March 8, 2021

Greetings CranHill Family!!!

We just wanted to give you a brief update.  We’ve all learned how to operate in the new Covid world and its exciting that case and death counts are way down.  Governor Whitmer is slowly re-opening things in Michigan and other states are tracking right along with Michigan, or are more open.

As we know from last year, the Governor allowed summer camps to open and operate just as schools are also operating throughout the year as well.  This is good news and we are booking youth camp and friendship camp spots each and every day.  We are fully expecting and planning to have all summer camps, day camps, and friendship camps operational this summer.  As a Michigan licensed camp, we will be following all protocols for our campers through LARA and local health ordinances.

The Campground will also be open just like it was last year and we will also be following the Michigan protocols as we did last summer.  And reservations are open now.  So book today.
For booking and more information about the campground ministry click here. 


We can’t wait to see you here at The Ranch!


Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

June 2, 2020

Greetings CranHill Family!!!


Good News.  The CranHill Campground Ministry is NOW OPEN IMMEDIATELY!!!


As you’re likely very well aware, Governor Whitmer took significant action Monday, June 1 to lessen restrictions in the state of Michigan – including outdoor recreation.  The issuing of Executive Order 2020-110 (and the associated rescinding of prior orders) provides for the immediate opening of campgrounds for recreational camping with necessary restrictions and guidelines found in Executive Order 2020-97.


Sources: MARVAC Email Bulletin, June 2, 2020.  Executive Orders 2020-110 and 2020-97


Therefore, the Campground at CranHill is now open for business!!!   

We have been preparing for weeks so we are fully ready for all the CDC and DHD#10 guidelines. 

Increased sanitation and housekeeping, proper signage, proper PPE protocols… the works. 


As usual, there will be limited services and activities for you and your family from now until June 13th. 


Our peak season, with increased services and programming, will begin on June 14.

(With some new limitations, and of course, with all protocols in place)


For booking and more information about the campground ministry click here



We can’t wait to see you here at The Ranch!



Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

May 30, 2020 

This is just a quick note to let you know that we continue to appreciate your prayers, generosity, and your desire to be here at this special place.  The love and support we continue to receive is amazing.  Thank you!


CAMPGROUND UPDATE:  We continue to wait to open up the campground and rental cabins to when the governor lifts the order and allows campgrounds to open for recreational use.  As of right now, we are looking to the next date of June 12th to open. This date is when the current “Stay Safer at Home” order is set to expire.  You may already be aware that seasonal camping sites (with self-contained use) throughout Michigan have been allowed to be open since the same time when people were allowed to travel to their cottages. However, all recreational campgrounds are still not allowed to open under the current order.  We are working and preparing for opening with all the proper CDC guidelines, so as soon as the governor gives the word… we will be open to serve you.   We can’t wait to see you here.


SUMMER and FALL RETREATS and BEYOND:  We’re ready for you and your group to join us for a retreat this coming fall or even this summer, once the stay home orders are lifted.  As you know, here at CranHill we love to serve you through the ministry of hospitality.  We are taking group bookings right now. Give us a call, we would love to serve you.



Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

May 14, 2020 - 1PM


BIG RAPIDS, MI –  Today is a sad day for hundreds of campers from around the state of Michigan as CranHill Ranch has had to make the difficult decision to cancel all summer 2020 youth camps, day camps, adventure camps, special needs camps, and their national Christian Adventures program.
CranHill President, Scott Barger, said, “We are heartbroken that we had to cancel camps this summer.  We love to see the campers each year and the joy on their face when they come. It’s just disappointing that there really was no other option.”
CranHill has worked with doctors, nurses, state agencies, and national organizations in developing possible strategies on how to facilitate summer camp in a Covid-19 world with the excellence people have come to expect at CranHill.   But due to a lack of clarity from State leadership of whether summer camp would even be allowed, they simply could no longer wait on the decision for summer camp programs.  Barger said, “Overall, our strong commitment to the camper’s health and safety was the ultimate determining factor.  Also, we felt that in order to honor the summer staff and camper families, it would be best to give them a clear decision and not keep them wondering with each passing day.”
For over 52 years, CranHill has been providing summer camps to youth from all over Michigan and the Midwest.  They have become a leader in the Christian Camping industry as well as pioneers in the Family Campground ministry arena. They offer large camping sites and over 300 acres for guests to enjoy during their stay. CranHill’s Family Campground, Cottages, and Group Rental Facilities are scheduled to open as soon as the Stay Safer at Home order is lifted.   More information can be found on their website at

