Our History 

Crystalaire Adventures has a rich history! 

Crystalaire is a partner program connected to Camp Lookout and Camp Carvela. 

 

1920

Osaha Dunes opens on the shore of Crystalaire Lake

This all-girls 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.

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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 It's 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, Micha 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.