Clear Lake Camp

...From 1940's to Present, "No Child Left Inside"

Located on Clear Lake

With 175-acres of forests, fields, and lakeshore, the OEC is the perfect setting for groups to connect with nature.

Located on Clear Lake

We host family reunions, church retreats, marching band camps and workshops.

Located on Clear Lake

Currently we serve over 2,000 students from 45 public and charter schools in 11 Michigan school distric

Located on Clear Lake

Clear Lake Camp in 1940 became the first public school camp in the nation.

In 1940, Our Camp Became the First Public School Camp in the Nation

We are proud to be the oldest continuous operating Outdoor Education Center in the United States!

 Welcome to the Outdoor Education Center (OEC)

The Outdoor Education Center (OEC), commonly called 'Clear Lake Camp', is a division of the Battle Creek Public School System (BCPS). We are located on Clear Lake in Dowling, Michigan. We offer a serene rural environment less than an hour's drive from Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

As the oldest school camp in the nation, we have been offering programs to supplement school curriculum for over 60 years. We currently offer overnight and day programs to schools located across southern Michigan. In addition, we host weddings, family retreats, and workshops.

With 175-acres of forests, fields, and lakeshore, the OEC is the perfect setting for groups to connect with nature. Come camp with us! It’s a “clear” choice.

The OEC is offering several virtual classes. Offerings include Creature Features with our animal ambassadors, Adaptations, & Local Mammals. Programs last 30-60 minutes. To book one of these programs contact Matthew Santner at or call 269-721-8161. See attached flyer (pdf) for more information. 

Eastern Screech Owl

" 5th Grade Camp Fun!"

Our Most Popular Programs:

We Have Been Servicing the Needs of Schools and Organizations for more than 80 Years!

Why Choose Us?

It's A "Clear" Choice!
  • As the Oldest Running School Camp in the Nation, We Have the Expertise To Make Your Program and Experience Exceptional!
  • Modern Dorms That Sleep 66 Each and Additional Lodge Rooms and Cabins
  • Dining Hall with a Capacity of 168 Individuals
  • 175 Acres of Diverse Habitats and Trails
  • 184 Acre Lake with a Swimming Beach and Canoes



Did You Know?

Clear Lake Camp in 1940, Became the First Public School Camp in the Nation.

Did You Know?

In the past, there was a "Drop Off Hike." Students were loaded onto the bus, blindfolded and dropped off on a rural road...and found their way back with a compass.

Did You Know?

For a short time in the fall, freshwater jelly fish, the size of a nickel, abound in Clear Lake.

Did You Know?

Clear Lake covers 184 surface acres. The deepest part of the lake is 16ft and it has one public access.

Did You Know?

The black squirrels that are common at camp were first introduced there by Will Keith Kellogg, in an effort to destroy the local population of red squirrels. They are even mentioned in Wikipedia!