If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

May 14, 2020 - 12PM

Dear 2020 Summer Camper Parent,


I am writing today as a follow-up to our call to you yesterday.  We spoke to many parents and left lots of messages too.  We are just so grateful for your understanding and love for the CranHill ministry.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you for your patience as the CranHill Staff and Board of Directors have been praying and trying to discern how to approach Summer 2020 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


It is with a heavy heart and incredible sadness that we have made the difficult decision to cancel all Youth Camps, Day Camps, Adventure Camps, and Friendship Camps this summer.  This decision was not made lightly and was made with much prayer and after seeking wise counsel.


We want you to know that we’ve rigorously sought guidance from state and federal authorities, the Christian Camp and Conference Association, the American Camping Association, the Association of Camp Nurses, local doctors and medical professionals, as well as other camp directors and professionals across the state and country.  We’ve watched every news conference of the Michigan Governor for a glimmer of hope that camps will be allowed to operate this summer and still don’t have clarity as “flattening the curve” seems to have expanded to “avoiding a second wave” and most recently, to “getting to a vaccine.” 


We’ve developed numerous strategies on how to “do camp” in light of new restrictions and mitigation procedures and protocols if we were allowed to have camp by the governing authorities.  And we’ve considered, what seems to be, every possible scenario we could think of to make your child’s camp experience the best and the safest experience it could possibly be.  But our strong commitment to your camper’s physical health and safety (just like our commitment to their spiritual lives) has determined that it is best for us to make this difficult decision.


We hear over and over again how campers look forward to CranHill and how their camp experience is often a defining moment in their walk with Christ.  CranHill is a place where many campers give their heart to the Lord and feel closer to God. They get re-energized spiritually, they make new Christian friends and they continue friendships for years.  It’s truly heart-breaking to us that this won’t happen this summer.  But as we have considered what is best for all, this is the course of action we felt the Lord guided us to.


Here are your options with the registration fees we have on account for you:


  1. FORWARD – your fees to a 2021 session of summer camp.  We can hold your money on account (which would be a blessing to CranHill) and you can select a 2021 camp date at a later time.  Your registration would be locked in at this year’s rates.

  2. DONATE – a portion, or all, of your fees to CranHill to help support the current significant financial hardships we are experiencing. A gift like this would help us to continue to provide a place and a ministry where Christ Transforms Lives Into His Image.  In this case, you will receive a tax receipt for 100% of the funds donated.

  3. REFUND – You will receive a full refund of the payments you have made toward all canceled reservations.

Please use this form to select one of the above options for your child’s registration:


Please note: If, by chance, you don’t respond to the form above we will keep your money on your account until 8/15/2021.  If it’s not used by this date, it will become a donation to the ministry of CranHill, and you will receive a tax-deductible receipt.  Thank you so much.


Please be watching our website and get on our mailing list to learn about upcoming events.  The Fall and Winter Youth Retreats will probably fill quickly, so get registered early.


We are so very grateful for your partnership and your love for the ministry of CranHill.  It’s a blessing that you continue to choose CranHill for your summer camp experience.  Please be in prayer for the ministry of CranHill during these turbulent times.  We’ve lost all rental and summer camp income and, to be honest, we are struggling… but trusting in the Lord and His goodness.  God is good, all the time!



In His Grip,

Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

May 11, 2020

Dear CranHill Campground and Cottage Friends,


It is with great sadness that I am writing this email to you today.  If you’re like me you’ve been looking forward to coming to CranHill for your stay.  Well, that stay is, unfortunately, going to have to wait just a little while longer.


Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced that the Stay-At-Home order will remain in effect until May 28th.  With this order, she has essentially required CranHill’s Campgrounds and Cottage Rentals to remain closed until at least May 28th.   As difficult as this is for us, we rejoice because as a Christian organization we get to represent Christ in honoring the authorities over us (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13).


Believe me, we really want to be open, and we really want you here.  We not only desperately need the revenue, but we simply love the ministry that happens while you’re here.  You’re not just like family… you are family. 


You are entitled to a full refund without cancellation fees because we are required to cancel your reservation. 


You may choose one of the following options:


  1. DONATE your received payments to CranHill to help support the current financial needs of this ministry. In this case, you will receive a tax receipt for 100% of the funds donated and you can then make another reservation for a future date.

  2. REBOOK your received payment for a future date during the 2020 camping season.  In this case, we would love to help you find another date this summer.

  3. REFUND Your received payment will be 100% refunded to you.  Refunds will be processed within two weeks of your reservation date and credited back to your credit card or sent by check.

If you choose Option 1 or Option 3, we will process your request and you will receive the proper communication showing your donation or your refund.


If you choose Option #2, we will give you a phone call to assist your rebooking.  Or feel free to give us a call during normal office hours at your convenience.


We are still planning to open the campground and cottages this season just as soon as we can.  Please stay tuned to our website and social media for further updates.  You might also want to catch a new weekly update video called “The Porch.”


Thank you so much for your partnership and prayers during these unique days.  We continue to pray for all our guests, that the Lord would make these days a great time of family connectedness to each other and to the Lord regardless of all that is happening around us.


Blessings, and we look forward to seeing you soon here at the Ranch.



In Christ,

Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

April 27, 2020

Hi everyone. God is Good, all the time, and all the time, God is Good! 


I wanted to let you all know that our Staff and Board have made some preliminary decisions based on our best educated assumptions of what we think may happen in the coming weeks and months.  We recognize these decisions don’t have full clarity behind them because it has been difficult to get clear direction and communication from those in government authority.  We also know that they are doing their best to navigate their decisions as well.  We continue to pray and be hopeful that we will be able to function this summer.  



Current Upcoming Canceled Events –

CORE - May 6

Mother-Son Day - May 16

Daddy-Daughter Day - May 30

CranHill (and all Campgrounds across the state) is currently closed through May 15



Youth Camps and Friendship Camps –

The ability to operate our summer camps and special needs “friendship” camps ‘in full,’ ‘in part,’ or ‘at all’ will depend heavily on the new rules, regulations, social distancing mandates for organizations, and standards of mitigation from Governor Whitmer’s office and the CDC.   The local health departments will also be a part of those processes as well. 

Our staff has come up with some very creative ideas on how to be effective and safe while operating camp, but we are currently in a “wait and see mode.”  The Governor has previously alluded to having some information about her plan by the time the declared State of Emergency ends on April 30.  She also alluded today (4/27/20), during her press conference, that she desires to extend the emergency declaration another 28 days, which would extend it beyond Memorial Day Weekend to May 28th.  Our hope is that her next news conference, and the information she provides, will help us determine if operating camp is going to be permitted and, if it is permitted, will it be possible to operate camp both within the new requirements and/or safely for campers and staff. 


Our desire is to have enough clarity to be able to make a solid decision by May 1.  In order to be fair and give clarity to families and summer staff, we have set an ‘absolute latest’ date of May 15th to make a decision about summer camps and our special needs “friendship” camps.  We are hopeful the authorities will give us clear communication that would allow us to create a clear path forward.  We’d very much like to operate summer camps this summer, so this is why we continue to wait and see.  Thanks for being patient with us as we really are at the mercy of the governing authorities. 


CranHill Campground and Retreats –

We continue to receive and take reservations for summer campground lots, cottages, and retreats.  It seems that families and guests are excited to come to CranHill this summer.  It also appears that our guests are as hopeful as we are that the campground, cottages and retreat offerings will be allowed to be open this summer.  Perhaps there may be some new social distancing and mitigation requirements that would change some of our normal processes and activities. However, we think it is practical to plan that the campgrounds will soon be allowed to be open this summer. 


