-in and on our website.

 

E-mail: Visit out Parent Resources page to log on to Bunk1.com to send emails to your camper. There is no charge to send plain text messages. You choose to send pictures or designs with the email, there may be a charge. You will have to unselect the default option in Bunk 1 to have the free emailing option.
Photos: View photos of camp activities on Bunk1.com. Photos will be uploaded multiple times during the session. Not every photo we take will be posted online, however we try to post 20-30 photos each day.

 

Emergency Communication
In case of medical or family emergency, contact YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin at 888.909.2267. After office hours, please dial 269.795.9163 ext. 9253 to access emergency cell phone numbers. In the event of an emergency, visits by parent/guardians are allowed after contact with the Overnight Camp Director.

Questions About Candy Sale

We have one option for campers to sell their way to camp. Campers can choose to sell World’s Finest Chocolate bars. Camper Parents can sign out up to two boxes at a time to sell. In order to sign out the product, parents must complete an agreement page. You will be asked to leave a $60 (refundable/ one time) deposit per case. The deposit will be refunded at the end of the sale unless parent does not pay for checked out box(s). Once a camper has opened a case, the case cannot be returned. Records of cases taken out and money returned will be kept at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin. The candy bars come in cases of 60 and for each box sold- $30 goes towards the cost of camp. All sales will be made out of YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin in Middleville. If you have more questions please call 888.909.2267.

Yes. We will refund the registration fee if enough candy is sold to pay for the entire camp.

You may still participate in the fundraising.

It begins February 2 and runs through May 1.

All Camp balances are due May 27th. You will receive a camp confirmation that will indicate any balance due. You may send the balance to camp at any time.

The fundraising products are available at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin, 1095 N. Briggs Road, Middleville, MI 49333.

All parent guides and camper forms are available on our website’s forms section. If you would prefer to have them mailed to you, please call the office to request them.

Questions about Day Camp

Bathing suit, water bottle, sun screen, rain gear and a backpack to put everything in. Label everything! Also, make sure to read the Parent Guide for Day Camp located on the Parent section of our web site. This will include lots of useful information including a packing list.

We register day campers for a week at a time and encourage them to attend every day. Campers will be placed in trail groups for the week. The counselor will work with that group to develop friendships and trust throughout the week. It makes it harder on the group dynamics if campers are coming in and out throughout the week.

The pickup spots are listed in the summer camp brochure and are also found here.

There is always a bus counselor on the bus in addition to the driver. They will make sure that children are having a good time by playing games and singing songs. They will also help everyone get to know one another on the first day.

Yes. The program day begins at 8:30am and ends at 4:30pm. We do offer before care starting at 7:00am and after care until 6:00pm. This before and after care is only available at YMCA Manitou-Lin.

No. Camp provides a hot lunch every day. Day Camp eats lunch at 11:00am. You can pack a snack if you think your child will get hungry, especially if they are riding the bus.

Day Campers ages 8 and older will have an opportunity to ride a horse.

We make every effort to place campers with the people they request, but do not guarantee placements. Campers must request buddies who are a similar age and in the same program. Campers are asked to mutually request one (1) person of the same age on their Summer Registration Form.

On Monday, there will be a parent flyer sent home with your camper. This will have important reminder information on our Thursday Family Night and optional campout, photo order, penny wars, and more. It will also have a schedule for the week so you can discuss with your camper their daily activities.

On Thursday night, all day camp family members are invited to join campers and staff between 5:30 and 6:00 at the Cheff Lodge on Main Camp for Family Night. The Cheff Lodge entrance is the paved drive on the westside of Briggs Rd. Upon arrival at the lodge, staff will help you find your camper’s Trail Group Table. Parents will be asked to show appropriate ID to sign out their camper for the Family Night. Day Camper families are encouraged to eat with their trail group and counselors. This will provide an opportunity to meet and talk with the families of some of your campers new camp friends. Counselors will notify you of the trail groups meeting spot upon arrival of Family Night. A Day Camp Parent Show will begin at 6:45pm at the Gates Chapel.

Questions About Our Horse Program

Horse Day Camp is a great introduction to our Horse Camp Programs! Keeping education, fun and safety in mind, campers will not only learn how to ride, but will also get to know each horse, learn how to groom and feed them as well as participate in traditional camp activities. This is a great stepping stone to our Horse Overnight Camp. If you are looking for a more in-depth riding experience and love to spend lots of time riding horses, then Horse Overnight Camp is for you! Getting to know the horses and learning to care for and feed them is all part of the fun. Camper sill be placed in groups according to their experience level- from beginning to advanced- and will participate in daily riding lessons. There will be a weekly equine-related trip or guest speaker. If you love horses- this is the ultimate equestrian experience!

