Wednesday, 07 June 2017 21:43

My Camper Days

By: Genie Williamson Lyman


My love for Camp Henry began as a camper in 1949. Wow, the changes I’ve seen: an expanded waterfront and dining hall, Millar Lodge, Idema Theater, the Gordon Chapel, new cabins, Barb’s Point, the climbing wall, the ropes course and zip lines, Frontier Camp and a multitude of special weeks, weekends, and programs! Each new addition and improvement impacts the lives of those fortunate enough to spend time in this special place. 

When I first attended Camp Henry, Reed Waterman directed three weeks of girls' camp and three weeks of boys’ camp. The rustic wood cabins with heavy shutters and the large common bathroom, referred to as the KYBO, were situated where the girls’ cabins are today. The" Swamp House" housed any male staff members, such as the Waterfront Director and kitchen help. This is where the boys’ cabins are today. I spent eight summers as a camper, followed by a summer as a counselor in training (CIT), and two additional years as a counselor. I looked forward to this wonderful time each year. 

The days were filled with fun and fresh air, from flag raising ceremonies and chapel in the morning to games, skits, singing, and storytelling around the campfire at night. As a younger camper, I especially liked rowing the boats through the chain of lakes: Pickerel, Emerald, and Sylvan. The thick lily pads between Kimball and Pickerel lakes and the beautiful blue green water as you entered Emerald Lake made a lasting impression. We would also row across Kimball Lake and camp out overnight. 

When I got older, my favorite thing was to canoe the Muskegon, Pine, and White Rivers. The trip down the White River ended by going through the seemingly neverending White Lake and out through the channel to Lake Michigan, where we camped on the beach under the stars. These trips were great adventures that gave me an appreciation of nature and a real sense of achievement. At the end of the season, as counselors we were given the chance to swim across the lake and back. I still remember the exhilarating feeling when I arrived back on shore! 

My family has had a long affiliation with Camp Henry. My dad served on the Board for many years, working spring clean up weekends and helping to design and build a larger dock. This may have given me an advantage in being chosen as one of four CITs at the age of 15! In those days the counselors were mostly members of Westminster Church. We had to apply and interview for the then expanded four-week session. Years later when I met my husband, he was President of the Board, and our first date was the steak fry! 

Our children were campers, and I’m thrilled that we now have a granddaughter who loves it as much as I did. It warms my heart to share in my niece Sarah Nelson’s enthusiastic involvement and commitment to the camp. Each spring, my brother, sister, and I along with my daughters and granddaughters plant flowers around a deck and at the entrance in memory of our parents. I will always treasure memories of times spent with friends and family at this wonderful place. 

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Genie and her husband and spend winters in Boca Grande, Florida and summers in Grand Rapids. Their five children and fourteen grandchildren, plus close extended family and friends, keep them busy in their "senior years”!

Saturday, 03 June 2017 11:15

The Camp Family

By: Michelle Anderson


What is it about Camp Henry? What makes it so special to those who have roamed its trails, played on its fields, swum in its waters, or laughed around its campfires? It’s the sense of community it instills from the first time you walk in the dining hall, sing at the top of your lungs and catch a glimpse of the signatures hanging above your head letting you know you are not alone—you are not the first person to inhabit this special space and you will not be the last. While you may leave a footprint or two behind, the experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. 
I first wandered onto Camp’s grounds the summer of 1990, to pick up my brother from Blackfoot cabin. One year later, I had applied to be a counselor and was unknowingly embarking on an experience that would impact and inform my life in ways I could never expect and continues to do so today. Camp has always been a place that facilitates growth and actively encourages trying something new in a supportive environment. 
During my time at camp, I have been a counselor, village leader, arts and crafts director, assistant program director and worked with school groups during the spring session. These are just titles and positions. What is not included in the official job descriptions of these roles involves small and large group facilitating, listening- really listening to what is being said and what isn’t, walking up the frontier trail in the darks sans flashlight at 3:00 in the morning to help a sick camper to the health center, learning to drive a canoe trailer behind a 16 passenger van, drafting rainy day Plan B schedules only to be discarded for a Plan C or D option, asking a bee to give you some honey, crafting your improvisation chops, grilling hamburgers in 90 degree heat in the middle of July for the entire camp, chasing kids around the A-field attempting to stamp them with a potato covered in paint, making friendship bracelets, singing at a PJ sing until you lose your voice, reading The Lorax so many times the book is no longer needed, jumping off the green raft while lighting fireworks, spotting water-skiers and banana boat riders, riding bareback, cooking beef stew over an open fire (stirred with a stick), rainy campouts, waving goodbye at the end of a week to campers who don’t want to leave—watching them exchange addresses with their new cabin friends—already planning when they will all return next summer, laughing with your friends until it hurts and sharing this experience with your fellow camp staff, knowing they are the only ones who understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. They are your camp family. In fact, I was fortunate enough to work with both my brother, Dan and my sister, Jessica during my time at camp—extending Camp’s impact in my life.
camp photo 1   Camp Photo 2   Camp Photo 3
Left Picture - early 1990s Camp Staff
Middle Picture - 2000 camp staff trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes
Right Picture - The Andersons - Dan, Michelle, Jessica, summer 2000
The Camp Henry experience extends beyond the summer and each staff member’s tenure while there. My time at camp instituted a change of major from elementary to secondary education after my first summer. It provided me with the dispositions to become an effective classroom teacher and work with students, the courage to apply to grad school and undertake the dissertation process, and the skills to prepare course schedules, advise students and manage an entire graduate department. The songs and skits are so embedded in my brain that I can break into the Banana Song or the Giving Tree to entertain my adorable nieces and nephew. Camp nurtured in me the ability to troubleshoot, attack problems with proposed solutions, and find my voice. Most importantly, my 15 years at Camp Henry provided me with a network of life-long friends from Maine to California, North Carolina to Colorado, DC to Michigan who I can count on for support, encouragement, and love. Experiences at camp are shared. They do not happen in isolation and the impact is infinite. Friends become family and your family is CAMP.  
camp photo 4   camp photo 5
Left Picture - 2012 Camp Reunion
Right Picture - Mark Penning and me (1991-1995 staff) visiting summer 2016, dropping off his son (my god son) to camp for the first time.
Camp cultivates relationships and provides the space for them to grow. It is a family and does not matter if you are there for a day, weekend, or a summer.  It immediately feels like home.  As another summer of fun, friendships, and self-discovery approaches, I’d like to welcome you home. I hope to see you there!
bio photo 1
Michelle Anderson worked at Camp Henry from 1991-2006. Currently, she is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs in the School of Education at Felician University in Rutherford, NJ teaching courses in classroom assessment, teaching methods, and supervising student teachers. Beginning in July, Dr. Anderson will serve as the inaugural Dean of Academics for Lacordaire Academy in Montclair, NJ. In her spare time, she serves as the coordinator for the Emerging Filmmaker Competition at Montclair Film for student in grades 4-12 and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Montclair History Center. 
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:33

2017 Staff Reveal

With less than five weeks until the start of Camp Henry’s 81st year of summer camp, we are excited to introduce you to this year’s summer staff!


