Summer Camp Testimonials
Do you want to get an idea of the impact camp might have in your child's life? Would you like to know what others thought about, or gained from, their experience at Pocono Mountain Bible Conference? Take a moment to read a few of the testimonials we received from our "Testimonies" project, which led up to our 2015 summer camp season.
"PMBC is the one place that has had the most impact, not just in my life but also in the lives of my family. When I was 14, I was invited by a friend to attend PMBC summer camp for the 1st time. Rev. Kerry Ritts was one of the teachers that week and I remember him standing in some sort of boat in the creek down in the ball field giving his lesson. It was then that I knew that I wanted to have the same love, hope, and joy that the staff and teachers had, and I gave my life to Christ that day. The following summers, going to camp was not just an option but something I could not get enough of. When I was old enough, I worked on staff and made life long friendships. Being able to be a part of a team that worked together to share the love of Jesus with campers was amazing!
God brought my husband Mike and I together through the PMBC ministry during summer camp and then later, strengthening our marriage through "couple's retreats". My children share the same love for PMBC. All 4 have camped and been on staff, serving Christ with the same dedication that I had.
Later in my life, I was privileged to be able to serve as "camp nurse" every summer for 11 years. What an awesome experience! I was able to see God move and work through the staff and campers in ways that sometimes seemed so small, yet produced a mighty outcome. PMBC is still a big part of our life today as my husband has the privilege of serving on the PMBC Board.
To this day, I still get that feeling of excitement when we drive around the bend and PMBC comes into view, just as I did years ago! Camp is where we come and empty ourselves of the burdens of life and let God fill us with His Holy Spirit, that we might be worthy of the gospel of Christ, standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel." (Phil. 1:27)
"Not I, But Christ".
- Amy Griffiths
"In 1954, when PMBC first opened, most of the youth from the Sherman Street P.M. Church were there as workers. I had the privilege of being a waitress in the old dining room, which was located in the Director's home. Our Pastor was the Rev. William A Smith who was one of the founders of the camp.
It was there that I gave my heart to the Lord. We had campfires, even then! Through the years I have visited many times. My son, Norman was a workboy when he was teenager, and he really enjoyed serving. I continue to visit on Sunday evenings and enjoy the services.
I am so glad that God has placed such a fine couple there to serve Him and know that this will be a wonderful year."
- Carol Washick
"My name is Ellen Kearns, but when I attended PMBC from 1966-1978, I was known as Ellen Jane (Ej) Watkins. I was at "Pimbus" every summer in either the capacity of the Pastor's daughter who was teaching that week, camper, waitress, snack bar attendant and finally camp secretary. Even though I had accepted the Lord at age 6, camp helped to build me up each summer. Great friendships were made, that still exist to this day.
I was recently at PMBC the summer of 2013 for the Homecoming. That was my first time back since 1978!!! Some great improvements were made but yet it still felt like coming home. I am glad to have Facebook to keep abreast of all that camp is doing for the lives of the youth today. Even though I am now a grandmother, I still think back on all those years of skits, morning exercises, Music Weeks, Bible classes, sports, songs.....hoping and praying that PMBC will continue many many more years so some other "grandma" can thank the Lord also for such a great camp!!!"
- Ellen Kearns
"I'll never forget my first week at camp in the summer of 2002. While I grew up going to church, it wasn't until that week that I "knew" Christ and gave my life to Him. Every summer after that, a week at PMBC was what I looked forward to most, with the hope that when I was of age I'd have the chance to serve on staff. Thirteen years later, after summers of housekeeping, counseling, and volunteering to nurse, a week at PMBC is still what I look forward to because it means a week of seeing God's hands at work.
God used PMBC and its many servants to open my eyes to His unending love, grace, and mercy. He blessed me with an amazing family and home away from home where all who come can feel His presence in His creation and draw near to Him. It's been an honor to watch Him change lives through the ministry of PMBC, a ministry my husband and I love and support."
- Hannah Martin
"It's difficult for me to summarize the kind of impact the ministry of PMBC has had on my life in just a couple short paragraphs, but in a nutshell, it would be fair to say that I wouldn't be the person I am if not for the things God did in my life through the camp. God used PMBC to reach me and completely change my life.
I came to faith in Jesus when I was 10 while camping at PMBC after my home church gave me a scholarship to attend. I was discipled and given opportunities to serve while on staff as a teenager. I developed some of the deepest friendships in my life at PMBC and my interest in serving in full-time ministry was stoked by the many excellent pastors who taught there each summer (men I continue to look up to and respect).
I am so thankful that PMBC continues to be a refuge for both children and adults who need to get away from the distractions of everyday life so they can hear God's voice more clearly. The ministry and the leadership of the camp are continually in my prayers. I praise God for His grace in allowing PMBC to thrive for the past 61 years and I pray that He will continue to use it to reach many more children and adults for years to come."
- John Stange
"God has used PMBC to impact every area of my life: my faith, education, career and my wife. I am one of many who committed their life to Christ while sitting in the tabernacle at PMBC. While working on staff I was baptized at camp. My experience on staff gave me a passion for camping ministry; I wanted to commit my life to it because I saw the value in preaching God's Word to youth in an environment of love, acceptance and isolation from society. Working at camp led me to go to Cairn University to obtain my Bachelors Degrees in Bible and Business Administration in hopes of fulfilling God's call on my life. Not only did PMBC point me in the direction of my education, but also steered me towards my wife. While on staff, I met my wife Hannah. We got engaged at camp and had our wedding ceremony at PMBC. And now, we serve at another Bible Camp near Harrisburg called Camp Hebron. God does amazing things at PMBC, and in my case, altered every facet of my life."
- Kyle Martin
"How do I begin to explain what PMBC means to me? It spans 5 generations of my family, from my Great-Grandmother being one of the first cooks to my daughter now camping. I started as a camper at 7 years old and grew up there. Every summer until I was 21, doing any work i could just to be there. Waitressing (yes, we actually waited the tables), Rec Hall (yes, we actually hand counted each and every red fish for inventory each night), counselor (my favorite, of course) and even a work "boy" once. Now, I go for at least a week each year to be the nurse while my daughter, Hope, camps. The spiritual impact the camp has made on me is immeasurable. Where would I be without the memories? The bonfires, the skits, the songs, the laughter? Besides the spiritual impact on my life and the lives I've seen changed I treasure each one of the eternal friends I made at camp. Still so dear to me and will be through eternity together with Jesus Christ, Our Lord. I love you all!!!!"
- Lisa VanFleet-Schuler
"I believe my first year as a camper at PMBC was in 1991. I hate to admit it, but the whole week I was there, I couldn’t wait to go back home. However, the whole ride home, I couldn’t stop talking about all of the fun things that happened during the week at camp.
I camped until I was old enough to begin working in the kitchen as a waitress. From 1998 to 2002, I spent 6 weeks of my summers at camp. Those were some of my most formative years of my life and I believe they truly shaped me into who I am today.
I am a Christian because of PMBC. It was there that I asked Jesus to be my Savior and the leader of my life. I made friends there that I consider family. Since my years at PMBC I have been blessed with an amazing “home” church in Philadelphia that is so reminiscent to me of camp.
PMBC will always be dear to me because of all the wonderful experiences that I had there. I pray that everyone who has been there and will go there in the future can experience the same things that I have."
- Rachel Galecki
"Pocono Mountain Bible Conference is so much more than a summer camp. As a camper I was insecure, afraid, and felt as if the weight of the world were on my shoulders. Rejection was always a constant fear in my young life. Arriving at PMBC changed my mentality and molded me into the successful adult I am today. At age 10 I dedicated my life to God in the quite and stillness of the tabernacle. It was such a personal moment and as soon as I called His name I felt at peace. I was no longer a loner or “less than” everyone else. Instead I was empowered. I wanted to share the same feelings and knowledge I had to other campers who came, which was what drove me to eventually become a staff member.
Being a staff member pressed new challenges. My walk with God had been rocky and suddenly many of my fellow co-workers and I were now role models. Being a staff member didn’t mean that we had all the answers. Actually it was quite the opposite. We were a melting pot of knowledge. All of us came from different walks of life and our experiences had shaped us into unique individuals. I can only speak for myself when I say that PMBC was a safe place, an extended family, and a home for all those who bore scars and felt abandoned by the world. Being a staff member meant using our past experiences to mend broken hearts, emotional scars, and even the most shattered of souls. In doing so we showed God’s power, and even surprised ourselves in the process.