At this time, our campgrounds are still not allowed to be open by our Governor’s latest Executive Order extending the “stay-home” order until May 15th.  If you have reservations for the weekend of May 15th, we ask that you hold on just a little while longer with us as we are hopeful you will be able to have your campground experience at CranHill.  If we must cancel your reservation due to Executive Orders, we will contact you and you will be given options that include a full refund.  During the news conference question and answer time today (4/27/20) the governor alluded to opening up some “outdoor industry.”  This gives us hope that our campground ministry may be able to open.  Please pray with us that it will.


Things are in a constant state of change.  We are doing our best to monitor the situation each and every day and make wise decisions based on the information we have.  Even today’s (4/27/20) press conference with the Governor revealed very little information for us to be able to make operational decisions about camp. 


We also want you to know that CranHill is experiencing incredible financial hardship right now.  With no income for the past six weeks and no projected income for the foreseeable future, things are pretty tough.  We would very much appreciate your prayers and even your financial support during this unique crisis that we are all facing.  Please give online here.  Please also pray that we can have the campground open at the very least and that we are able to have some, if not all, of our summer camp program functions.  We serve a big God and we put our trust in Him.


We’re looking forward to seeing you here at the Ranch soon.


May the Lord bless you and your family.




Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

March 25, 2020

Dear CranHill Family, Friends and Guests,
This past week, Theresa and I read this scripture together.
“Jesus answered them (speaking to the disciples), “Do you now believe?  Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.  Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:31-33 (ESV)
I don’t think this is a specific prophecy for these interesting times we are in, but I do think there is a clear message for all of us today from these words of Christ.

  1. There will be tribulation for this world and for us.

  2. Some will leave Christ alone and turn away from Him when troubles arise.

  3. Jesus came to the world that we would have peace in Him.

  4. He is in the Father, so, turn to Jesus… not from Him.

  5. And most of all, Jesus says… Take Heart, for I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!!!

Now, that’s a good word from God’s Word for us today and always.  He has overcome!
We wanted to let you know that our essential CranHill team members are still able to respond to your needs and continue to prepare for what will be a pretty awesome spring and summer at CranHill.
If you are an individual guest, a retreat group leader or coordinator, or simply have questions about a campground reservation or summer camp for your kids… we are ready to serve you.  We will work with you to meet your individual needs in every way possible.  So please feel free to contact us by phone or email.  We’d love to connect with you.
Of course, you can always book your campground sites and sign up for summer camp on the CranHill website, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or if you just want to talk with someone.  We would really love to talk to you.
Please enjoy this extra time with your family. Celebrate having fewer distractions.  Make an effort to spend some extended time in the Word of God and in Prayer.  And just watch the life-transforming work of Christ in your life and your family’s life through these unique days.
Remember that God is never surprised, He always provides, He is always Sovereign and always on the Throne because He has overcome the world.

The CranHill ministry is, and always has been, about people first, and seeing lives Transformed in the Image of Christ.  That never stops for us.  So please feel free to connect with us.
See you soon, back at the Ranch!

Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

March 17, 2020

Dear CranHill Family, Friends, and Guests;
The CranHill Ministry Team is paying attention to the ever-changing situation in Michigan and around the world, and we are doing our very best to respond. 
Last week, you and I received emails from just about every business and ministry we’ve ever been in contact with, telling us how they are maintaining safe and clean standards, and not to worry about using their services or attending their event.  As I received those emails, I thought to myself, “I really needed to get something similar out to you, too”.  But two things happened. 
First, I’m confident that you know we are doing all of those things and will continue to take all the safest measures for your visit.  That’s one of the reasons you’ve chosen CranHill.  
And second, because the situation and responses are literally changing by the hour, those emails from last week are now obsolete. Things are in a constant state of change as those in authority keep raising the level of alert.  At the end of last week, schools were shut down across the country, and yesterday, along with governors around the country, Governor Whitmer issued a new Executive Order No. 2020-9, closing dine-in restaurant services, gym facilities, accommodation, and recreational venues, among other increasingly stringent actions to combat this virus.  The CDC has also just recommended even more stringent suggestions of limiting large group gatherings to less than 50 people including events and weddings, etc.  Then, yesterday afternoon, the federal government has suggested more stringent recommendations of trying not to meet in groups larger than 10 as well as including travel and other items for the next 15 days. And then this morning the Governor issued another Executive Order No. 2020-11 essentially changing the 250-maximum person gathering to a maximum of 50 persons, making it a misdemeanor to meet in groups of more than 50.

