ROSCOMMON, MI – Bonding together through camping, retreating, and hanging out at Bambi Lake, makes us who we are.
“I remember staying in Pinegrove as a kid. My mom stayed there years before me,” states Kevin Gaby. That legacy at Bambi Lake continues, as Kevin brings his kids to stay in Pinegrove. His family has been coming to Bambi every Memorial Day and Labor Day for 22 years. It won’t be too long before grandchildren will be joining this picture! “I came to Bambi for the first time as a new bride with Kevin to a marriage enrichment retreat just a few months after we were married,” shared Lisa Gaby.
“Our kids have grown up there. We have pics of our son in a recycling bin stuffed with pillows and strapped to a wagon with a bungee cord as we made the rounds visiting at the campground. Our close knit young couple’s class camped for years together as our kids got to experience a little freedom and independence for the first time. My mother in law and Kevin have attended Bambi for RA and GA camps. My daughter’s first night away from home was at GA camp. So many memories! WE LOVE BAMBI!!!” Camping, the cottage by the lake, the lodge, the chalets – the Gaby family has stayed in most accommodations offered at Bambi. “And actually Bambi is the reason we don’t have an "up-north cabin." Why would we - when we have Bambi?”
Many families have a heritage, a legacy of togetherness, that includes great memories at Bambi Lake Baptist Retreat and Conference Center. From camping in the campground, to attending family camp, leadership training, and coming “just because,” people have a love of this camp. “’Unplugging’ with my kids from the phones, television and video games, living in the campground for two weeks where they are safe; where they can have freedom to roam around and be surrounded by creation – this has been very special to my family,” shared another frequent guest.
Campfires by the beach, cooking hot dogs in the pavilion, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, hiking on the trails, singing camp songs by the Wilson building steps or in the amphitheater, searching for Petoskey stones in the gravel pit, a fast-paced game of ping pong, swimming and kayaking are all part of the camp experience here. It is not unusual to see deer darting across the road and into the wooded areas, or wild turkeys strutting through the field as wildlife flourishes on the property. The whippoorwill’s call signals 10:00 pm. It is very dark and still, and the coyotes’ howl sing you to sleep. The early morning alarm may be the tapping of red-headed woodpeckers on a nearby tree. Nature lives is our best alarm clock.
One recent camper shared, “I remember when the Human foosball building housed the chapel, and then, meeting in the Hubbs Chapel in the Lodge downstairs, and now, the Wilson building is the chapel.” She had come to girl’s missions camp with her sister for years. As she brought her mom back to visit the camp, she noted, “Things have really changed since I was a summer missionary here.” Yes, Bambi Lake is always changing. Every time people come to Bambi Lake, there is something that is new. Right now, changes are transforming the camp, with the diligence of volunteers, as new life is breathed through the dreams and visions of the new camp staff. Excitement is on the horizon as the plans come to fruition.
Just wait for your next family gathering at Bambi Lake. You will not regret the time that you have spent-away from the noise of your city, your work and your busy life-to enjoy the blessings of nature and family that God has prepared for you. Make your plans to come to Bambi Lake to refresh your spirit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.