For Parents

Whether this is the first or tenth time your child is attending Portage Lake, we want you to know that we will do everything we can to make sure your camper is safe and cared for.

Portage Lake is a community that invests in the lives of children and families. We believe that our unique camp environment is an ideal setting for a child to experience Christ-centered living. We emphasize that each child is valued solely because they are made in the image of God, and not for their physical attributes or athletic abilities. It is our desire that each camper would not only see that they are valued and loved, but that they would experience it through activities, fellowship and fun! Our hope is that Portage Lake will become an uplifting and integral part of your child’s development and spiritual growth.

Tiered discounts:

Register by January 15 or May 15 to save on summer camp! Visit each page to learn more about tiered pricing at PLCBC.

Food Allergies & Dietary Restrictions

Portage Lake is NOT a peanut free facility. Our cooks are used to catering to individual needs and do our best to accommodate all allergies, however some allergies, especially the more unusual ones, we are not always able to fully accommodate a guest or camper. We do strive to accommodate all camper needs, but if your child has extreme food allergies, please call the PLCBC office at (231)889-5911. PLCBC will make different food for allergies or dietary restrictions, but not for pickiness. Peanut butter and jelly is available at every meal.

About the Summer Staff:

Here at Portage Lake we take great care in hiring our staff. Your child’s experience is highly dependent on the quality of our staff. All staff members are hired because of their spiritual maturity and personal integrity. The young men and women who work here are truly dedicated to being positive Christian role models for your son or daughter. (They are also a lot of fun!) All staff members are certified in First Aid and CPR certified. To learn more about our staff click here!

Safety:

Safety is our number one priority. All camp facilities and activities are inspected and regulated annually by the State of Michigan. (See information about medical care, policy on bullying and swimming below.)

All waterfront staff are lifeguard certified. All ropes equipment (including carabiners, harnesses, ropes and cables) is inspected annually by Experiential Systems. The summer ropes staff, as well as all full time staff are certified through Experiential Systems on all high adventure elements.

Arrival & Departure:

Check in begins at 3:30 pm in the gym on arrival day (Sunday for most camps, Friday for Pathfinders 1, Sunday for Pathfinders 2). On the last day of camp, please arrive between 9:00 am and 10:00 am for departure (Sunday for Pathfinders 1, Tuesday for Pathfinders 2), to sign sign your child out. There is a short closing rally at 9:30 am on closing day. This is a time for you to hear and see what your child has been learning and doing at camp. We will also show an end-of-week slideshow and video, so you will get a sneak-peak into your camper’s experience.

Swimming at PLCBC:

We take the waterfront very seriously. Every camper takes a swim test on the first day of camp. (Except Pathfinders, who go in the lake, but not for open swimming.) Cabin groups test together. Each camper swims out and across the deep end and then treads water for 2 minutes. Four lifeguards are in the water with the groups while the waterfront director watches from the raft. If a camper cannot swim the entire distance or complete the treading, they are allowed to swim in the deep end while wearing a life jacket and with a staff member.

Scholarships:

Scholarships are available. Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp believes every kid should be a camper! Every year we get more requests for scholarships, so we ask that you pay as much of your camper’s fee as possible. To get a scholarship application, simply call camp at (231)889-5911 and talk to our office manager Kathy. To learn more about donating to the scholarship fund, click here!

Camp Nurse:

Each week there is a Registered Nurse on site at Portage Lake. At registration, parents must must turn in all prescription medications to the nurse. There is no need to bring any over-the-counter medications (Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, etc.), the nurses station is well stocked to meet any aliments your camper may have. Emergency rescue medication like inhalers or Epi-pens may be kept with the camper, but all other medicine (prescription or non) must be checked in with the nurse.

PLCBC Policy on Bullying:

Portage Lake is designed to provide outreach programs, challenges and opportunities for kids to be encouraged while learning about Jesus Christ. For this to be successful, kids need to feel safe. This means bullying is unacceptable. The way kids treat each other at camp can make or break a camper’s week. We give rules and expectations to kids as they arrive. Our staff is trained in handling discipline and bullying so that every camper is safe physically, emotionally and spiritually.

 Have more questions?

If you have any additional questions or concerns, check out our resource for First-time parents! You can always call (231) 889-5911 as well. Thanks!

Summer 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is it safe to send my child to camp?

Yes! It is our hope and prayer that by the summer months of 2021, COVID-19 cases will be down and/or we have more efficient ways to deal with the virus. Regardless of the status or our ability to prevent, contain, or treat COVID-19, Portage Lake Bible camp’s priority is the safety of your camper. As we did throughout this past summer, we will be in close contact with local health workers and closely follow local and state guidelines.

 

What is Portage Lake doing to keep their staff and campers safe?

Portage Lake Bible Camp’s top priority has always been the overall safety of your camper! Even as we strive to provide a Christ-centered experience full of real fun and real faith in the midst of a pandemic, that priority does not change.

At this point, we are planning for regular summer gatherings with a few adjustments. For our youth camps – Pathfinders, Trailblazers, Junior High, and Senior High camps – we are currently planning to hold camps at a lower capacity and with additional safety precautions in place.

Consistent with CDC (Center for Disease Control) and ACA (American Camping Association) guidelines, at this point we plan to cohort our cabin groups and have multiple NPIs (Nonpharmaceutical interventions) in place. Per CDC/ACA recommendation and Portage Lake policy, in order to attend camp each camper is going to be asked to self quarantine before arrival and provide a negative COVID-19 test result upon their arrival to camp.