At Horse Camp the ratio of instructors to riders is 2 staff to 8 riders.

No, each camper is placed in a riding group based on their experience and taught appropriately.

Horse Campers spend 4 hours per day at the barn, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Approximately one hour in the morning and afternoon is spent riding. Riding can be a formal riding lesson, trail ride, or games on horseback. The other hour in the morning is a “Barn Lesson” where they learn more about horses. These lessons vary based on experience from grooming and horse parts to diseases that affect horses and how each type of bit works. The second hour in the afternoon is our “Barn Responsibility” time. This is a time for campers to learn and understand that there is more to horses than just showing up and riding. Examples of things that may be covered during this time vary from how to bathe a horse and how to clean a saddle to cleaning a water trough.

Our traditional horse day and overnight camps are for ages 8-15.

Yes, Horse Campers do participate in one traditional camp activity per day (examples: archery, canoeing, climbing wall) and also swim daily, weather permitting.

Horse Campers ride primarily Western. The Equestrian program is very progressive providing different levels of challenge for each camper. If the campers wish to ride English, there are opportunities in our Advanced Horse Camp Programs.

Yes, campers are placed in riding groups based on experience to ensure that those with experience are still appropriately challenged and learning. The program is progressive in design so that each year, campers can challenge themselves to new riding levels. When appropriate, we also offer Advanced Horse Camp Programs.

SPIRIT Farms Riding Center offers the following:

Summer Horse Day and Overnight Camps
Summer Horse Day Camp for Individuals with Special Needs
Western Riding Lessons
Group and Private English Riding Lessons
Private Therapeutic Riding Lessons
Group and Private Trail Rides
Girl Scout Merit Badge Programs
Horse Rider Badge and Horse Fan Badge
Birthday Parties

Questions About Camp Registration

No. The child cannot be registered for a camp session until the deposit has been paid.

No. Please fill out one form for each child. This helps us to better track the registrations.

Yes, but please be sure to indicate specialty and/or bus choices clearly for each session.

No. The entire $75.00 deposit must be paid at the time of registration. Y member discounts will be subtracted from your final balance. If you are paying in full, the discounts can be subtracted from the total amount.

The $75.00 deposit is for one session. If a child is being signed up for more than one session, then a $75.00 deposit is paid for each session.

Detailed information is available here . Financial Aid is based on a sliding scale of number of people in the household and annual income. Please send completed Financial Aid form directly to YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin. Please feel free to contact the Executive Director at Camp if your family needs more assistance. Our mission is to not turn campers away due to their inability to pay.

No. The $75.00 is a non-refundable deposit that will be subtracted from the total cost of the camp.

Yes. We will refund the registration fee if enough candy is sold to pay for the entire camp.

Two weeks prior to June 10, you may send in the registration with a $75.00 deposit. If registering after June 10, you will need to send the full camp fee with the registration.

The balance is due two weeks prior to you camper’s attendance at camp. You will receive a camp confirmation that will indicate any balance due. Of course, you may send the balance to camp at any time. Just be sure to put your child’s name on the check. All “balance” payments and parent forms need to be mailed directly to the Camp Office. You may also pay balances through the on-line system.

All parent guides and camper forms are available on the our website’s forms section. If you would prefer to have them mailed to you, please call the office to request them.

No. The child cannot be registered for a camp session until the deposit has been paid.

Yes, but please be sure to indicate specialty and/or bus choices clearly for each session.

No. Please fill out one form for each child. This helps us to better track the registrations.

Two weeks prior to June 10, you may send in the registration with a $75.00 deposit. If registering after June 10, you will need to send the full camp fee with the registration.

No. The deposit is refundable only in the case of illness with a doctor’s note or a death in the family.

No. The $75.00 will be subtracted from the total cost of the camp.

No. The entire $75.00 deposit must be paid at the time of registration. Discounts will be subtracted from your final balance. If you are paying in full, the discounts can be subtracted from the total amount.

Detailed information is available here. See the financial aid FAQ for more information.

The $75.00 deposit is for one session. If a child is being signed up for more than one session, then a $75.00 deposit is paid for each session.

The $75 deposit per child per session is not refundable. If space is available, you may change your camp session without penalty. Camp fees are not refundable without a doctor’s authorized medical reason. Campers are expected to behave in a safe, caring, honest, respectful, and responsible manner at all times. Failure to abide by Camp Manitou-Lin’s rules and guidelines can result in dismissal from camp. No refunds are given if a child leaves early because of homesickness or for disruptive behavior as determined by the Camp Director.

We make every effort to place campers with the people they request, but do not guarantee placements. Campers must request buddies who are a similar age and in the same program. Campers are asked to mutually request one (1) person of the same age on their Summer Registration Form.