Today I can say that I am a child of God. Today I am a successful animator, state archery champion, and award-winning artist. God took the ashes of my fractured, broken life and created me anew. I am not, nor will I ever, be the same broken young girl I once was. God is with me wherever I go and I will forever praise and thank him for saving my life that night at PMBC. Everything I have is because of Him."
-Rachel E. Walsh
"Like countless others, PMBC has impacted my life in ways which I will be forever thankful. I believed in Jesus at a young age, but began to choose to grow and live more for Jesus as a result of the teachings at PMBC during intermediate weeks (around the age of 12). I remember one specific night following a Friday night service during intermediate week when I was impacted by the message and felt I needed to make some changes in my life. That's one thing I really love about camp: if you've been a Christian for years, or if it's your first time ever experiencing a Christian camp or even hearing the Gospel, you can learn and grow during the week. The pastors and teachers do a great job of meeting the campers where they are at; challenging and encouraging all the individual campers and the unique needs that each bring to the week.
I have also met some of my dearest and closest friends through my 8 years of service at camp, making PMBC and the people involved feel like home. My personal experiences learning under the directors' leadership have impacted my life for the better. I didn’t know it at the time, but being a counselor at camp helped in my future career as a social worker, as well. I loved being able to counsel young girls of all ages, backgrounds, faiths, races, etc. I certainly learned from them as much or more than I may have taught them. In serving at camp you receive as much as, if not more than, you give.
Camp PMBC has made a lasting impact on my life and has shaped a large portion of my youth/early adulthood. I am forever thankful for such a special place."
- Sara Vnuk
"PMBC has impacted our lives and helped us to grow in many ways. This camp has certainly played a big role in preparing us for ministry. As we served over the years at camp, we had many opportunities to share the gospel and had front row seats to God’s work in campers’ lives.
We’ve also been able to connect deeper with other pastors and have developed our relationships all the more through our time with them at camp. God has blessed us with many lasting friendships during our time at camp. To this day some of our closest friends are the ones we had while on staff, and it’s a blessing to be able to see God continue the work that He began in their lives at PMBC.
Also, though we didn’t meet at camp, it was through working there that God brought us together, and we are so incredibly thankful. We have been truly blessed by God though the ministry of PMBC and pray that He would continue to use it all for His glory."
- Scott and Suzanne McGrady
"My time at PMBC did not start as a child. I was not a camper or a counselor. My time started with my son, Timmy.
I was raised in the church. My parents were Sunday school teachers. I sang in the children's choir with my siblings. I was an acolyte. I sat for the children's sermon with the other children near the alter. My father was the youth group leader and a lay leader. I grew up knowing The Lord. My boys have always known church as a part of their lives. We prayed and always honored God. Church has always been a part of me. But, it didn't move me.
Then, we found PMBC.
We attend The First PM Church of Dickson City. They introduced us to PMBC. My older son loved youth group, but didn't attend camp. My younger son does. We had the great fortune of meeting the Stange family and our boys became instant friends. His camping experience all started with Kindercamp. John invited us and I believe the Beecham family was there. Timmy was five years old and slept in the top bunk. What could be better? He was hooked. Quite frankly, so was I. It is the time spent with him at PMBC that moves me.
There is nothing as wonderful as being in the Tabernacle watching our children praising God. Seeing kids of all ages singing and praying, hands in the air; it brings me to tears. The feeling at PMBC always brings tears to my eyes. Watching not only my son, but countless others growing in their faith is awesome. I have had the opportunity to witness numerous campers kneel at the alter and give their lives to Jesus. I have seen boys and girls moved to tears. I have seen counselors crying with each other and with their campers. We all fall short when it comes to the feeling of worthiness. We are all sinners. So many of our young ones learn that they are worthy and that they can ask Jesus into their hearts. They can make that change and be that difference. They can live for others and love others. They learn that they have each other. They are forming life long friendships while at camp. They are learning about themselves and how to become a better version of themselves. They are also learning that their passage into Heaven is though Jesus Christ alone.
