If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson

At Camp Lookout we are driven by our philosophy which, at it’s core, is all about fostering positive connections and creating meaningful experiences for our campers. Our hope is for each individual to leave Lookout having gained a sense of self, and to feel more confident in their ability to interact with others and their surroundings.

Here are our philosophical pillars:

  • Playfulness is central to our programing. Through fun and play we provide an atmosphere of self-discovery, personal growth, and finding a sense of purpose.
  • Intentional, co-created programming fosters independence and confidence while giving kids the chance to create their own experience.
  • Free time provides the opportunity for kids to be kids and gives them the ability to truly connect with their surroundings and others.
  • Non-competitive culture allows our campers to feel comfortable enough to take healthy social and physical risks, while learning skills essential to effective collaboration.
  • Unplugging from the electronic world allows us to reconnect with people in social, healthy, and emotionally-productive ways.

These pillars aid us in our effort to make the world a better place by empowering young people to co-create a supportive, playful, and imaginative environment. Because of our flexible daily schedule, campers have the opportunity to create their own unique camp experience. We encourage campers to create and lead activities, and are constantly surprised by the imaginative energy young people bring to our community! Our non-competitive focus allows our campers to feel comfortable taking healthy social and physical risks, while learning essential skills to collaborate effectively.

Ultimately, we’re are trying to help the world by helping its people learn to live, work and play together.


Programming and Activities

Getting Ready to Canoe on Lower Herring Lake

What we do at Camp Lookout changes every day, there is a fluidity to what we do, and days at camp vary as widely as the creativity and imagination of campers and staff allow. Here is the general idea: Each day we run six to eight activities during both morning and afternoon program-periods and activities are offered to every camper regardless of age, gender or cabin group.  Activities are co-created by the campers and staff, and range from playing Capture the Flag or Assassins, to watercolor painting on the beach, to writing and directing a camp play.

Some activities are weird and creative, like turning the Lodge into a haunted house. Others, like Listening Point (personal meditation in nature) are on the quieter side. We offer special programs and day trips: sailing on Lower Herring lake; sunrise walks to the Elberta Farmer’s market; ever-popular hikes to Mount Baldy, and more.

Wild Play on the Lake Michigan Beach

After dinner, we gather as a camp and participate in evening program. This special time is used for all-camp games, skit nights, carnivals, trips, the Sing Down, variety shows, plus the yet-to-be-invented. Before bed, camp winds down with Mellow Time, an open-mic campfire where campers and staff share stories, poems, songs, and moments of silence.

Lookout’s programming isn’t just about the what, it’s about the how. Our staff practice co-created programming. This means we take campers’ perspectives into consideration and work with them to turn their own ideas into activities. Finding Nemo scavenger hunts, Empires, deep conversations in the woods, nighttime stargazing, sunrise pancake-making—campers have invented some of our best and most memorable programs. Campers plan and lead over 20% of our activities, and their voices are heard in 100% of what we do.

Camp activities are non-competitive. There are no color wars or intra-camp / inter-cabin competitions. Although we have many team sports, team composition changes frequently so that everyone who wishes to play will have an opportunity. Scores are kept haphazardly. 

We have no camp movie/video nights, electronic games, computer labs or all camp social dances. Instead, we do many games and sports, special events, skits, dramatic, talent and music activities which foster active, involved, and individual participation.

Overnight camping is, historically, one of the more popular activities at camp. Campers may have an overnight sleep out under the stars on our Lake Michigan Beach, or set up a more involved camp at a primitive campsite in the back woods adjoining camp