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Little Eden Camp is located in the city of Onekama, Michigan. The camp is most notably designated as a Christian camp that offers not only family reservations but also youth and church groups, to name a few. On the property, there are 32 cabins, 18 hotel-style rooms, and 8 RV sites. Each type of accommodation offers different amenities, such as cabins that have kitchens and bathrooms and RV sites that have full hookups, a fire pit, and a picnic table. The camp is located next to Portage Lake, which channels into Lake Michigan. Guests are able to participate in lake activities from the property. Since 1944, the camp has been hosting patrons and is currently a year-round operation. Summer is noted by KJ, one of the managers of the park, to be the busiest season of operation for the business. KJ also reports that they have guests who have been coming to the park for over 70 years.
The town of Onekama, Michigan, is home to the business Little Eden Camp, which offers various accommodations. KJ, one of the managers of the park, says that units available for reservations include 32 cabins, 18 hotel-style rooms, and 8 RV sites. Every cabin offers a kitchen and a bathroom. Depending on the cabin, they will have either two bedrooms or a loft space. As for the RV sites, when they are open during the warmer months, they include full hookups, a cement slab, a picnic table, and a fire pit.
On the acreage, there is a main office and bathhouse, which is only open seasonally during the warmer months of the year. The main lodge is where the office is located as well as the aforementioned hotel-style rooms. Larger size groups can rent the main lodge for private gatherings. During the summer, it is required that the whole lodge is booked at once, while in the off-season, there is a five-room minimum. Activities such as ping pong, for example, are available in the lodge, and the building also has a chapel where chairs can be set up for events.
Mid-June to mid-September is designated as the property’s “family camp season,” says KJ. Before this time, the camp is rented to local youth groups for about two weeks in total. After the family camp time, the camp is utilized for retreat groups, families, and church groups, to name a few. The off-season is set by the business between the months of September to May. During the off-season, the RV sites don’t offer any hookups. “Everything is open in the off-season at different points,” remarks KJ.
A gift shop is located on the property where the business sells memorabilia such as t-shirts and sweatshirts. The camp is in a “very small town,” says KJ, but it is situated next to Portage Lake providing various activities. Lake use is available to all patrons. During the non-winter months, visitors can use kayaks and row boats provided by the Little Eden Camp. Other activities to do on the premises include playing basketball, tennis, shuffleboard, and other lawn games.
The Little Eden Camp serves as an event area where they do various retreats and special events. Previous events to be hosted by the property include quilting and golf camp retreats. More common events to be held on the premises include family gatherings and reunions as well as church groups.
Anybody staying at the Little Eden Camp is expected to follow the policies laid out by the business. Such regulations include no alcohol, drugs, guns, fireworks, or pets on the property. Quiet hours at the camp go from 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM. “We’re a Christian camp, and that’s important to us,” says the manager, KJ. The staff clarifies that those who stay at the camp do not need to be Christian. KJ reports that they want all patrons to feel comfortable and relaxed when staying at the camp. One way the business tries to enable this is by following its mission statement: “To provide a Christian environment that nurtures and encourages relationships to God and others through fellowship, worship, camping, and education.” The main goal, according to KJ, is to provide a place for people to feel relaxed, refreshed, and renewed, as stated on the property’s website.
Interaction between patrons and staff is relatively frequent due to the nature of the camp, as well as having a guest service staff member available on the property. One unique aspect of the Little Eden Camp is being located along Portage Lake, which has a channel that goes to Lake Michigan. KJ says they are most known by their guests for their clean facilities. Success for the business is attributed by the staff to the way the owners set up the Little Eden Camp to cater to families and groups.
Summer is the busiest season of operation for the year-round business. The typical demographic of patrons to stay at the Little Eden Camp are families. KJ reports that they receive a high number of repeat guests, including those that “have been coming since they were kids themselves.” One guest left a review saying, “My parents have brought me to this camp every year since I was an infant. My grandparents brought my dad and his brothers when they were boys. Now I bring my children.” Another patron said, “I’ve been coming since 1976. This place is far enough away from home to not worry about life left behind for a week. Many memories.”
Attractions near Little Eden Camp, besides the aforementioned lake, are the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, ski resorts that are open during the winter time, and northern Michigan beaches and towns, all of which are recommended by the staff for visitors to personally tour. Restaurants KJ recommends to those visiting the area include The Glenwood, Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club, and Grille 44.
The Little Eden Camp was founded in 1944. It is reported by KJ, the manager, that the land was established as a Christian camp by five Mennonite men from Ohio. During that time, the lodge was used as a hotel until later being converted into a lodge. Throughout the course of the camp’s history, it has gained cabins and RV sites, as well as gone through various renovations and upgrades. KJ remarks that they hope to one day expand the Little Eden Camp by building more cabins on both sides of the roads that run through their land.
KJ says that her whole career had involved working with churches and youth groups, which led her to work at the Little Eden Camp when she moved to Michigan. Since she started working there, KJ says that her favorite part of her job is working with the guests who come to stay at the Little Eden Camp.