Aiden “Beans” Wysocki

Beans3Beans is a second year counselor with high spirits and limitless enthusiasm. He has gone to Camp Henry for the past 12 summers. Beans is an Eagle Scout with a passion for camping, hiking, and team building. He is also known for his ability to complete unique and thrilling food challenges that defy the human anatomy. Just ask how he got his nickname. His storytelling and devotions are soon to be back this summer at Camp Henry and he is more than excited to share his passions with campers and staff again!




Alex Weiss

Alex Weiss3Alex's nicknames include but are not limited to: Weiss, Weisser, Weissmeister, Weisseroo, and Bid Weiss Daddy. Alex currently attends Butler University in Indianapolis where he studies Communications and Media. Having grown up as a camper, he's excited to return for an 11th summer as the Videographer/Photographer. In addition to taking pictures and making videos, Alex likes to sing, act, and play instruments. He's looking forward to getting every camper to sing louder than they've ever sung before!




Alison Dopke

AlisonDopke3Alison spent 5 summers on the shores as a camper and is super excited to be spending her first year on staff as a Waterfront Director! When Alison isn’t studying Culinary Arts, she loves to spend as much time as she can outdoors, whether she's camping, kayaking, hammocking or just hanging out in the grass. You can usually find her snuggling her two dogs, Jake and Layla, being an awesome barista, or eating a snack. Alison's favorite camp activities are arts and crafts. outdoor cooking, and of course anything on the waterfront! She is looking forward to hanging out with some amazing campers and eating some beef stew around a campfire!



Annelise Droste

Annelise Droste3Annelise is eager to be a counselor after six summers at Camp Henry! When she’s not deciding on her major at the University of Michigan, she loves to hang out in hammocks, read, and play tennis. She is most excited to lose her voice during PJ Sing and star gaze at campouts! Something you may not know about Annelise is that she’s terrified of squirrels, which is unfortunate as they run rampant on Michigan’s campus.




Avery Jennings

Avery Jennings3Avery (aka Avesauce or Avebabes) currently attends Grand Rapids Community College and will be transferring colleges to Central Michigan University where he’ll be majoring in Journalism and writing for the school paper! Avery was introduced to Camp Henry through Westminster Presbyterian Church Family Camp, which he and his family attended every summer growing up. Some of Avery’s hobbies include collecting sneakers, exploring new places to get coffee and eat food, going to the beach, and going to the gym! Avery is most excited to see all of the campers he got to know last summer, see some new faces, and see camper's lives change for the better!



Ben “Burly” Waterhouse

Burly3Burly currently attends Central Michigan University where he is majoring in Outdoor Recreation and minoring in Child Development. This summer will be his 11th summer on the shores of beautiful Lake Kimball. He spent six of those summers as a camper and the remaining five as a staff member. Last November, Burly traveled to Honduras and got to try eating iguana, which was really good. His favorite camp memory is when he was asked to speak at night chapel during his last summer as a camper - it was an amazing honor.




Caitlin Climes

Caitlin Climes3Caitlin is from Okemos, Michigan and will be graduating from the University of Michigan this spring. In the summer of 2004, Caitlin heard about her older sister’s unforgettable week as a camper at Camp Henry and knew she had to experience it for herself. She was then a camper for four summers and this will be her third year on staff. Outside of camp, Caitlin likes to practice yoga, rock climb, and spend time in the great outdoors. At camp, her favorite activity as both a camper and staff member is Smuggle. Caitlin is excited to spend another summer on the shores of Old Lake Kimball connecting with campers and making new memories!



Callie “Kale” Ogland-Hand

Callie Ogland Hand3Callie (aka 'Kale’) is excited to be back on the shores for her third summer on staff, and can't wait for opening campfires, wearing goofy clothes, riding the banana boat, and all of the kiddos coming to camp this summer. She studies Math and Sociology at the College of Wooster in Ohio and loves to read, laugh, and travel.





Cody DeLonge

codyCody is excited to be spending his 4th year on the shores of Old Lake Kimball. He started coming to camp many moons ago when he was a little 7 year old. Having grown up and lived near camp his whole life, Camp Henry holds a special place in Cody's heart. You'll catch Cody either running around as a Tiger in Safari or trying to master his spin on the four square court. This summer is going to hold lots of great things but above all Cody hopes it leads to growth through fun and through Christ for all of the crazy campers that grace the shores.




Dan Kratt

Dan Kratt3Dan is very excited to be back on staff for his second year as a counselor! He was a camper for 7 years as a kid, and then came back last year to be a counselor in Boys’ Village. Dan is in his second year at Miami University and is studying Spanish Education. He hopes to someday be a high school teacher. Dan grew up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan and has two siblings who are twins. His favorite camp activities are four square and Smuggle. He can't wait to see so many new kids come to camp, and also can't wait to reconnect with past campers!



Derek “D-Rock Whaley


Derek grew up in North Carolina but attend Camp Henry as a camper with his 9 cousins for a week every July. Derek later went on to serve on summer staff for six years as a counselor and Tripping Director. Derek graduated from Western Carolina University in 2010 with a degree in Recreational Therapy and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist. When Derek is not at work he enjoys practicing what he has ingrained in the youth he has served. He enjoys getting outside with his wife and two dogs through mountain biking, skiing, hiking, camping, running, and canoeing.



Elizabeth McGovern

Elizabeth McGovern3Elizabeth McGovern attends Kendall College of Art and Design where she studies Interior design. She was a camper for 10 years, all the way up until she was no longer allowed to attend camp as a camper. Elizabeth is super excited to work at camp this summer because it has always been a goal of hers to do so. She has so many favorite camp memories, but her ultimate favorite would have to be her last summer at camp when she brought hundreds of glow sticks and her cabin hooked them together as stick figures, taped them to themselves, and walked through boys village in the middle of the night to make their brother cabin laugh.



Elizabeth “ERAY” Ray

ERAYERAY is currently in Arizona pursuing a Master of Arts in Adventure Education, with an emphasis on Camping Ministry. ERAY will be returning for her 7th summer since first working at Camp Henry back in 2011! ERAY's hope for every person that comes to camp is to know they are loved by God, unconditionally. Also, if you wind up in the high ropes course with ERAY, she will be happy to send you down the zip line. Overcoming a fear of heights is something she can attribute to her time at camp! That being said, if you see ERAY zip, you'll definitely hear her scream. Even after countless trips down, she simply can't help herself.



