What is Camp?
Camp Fish Tales is a barrier-free, wheelchair accessible camp located on 67 acres on the corner of Erickson and Old State Road between Linwood and Pinconning (4 miles north of Linwood, 1/2 miles east of M-13). The lodge has a large dining room, a recreation room with many games, a large meeting area with a stone fireplace for those rainy summer nights and a full kitchen. The lodge is heated and air conditioned for year-round comfort. There are two large cabins for housing campers and attending staff. Other facilities include a medical building, covered chapel, two pavilions, an archery range and a beautiful beach with an accessible dock for access to the pontoon boat and fishing!. The camp has a 5,000 foot nature trail (wheelchair accessible) that leads to an amphitheater and fire pit area.
Camp Fish Tales provides a unique and exciting outdoor learning experience where individuals with special needs interact and develop skills that enhance their health, abilities, independence and quality of life.
In 1993 Camp Fish Tales opened a one-week, overnight, camp at Saginaw Valley State University. It was a good start, but parents and volunteers had a dream. One day their children and friends would enjoy a true camping experience…healthy, fun activities outdoors…the chance to meet new friends and develop social skills in a completely new and safe environment…the “confidence building” experience of being away from home. Hundreds of volunteers pitched in. Finally, in 1996, Camp Fish Tales opened near Pinconning in mid-Michigan. This barrier-free, wheelchair accessible camp, located on 67 ½ acres, is a dream come true for campers and their loved ones. Camp facilities include: a main lodge with a kitchen, dining area, fellowship room for gatherings, game recreation room and a small nursing station. We also have two large cabins, one each for males and females. Counselors stay in the large cabins with the campers to assure campers’ safety. Eight staff (including the director and nurses for the camp) stay in three small, portable cabins. The ratio of staff to campers is 1:1, occasionally 1:2 if both campers have a higher level of independence. This type of individual attention gives campers the chance to do more things for themselves, than they might be able to at home or in other settings. We make every effort to allow and encourage them to do whatever it is they want to accomplish. With each small success, campers’ self-esteem grows and their level of independence increases.
Who Can Attend
We now have six sessions of camp scheduled for summer 2016. These six weeks consist of youth weeks (age 7-17), young adult weeks (18-35) and adult weeks (30 and over). There is some overlap due to disabilities or compatibility as they get older. For many of our campers, this is one of the few opportunities to become more independent and to build social skills. For caregivers, Camp Fish Tales offers respite, a chance to renew, or even a chance to focus on other family members. Our campers have a physical and/or developmental disability. Before accepting a camper, we make sure that we can adequately meet their needs. Due to our high staffing ratio and 24 hour nursing staff, Camp Fish Tales is known for taking campers with more severe disabilities. It is often difficult for these families to find an overnight recreational activity that can assist their loved ones, due to their disabilities.