At Camp Taha in Lapeer County this week, hundreds of children will hike, kayak and gather nightly around a fire. Sounds like your typical summer camp.
But at this spot, about an hour north of Troy, the campers also will recite verses from the Quran and listen to Shi'ite Muslim scholars while maintaining Islamic rules of modesty, such as not wearing revealing garb.
Bought this year by a Muslim group, the 100-acre site is part of the growing trend of summer camps that cater to metro Detroit's diverse ethnic and religious communities. Asian, Middle Eastern and other immigrant groups are setting up new programs across Michigan that allow children to maintain their faith and heritage while having summer fun.
There are now summer camps for Michiganders that promote Korean culture, the Sikh religion and Arab history, among others. Local Chaldeans, who are Iraqi Catholics, bought the 160-acre Camp Brighton from the City of Detroit for $3.5 million in June. And the Chinese-American community in metro Detroit has at least four summer camp programs to choose from, depending on which region in China their ancestors lived.
Immigrants who moved to Michigan are trying to pass on their cultural histories to their American-born children. Many of the camps are held in Michigan, but others involve traveling to native homelands.