Little Eden is located on Portage Lake in beautiful northern Michigan. The camp
is owned and operated by over 800 members who are committed to and supportive of
Little Eden's programs.
In October of 1944, five Mennonite men from Northwest Ohio learned of some camp
property for sale on Portage Lake in Onekama, Michigan. The men came to look
at the property and told the owner they would like to buy it over a period of time,
as they did not have money available for the purchase. The offer was refused,
so they headed back to Archbold, Ohio. However, they soon stopped and decided
to pray about it. After doing this, they felt led by God to return to Onekama
and purchase the property. These visionary men saw a need to provide a place
for children, youth and families to gather -- away from their daily routines --
to relax, recreate and re-energize themselves in a Mennonite Christian atmosphere.
The sale of stock financed the purchase of the property. In the late 1970's,
the stockholders met and decided to deem the stock worthless. Thus,
the original stockholders "donated" the purchase of the camp. It
was then that the camp became owned and operated by a member association.
The summer program has basically remained the same for the past 60 years.
There continue to be youth camps, family camps, and adult fellowship weeks.
During the summer months, Little Eden provides a resource person who gives the Sunday
message and leads the morning and evening chapel sessions. In addition, a
beautiful beach on Portage Lake and a variety of recreational activities are available.
There are also wooded hiking trails and an active craft shop. Activities for
many take place off camp -- at Lake Michigan, relaxing walks into Onekama, or shopping
and eating in the quaint nearby towns.
Perhaps the biggest change at Little Eden was when it became a year-round retreat
center in 1992. At that time, Little Eden began to host various church and
family groups from September through June. Each group is responsible for their
own programming; Little Eden provides the facilities, the food service, and the
ambiance of northern Michigan.
Many families have been coming to Little Eden since the 1940's and have established
lasting relationships during their particular summer week. The draw for them
is the beauty of this area, the fellowship, the Christian atmosphere and community
which they have created over the years.
Little Eden continues to reflect its Mennonite heritage in many ways, but with the
passing of years and generations, now serves the broader Christian community.