The Congregational Summer Assembly was founded over 100 years ago as a Congregational Church Summer Camp for ministers and laymen. While the CSA is no longer directly affiliated with the Congregational Church, it remains a community where generations of families have grown up enjoying the same kinds of summer pleasures from 100 years ago… picnics, sports, the beach, and family-oriented activities.
The purpose of the CSA continues to be to promote the physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual welfare of its members – these are for the most part families who own cottages on and around the CSA grounds. A focal point of the CSA is the Meeting House where there are many church related activities - choir, Sunday services led by guest ministers from throughout the country, Bible study classes, and many others. It is also where a multitude of musical activities take place: Adult and children’s operettas showcase great amateur talent and professional musicians, from pianists to opera singers, also regularly perform in the Meeting House.
The CSA has always been a community committed to the arts. Every summer an “artist in residence” holds a week of classes for both adults and children; there are art workshops where those with a special talent from short story writing to stone carving teach their techniques; and there are annual art fairs drawing from talent both local and state-wide.
There are also numerous other activities - swimming and tennis lessons for kids, tennis tournaments, speakers, square dances, community potluck dinners, movies on the beach, teen activities, kids’ sports like softball and soccer games, and children’s dance nights and art classes.
The CSA welcomes those from near and far who wish to share our commitment to family and community. Although space constraints limit a few activities to members, most of our activities are open to the general public and the path to a more serious commitment is straightforward.
This poem - written by a college student who grew up spending summers at the CSA - expresses what full-time and summer residents enjoy about wonderful Michigan summers “at the lake.”
I am from by Crissie Fuller
I am from hand stitched quilts.
From creaky wood floors and musty blankets.
I am from screen porches, from family dinners, card games, and stories.
I am from damp towels and swim suits on the clothes line that never get all the way dry.
I am from birch trees, hollyhocks, and soft, warm, sand.
I am from Washburn
I’m from, “one at a time on the slide, please!” and “let’s shake some hands and say good game!” I’m from “10:30 swimming, HURRY, HURRY, HURRY!”
I am from South Shore, Standish, and Shorewood.
From Alden Edwards, Esplanade, Fuller, from Lover’s Lane.
I’m from Steam Boatin’, Freedom Bound, and Go West!
From Down-ies, Yacht-ies, and Town-ies, from ups and downs.
I’m from Papano’s Pizza in the Crystal View parking lot.
From the Dunes to the Point to the Yacht Club, I’m from scratching swimmers-itch at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In.
I am from pop, ping-pong, and putt-putt.
I’m from beach fires, sunsets and thunder-storms.
From the Northern Lights, shooting stars and fireworks on the Fourth of July.
I am from boat docks, sunburns, and mothball scented steamer trunks.
I’m from sailing, swimming, and S’mores.
From sandcastles and mosquito bites.
I smell like sunscreen, pine trees, and warm rain on pavement.
I taste like cherries, corn-on-the-cob, and Mackinac Island fudge.
I feel like cool, clear water, beach grass, and wet sand.
I sound like the wind rattling the sailboat’s halyards against their masts, Wednesday night choir practice, and crickets.
I look like my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother.
I am from these people, these places, these things.
I am from summer,
I am from the Lake.