Camp Manitou-Lin

Camp Manitou-Lin

Camp Manitou-Lin operated by the YMCA was founded in 1913 as a summer camp called Camp Optimist. The camp is at least 160 acres, and is situated as they say "on the shores of Old Lake Barlow". There are two main parts of camp. Day Camp, and Main camp, both separated by an asphalt road. The camp also has a riding center for Horse Camp, about a half a mile up the road from Day Camp. The camp is located in Middleville, Michigan half an hour south of Grand Rapids.

Camp Programs

The camp has six camping programs for different age groups.

Overnight Camp (includes teen), Day Camp (including teen, and kindercamp), and Horse Camp (both day and overnight).

During the fall, winter, and spring Camp Manitou-Lin is also active with outdoor education, family camps, break camps, and special retreats.

Horse Camps

The Horse Camp program is directed out of there riding center, SPIRIT Farms Riding Center, by Ardith Turpin, who also runs the camp. There are at least 48 horses, and 7 farm animals. All horse camps ride twice a day, once after breakfast, and once before dinner. A camper is assigned to a riding group with 6-8 people, and then to a horse in a riding arena, where the whole group rides (e.g. Sally Sue is in group A and rides on Bear with her group in the Blue Arena). After one camp week (5 days), all of the riding groups put on separate horse shows on the day that they are picked up from camp, which includes a cook-out. The horse camps also have off-riding lessons, known as barn lessons, where thay learn colors, markings, grooming, sickness and diseases, horse parts, etc. There are three arenas: The Red (largest), the Blue (second largest), and the Green Arena (smallest). The Red Arena is for more experienced riders, the Blue Arena is for riders with somewhat experience, and the Green Arena is for non-experienced riders.


At the Horse Camp, there are at least 48 horses. The largest horse, Rex, is a Clydesdale mixed with Draught horse. There are two pairs of clydsedales: Penny and Polly, and King and Queen. The two newest horse, are ponies named Princess and Johnny Cash. Once a week. the horses and their riders get to go on trail. The only bald face horse is Pedro. The camp has only one Tennessee Walking Horse, Toronado, or Tori. Most of the horses are Arabians and Thoroughbreds. Most of the horses are Bays, a type of color, which means they are brown all over, with their mane and tail always black, including their legs which can have markings. Some of the well-known horses there are Lightning, Ahab, Rocky, King, Queen, Pete, Penny, Polly, Snoball, Pedro, P-Nut, Molly, Skeeter, Rex, TC, Cindy, Doll, Johnny Cash, Crystal, and April.

Main Camp

At the Main Camp, many activities are stationed out of there, as well as the log cabins and the lodge. At main camp there are 17 cabins, one lodge, one infirmary, and one camp store. There are 16 activities in main camp. Two rock-walls, two high ropes courses, one archery range, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, the Whale (water slide), water gym toys, arts and crafts, a nature center, a basketball court, a tennis court, an A-Field (athletic field), and swimming.

Core Values and Motto

At the camp, there are four core values to follow. Respect, Honesty, Caring, and Responsibility. Any camper who shows all of these four values plus more will be awarded by the staff at the Farewell campfire as camper of the week.


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