Emily “Eeyore” O’Rourke

Emily ORourke3Emily (aka ‘Eeyore’) grew up at camp as a camper and can’t wait to be back for her third summer on staff. She studies Kinesiology at Michigan State University (Go green!) and loves to do outdoorsy things with her friends. Eeyore’s big heart and joy radiates throughout camp, but don’t think she’ll go easy on you during Smuggle or four square! In addition to camp games, Eeyore is looking forward to tackling high-adventure activities and seeing all the campers!




Emily Kuiper

Emily Kuiper3At camp, Emily’s gone by many names, including Pickles, Kosher, and Julie. Emily attends Oakland University where she is studying Nursing. Emily was a camper at Camp Henry for nine summers, an Assistant Counselor last summer, and is beyond excited to be a Counselor this summer! One of her favorite camp activities is low ropes and team building because she loves how it brings a group of people together. This summer, Emily's goal is to make sure every kid leaves camp with a huge smile on their face, countless awesome stories to tell on the car ride home, and is super duper excited to come back next summer!



Hannah “Nelly” Nelson

Hannah Nelson3Hannah (aka ‘Nelly’) will be back at camp this year for her second summer on staff after growing up on the shores as a camper and a Westminster family camper. She's a student at the University of Michigan where she studies Psychology and Spanish, and in her free time, Nelly loves to read and spend time in the sunshine. She loves singing and dancing to camp songs, and her hope for campers is that they would experience the joy of the Lord and the love of Christ!




Hannah Wellman

hannah Wellman3Hannah was a camper on the shores for many summers and is excited to be back for her second summer on staff! Hannah is currently attending Michigan State University where she spends her time studying Political Science, as well as camping and hanging out in the outdoors with MSU’s Outdoors Club. Hannah loves hanging out in hammocks, biking, running, and just anything outside. She is super stoked for campfire skits, Smuggle, and Capture the Flag.




Ian Crowley

IanCrowley3Ian’s still waiting for a nickname to stick, however, he has been called both Cupcake and Tarzan before. There was also a week when his entire cabin called him Captain, which was pretty awesome. Ian currently lives in Ann Arbor where he is studying Art and Design at University of Michigan. This summer will be his third summer on staff and his fifteenth summer at Camp Henry. Ian’s favorite Camp Henry pastimes are playing four square and chilling on the deck. He is excited to be back on the shores with all of the people that he loves - both campers and staff.



Jake “Dabs” Dabkowski

Dabs3Dabs is ecstatic to return for his 10th summer at camp and his first full summer on staff. He is currently finishing up his freshman year at Grand Rapids Community College. When not at school, Dabs can most likely be found playing hockey. He can't wait to claim his rightful throne as king of the four square court this upcoming summer!




Jason Brewster

JasonBrewster3Jason is a newcomer to Camp Henry this summer and is originally from Ripley, Tennessee, but has lived all over the country. He will be in need of camp nickname and is looking forward to suggestions. Jason is looking forward to all the experiences and people he will meet during his first summer. His hobbies include taking very long walks across the country (including thru-hiking the PCT), watching college football (go Mississippi State!), playing/building guitars, trying new things, and cracking bad jokes. He's hoping campers will make new friends, have tons of fun, experience lots of good memories, and grow through their time at camp.



Jeff “Jake” Jacobs

jakeJake just might be the biggest camper to step foot on camp grounds in over 30 years. With years and years of experience, it is no surprise Jake plays a huge role in the success of such a life-changing place. Jake has worn many hats at camp (much of which have been silly). When not spending time at camp, he loves nothing more than spending time with his beautiful wife and three sons. Jake can also be found tearing it up in Bombo or four square!




Jennifer “J-Ro” Robelli

jenJennifer began working at Camp Henry as a registrar during her teen years in the mid-90's. After a break for college and seven years in a medical office, she returned to Camp Henry in 2005, spending time in various administrative roles. Jennifer is married and has three children, Tyler, Celia, and Eliana. When not at camp, you can find her spending time with her family and their dog, Daisy.




Jess Port

jessJess started working at Camp Henry this past fall as the Guest Services and Program Coordinator. This will be her first summer on the shores of Lake Kimball but she grew up as a camper and counselor at a number of camps in the Northeast. Her favorite camp activity is anything on the water and she loves combining her passion for the outdoors with her joy in serving guests and campers here at Camp Henry. You can usually find Jess out and about on a lake in her kayak or exploring a new trail on foot.




JJ Jacobs

jjJJ is known at camp for being one of the sweetest, kindest, and most loving people on the planet. This makes her THE greatest Camp Mom. JJ has a servant’s heart and contagious smile that brightens the day of those around her. She loves running, skiing and spending time with her friends, family, and dogs. In fact, JJ was once a Junior Olympic Skier! If you weren’t convinced of how awesome she was before, you should also know that JJ is a proud mother of three boys.




Kathy Martin

KathyMartin3Kathy (aka ‘Aunt Kathy’) is the proud mom of her two sons, Cody and Jackson. They are her life's joy. Aunt Kathy retired last June after working 26 years in school food services. She has been keeping busy hiking with her dogs, paddle boarding, playing beach volleyball, taking fun classes, and traveling. When Aunt Kathy isn’t on the shores, she lives in Morro Bay on the coast of California. Her wish for campers and staff is that they feel the love, hope and beauty that is present at camp.




Katie Berthet

katie Berthet3Katie is excited to spend her first summer as a staff member at Camp Henry after eight years of being a camper! Katie is from West Bloomfield, Michigan and is currently attending Michigan State University where she is studying Kinesiology. You can probably catch Katie doing projects in Arts and Crafts or hanging out in a hammock. Katie can't wait to watch campers go all in this summer, especially during PJ Sing, her favorite camp activity!




Kelly Hotaling

Kelly Hotaling3Kelly (aka Phoebe, Schmelly, and Mom) has traveled to camp with her family from Morro Bay, California every summer for the past 12 years! Kelly is super excited for this summer because she’s a “grown up” who gets to be around so many wonderful young people, who love Jesus, at a summer camp! Kelly is the proud mother of her daughters, Emma, Grace, and Jane and is excited to share her mom love with staff and campers. Aside from spreading the love around camp, you can find Kelly running (with JJ preferably) and sitting on the deck of Idema with Kenny watching the sunset over Lake Kimball. Kelly’s favorite camp activity is Night Chapel!



Kenny Hotaling

kennyKenny and his family have been coming to Camp Henry for the past 12 summers! He and his family travel from Morro Bay, California, which is quite a ways, but they are happy to do it for all that Camp Henry has to offer. Kenny gets excited about camp each summer because no two summers are never the same, but every summer is always amazing. Kenny strives to help others experience God's love in ways that don't always happen outside of camp. He can't wait to see what unfolds this summer!




