Circle Pines Center (CPC) is a not for profit Cooperative education and recreation center. Our residential Cooperative Summer Camp is the Center’s largest program of the year, serving a diverse group of youth ages 7-17 for 7 weeks each summer.
The mission of the Camp is to teach peace, justice, ecology and cooperation. The aim of the Center is to demonstrate cooperative alternatives to economic and social issues and to teach cooperation as a way of life.
Founded in 1938, CPC’s cultural heritage includes the Danish Folk School, the Central States Cooperative League, Quaker work campers, Jewish immigramts, labor union members and organizers, and civil rights workers. The Center is open to all without discriminatin on the basis of social or political beliefs, race, ethnicity, religion, age, ability, sex, sexual or gender orientation, or nationality.
Our setting is in the rolling hills of Barry County, Michigan with 294 acres of woodlands, meadows and a sandy beach on spring-fed Stewart Lake. We have over 11 miles of trails and border on Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. The camp is situated on an old farmstead with many camp activities taking place in or around the Civil War vintage farmhouse. Nearby in the barn, we have a theater area upstairs and an arts & crafts shop and darkroom in the lower level. a short distance away is the “Rec Hall”, a large stone pillared, open air pavilion in which we hold our folk dances Saturday nights.
Everyone at Circle Pines participates in daily work projects and chores. Many of the roads, trails, and structures were at one time built by campers, and have over the years been maintained by other campers (young and old). Circle Pines Camp offers a structured program within which campers have the opportunity to pick and choose the activities they wish to participate in every day. Young people (and all people) are given a voice in how they wish the camp to be run.
As a Cooperative, CPC adheres to the Rochdale Principles, including open membership, democratic governance, contiuing education, and cooperation among cooperatives. During the year, CPC offers weekend programs to the membership and surrounding community, as well as functioning as a retreat center for outside groups. Some examples of year-round Circle Pines programs include: Family Camp, Fall Camp for Adults, Spanish Immersion weekends, Apple Cider Weekend, Winter Camp (for teens), Maple Syrup Weekend, Work Bee weekends, Women’s Weekend, and May Membership Weekend.