Pine Cove Christian Camps Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/27/2007-East Texas

Pine Cove Christian Camps Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary

More than 1,100 people from across the nation gathered on the shores of Lake Palestine. Pine Cove Christian Camps celebrated its 40th anniversary Sunday.  It is expanding its reach to impact more and more people.

You know it when coming in, it's contagious.  Pine Cove Christian Camp has impacted more than 800,000 campers in its 40 years.

"Forty years ago there were four men on a row boat on a lake at a property that is now called The Woods.  And they were praying to see what God would do with this place called Pine Cove," said Pine Cove Christian Camps CEO/President Mario "High 5" Zandstra.  "A year later they opened a camp and that was called the cedars now we have 1,500 acres and we have six camps."

"We exist to be used by God and to transform the lives of people for his purposes and his glory," said Zandstra.

Steve and Rachel Ellsworth have a unique Pine Cove experience.  "It definitely has such a special place in our heart.  From my husband and I meeting here and starting our relationship here, and able to have our kids come back here and experience what we experienced," said Rachel.

"Our family started coming back in the 70s," Steve said.  "The camp is great and the facilities are wonderful but it's the relationships.  The relationships is also what keeps many staff members returning," said Steve.

"You really leaved changed no matter what summer it is.  Every summer I leave and say, 'I'm done here', and I keep coming back," said Bobby "Shredded Wheat" Austin, a Pine Cove staff member.

"Our dream is to impact 120,000 kids over a ten year period.  We are opening a youth camp in Colombus, Texas this summer called Pine Cove Outback.  We are finishing up a camp here in East Texas called Pine Cove Timbers," said Zandstra.

New beginnings to impact who knows how many more.  "I was talking to Bill McKenzie, the former director and I asked him, 'In your wildest dreams is Pine Cove what you expected or something different?'  And he quoted Paul in the Ephesians, 'Pine Cove is far greater than I ever dreamed or ever imagined','" said Mario.

Pine Cove summer staff come to East Texas from 30 states and more than 100 universities.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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