Vanderwell is executive director of Camp Roger in Rockford and Camp Scottie in Howard City. Both are nonprofit independent Christian camps not affiliated with a church or denomination.
"They're open to whoever would like to enjoy the camps," said Vanderwell.
The 200-plus acre Camp Roger is at 8356 Belding Rd. NE in Rockford. It offers five-day sessions for boys and girls entering kindergarten through fifth grade in the fall and four-day overnight camps for boys and girls entering grades 1-5 in the fall and eight-day sessions for boys and girls entering grades 3-9 in the fall.
There are also a two eight-day co-ed wilderness trips; the first is for students entering grades 9-11 in the fall to Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The second wilderness trip are for kids entering grades11-12 in the fall who will backpack in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.
Camp Scottie is around 85 acres and is located at 8181 Newcosta Ave. in Howard City. This camp offers five day-theme camps that start in June and run through mid-August for kids entering kindergarten-fifth grade in the fall. A description of those camps can be found here
Why Christian camps? They serve as building blocks to children's spiritual lives.
Both camps give kids an opportunity for outdoor fun and experience God's creation firsthand, all while getting a little dirt under their fingernails in the process.
Care is taken to vet potential camp counselors, Vanderwell said.
"That is a huge question in today's culture, and it's a wise one for parents to ask," he said. "We heavily vet our counselors through multiple different background checks, in-person interviews and reference checks; we also do an all-day group interview. By the time they get to staff training, they've been thoroughly vetted."
Both camps now offer flex pricing, according to Vanderwell.
"For example, based on their income, day camp can be anywhere from $35 for a week long session up to $265 for a week long session," he said. "Overnight camp, the 8-day program which is a little bit longer than a full week can go anywhere from $200 up to $600 based on choosing where families fit in on our flexible pricing chart. We're trying to remove finances as a barrier so kids can have a great camp experience."
Parental tours offered
Parents who want to get a sense if either camp is right for the children are encouraged to contact camp staff and request a tour.
"I would encourage parents wondering if a camp experience is right for their child to give us a call and determine if a camp experience is a right fit for my child," said Vanderwell. "Parents can take a tour and meet the staff and ask us all kinds of questions on how we train our staff and about what kids do. Bring your child along and then you'll know if this is something right for them or whether a different experience would be right."