Portrait of Clarence GreilickIn 1920 the Rotary Club Traverse City was founded. Just three short years later, Clarence Greilick decided to do something really significant for children and youth in our region. And so the history of Camp Greilick began…

A Farsighted Vision

Greilick was the third president of the Rotary Club (1923-1924). He was a lumberman and furniture manufacturer. He was also a great lover of the outdoors. Clarence knew the woods, lakes, and streams of the region as well as we know our own backyards. With an eye to the future, he proposed the purchase of a site for a place where the children and youth of our community coud enjoy healthy outdoor recreation and learn about woodlore. His idea was to establish of a community campground for the 4-H, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts, with each group having its own time for camp use.

His idea was favorably received by the Club. An expenditure of $1,100 was authorized to secure a wooded tract of 430 acres in the Spider and Rennie Lake area about 13 miles southeast of Traverse City. The next step was the construction of a lodge. This was done by enlisting the aid of a building contractor, some members of the Kiwanis Club, and the enthusiastic help of all the Rotarians. The lodge provided a kitchen, dining and assembly hall.

Growing the Camp and Securing Its Future

That endeavor proved so successful that a very impressive $7,500 was next raised to purchase an additional 27 acres of land. The new acreage added substantial new Rennie Lake frontage. This gave the camp outstanding facilities for aquatic sports and activities. Control of the camp was turned over to a newly created nonprofit organization made up of representative Rotarians, named the “Community Camp Association.” Some 19 years later, then president, Jack Freethy, convinced the Rotary Club members that the properties should be deeded back to an organization controlled by the Rotary Club. On January 6, 1955 the first Articles of Incorporation for “Rotary Camps, Inc.” were filed to take title to the camp properties.

Lars Hockstad, President of the Rotary Club from 1934 to 1935, in his History of the Traverse City Rotary Club, penned this description of Camp Greilick as of 1960:

Hand calligraphy used to write the History of the Traverse City Rotary Club

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