Newaygo County– At their Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 10 – 12, the staff and Board of Camp Newaygo honored long-time Camp Newaygo CEO, Jane Vitek, by renaming their Health and Leadership Lodge (HALL) The Jane Vitek Health and Leadership Lodge. Vitek, a retired art educator, took over as Camp Newaygo’s Executive Director in 2002, after a 25-year career with Fremont Public Schools, and later moving into the role of Camp CEO.
Jane has a long history with Camp Newaygo, serving as Assistant Camp Director seasonally during the first 15 years of her teaching career. She was integral in the efforts to keep Camp Newaygo, which was at the time, owned and operated by the Grand Rapids YWCA, from closing, being logged, and then subdivided for residential development. She heroically pulled her own vehicle in front of logging trucks that had already started their work, preventing them from continuing, and then rallied Camp alumni to come up with a plan to raise the money needed to purchase Camp and donate it to TrueNorth (nee NCCS). Vitek had plans to expand a camp that had served four generations of girls and women from Grand Rapids and the surrounding area, its local youth, and increase community initiatives.
In her tenure at Camp Newaygo, Vitek oversaw and spearheaded major improvements including - the expansion and winterization of the year-round Program Director’s on-campus home in 2004; the renovation and winterization of Lang Lodge, and expansion of year-round community programming in 2009; the purchase of additional lakefront property for Day Camp use and a Director’s residence at Cassidy Point in 2015; the expansion and winterization of the Peggie Stone Center for the arts in 2016; the addition of the brand new Health and Leadership Lodge, which now bears her name, allowing for expanded nursing care and independent recovery rooms in 2018; construction of Outdoor Adventure Pods for summer campers and adventure-based rental groups in 2022; and the establishment of a financial Reserve and Endowment, also in 2022. She has also overseen the largest growth in Camp Newaygo’s use, both as a Girls’ Overnight Camp, and Co-Ed Day Camp, and as a community asset, in its 96-year history.
“The Camp Advisory Board felt, given Jane's years of service and significant impact and the lead role she took in raising the funds and leading the charge for the new HALL construction, naming the building in her honor was very appropriate, and we couldn’t possible agree more,” said Jalisa Danhof, Camp Newaygo Director.
Vitek was surprised with a program in her honor at a luncheon during Camp’s Alumni Reunion on Saturday, June 11th. Over 120 alums, of all ages, gathered to celebrate Camp’s 96 years of continuous service. “In a time when many camps are being sold or closed, reaching 96 years is monumental, and it was the perfect time to honor Jane before she retires at the end of this year,” continued Danhof.
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman