Our Mission is to share and model the message of Jesus
The mission of Pine Ridge is to share and model the message of Jesus in a safe, innovative, and relational setting.
Pine Ridge, formerly known as Jack and Jill Bible Club Camp, was founded in 1946 by James Ver Lee, a Bible Club Movement missionary. Under his foresight the Camp was purchased, built and expanded to what is currently a 100 acre site with a total of over 35 facilities. Today, Pine Ridge is licensed by the State of Michigan to accomodate 130 campers per camp session.
Most importantly, thousands of children and youth have come to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior because of the Camp's ministry.During the last 20 years, the summer enrollment has averaged 700-900 campers over nine weeks of camping with an average of 125 recorded salvation decisions each summer. Many others have gone on to serve Christ with their life including many pastors and missionaries serving around the world today. The camping environment is highly effective as our staff model Jesus, and the children are loved and nurtured in a fun and safe environment.
According to the 2000 census data, in Kent County alone there are over 109,000 children that could attend Pine Ridge. Historically, the vast majority of Pine Ridge campers have come from West Michigan, including both Kent and nearby Ottawa County. With the large number of youth in the area, the opportunity is great for reaching more children and youth with the gospel.
Since 1980, Pine Ridge also has served the mentally challenged population. Pine Ridge has seen a 300% growth in our mentally challenged sessions over the past five summers! Unfortunately, potential mentally challenged campers are being turned away due to facility limitations. Jesus loves the challenged, and the desire at Pine Ridge is to share that love with them.
There is also an urgent need to reach out to families. The cultural landscape of today is tearing this God-planned unit apart. Pine Ridge assists families by providing an environment to enjoy each other in God's creation and by teaching Biblical principles to build their lives upon.
Pine Ridge is still partnered with the Bible Club Movement, known today as BCM International. Locally, BCM conducts Bible Clubs in public schools all around the Grand Rapids region. Beyond this, BCM is a world-wide outreach that focuses on childrens' ministries and church planting. For more information on this mission, please visit their website at www.bcmintl.org.
In 1978, Uncle Ken and Aunt Joyce Marvel became the directors of the Camp. Many positive changes were made under their leadership, including the name change to Pine Ridge Bible Camp and Conference Center which was adopted in 1988 to more accurately reflect the overall ministry. The Marvel's also developed what is now known as The Ridge, a camp area started in 1983 which provides a "wilderness" experience for older campers.
In 2000, Aunt Joyce was received into Glory after battling with lung cancer. A year later, Uncle Ken retired and Kevin Grifhorst became the Camp's fourth director.
In 2001, Kevin & Michelle Grifhorst became the new Camp Directors. Kevin had been a camper at Pine Ridge from the youngest age on up and started working at Pine Ridge in 1988 when he was 15 years old. That first year he learned the ropes while washing dishes and serving food to campers through the kitchen ministry. Kevin went on to become a counselor for four summers and a program coordinator for ensuing summers.