So regardless of what you think or how you feel about this event, it is happening, and the panic in society continues to grow as media continues 24/7 coverage, and local, state and federal government officials take more action and more control of the public and private marketplace.
We know that this touches us all, and it is certainly impacting CranHill too.  So, there are a few things we would like you to know:

  1. PEACE - God is still on the throne and He calls us to not fear and not panic.  My mind is drawn to all the Scriptures that assure us to not fear, trust in the Lord, and find His peace. May the Lord help us to be the peace of Christ to all those we come into contact with.  “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

  2. PARTNERSHIP - We are privileged to serve and partner with so many ministries and organizations.  We ask you to continue to stand with CranHill in mutual partnership so that we all can emerge successful and strong!  As churches and organizations cancel their upcoming events at CranHill, we not only lose the opportunity to share the Gospel and serve these groups with the love of Christ, we also lose the ministry income from that group/event. This income is crucial to paying our ministry expenses and keeping CranHill moving forward. Please be patient and continue your mindset of partnership with our ministry just as you would want with your ministry and organization.

  3. PRAYER - May we use this time as a season of prayer.  Everyone is feeling the stress.  Especially as the media seems to talk about it continually and it seems that the government continues to make more restrictions upon the public. We are also feeling it here at CranHill.  So, may we all be in prayer for Christ to be glorified and made known in all of this.

  4. PLANNING - CranHill is still here, open and operating to meet your family and ministry needs.  Although camp and conference centers, or even hotels for that matter, are not directly mentioned in the Executive Order, the intent is to limit groups congregating and to create distance to help slow the spread of the virus.  We are aligning with this action because a retreat at CranHill is all about coming together and fellowshipping with others.  Right now, this current Executive Order lasts through April 5th.  We desire to serve your small groups, individual retreats, and cottages rentals after that.  So, please give us a call and set up a cottage booking or a retreat. It might be a nice break for you to get away from the city and the chaos and come and book a personal retreat.  We have plenty of toilet paper too!

  5. CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS - CranHill is also currently taking reservations for the campground.  I just heard a state governor encourage going to parks and campgrounds.  What a great idea!!!  Our campground water gets turned on April 24th, so come and take advantage of the lower campground rates for pre-summer campground spaces.  Come experience God’s creation and fresh air.  Bathrooms and common spaces will be cleaned at the highest levels.  So, make your reservations now.

  6. REGISTER FOR SUMMER CAMP - Register your child for SUMMER CAMP now!  After a spring like this one, I encourage you to be even more intentional in pointing your kids to the Savior.  Summer camp is a great way to do just that.  So register today before spaces fill up.  We’re trusting God that this year’s summer camp will be one of the best ever.  We will continue to exceed health and safety standards for summer camp, so no worries.  Get them signed up.  You’ll be glad you did.

Lastly, would you pray for CranHill?  You can imagine how the circumstances affect us and we want to be wise and make the best decisions with our partnering organizations, summer camp plan and campground plans.  Will you join with us as we pray for wisdom as things continue to change and develop?
Blessings to you and your families.  God is sovereign over all things.
We look forward to seeing you here at The Ranch soon. 

Scott R. Barger Sr.



If you would like to make a donation to help CranHill during this difficult time, please click HERE.

CranHill is Michigan’s choice campground, Christian summer camp, and retreat center focused on building relationships, strengthening families, and transforming lives into the image of Christ. Plan your Michigan Summer vacation today.