Kendell Koch

Kendell (aka Ken or Kenny) is from Clare, Michigan but currently lives in Grand Rapids where she is studying Hospitality and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Tourism at Grand Valley State University. This is Kendell’s first year at Camp Henry! Something she is most proud is when she makes decisions to try new things - she is not normally one to step outside her comfort zone but since she has started doing so, Kendell’s life has become much happier and more exciting. Her favorite camp activity is roasting marshmallows over the fire, and listening to music while enjoying a delicious s'more. Kendell’s favorite memory from church camp growing up is when she learned to canoe with her friends, but not being very successful from the beginning and flipping the canoe over into the river. Although it sounds scary, it kind of was fun! Kendell is very excited for this summer and some new experiences!


Kenzie Stiles

Kenzie Stiles3Kenzie is a student at Central Michigan University. She is pursuing a degree in Recreation and Event Management with a minor in Youth Studies. Believe it or not, she was brought to camp by winning a free week on the radio (woo-hoo!). Kenzie has been coming to Camp Henry since 2009 as a camper, was an Assistant Counselor for one summer, and this will be her second year on staff. Her favorite camp memory was when her cabin created a scavenger hunt throughout camp for Swild to find his lawn chair. What Kenzie is most excited for is to see returning and new campers and to lose her voice during PJ Sing!



Kevin Graham

kevin grahamKevin Graham lives in Grand Rapids and is currently a student at Central Michigan University where he is studying Secondary Education in Social Studies. This will be his very first year at Camp Henry and could not be more excited to meet all of his fellow staff and campers and he is looking forward to creating meaningful friendships this summer. Kevin loves to get outside and play beach volleyball, basketball, and other physical activities in his freetime. He absolutely cannot wait to play some capture the flag this summer with everyone!




Lauren Lomonoco

Lauren Lomonoco3Lauren is super excited to spend this summer on staff after countless summers of being a camper at Camp Henry. Lauren attends Michigan State University where she studies Hospitality Business with the future hope to work with tourists in National Parks. She is also on the water polo team at MSU and can't wait for any activity on the waterfront this summer. Lauren is most excited to have the opportunity to hang out with so many amazing campers!




Lisa Gibbins

lisa gibbinsLisa lives in Battle Creek and studies computer programming at Kellogg Community College. She has never been to Camp Henry but is super excited to be spending the summer here! She enjoys reading, crafting, anything involving water and spending time with her dog. Her favorite camp activities are capture the flag and crafts. She does not have a nickname but is ready for suggestions.




Liz Whaley

LizWhaleyLiz first came to Camp Henry as an eight year old for mini week and here she is 20 years later and still kicking on the shores! Liz graduated from University of Michigan in 2011 and moved to Alaska where she served with multiple youth programs, summer camps, and non-profit groups. Liz loves sharing her passion for the outdoors with youth, whether she's coaxing kids up the climbing tower or geeking out about plant life on the wetland trail. When Liz isn't running around in costumes, you're likely to find her cuddling her two puppies, riding single track with her husband, or acquiring some newfound homesteading skill.



Liz Price

LizPrice3Liz is a longtime camper and staff member. Some of Liz’s favorite memories happen when she is working on the waterfront and a storm shows up out of nowhere! Liz then finds herself with her waterfront partner running all over the place to close things up, while it's raining so hard that they can't see an inch in front of them. Afterwards they find themselves jumping in puddles like toddlers. This is a favorite moment, because it's a reminder that anything can happen in a second, and if you walk into it with a great attitude, you can receive so much joy from it. Liz hopes campers can find the endless joy and love that she finds at camp! She hopes they feel safe and that they go home a totally different kid.



Maddy “Sweet Pea” Auby

Maddy Auby3

Maddy (aka ‘sweet pea’) is going into her sophomore year at Depaul University in Chicago. She is currently a double major in Health Sciences and Nursing. This year will be her second year at Camp Henry. Last year, she was a counselor for Camp Sunshine, but this will be her first year as a counselor at Camp Henry! Sweet pea loves to be outside as much as possible, especially when it rains. She is so excited to work at Camp Henry this summer because she can't wait to see how each kid grows closer to God!




Mandy Carson

Mandy Carson3Mandy grew up in Rockford, Michigan and now lives in Fremont. Her first camp experience was her 6th grade class retreat to Camp Manitoulin, something she has never forgotten to this day. This summer will be Mandy’s first summer at camp! Mandy has children - Brianna, Cortland, and Morgan - all of whom have been campers here at Camp Henry. When isn’t holding it down at camp, you can definitely find her on the ballfield watching her kids play baseball/softball and cheering them on!




Maura Davis

Maura3Maura is originally from Royal Oak, Michigan and earned her BS in Biology Education from Alma College. After college she spent 8 years at YMCA Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie, SC where she fell in love with camp and decided to make camping her career. Maura is thrilled that life has led her to camping and loves to build relationships with groups and campers at Camp Henry. In her spare time you'll find Maura with her husband Steve, their daughter Aubrey, their son Elliot, and their dog Porter. She also enjoys identifying spiders, speaking in accents, and perfecting her guacamole recipe.



Molly Malnor

MollyMalnor3Molly is a third year staff member and long time camper who is thrilled to be headed back to the shores this summer. She loves a really good rain storm, your best dad joke, and all things Michigan State. Her favorite meal at camp is anytime she gets to eat outside, whether it’s a classic cookout or a stick-stirred beef stew. Molly can’t wait to have a crazy fun summer full of singing, laughing, and organized chaos.




Rebecca Aanerud

rebeccaRebecca is from northern Minnesota and grew up attending camps, both as a summer camper and year-round family programs. She is passionate about working with campers and horses together. She loves to help campers develop new skills and learn more about animals and nature. Nature walks, forest ecology, and team building are some of her favorite non-horse related program activities to share with campers. She enjoys her role taking care of our horses year round, and can often be found out at the barn or blazing new riding trails in DeVries Woods.



Ron “Papa Taco” Hedgcock

PapaRon3Ron (aka 'Papa Taco') lives in Grand Rapids year round working for Young Life and at a church! This will be his fourth summer on staff at Camp Henry. He is looking forward to seeing kids experience heaven on earth and finding life in Christ this summer. This year he has been trying to work out, backpack, and read more. The weirdest thing he ate this year was a several thousand calorie sandwich he made out of honey ham, cheddar cheese, and an excessive layer of dijon mustard. His stomach has never regretted anything more.




Ryan Reisler

ryanRyan found his way to Camp Henry in 2011. He grew up in Bennington, Vermont, and after graduating from Messiah College with a bachelor's in Adventure Education, Ryan continued pursuing his love of camping ministry by serving as the Facilities Director at camp. Ryan loves working behind the scenes to make camp a beautiful place. He is especially good at using a chainsaw, tractor or any piece of power equipment or machinery. When Ryan is not working on stuff around camp, you can find him playing with his dog Boulder, hiking or finding a project to work on at home.



