Each summer, campers enjoy adventure, independence, strong mentors, a Christ-centered community, and all the fun you can possibly pack into a week. This summer will be no different! Kids need the freedom of camp more than ever. From the moment they wake up (just 2 feet away from the great outdoors) to evening campfire, every day is tailored to what kids need, how they learn, and how they have fun! Vetted, trained staff shepherd campers through a myriad of activities that engage, nurture, and grow campers, whether the campers realize it or not!
Get a taste of why campers and parents love Pine Lake. At Open House, families explore camp, meet the staff, and enjoy classic camp fun! This is a great way to preview the culture of Pine Lake and learn more about what makes camp the best week of the summer. The Pine Lake community is always growing; we can’t wait to meet you!
Meet the Staff!
See the summer camp cabins.
Get to know summer counselors.
Boat with a friend, a staff, or on your own.
Peek in the Pavilion, the cafeteria.
Talk one-on-one with the directors.
Play field games led by staff.
Scope out the Shelter, or chapel.
Visit with veteran volunteers.
Roast a hotdog over the campfire.
Walk the trails.
Hear firsthand stories from former campers.
Learn to play gaga ball.
Enjoy the beautiful lakefront.
Connect with camper parents.
Hangout at the playground.
ALREADY PART OF THE PINE LAKE COMMUNITY?
Join in the fun! Community is what makes camp so special, and we are glad you are part of our family. Truly, we love when campers say, “We couldn’t wait til the summer! We had to come to Open House!” Open House is meant to be a fun, free day for everyone, including new families, old friends, volunteers, and staff! Also, every camper registered at Open House receives a free t-shirt! Don’t miss out on this!
REGISTER AT OPEN HOUSE FOR A FREE T-SHIRT
That’s right, every camper registered at Open House can choose a t-shirt from our current stock OR get the 2021 t-shirt at their week of camp! **Deposit and completed registration form are required to qualify.
OPEN HOUSE FAQ’s
Friends in a canoe at Open House (2019)
Where do I RSVP for Open House?
This event is spacious and well-staffed, so no need to RSVP! Just come! (If you want though, you can RSVP, and share the event on Facebook!)
How much time will this take?
As little as 15 minutes to as long as 3 hours, depending on what you want to do! A full tour is about 30 minutes, not including boating or roasting a snack over the fire.
Use the address below, and once you hit Pine Lake Road, follow the signs!
Can I register for summer camp while I’m there?
Yes, but only if you want a free t-shirt!
I’m booked this Saturday. Can I tour another time?
Definitely! Call or email the office to schedule a tour with us! Our staff are knowledgeable about what to expect this summer, and we love sharing camp with others! (It’s why we work here.)
Our world has been upside down for almost a year now. Hard to believe, right?! Weirdly enough, upside down has almost started to feel normal. (Quick reminder: It won’t be like this forever. Also, God made humans to be incredibly resilient, especially when we turn to Him.) Still, we feel the effects of everything that has changed, and it’s not all new puppies and quality family time. Each family’s experience is a little different, of course. Across our nation, though, kids are more isolated, more anxious, and on their screens more. It’s reality for many, but it’s not how any of us want it to be.
I’m a little (or a lot) biased, but the needs of kids today (community, social interaction, security, reassurance, fresh air, hands-on experience, and guidance) shout SUMMER CAMP to me! These are the exact things summer camp specializes in. Let me explain:
Camper making a silly face
Interaction with peers!
At camp, kids are moving through their entire day surrounded by friends their own age! Bonding through new adventures, shared experiences, and unstructured play times, campers strengthen new and old friendships. With their counselor’s help, they navigate conflict in healthy ways and learn to get along with people who are different from them. Camp is a supportive environment where social skills grow!
Campers playing a game on the rec field
Whether hammocking on the Cove or competing in a high stakes canoe race, campers experience the benefits of nature all day. What benefits, you say? (Has it been that long?) Fresh air, sunshine, and movement improve health and mood, and even lower stress! The Bible also tells us God’s character is revealed in His creation (Rom 1:20): His majesty in the heavens, his beauty in the details… Have you seen a mature Big Leaf Magnolia tree or eaten a mayberry off the bush? God’s creation is amazing and sometimes delicious!
Campfire on the island.
Learning more about Jesus Christ!
It’s true for adults and kids: Through prayer, praise, bible study, and Christian community, we come to a better understanding of even His most simple truths. Take for example, God’s promise to be with us always (Matthew 28:20), His power (Luke 1:37), and His attention to detail (Matthew 6:26), and His love for each of us (Romans 5:8). This season seems to hold a lot more problems for everyone, so we practice taking our problems to the one who has the power to do something about ‘em!
A camper and her counselor
Amazing Christian role models!
Mom, Dad, you are definitely still cool, and your kids certainly take all your advice and apply it immediately. Hear me out, though. What if a whole team of very cool teens and young adults were also investing in the growth and success of your children, and also speaking truth and encouragement to them? They could teach them fun games and keep them safe all at the same time, too. Sound to good to be true? Well, it’s not. It’s every single day of camp!
A counselor’s words and actions carry a lot of weight, and at camp your child is surrounded by an array of great role models, ready to share about their walk with Christ and encourage your child in their own relationship.
A camper learns archery for the first time.
Doing new things!
Unless you have a 250 foot zip line, a five-sided treehouse, and a selection of canoes, funyaks, paddleboats, and paddleboards for your 7 acre lake, and more (umm, can we come over?), we guarantee there’s a fresh new adventure for your camper. This year, we’re adding a few new experiences for even more fun! Kids draw confidence from trying new things and experiencing real success. No one is amazing at everything (volleyball will never be my sport, and that’s okay). However, with so many different activities and coaching from a watchful counselor, each camper finds something they love (even if it’s not on the schedule.).
Campers with the shelter they built
Campers are our priority! Everything is designed for the camper: fun games and activities for their age group, songs only an elementary schooler would love, appropriate bedtimes, and kid friendly delicious food. Counselors focus on the camper’s experience the entire time they are here, even praying for campers on their way to camp.
Campers at a supper cookout
Camp is a screen-free environment, and campers are too busy having fun to miss their devices! We all know the blue glow of the screen is a little rough on the eyes. The constant attention-grabbing is exhausting. At camp, campers live their own story instead of watching others’ stories through a 5-inch rectangle. Real life is so much bigger.
Whew! Thinking about all of this makes me ready for camp right now! You too? ;) Even as the world changes, kids continue to need the unique qualities of summer camp, and this summer, it feels especially urgent.
Now, we know this list is incomplete (can the whole of camp ever really be captured in words?) so help us out. What does your camper need right now? What can camp offer your family?
Dear Friend of Pine Lake,
This was certainly not the year we hoped for, nor expected. As the last pages of the calendar fall away, it’s tempting to box up the woes of 2020 and label it “The Worst Year,” while looking toward a brighter new year in 2021. Before we close the box completely, I invite you to pause and join me in recognition of the ways God has worked at Pine Lake throughout this year. We look forward to what God has planned in 2021!- Suzanne
The act of thanks-giving is holy protest against cynicism, covetousness, fatalism, entitlement, self-pity, joylessness, discontentment, self-sufficiency, greed, arrogance, and apathy. – Duke Kwon
God’s Work at Camp in 2020!
Strong Financial Standing at Year’s Start
Pine Lake started the year 2020 off with a budget surplus from 2019. In January, Pine Lake anticipated a year of sizable growth with expanded summer plans and an increase in guest group reservations. Today, we recognize the 2019 budget surplus as God’s provision to sustain Pine Lake through a year of uncertainty.
New Partnership Boosts Camp’s Outreach
After pouring every bit of energy into rebuilding parts of the local community affected by tornado damage, volunteers with World Renew (a disaster relief group) refueled and rested in the natural setting of camp through January and February. Their leaders still gush over their comfortable lodging at Pine Lake.
New Volunteers Came to Camp
Throughout the winter months, five retired couples volunteered at camp and helped with everything from new lighting around the Pavilion to finishing the Tall Pines gym. Their reward for their hard work: the knowledge they served where and when they could, with the bonus of a warm winter and even warmer community.
Pine Lake Community Gathered in March
Cleaning, wood splitting, raking, fellowship over smoked chicken, and more. Caring for camp at Work Day was especially poignant as the last major camp event before the cascade of COVID-19 closures and cancellations began.
Wildlife at Pine Lake
Mr. and Mrs. goose hatched 6 fuzzy goslings at Pine Lake in the spring, and nurtured their family at camp for most of the spring! Wild turkeys and deer showed their faces more, too.
Neighbors and community members were able to enjoy the serenity and retreat experience of camp when they came to fish during the long gaps in between guest groups. Several voiced that fishing at Pine Lake was a needed restful escape and a delight.
Summer Staff Stay Committed to Campers
When the tides shifted on summer camp and we had to cancel, every single summer staff agreed to volunteer. They all wanted to help in whatever way they could to make camp happen for campers at home. The staff found ways to encourage and nurture both campers and each other. At the end of the summer, a zoom camper declared her favorite part of camp, “Meeting everyone, so now I’ll know people when I come to camp next summer!
Thirty People, One Gorgeous Quilt
Veteran and rookie quilters gathered at the Camp Quilt Retreat & Workshop to complete the Camp Quilt, a symbol of the community of Pine Lake. A former Pine Lake camper who now lives far away came to quilt, spend time with old friends, and introduce her daughter to Pine Lake.
Family Fun in a New Way
Several parents said, “We needed this,” and the wide smiles on their kids’ faces confirmed it. For the 10 families who gathered for Family Escapes in July & September, camp continues to be a place where kids (and adults) can unplug, be wholly themselves, and feel God’s closeness.
Homeschoolers Came Home to Camp
For some, Fall Homeschool Camp Days were a return to a familiar place. For others, a new love for camp blossomed as they flew down the zip line, roasted cinnamon apple slices over a fire they built on their own, and more!
Deep Family Bonding
Dads and kids built more than birdhouses as they stepped out of their normal routines and made new memories at Dads & Kids Weekend in October. Between boating (and splashing) on the lake and getting lost in worship music at campfire, fathers and children experienced adventure and retreat together.
A Nation-wide Auction
The support of so many Pine Lakers from all over the country was both humbling and thrilling. People who’ve never been to Pine Lake before bid up items made by people who hold Pine Lake dear in their heart.
Go Local, Get Delicious
Chess squares, coconut cream pies, jambalaya, barbecue, and more! United in spirit, though divided by distance, churches and individuals worked together to raise money in their own communities through mouth-watering means! Des Allemands Mennonite, a former Camp Sale host church, put on a craft and bake sale in their town and raised over $1,100 dollars! In Jackson, Rhoda, Jody, and company pulled off a full fledged barbecue plate sale with sides, pound cake, banana pudding, and optional delivery. Local people shared their warm memories of Pine Lake as they bought plates!
The Engine of Camp
While the board of directors stewards Pine Lake and the year round staff oversee operations, volunteers are undoubtedly the engine who keep Pine Lake going. Our volunteer layout looked very different, but was rich in deep support. From winter service workers last winter to Jeff Landis jumping on the mower and John Opel doing dirt work, many of camp’s essential needs were met. Dozens of hours were spent around the camp quilt and filling the wood box this year. The volunteer virtual summer staff spent time leading worship and connecting with Pine Lake From Home campers.
There’s no doubt, volunteers are the engine that keeps Pine Lake moving!