Symptom and temperature checks will also happen daily. While COVID-19 symptoms may be more mild in younger children, we still want to reduce the spread as we are able. 

We will take the same measure with our staff as well. Staff are going to be asked to self quarantine and have a negative test result prior to their arrival on camp grounds. Our staff will also be cohorting, symptoms checked, and have their temperature monitored daily.

 

Will I be able to get my deposit back if I have to cancel for COVID reasons?

Yes! Whether the reason is related to an actual positive case of COVID-19 or you or your child are uncomfortable with coming to camp for safety reasons, we will be able to fully refund your deposit up to three weeks before the start of your child’s camp session. This allows us time to fill the open slot with another child who may be on the wait list. We do understand that this is a complicated time and we all must be flexible. If special situations arise, please call our office at (231) 889-5911 and we’ll be happy to work with you.

 

Will you contact me if my child gets sick or is a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19?

Yes, and we will strive to do so in a timely manner. As in summers past, when you register your camper, we require parent and emergency contact information in the event we need to contact you about your child. We will have a nurse on site each week, and we will contact you in regard to your campers health as is deemed appropriate by our staff.

 

How will campers have fun and participate in games and activities while following COVID-19 safe guidelines?

Camp fun will likely look a tad bit different this summer! Instead of large group games, we are exploring more cabin centric activity options. This means that campers will spend time almost exclusively within their cohorted cabin in order to limit contact to those they bunk with.

 

What about cabins? 

Most of our cabin accommodations have ample space and allow for our bunks to be spread out. For this summer, we are planning to house campers only in cabin spaces in which their cohort will share one bathroom, rather than a communal bathroom with multiple other cabins. Each week, counselors will cohort with their cabin of about nine other campers. We will be evaluating and revising our capacity limits on a monthly basis throughout the upcoming months based on changing regulations. If your camper is wait listed, please be patient. We are hopeful that our ability to accommodate more campers will grow as vaccines increase and COVID numbers decrease.

 

Will my child be required to wear a mask at all times?

Masks are a must! Both state and local guidelines have mandated their use for any communal gatherings. Come late spring or early summer, we will let you know specifically where masks will be required. We will likely require masks in the dining hall, chapel, gym, and any other spaces in which 6 feet social distancing cannot be met. Mask wearing inside cabins and within cohorts will be decided prior to the start of camp, based on CDC and ACA guidelines and recommendations. 

 

Does my child need to be tested before they arrive at camp?

Whether or not a COVID test is required will be based on current CDC guidelines and best practices. We will update you on what these requirements are as we get closer to the start of our summer camps. For the safety of all participants and our staff, we do ask that to the best of your ability your child self quarantines for two weeks prior to their arrival at camp. We understand that there are different scenarios, such as school and sports teams, that may prevent your child from being able to quarantine. We just ask for extra caution in the two weeks prior to their arrival at camp, including a two week quarantine if possible. Stay tuned, as this may change depending on the recommendations of the Michigan health department.

 

Do we really need to be following all of these guidelines?

As an organization and as Christians, we believe this is the best way to love our neighbor and the greater community. Portage Lake has been serving families and kids for 75 years! We have been entrusted with a special gift, and the best way to steward that is to follow all safety guidelines and recommendations to the best of our ability, and to the extent that we are mandated to do so by our operation license from the State of MI and insurance guidelines.

 

My question wasn’t answered! How do I get more information?

We continue working towards the safest way to bring your kids a rich camp experience. With the ever changing landscape of information, regulations, and access to COVID solutions, we acknowledge that we do not have all of the answers at this point. But, if there are any further questions you may have, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. The two best ways to contact Portage Lake is by calling our office at (231) 889-5911 or email us at info@portagelake.org

What to Pack:

Below is a rough packing list. Clothing needs vary with weather. Northern MI is typically warm during the day and cool at night.
1of4_thumb1– Several face masks
– 7 t-shirts
– 3 pairs of shorts
– 2 pairs of jeans
– 2 sweatshirts
– raincoat
– 2 pairs of closed toed shoes (sneakers for games, climbing, etc.)
– socks
– undies
– flips flops/shower shoes
– modest swimwear (girls must wear a one piece)
– bath towel
– beach towel
– sleeping bag (cabins may sleep at “out camp” and need a sleeping bag, not just sheets and blankets)
– pillow
– flashlight
– bug spray– sunscreen
– shampoo
– soap
– toothbrush
– toothpaste
– Bible
– notebook
– pen/pencil
– clothes & shoes to get messy/muddy
– water bottle
– camera

 

What NOT to Pack:

NO ELECTRONICS! If iPods, video games, cell phones, etc. are brought they will be confiscated for the week. No valuables-meaning anything you are not willing to have damaged or lost. No cash – all money should be put on a Canteen Cash Card. No bicycles or “hover boards”.

Camper Mail:

We will have mail baskets for each cabin set up on registration day in the gym. Write intended delivery day on each piece along with the camper’s name. Mail is delivered Monday-Friday. (Delivered all three days for Pathfinders.) You can also send mail to your camper. Please be sure to put your camper’s first and last name on any letter or package. Send mail to:
4158 Camp Delight Rd.
Onekama, MI 49675.

 

You can also send digital mail throughout the week that we will print and deliver to your camper! Click here to send.