Sarah Nelson

SarahNelson3Sarah lives in Grand Rapids and during the school where she serves as Special Ed Inclusion Aide at Meadow Brook Elementary in Forest Hills Public Schools. Her family is the fourth generation Camp Henry alum! Sarah has been coming to camp since she was 10 - many many moons ago. Her hobbies and interests include coaching track and volleyball and seeing live music. Sarah is most proud of her three amazing daughters. She most looking forward to helping campers overcome their horse-related fears and seeing new and familiar faces!




Schuyler Pruis

Schuyler Pruis3Schuyler is incredibly excited to be spending his first summer on the shores. When he's not busy with his studying Education at Calvin College, you can find him playing and coaching baseball, in the gym rock climbing or dabbling in some guitar and ukulele. Schuyler cannot wait to share smiles, laughter, and amazing times with campers this summer, as well as putting his four square skills to test!





Tyler Wilcox

tylerAll his life, Tyler has loved fixing, building and creating things. Since coming to Camp Henry, he has found such a perfect fit for what he loves to do, using his gifts and passions to serve God. His hobbies include snowboarding, working on and riding his motorcycle, and pretty much any extreme sports (watching or participating). Some of Tyler's favorite things to work with include but are not limited to: his router, chainsaws, a good set of cordless power tools, and anyone's welder. If you ever need to find him, look for two guys who always seem to be hanging around camp together driving a mule, fixing a bell, or stealing cookies from the kitchen.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 09:40

A Generational Love for Camp Henry

By: Kelley Cole


I came to live on the shores of old Lake Kimball in the summer of 1990. I had applied for a counselor position, only to be told they were all filled. I was quickly asked if I would be interested in another staff position. The trip director position was available. I had all the qualifications except a CDL driver’s license. I would need to learn to drive a manual transmission bus. With the encouragement of both the Camp Director and Assistant Director, I took on the challenge and succeeded.

Going to a new camp, needing new skills to do my job, and only knowing the two people that interviewed me was kind of scary. But those nerves were quickly put at ease after the first few days of staff training. I felt welcomed by all the staff that had been there in years past and all the new staff, as well. My days were made brighter by the presence of Tom and Barb Halstead. If I was ever having a down day or had a question, they were there for me. All the positive role models at camp encouraged and supported me in every way to help me grow and become more self-confident. I left that summer feeling like I could accomplish anything I set my heart to.

Cole 2   Cole 1   Halstead

With how much camp positively impacted my life, I hated to move on to a “normal non-camp life.” But I knew someday, when any child of mine reached camper age, I would return in some form.

In 2005, my oldest daughter was in 4th grade and started her summer camp experience on the shores at Camp Henry. She attended camp every summer from there on out through the summer of her senior year in high school when she served as an Assistant Counselor. In 2008, my happiness returned when camp started offering Family Camp. That year started the LOVE for camp with my family. We have three daughters, who then, were at the ages of 13, 3 and 14 months. This became the new tradition for the next eight years until the younger girls could go to regular camp independently.

Cole 3   Cole 6   Cole 5

In 2011, Katelynne, reached the age of attending Day Camp, then Allie joined the following year. In 2013, Katelynne went to mini week, with Allie again following the next year. In 2014, Kate attended her first full week of camp, and yet again Allie followed the next year. They have looked forward to every summer and always ask: “When can I go to camp this year?” “How many more weeks until camp?” and “Who will be my counselor this year?”

This year, both Katelynne and Allie will be spending two separate weeks at camp (One week in Frontier Camp and one week of Regular Camp). They are so looking forward to their camp time and their favorite camp staff. 

I cannot even explain how much camp means to both my girls and me. The growth that I see with every session is amazing. The girls both become more independent and strong. They learn to be both leaders and followers. Confidence becomes a bigger part of their lives while at camp. The pressures of everyday life fall away while at camp, allowing everyone to relax and just be themselves.

Not only have I signed my children up for many years of summer camp sessions, but I have expanded their camp experience even more through year round program options. Both Kate and Allie have enjoyed going to Fall Fest and Winter Camp for the last few years, bringing camp into our lives all year long. They both participated in the Camp Henry triathlon. Plus the entire family participated in the 2015 Camp Henry 5K. We have also attended Mom and Me weekend for the past two years.

   Cole 8   

I have also been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at camp in different ways (camp cleanup days and twice as volunteer nurse). It fills my heart knowing I can help the place that helps my family grow in so many ways.

I have also brought our high school cheer squad to camp for a team building weekend before their season started. For the last two years, I lead multiple Girl Scout troops on camping trips to Camp Henry. Both types of trips had rave reviews by both the kids and the parents that attended. Camp Henry just makes everything work.

Most recently we celebrated Katelynne’s 12th birthday at Camp. What kid wouldn’t want to spend their special day doing their favorite things at their favorite place?

Camp Henry is a special place. You walk onto camp’s property and it just feels different. You feel welcomed. You feel at home. You feel loved.

Cole 7

Thank you Camp Henry for touching our lives in so many ways!

Kelley Cole (Momma Cole) and family


Monday, 27 February 2017 15:51

Deeper Learning through Camp Henry

By: David Simpson, Ph.D.


I still remember the day in May when we met with Jake Jacobs from Camp Henry. Our students had previously attended a day camp; however, having experienced an overnight camp in a previous school district, our team was intrigued about what Camp Henry could do for our students. Shortly after the meeting, we decided to ask our 6th grade teaching staff if they were interested in going to Camp Henry for a 3 day/2 night camp experience. It was a resounding YES! From that point on, things moved at a lightning pace! Our camp experience was scheduled for the following October and we had so much to do. Looking back, I still can’t believe we pulled it off in going to camp for the first time in such a short time frame!

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“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Central Woodlands had never gone to an overnight camp before. However, the culture of our school is reflected in the preceding quote from Emerson. We are not satisfied in simply taking the road that we have always been taken; we want to discover new trails of experiences! At CW, our focus has been on supporting the development of Deeper Learning within our students. We saw Camp Henry as a vehicle to help our students develop these competencies.

The six Deeper Learning Competencies are:







Knowing at CW we work hard at developing deeper learning in students, Camp Henry was the PERFECT opportunity to support our goal to support the six Deeper Learning Competencies! The following are some proficiency indicators of the Deeper Learning Competencies.

• Adjust and try something different when my approach is not working

• Work productively with others toward shared goals, doing my part in a timely manner

• Offer respectful, specific, and helpful feedback to others

• Put effort into my work and persist despite difficulties

• Use reflection on my work to learn and grow

Collaboration and the ability to work with others are so important to us at CW. Camp Henry provided the perfect kick-off for our 6th grade students. They were able to spend 3 days immersed in experiences that helped them develop closer bonds with their classmates, foster collaboration, and help them develop perseverance in facing obstacles!

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We were nervous in that this past fall was our first time taking our students to an overnight camp. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the staff and experience our students had while at Camp Henry. They were pushed to work with each other, problem solve and most importantly…have fun!

