Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp Holds Michigan Conservation History.

By Ashley Carmichael, Michigan United Conservation Clubs Camp Director

Camp season is nearly upon us. The camp team has been hard at work getting ready to host campers at the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center again. Completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940, the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center has been home to the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp since 2011.

Lakefront access and 230 acres of white pine forest are just some of the amenities campers enjoy at our historic facility. Many of the cabins are original to the property, and our campers add to the property’s long legacy every summer. The upkeep of this historic facility is no simple undertaking.

We rely on volunteers from affiliated clubs and the general public to keep the property in tip-top shape for campers. In addition to the usual repairs and cleaning needed to run a successful camp, we also actively invest in the property through capital improvements.

Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp

Volunteers help build picnic tables for kids to use at the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp.

From new roofs to the addition of a modern shower house, MUCC invests time and effort into making the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center a welcoming facility for campers and guests.

This April, our facilities committee, staff and several dedicated volunteers congregated at camp to tackle our spring projects. Our most significant priority was getting the facility camper ready. It takes several days to get our facility up and running each season — from turning on the water to clearing out the cobwebs, it is a process. Staff and volunteers helped clean buildings, install the dock and build new picnic tables.

Members of several different clubs that sponsor cabins also came down to do seasonal repairs and spruce up their respective cabins. If your club is interested in sponsoring a cabin, please contact the MUCC Camp Director at camp@mucc.org. In addition to the smaller projects that need to be completed each year, the facilities committee and volunteers tackle large improvement projects.

This year, one of our larger projects was remodeling the director’s cabin. Volunteers spent one of the April workdays demolishing the interior and then renovations began in May. When all was said and done, the cabin was brought into the 21st century with a new electrical system, windows and a new heating and cooling system. A fresh coat of paint and furniture brought the finishing touches needed to make this space feel welcoming. This was one of the last buildings to receive an update and it would not have been possible without the generous support of our volunteers.

Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp

A volunteer on the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp Facilities Comittee helps turn the water on in 2022 to get ready for the camp season.

These volunteers are a key reason we can offer summer camp. Without them, we could not keep the property suitable for campers. MUCC and the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp require new Facilities Committee (click here for a volunteer description) members to help with our ongoing maintenance and capital improvements. Facilities Committee members are expected to attend our spring and fall cleanups, offer their talents and skills to help with projects and use their connections to help find the best people to complete tasks outside the scope of the facilities committee. While anyone is welcome to join our Facilities Committee, we are in particular need of people with skills in electrical work, plumbing, carpentry and small engine maintenance.

Camp Facilities members work extremely flexible schedules to make being a part of this committee fit into their lives. Including the meetings and workdays, most of the facilities committee spends about six to twelve days a year at camp. This small group of volunteers ensures campers and guests can continue to enjoy the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center for years to come. Bob Borchak runs the camp facilities committee and all members of the committee work closely with him, along with the MUCC Camp Director. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact the MUCC Camp Director at camp@mucc.org.