Before there was Chinese Family Camp, there was the Chinese Children’s Study Camp in 1958:

*Interesting read about the Chinese Children’s Study Camp- Article from October 1958

“The First Year of Chinese Camp” accounted by Auntie Jeanne Chen

*View Official Chinese Family Camp History Power Point


In the early 1950’s the following 3 groups began to intermingle and subsequently forge a path that would ultimately lead to the creation of our beloved Chinese Family Camp: 1) the Midwest CSAS (Chinese Student & Alumni Services) located in Chicago and dedicated to serving Chinese students and alumni in the Midwest 2) the Glen Eyrie Farm Camp located at Lake Delavan in Wisconsin, ~90 miles northwest of Chicago and run by the Buzzell family 3) the “8 Family Group” living at or near the Chicago region and consisting of the Chen, Chu, Liang, Liao, Liu, Lo, Tan and Yang families.

Reverend Ellen Studley, who worked for CSAS, arranged for one of the Chen family sons (David) to attend the Glen Eyrie Farm Camp at Lake Delavan in the early 1950’s. Also in the early 1950’s members of the 8 Family Group (and others) began to have group vacations at Lake Delavan. Toward the latter portion of the 1950’s the CSAS, under the guidance of various people including Dr. Peter Tchen, learned that Chinese parents in the Midwest had interest in developing a study camp for their Chinese children. Ultimately, in August of 1958, the Chinese Children’s Study Camp was held for 2 weeks at the Glen Eyrie Farm Camp at Lake Delavan; Jeanne Chen was the director. Only 7 children attended the Chinese Children’s Study Camp and 6 of the 7 were actually the children of either the Director or the Counselors of the Chinese Children’s Study Camp; only 1 child came to the camp without parents. What CSAS subsequently learned was the fact that parents were wary of sending their children to a “children-only” camp.

Campers Milton and Laura Chen, were 2 of the 7 children attending the Chinese Children’s Study Camp in 1958 at Glen Eyrie Farm Camp, Lake Delavan, Wisconsin

CSAS began planning for 1959 and the first step was to find a centrally located area in the Midwest where full families could attend a camp; in the spring of 1959 a group, including Reverend Studley, Jean Yang and Edith Young, visited Oakwood Park which was located at Lake Wawasee in Syracuse, Indiana, and a decision was made that this would be an ideal location for the camp. Chinese Family Camp (CFC) began in the summer of 1959 and lasted for 2 weeks. The CFC Mission Statement was “To create an environment through group living in which children will happily share in Chinese culture and language, and to provide a recreational vacation for all”.  A total of 11 families attended; 4 went for both weeks, 5 for only the 1st week and 2 for only the 2nd week. Jean Yang and Edith Young were the co-directors.

1st Group of Family Campers in 1959 at Oakwood Park, IN

Campers who attended the 1st Chinese Family Camp in 1959 at the CFC 2008 Reunion

CFC was held annually at Oakwood Park for ~30 years from 1959 until 1990. Due to various factors, including the fact that the Oakwood Park facilities were becoming quite antiquated, CFC was moved and would be annually held at various locations in Ohio or Wisconsin from 1991 until 2001. In 2002 CFC had a “Reunion/Camp” at a modernized Oakwood Park which was highly successful at bringing many campers back who had not attended for years; the return of many campers was due to the fact CFC was “returning home” to Oakwood Park and that this event “could not be missed”. This “Reunion/Camp” was the brilliant idea of Richard and Jean Yang’s children Virginia, Vivian and Allen. Thereafter CFC was again held annually at Oakwood Park until 2008; after the 2008 CFC, sadly the Oakwood Park facilities closed (although they did reopen again in 2013). From 2009 until 2019 the Amish Acres facilities in Nappanee, Indiana, hosted our annual camps; the staff were professional yet very personable and that was, and always will be, greatly appreciated. We had extremely successful “Virtual CFC” gatherings via Zoom in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. In 2022 an in-person CFC was held at the Cedar Lake Ministries facilities in Cedar Lake, Indiana; this site had been chosen, prior to 2022, as our next in-person camp as it had “a feel” very similar to Oakwood Park/Lake Wawasee; it was a well-attended fun-filled heartwarming camp and we are looking forward to many great years at Cedar Lake Ministries!

Chinese Family Camp was hosted at Amish Acres from 2009-2019