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As a result of Camp Henry, I have noticed a big difference with the culture and leadership of our 6th grade class. Their time spent at camp helped to create bonds that have lasted the entire school year and provided so much positive leadership to our school. I see students collaborating in class and depending on each other…just like they had to at Camp Henry. I see students preserving through challenges…just like they did at Camp Henry. I see students displaying empathy towards one another…just like they did at Camp Henry.

My lasting memory from our Camp Henry experience continues to be from the Giant Swing experience. One of our students supported her classmates by being part of the “pull team.” However, she was adamant from the start that she was not going to have any part in trying the swing! It was “just too scary!” The Giant Swing was definitely out of her comfort zone! Through the encouragement of her classmates and the staff at Camp Henry, I could see her body language start to shift from someone who had decided to not try, to someone who was starting to think about giving the experience a chance. By the end, she had made the choice to try, to conquer her fears! She put that harness on and did it! Her smile was reason enough for us to be at Camp Henry! This was deeper learning at its finest!


I couldn’t imagine a better way for CW to support our Deeper Learning Competencies than to start the year at Camp Henry!


About the Author:
David Simpson is the principal of Central Woodlands, a 5th/6th grade school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His passion has been in empathy-based hacking towards Deeper Learning in schools! In addition, David has been working with schools to creature cultures of thinking based on the work of Dr. Ron Ritchhart from Harvard's Project Zero. David received his Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University with a research focus on teacher learning in informal and formal settings. Follow him on twitter at @davidsimpson512

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 09:58

Meet the Staff: Horse Edition


This month on the Camp Henry blog, we’d like to introduce you to the four-legged members of our staff team: the camp horses! They are here throughout the year, offering trail rides and horse experiences to campers and guests. Keep reading to learn a little about each of our horses. Dates for trail rides this spring are included at the end of this post!


Badger 2


Age: 7 years old
Breed: Paint
Badger is our youngest horse at only 7 years old, and he’s also the softest! 



Age: 14 years old
Breed: Pony of the Americas
Buster is Mr. Polka Dots around the barn, and loves to help riders learn new skills in the arena. 

Max and Gideon

Max and Gideon

These gentlemen like to hang together along with Grandpa Steve.


Age: 17 years old
Breed: Standardbred
Coloring: Black 
Known for his distinctive big nose and floppy ears, Max is sure to steal your heart. He is also the tallest horse at camp.


Age: 19 years old
Breed: Quarter Horse
Coloring: Chesnut
Gideon’s slow and steady pace make him a favorite with beginner riders.   



Age: 18 years old
Breed: Pony of the Americas
Henry came to camp with his name, and his heart of gold and patient attitude meant he got to keep it. 



Age: 18 years old
Breed: Paint
The paint that ain’t, Phoenix makes up for his lack of splashy color with his love for trail rides. 

Grandpa Steve

Grandpa Steve

Age: 22 years old
Breed: Arabian
Don’t let his name fool you. Grandpa Steve still loves to hit the trail and cruise around the arena! 

Solomon 2


Age: 14 years old
Breed: Quarter Horse
Solomon likes to take things nice and slow, but he’s happy to hit the trails with some of our more advanced riders. 



Age: 26 years old 
Breed: Bashkir Curly
Taffy is our oldest horse, the curliest horse (look at that curl!), and one of the sweetest in the herd. She’s also the only mare! 

Trooper and Zorro

Trooper and Zorro

These two guys are best friends, and can often be found together.


Age: 17 years old
Breed: Arabian Cross
Coloring: Bay
Trooper can be calm and patient with beginners but is happy to step it up a notch for more advanced riders. His special trick is untying lead ropes.


Age: 16 years old
Breed: Tennessee Walking Horse
Coloring: Black
Zorro is gaited, which means riders will enjoy his extra-smooth pace.  

Wanted: Horses!

Camp Henry is looking to grow our year round herd. We are looking to purchase or have horses donated with previous experience and training for trail rides. Selected horses need to be safe for beginner level riders, including children, and have a calm demeanor. If you, or anyone you know, has horses fit for a camp setting, please contact Rebecca at or by calling 616-459-2267.


1 Hour Trail Rides!

Camp Henry offers 1 Hour Trail Rides on our Camp Horses with our trained and knowledgeable staff.

Sign up for a Trail Ride by emailing or calling 616-459-2267.

Cost: $20 per person
Ages: 10* - adult
(*riders 10-12 years old will need to have an adult rider register with them)

2017 Spring Trail Rides Dates and Information
Sunday, March 5 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, March 19/ 1 pm and 3 pm
Saturday, April 15 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Saturday, April 29 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, May 14 / 1 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, May 28 / 1 pm and 3 pm

Want to schedule your own Group Trail Ride? We’d love to accommodate you. Please connect with us to schedule a time for your group. Email for more information.

By Linnae Satterlee


The Camp Henry 5K Trail Run may be just around the corner, but never fear! You still have almost four weeks to prepare for this fun and beautiful trail run.
If you are a novice runner, or just haven't laced up your shoes for awhile, here are my top 10 tips to get you to the finish line!

1. SIGN UP for the race! You will be more likely to stick to your training and keep your motivation going once you have paid money for a race.
Committing to a race is often the hardest part! You are less likely to give up when the going gets tough, or procrastinate until it's too late.


2. Pick A Purpose. Decide what your goal is, and keep that in mind during training, as well as the race itself. Whether you are trying to jump-start your fitness,
lose weight, hit a time goal, or simply just cross the finish line in one piece, know what you are training for.

3. Set a realistic goal. When I race, I always have 3 goals: my perfect-day, all-the-stars-lined-up goal, my moderate (and hopefully attainable) goal, and my worst- case scenario goal if everything is going wrong. That way I will definitely hit one of my goals, and I have a realistic idea of what I am hoping for.

4. Create a Training Schedule. There are a multitude of training plans to choose from, but the trick is to find one that is simple, easy to understand, and works for your lifestyle. I highly recommend the Couch To 5K training programs, they will take from from zero to the finish line with a common-sense approach to increasing mileage while still giving your body time to rest.

5. Keep Motivated. Finding a training group or running buddy not only helps to keep you accountable, it's also a lot more FUN!! Sharing your goals and scheduling your running workouts together will help keep momentum up and ensure that you stay consistent.

6. Don't do too much too fast. "Slow and steady wins the race." It's important not to push yourself too hard, too fast. You don't want to risk injury and not make it
to the race. A good rule of thumb is no more than a 10% increase in mileage each week.

7. Train in the proper gear. I can't stress this enough! Go to a specialty running store and get properly fitted for running shoes that fit YOUR feet. A good pair of
running shoes is the best investment you can make! Treat your feet right and they will protect the rest of your body. Select apparel with wicking properties, NOT cotton, so that your clothing absorbs sweat away from your body, and keeps you (relatively) dry.


