Michigan camp celebrates legacy of George Washington Carver

Almost 70 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Detroit lies a camp created in honor of agricultural scientist and inventor George Washington Carver. 

To some, the prolific figure in African American history is simply known as the Peanut Man, but he was a visonary and pioneer - and organizers want this camp to reflect that history. 

Founded by the Metropolitan Baptist District Association of Greater Detroit, Carver Camp spans nearly 400 acres in Grass Lake, Mich. That's about 30 miles west of Ann Arbor. 

The camp not only host kids, but also family reunions, retreats and overnight stays. It's been around since 1944 and the camp holds many memories for some who were the first to ever experience the camp. Fellow staffer Charles Harper is an example of that. 

"We drove all day to get here because there was no super highways, just a two-lane Route 12. And they brought me out here and I've never forgotten. I remember that day as if it was yesterday," he told us. 

Carver Camp gives kids a chance to experience nature and learn about a man who is often inaccurately credited for inventing peanut butter. 

George Washington Carver taught poor farmers that they could feed hogs acorns instead of commercial feed and enrich croplands with swamp muck instead of fertilizers. He also developed more than 300 food, industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including milk, punches, cooking oils and paper. 

Carver was a brilliant scientist who was revered by many.  

"He's associated with Tuskee Institute, had a long relationship with Henry Ford. In fact, Henry Ford tried to get him to work with for the Ford Motor Company he was such a brilliant scientist," fellow camp staffer Royster Harper said. 

Many of Carver's developments helped make working conditions easier for farmers, and his work remains a model for Carver Camp. 

"In an interesting kind of way, we're simply recreating here what has been part of the African American community. We talk about it takes a village; this is a village," Royster said. 

Carver Camp is committed to keeping the excellence of its namesake alive through education and scientific exploration. 

"When they come out here we tell them, this is your land. This place belongs to you. The bicycles that we have out here belong to you. They're yours. So, take care of them and have fun," Charles said. "What we see, we see them becoming children."

Camp Carver is free, so they look for help from donors to keep it running smoothly. The camp is looking to service more children and it's hoping to expand with more cabins, staff and other facilities. 

If you want to get involved you can get more information at www.carvercamp.com