Here’s a list of what was done this year, powered by volunteers:
Painted boys & girls bathhouse
All Tall Pines and Lodge windows washed
Tall Pines gym panels finished
New exterior lights on the Pavilion
Wood shed stocked
Cleaning and organizing the old office
New Tall Pines dishes unboxed, washed, and stored
Outdoor furniture at Tall Pines sealed
Camp Quilt quilted, bound, and finished
Craft and Bake Sale
Gumbo & Jambalaya Sale
Shelter campsites raked and trimmed
swamp trail Pressure washed
Picnic tables and benches pressure washed
Semi-annual raking around Shelter campsites, basketball court, Bender, Lodge, and perimeter of Tall Pines fields
It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart that I inform you that the Pine Lake Fellowship Camp Board of Directors along with our year-round staff have made the decision to suspend Pine Lake Fellowship Camp summer camp programs in 2020. Our strong commitment to the health and safety of campers, families, staff, and volunteers will prevent us from being together due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear summer camp cannot be the nurturing and encouraging environment we know and love with physical distancing and other difficulties. This decision is our best effort to care for and prevent an outbreak in each of our camper and staff communities. This decision includes overnight and day camp programs.
I know that this comes as a disappointment to each of you. It is to each of us as well. Since last Fall, countless hours of time and energy have been invested in preparing for another amazing summer of ministry!
Most summer staff were hired.
Facilities received facelifts with the help of many volunteers.
New and exciting features and activities were prepared.
We have all been praying for campers and staff
It pains us to think of Pine Lake’s rolling campus to sit empty this summer. To know that each evening, no campfire will burn on the Island, that instead of campers and staff singing worship songs to God under the stars, they’ll be at home. The challenge course, where campers in cabin unity, friendship, and self-confidence will instead serve as lonely platforms and old telephone poles in the woods. There will be no staff meeting where a summer staffer joyously shares that they prayed with his/her camper who decided to follow Christ at campfire the previous evening. To think about these not happening breaks each of our hearts.
While we can’t gather with one another in person, we can come together in prayer. Please join us in praying for the following:
Campers and their families: We realize this is yet another loss in a series of losses this spring. While there is no summer camp to look forward to, we know that God is present everywhere, not just at Pine Lake. Pray for God to be at work in the activities, lessons, and relationships they experience this summer. May they lead to a deeper faith in Christ.
Summer Staff: These servant-hearted young people have been anticipating and preparing to serve and nurture campers this summer. Pray for God to use their energy to nurture young believers and grow in their faith this summer.
Year-Round Staff: After months of preparation for summer camp 2020, we now pivot to re-imagine how the mission of Pine Lake can be carried out in the new circumstances we all face. May God continue to use Pine Lake to increase His kingdom.
We trust in God’s promises. We trust that He is working all things out for his good and that even though it feels like we’re walking in the valley, he is still God.
We are planning on alternative ways to connect with campers and families this summer. They cannot replace summer camp, but we hope that they will bring that same camp feel and nostalgia to each of you.
Thank you for your past and continued support. We'll see you next summer.
ALREADY REGISTERED FOR CAMP?
Parents who have already paid a deposit or any amount over are asked to choose between the following options:
Receive a Full Refund
Donate to Pine Lake Fellowship Camp
Please reply to an email that was sent to you or contact our office with your choice of the above options (firstname.lastname@example.org).
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the streams.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
-Jeremiah 17:7 I bought too much cheese. Never mind that I can barely consume one small block of cheese before it molds, or that we should avoid overbuying right now. As the words “global pandemic,” “unprecedented,” “stay-at-home order”, etc. swirled in my head, I plunked 2 fat bricks of cheese (one mozzarella, one cheddar) into my cart, and felt a fleeting wave of reassurance.
The need for reassurance is natural; it’s human. But reassurance via cheese? God offers a reassurance far richer than stockpiles of cheese or toilet paper, the news, the stock market, or any government we might (unintentionally) place our trust and time in.
Jeremiah reminds us that true confidence comes from the Lord. As we reach out to Christ for nourishment, He fills us with knowledge of His unfailing power and love. We can stand tall in times of uncertainty and stress, knowing we have no reason to fear, for our Lord walks with us. No matter our circumstances, when we draw strength from Christ, we can bear His fruit and share His love and peace with the people around us. How can you intentionally place your trust in God? What are three things you can do to share God’s love with someone else?
This post was written by Suzanne Opel, Program Director and was part of PLFC's April 2020 newsletter update Check it out!