8. Make your practice sessions fun. Vary your speeds while running, divide your run into walking, jogging and sprinting segments, and run on different terrains.
You will use different sets of muscles that will push your body in new directions.

9. Start Strong & Finish Strong. Positive visualization will help you before and during the race. While you train, picture yourself on the course surrounded by other runners. Keep your eyes on the prize as you complete the 5K and keep all of the reasons you decided to do it circling in your head. This will help you feel even
more accomplished as you cross the finish line.


10. Reward yourself! After completing weeks of training and finishing the race, treat yourself to something you've been wanting- a new running top, a massage or
pedicure, or something else that will provide enjoyment on your runs. Give yourself a gift that will help you to continue your efforts.


Run Happy!


About the Author: Linnae Satterlee


Linnae Satterlee is a former anti-runner turned Marathoner. An avid runner, she has completed 12 marathons, multiple 5Ks, half-marathons and 25Ks. She is running in Boston for the 4th time on April 18, and plans to keep running Boston, the greatest marathon in the world, as long as she continues to qualify! She is passionate about running, and enjoys mentoring others and helping them achieve their goals.

Monday, 25 April 2016 17:59

Running is...

By Kari Fuller

Why run or walk?
Everyone has a different reason for running.
Running is a social activity. Some love to be active with other people. It's what leads them to put their feet forward to even get to the start line. Some people talk the entire run. Some people listen. Some can solve the world's problems in 6 miles or less. Some get their problems off their chest and can go to the next race in life. A group of my friends decided to run a half-marathon together a couple years back and had the spouses babysit the kids and cheer on them on. This encouragement led to more spouses running or walking in the next years' race. The whole group was pretty sure the spouses decided to run because of the excitement of the race and not the idea that they were left behind to babysit.

Running is about that next goal. A friend of mine has the 25K River Bank run as her next goal – maybe a marathon next year. Will her body keep up with her goal? Will the challenge of time allow her to continue training? Will she be able to fit in the training? There are aches and pains in running. We get home from work tired, and then there is dinner to make and kids to help. There is also the example she is showing to her kids that exercise is important enough to set aside time to do. She is showing the kids she is choosing to be healthy. She is showing the family that she has a goal, will work hard to accomplish it and will try her best.

Running is about using pent-up energy and getting more energy. The brain is fuzzy. The day's events, problems and the to-do list swirls through the brain. What to do now? Sit on the couch? Watch tv? Do Candy crush? I don't feel any better a half hour later. After 30 minutes of running, and then a quick shower, I can continue with the day. So many times, the run was a hard to do, but then the energy increased after the run. The endorphins, the runner's high, the satisfaction of that day's accomplishments makes the brain felt clearer. I accomplished my run; I can accomplish anything. And that night's sleep is so much deeper.

Running is about getting the pet out of the house. The dog needs to be run. I have a 2 year old Labrador Retreiver and she loves the run. If I run 3 miles, she probably run 6 miles. We are lucky to run on country lanes, forest paths, and farm trails. I can let her off the leash and she GOES RUNNING. The joy in her body language and her uplifted ears tell me there is nothing better than this moment. We find a stream or a deep puddle and I see her swan dive into the center of the water. She gets out, shakes off, and continues... I swear there is a smile on her face. Joy, pure joy.

Running is about feeling strong. When the muscles are worked, I feel as if I can accomplish anything. I can do it. The run felt hard, sometimes I had to walk, but that is ok. I felt great yesterday, and today the run didn't feel so good; that is ok too. Tomorrow will be better.
I run to keep the body in check. Eating wonderful foods leads to a not-so-wonderful body shape unless intervention occurs. Running is my intervention. Without chocolate, I would enjoy life a little less and that is not ok with me. There is heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer in my extended family. I can exercise and do my best at keeping all those things at bay. No, I never struggle with aching knees from running; some people do. Yes, I definitely struggle with an aching back and hips. On the other hand, I would struggle with those parts of my body if I didn't exercise.

Running is about adventure. When running with my dog, I see lots of deer, turkeys, sandhill cranes, the beautiful sky, the breath of fresh air, the gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I find a new tree limb down over my trail. I find unusual things, good and bad. I found a hammer and dry wall trowel I can only imagine bounced out of someone's truck. I found $1.40 worth in can deposits. (I always tell myself to run with a bag but I don't. If you find a few cans by your mailbox, I found them on the run and didn't was doing a little cleaning.) I find trash. I find clothes from other runners discarding their extra baggage. I find dead animals and give them the wide berth like they will suddenly come alive. I find snakes in my path and jump high up and way over. I can only imagine what a nearby person thinks when I react after seeing a snake.

This year is Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema. It is the Saturday before the 25K Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, so our event is a great taper race if you are already training for the Riverbank Run.
One of the many goals of Camp Henry is to ensure campers have a chance to experience life-changing activities. The Camp Henry 5K Trail Run provides scholarships for the campers or school visitors who need a chance: A chance for adventure, a chance to use energy, a chance for life changing experiences.

Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema is on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at 10am. Join US!

About the Author: Kari Fuller

Kari is a devoted runner, wife, and mother. She is actively involved at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Camp Henry, and in the Grand Rapids area communities. She is currently volunteering her time to coach track and field and share her love of running with the next generation. She lives with her husband, Chris, two daughters, and their dog in the NW Grand Rapids area.

Friday, 15 April 2016 17:57

What's Happening ~ April 2016

March flew by and so did the two weeks of April, thanks to the Winter Park Spring Break Trip!

March was filled with fun events, construction progress, staff development conferences, Camp Henry LIVE!, and exciting expos!

March 7-9, the year round staff at Camp Henry had the opportunity to enjoy fellowship, worship, educational sessions and more with camps from all over the state of Michigan at the Christian Camp and Conference Association Michigan Sectional Conference at Gull Lake. It was almost like camp for the camp staff! In between the professional development sessions, we were able to try our hand at Gull Lake's recreational facilties from rock climbing to basketball to pickelball and bowling. The biggest impact the conference had on our staff was the time together and the chance to take a short break to rejuvenate, refresh, and refill our tanks.

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The Camp Henry Board visited Camp for their annual retreat and were able to try out the new high adventure elements first hand. They enjoyed a weekend of camp fun and thoughtful planning for Camp's present and future vision. They also lent a hand with building the new dining hall tables and benches!


On March 13th, we had our third Camp Henry LIVE! @ 3 Mile Project. We loved getting to see so many familiar faces and a lot of new ones too! Thank you to all who joined us for that night of reball, skating, basketball, volleyball, gaga, pizza and just plain hanging out and catching up!

View the Camp Henry LIVE! @ 3 Mile Project video here

Throughout March, our staff canvased several local expos and had the opportunity to make s'mores and share Camp Henry with the communities around us.

