In 1962 property was purchased 10 km north of Grand Forks. The property, 164 acres, which included part of a mountain, an upper plateau, lower fields, and a swimming hole on the Granby River, became the home of Pines Bible Camp. In 1964 the camp was registered under the B.C. Societies Act as ‘The Pines Bible Camp Association’ with six charter members: Pastor George Martens, Dr. Jacob Bekker, Ben Schmidt, Harry Harshenin, George McIver, and Dennis Jones.
Through the first 30 years of camping, the property was selectively logged, a power line easement established and work grants were obtained allowing the camp to build a kitchen/dining hall, washroom facility, 12 cabins, gym, outdoor chapel, motel units, 50′ dome tent, and Director, speaker and first aid cabins.
In 1992 the members of the Pines Bible Camp Association initiated a long term planning process to help provide further direction and to facilitate planning framework for the camp. Their goal and desire was to see a continuation of the children’s summer camps at a rustic level while moving towards a year round utilization of the land. At the same time, it was decided that Pines would be placed under the umbrella of the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches to help with some of the liability, organizational, and accountability issues that would arise as the camp continued to grow. Being a long process, it wasn’t completely completed until 2005.
As the years went on, the demand for camping increased and finding counselors, staff and Directors to manage the summer programs became more difficult, therefore the Board decided to hire a Director for the camping year of 1995. Gene and Vicky Krahn were then brought on as the Directors. This was a big step of faith for Pines since prior staff had always been made up of volunteers. By 1998 the weeks of summer camp were filled for both July and August. Schools and community groups had also accessed the camp during the spring and fall.
The first major building project was the Director’s Residence, which began in 2000. In 2003 the first site plan was put together for a new washroom facility, and engineered plans were made for a new water system, just in time for the camp’s 40th anniversary. The actual building of the new washroom facility took place in 2004, with parts of the water system plan being put into place at this time, including the reservoir building, fire hydrants, and water lines from the well and pump house in the lower field. It wasn’t until 2012 that the reservoir building and water system were fully online and complete. In 2004 the electrical infrastructure also began to be upgraded.
With the new washroom facility completed in 2005, the old washroom building was totally gutted and remodeled becoming ‘The Cottage.’ As of 2013, this remains the only original building in its original location. All others have been removed or replaced. Also in 2005 the tuck shop, which replaced the old Sugar Shack, was renovated as well.
By 2006 the need for more kids cabins became a priority and the first new cabin was built that year. Over the next couple of years, as funds were raised more new cabins were built and by 2010, seven new kids cabins had been built. As new cabins were built, the old cabins were moved to another area on camp property and re-purposed.
In 2007 there was a need to expand the office from out of the Director’s basement. Thankfully, Pine’s sister camp Gardom Lake Bible Camp had recently built a new office and was able to donate their old office to Pines. A mobile home was also purchased in 2007 to provide a second on site staff residence and over the next 4 years it was slowly expanded, adding a new roof and extensions.
Other additions to camp included the Hillside RV Hideaway and washroom facility which offers 18 full service RV hook ups and numerous tent spots.
The plans for a new dining hall and kitchen were put into action October 3, 2011 with the demolition of the old dining hall. Construction took place throughout the winter in order for the dining hall to be ready to use in June 2012.
Improvements have also been made to the different activity areas over the years. In 2009 a new Archery Area was built and between 2009-2013 a new Challenge Course and High Ropes Course were built. The year 2013 brought a dream into reality with the development of Pines’ Wilderness Camp Site.
On July 20, 2012 a windstorm came through the camp property doing extensive damage and taking the life of one camper. Following the windstorm The Pines Restoration Project began. Volunteers came together from near and far, to fund raise, clean up debris, and rebuild. Less than a year later Pines was open for business. We will never forget the life that was taken that day, and are so very thankful for the many people who gave of their time, energy and finances to help restore our camp.
The ministry of Pines Bible Camp has grown greatly over the years with the number of kids coming to camp doubling every 10 years and many new Christians and re-commitments to Christ occurring as a result of time spent at camp. Our purpose has always been to provide a fun, active, and educational outdoor program for kids, youth, and adults in the beautiful setting that God, our Creator, provides. We want to encourage people to love God, and to examine the Christian faith, in a non-threatening atmosphere. Our desire is that each camper will begin or build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that everyone would find that Pines is a place where they could grow.