Accepting Jesus into my heart is something I did as a very young child. I don't even remember the first time I did. But, I can tell you that it is not something I did once and feel saved. I know that I must continue to do so. I am a sinner. I acknowledge that. I continuously ask Jesus into my heart. I know that my son does the same. I am confident that his time at PMBC has Helped mold him into a fine young man. It is the grounds itself, the friends he has made, the counselors, the teachers. He looks up to them. The men he considers his role models are products of PMBC. We are very blessed to know each of them.
My heart is more open when we visit."
- Sheila McDonough
"PMBC is easily my favorite place to be. It has impacted my life in so many ways throughout the past few years. I have camped since I was old enough and have always loved being at the camp. It was at PMBC that I was saved. One morning, after bible class, I stayed and talked with Pastor Dennis Frantz. We discussed salvation and what it meant to follow Christ. We prayed, and from then on I felt spiritually changed.
The staff and the teachers at camp have made such a positive impact on my life by being living examples as to how a Christian should be, as well as how to walk closely with the Lord. PMBC has helped make me who I am today and I will never stop loving camp. The atmosphere is so unique and wonderful and everyone is so accepting of one another. Friendships made at PMBC are ones to last a lifetime.
I have had the chance to work at camp for four summers so far. This summer, I am extremely excited to work because I have been given the opportunity to be a counselor. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and am excited to see how God will work through me and in the campers’ lives this camping season."
"PMBC has been an integral part of my life since the summer of 1989. I didn't come to know Christ as my savior at camp, but He used camp to help me grow and learn what Christian living really meant. I am in amazement when I realize I've been a PMBC groupie for 26 years.
God has used PMBC as a refuge for me in all my seasons of life. The friendships forged at camp are irreplaceable and for that I will be forever grateful.
I am currently fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom to three young daughters. This season has opened me up to new ways to serve at camp, and I am so thankful. My children are now able to spend their summers at camp. I pray God uses camp to grow their relationship with Him and give them a heart for ministry as He did for me."
- Steph (Stange) Basalyga
"Camp: my favorite four-letter word. For nearly 30 years I have declared that camp (PMBC) is my favorite place on the planet. My brother and I both accepted Christ as our Savior at camp, the very same evening.
I have been at some pretty exciting places in my life, but never has a place changed me so much as this one. This place is unique. Jesus is there. I noticed something different about the people at camp, even when I was a small child. At that time, I could not put my finger on it and just decided that the people are camp were so “nice”. As I grew in age, andin the Lord, I realized that the word I waslooking for was “transformed”, and changed by Christ.
Having a semi-tumultuous childhood, camp was a literal refuge for my siblings and me. We felt closer to God there than anywhere else. We were accepted there, by the Lord, many staff members, andnew friends every year. We were safe.
I have played many roles at camp, and currently teach there yearly. It make me beam with joy that my four children absolutely love camp as well. My oldest (Ethan, 5) has accepted Christ as his Savior. I eagerly await the day when he and his siblings can camp and work there but I look forward to Christ continually transforming them through His work in their hearts."
- Tami (Stange) Christianson
"I came to know Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at a very young age. I was raised in a very Godly home, but it wasn't until I was at camp that God called out to me that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Camp was my home in a sense. I never wanted to leave after the week was over, and I couldn't wait until the next summer to be surrounded by others, 24/7, who were on the same learning stage as myself.
Many trials have come in my life. The foundation that was built at Camp PMBC has helped me continue my journey with God. I still have friends from camp that, though I don't speak to every day, I know are there for me. Camp built a bond that can never be broken, both with God and with family in Christ. "
~Peace in Christ,
"I started going to PMBC when I was five years old. My mom took me to kindercamp. I loved camp and couldn't wait to camp alone. I started camping when I was six years old. I have been camping now for six years.
I love everything about PMBC. The staff is great and I made great friends. The atmosphere is phenomenal. The camp experience brings me closer to God every time I am there. Anytime spent on the grounds is time well spent. There is a feeling I get when we make the last turn and see the camp. Not feeling The Holy Spirit is impossible. We try to spend as much time at PMBC as possible. I have been able to share my love for PMBC with my friends and fellow Scouts.
I hope to one day be a counselor myself. Many of my role models are from camp (John Stange, Tyler Parry, Kyle Martin, Scott McGrady to name a few). I plan on PMBC being a part of my children's lives, as I grow."
- Tim Walsh