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On March 23rd, Olive's hosted a fundraiser for Camp Henry's Scholarship Fund. Many folks showed up with friends and enjoyed an evening at Olive's to help send more kids to camp.

And on March 29th, a handful of staff traveled to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and spent the afternoon bringing camp fun to the kids and families there. From new ways to play bean bag toss to melty beads, everyone had a wonderful time.

The first two week of April may already be gone but there are many memories that were made April 1-9 on the Winter Park Spring Break Trip. Here's a sneak peak at some of the fun we had.

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Coming up in April, we are having our big Volunteer Work Day on the 23rd. Ryan and Tyler, our Facilties Team has a plethora of project that will help get Camp Henry looking nice and ready for the summer and spruce it up a bit for our busy spring. We'd love for you to join, all ages and abilities are welcome. Lunch will be provided! For more information or RSVP, please email

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The very next day, April 24th, is our first Days of Adventure and Open House. Again, absolutely everyone is welcome to come spend the afternoon at Camp Henry. We will have a couple of our new high adventure programs up and running for folks to try as well as lawn games and a cool craft for the younger ones. We will also be leading guided tours of Camp where we will be answering questions about summer camp and year round opportunities. This is a great chance for returning campers and families to share some camp fun together as well as new prospective campers, parents and families to experience a taste of camp. Did we mention it's FREE? Yes, it's free! So we hope we see all of you there! No RSVP required!


April 24th is the last day to guarantee your T-shirt for Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk and 1K Costume Fun Run. You can still sign up after this date but in order to guarantee your T-shirt, register by April 24th. Go here to sign up. The race is on May 7th, 2016 at 10am and the 1K Costume Fun Run is at 11am.

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Between the school groups, who are starting to flock to Camp during the week, we will have a handful of weekend groups coming through for retreats. One of the retreats is Camp Henry's own Dad & Me! Started a few springs back due to the high demand/interest in having a weekend like Mom & Me but for Dads, Uncles, and Grandpas and it's quickly become a favorite of all who have experienced it. The last weekend in April, running into May is when Dad & Me is taking place. It's not too late to sign up and we'd love to have you experience it yourself. Click here for more information.


Monday, 14 March 2016 16:10

Go and Do like Grace

This year's theme is Go and Do and as we are gearing up for the summer, we can't wait til then to share this story with you. If you haven't seen the Go and Do Theme Launch video, watch it now. We asked staff members to share someone in their life that inspires them to be the best version of themselves and their answers ranged from their parents to their coach to their high school janitor. The main goal of this video was to show everyone that you don't have to be famous or rich or perfect, you can be you and share the love through your actions and words. Grace is a camper with an inspirational story and because she is so modest about her actions and words, when we caught wind of what she's been up to, we knew we had to share with you.


Year round staff member, Erica, a native California, went home over winter holidays to visit her family and the Hotalings (In case you missed it, we interviewed Kenny and Kelly Hotaling back in February). While at the Hotalings, she had the opportunity to watch their two older daughters play in a high school soccer match and was surprised to learn that Grace was not playing soccer that season. When she asked why Grace wasn't playing, she discovered what Grace was doing instead. Here's how Grace tells it.

"In August of 2015, my sister's seventh grade school basketball team was in need of a coach. My father gave me the idea of becoming the coach for the team. After long conversations with both of my parents, I decided to apply for the position at the end of the month. About two and a half months later, I was called into the school principle's office to discuss my application. Since I am a minor they couldn't hire me due to liabilities. However, they allowed me to partner up with another coach in order to work with primarily the seventh grade team. I had to make the decision of coaching or playing soccer. In the end, I chose what I loved to do. Coaching has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."


If you didn't catch it through all of Grace's humble words, she volunteered to coach her younger sister's basketball team so that they could play. Grace is a junior in high school; she has all the typical time demands you would expect for a junior in high school and she added coaching to her plate. In addition to growing her coaching experience, she also learned time management, as she had to keep everything balanced.

The hardest part of coaching was "the parents and managing my time efficiently during the school week. When I was not doing homework, most of my free time was spent planning practices, sending weekly schedules to parents, contacting the athletic director, researching new game plays, or meeting with the captains to reflect on the previous week of basketball." She dove right in and took her coaching position seriously and commanded herself in a professional manner by keeping communication lines open with all involved with the team.

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Throughout the season there were highlights that included obtaining second place in their first tournament of the season and later in the season, playing the same team three times, with three over times, and taking first in their home tournament. The overall highlight for Grace as the coach was getting to "see my kids grow as basketball players and develop a true passion for the sport."

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The season was not without some adversity for Grace as a coach. There were parents who voiced concerns over her age and inexperience as a coach to the athletic director who shared these with Grace and helped her overcome them. She certainly ended the season with a record to prove their concerns wrong with 19 wins and only 4 losses.

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Grace stepped up and took the initiative when her younger sister and schoolmates needed help and despite the challenges of being only a junior in high school, she didn't let that stop her from doing a bang up job, taking responsibility for the team and players, and coaching them to the very best of her abilities. Here's what she learned and hopes for the future.

"I have learned that there are always going to be people who will try take you down but you must develop a tough skin and continue to persevere through. I have also learned that each kid is special in their own way and contributes to the team differently. It was a pleasure getting to form a different relationship with each of my 16 kids through the season. If I have the opportunity to coach my group of kids again in the upcoming year, the probability of me taking the position is high. I hope to continue coaching throughout my life because it is an unforgettable experience."

We hope you found this story as encouraging and inspiring as we did. Go and Do like Grace, who sacrificed her soccer season to coach basketball for her younger sister. Go and Do like Grace, who put others before herself. Go and Do like Grace, who overcame challenges with a positive attitude.

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Grace is a Cali Kid. She was one of the first campers to come to Camp Henry from the Golden State 5 years ago at the request of the Hotaling kids.

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Grace loves so much about Camp Henry and over the last 5 summers she has accumulated many camp favorites. PJ Sing, grilled cheese and grape jelly sandwiches, the Dining Hall, being rooted, and sacred ceremony, just to name a few. She enjoys being an ambassador for Camp Henry in her home state and loves being apart of the Cali Kids crew. She says, "it's interesting to see the Camp side versus the California/school side of each California kid. Generally at Camp, everyone is more enthusiastic, energetic, and friendly to everyone they encounter. I see a majority of the California Kids at the high school and a few of the younger kids everyday during practice, since I coach them in basketball."

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Grace has a plethora of talents and interests including cooking, baking, playing musical instruments, crafting, running, swimming, hiking, and photography. She hopes to someday join the Camp Henry staff as a counselor and maybe even lend her fantastic photography skills full time as Camp photography/videography person during the summer! Her greatest hope for Camp Henry is for it to expand so that more kids can experience this freeing and impactful place.

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If you know of someone who is connected to camp, be it camper, staffer, alum, who has a story you find inspirational that makes you want to Go and Do just like them, send us an email! We'd love to hear it!

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