Presbytery Point to celebrate a milestone

Presbytery Point Camp in Michigamme Township is celebrating 80 years of operation on Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

MICHIGAMME – For 80 years children and young adults have traveled to the Presbytery Point Camp in Michigamme Township to find a place to belong, believe and become.

“Our campers tell us that they can truly be themselves at camp,” camp manager Caron Christopherson said. “They are loved as they are. Our focus is on supporting each other and practicing living in a community of kindness and caring, then taking what we’ve practiced at camp home to share with our communities.”

In a place that truly seems like God’s country, campers have related experiences like skiing across Lake Michigamme in the winter, and diving into lake water described as having the color of root beer during the height of the summer. From singing and laughing with friends to praying and enjoying the silence.

In a history chronicled by author and alumni camper Janet Dalquist, she wrote Presbytery of Lake Superior purchased the original 20-acre property in response to the emergent popularity of camping in the 1930s.

Dalquist notes there was a lodge, a cottage and six cabins on the property, the majority of which is situated on a large peninsula along Lake Michigamme shoreline, surrounded by white birch trees.

At its peak, the camp had 50 to 60 campers per week, Dalquist said.

And just as they did during the formative years of the facility, 250 to 350 modern-day campers enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, outdoor games, arts and crafts, as well as Bible lessons and outdoor worship services at what many affectionately call “The Point.”

“This year, with our family and alumni camps,” Christopherson said. “Our campers have ranged in age from 1 year to 96 years old.”

The camp has seen a few changes, Christopherson said.

Some are small, like the addition of games such as gaga ball and 9-Square, which are camper favorites.

But the biggest overall changes have been the camp’s partnerships with guest camp groups including the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, Camp New Day and the Superior String Alliance, Christopherson said.

“It has been a joy to share the camp with these groups and their campers,” Christopherson said.

New year-round facilities like the dining hall and the Mackinac Lodge, which can house up to 24 campers, Christopherson said, allow guests to appreciate the camp during all four seasons.

The camp is funded by camper registrations, guest groups, Presbytery of Mackinac and other church mission gifts, personal donations and mission grants, Christopherson said.

While monetary donations are extremely helpful, people who have volunteered their time over the last eight decades are also invaluable to the camp’s operations, Christopherson said.

“Volunteers are a huge asset to the camp,” Christopherson said. “We couldn’t function without our spring and fall Work Camp volunteers, or summer program volunteers, including camp nurses, craft leaders, maintenance and kitchen helpers.”

Camp officials have invited the public to the camp’s 80th anniversary celebration on Sunday.

Events include a 10:30 a.m. worship service hosted by the United Presbyterian Church of Ishpeming, with the Rev. Dave Henderson leading the service. A picnic lunch of hot dogs will follow. Guests are invited to bring a salad to share.

From 1 to 4 p.m. will be an open house. There will be games and face painting for the young at heart, tours of the camp, a traditional Point craft project table, a picture board display of the camp history and light refreshments. T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts with a favorite design from the past, “Get The Point”, will be available at the camp store. Door prize drawings will be held throughout the afternoon.

Music will be provided throughout the day by the U.P. Dixieland band.

Dalquist will also be present to share stories from the camp history she wrote called “Presbytery Point 1937-2010: A Documentary and Photographic History.” Copies will be available for purchase and for signing by the author.

Presbytery Point is located at 211 Brown Road, east of Michigamme. For more information, call 906-869-0925 or visit www.presbyterypoint.org.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.