1920: Osaha of the Dunes Opens on the Shores of Crystal Lake
This all girl’s summer camp built the foundation of what later became Crystalaire Camp.
1958: Gus Leinbach Purchases Osaha of the Dunes
A long-time program director, Gus bought the camp and refashioned it as an experiential education platform known simply as Crystalaire. Gus was an early adopter progressive educational models that are still central to our philosophy. He modeled Crystalaire after the Free Play Philosophy pioneered by Summer Hill School in England.
1976: Dave Reid and Kathi Houston Purchase Crystalaire Camp
They purchased the camp from Gus, continuing the philosophical approach with a renewed emphasis on wilderness trips. Campers spent at least one night of every week on trail. These trips included sailing, backpacking, canoeing, and horse camping, often for as long as three weeks.
1995: Camp Lookout Reopens
The location of Camp Lookout began as a summer camp in 2019, but was closed in 1993. Dave and Kathi bought the land and reopened their second camp under its original name, Camp Lookout.
2008: Crystalaire Camp Closes
Rising property values and an expiring lease made it impossible to continue operating Crystalaire Camp at the highly valuable location on Crystal Lake. All operations were moved to Camp Lookout.
2009: Crystalaire Finds its New Home on the Road
Blake Compton, the director for nearly a decade said of Crystalaire Adventure’s renewal: “the future of Crystalaire is that it will be what it always has been, but it won’t be tied to a place.”
2013: Gus’s Grandson, Micah Leinbach, Becomes Director of Crystalaire
Micah rebuilt the Crystalaire Curriculum in the tradition of his grandfather, incorporating aspects of the free-play philosophy and emphasizing self-sufficiency in the wilderness.
2016: Charlie Burnett Becomes Director of Crystalaire
2018: Crystalaire Finds a New Home
In the Spring of 2018, Camp Lookout and Crystalaire again found a new home at Camp Carvela, 500 acres of wilderness just outside of Traverse City, MI.