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Camp Greenwood Gators!

The History of Camp Greenwood

Did you ever wonder how "Greenwood" came to be?

Timeline

Staff

Artifacts

Logos

Camp Greenwood Gators!

A Timeline

When did THAT happen???

Year

Events

Camp Director

Program Director

Camper Count*

Late 1940's
  • Christian Education Committee of Synod of Michigan requests funds for camp and conference center. Synod approves capital funds drive with goal of $95,000
1950
  • The camp was purchased!
  • $10,000 down payment made on site in northeastern Kent County. $50,000 balance on land contract to be paid off in ten years.
1951

1952

1953

  • Land contract paid through mortgage loan.
1954

  • Several lots along Banks Lake sold to private individuals.
1955

  • Mortgage paid in full.
  • During this time some of the capital funds made improvements in all the former resort buildings and in the water, sewage disposal, and electrical systems. In addition, several new cabins and shelters were added as well as a health center and outdoor chapel. Dining Hall was extended and waterfront improved.
1956

1957

1958
1,151
1959

  • Greenwood got its name: a combination of "Greenville" (the nearest city) and Woodbeck (the primary lake)
1960

  • Responsibility for programming shifted from a Camp Management Committee to the CE Committee of Synod - Greenwood became the first camp in Synod to operate with small group orientation.
  • Lodge remodeled; tent platforms, toilet and shower facilities built.
  • Area divided into three areas (Ridge, Forest, Jungle) where 12 campers and 2 counselors were responsible for their own activities.
1961

1962

1963

1964

774
1965

1966

1967

  • Four-bedroom house built for property supervisor on north side of camp.
1158
1968

1969

  • Suggestions for the camp included its sale, conversion to a family camp for tent-trailers, elimination of all buildings, and an all canvas summer camp. However, the site Strategy and Development Committee of the Synod of Michigan recommended that Camp Greenwood became a year round outdoor center.
1970

1971

375
1972

  • Synod votes to "...shift its historic role in Extended Experience Education from an emphasis upon direct ministries to that of resources and guidance for session and presbyteries."
1973

  • The new regional Synod (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky) adopted role change and further recommended that the new concept of extended experience education and "the declining program use level of Camp Greenwood now combine to strongly suggest its probable sale."
  • South side of camp contained: dining hall, six Quonset huts, modern toilet facilities, Chapel in the Pines, workshop, recreational building, 150 foot dock with diving board and markers for swimming.
  • Lake Michigan Presbytery began to consider the use of the camp as a Presbytery facility.
83
1974

  • The Robert Finney’s were housed at Camp Greenwood with responsibilities for summer camp registrations and site management in Michigan. Salary paid by Synod.
1975

  • Camp Greenwood transferred to Lake Michigan Presbytery on January 1, 1975.
1976

  • Roger Sweers became part-time resident camp caretaker; master plan was authorized; Presbytery approves proposal that Camp Greenwood be included as a Major Mission Fund project for $100,000.
1977

  • Caretaker's residence was renovated to enlarge the facility for year-round retreats; projects approved for use of Major Mission Funds.
1978

  • First year of Family Camp
1979

  • "The Gator Shuffle" is born - written by Bud Thompson
  • The ominous gator mythology of Camp Greenwood is transformed into the fun-loving Al E. Gator that subsequent generations have loved.
1980

  • Deb, an artist friend (who worked for Hallmark) of Bud's donated the iconic graphic of a reclining Al E. Gator, with straw hat and bow tie, in time for the 1980 camp season.
Bud Thompson
1981

Lynn Havitz
1982

  • Added storage building, activity building, and new log cabin.
Lynn Havitz 404
1983
  • Added five Adirondacks for wilderness camping; task force established to make recommendations concerning the Presbytery's future involvement in Camp Greenwood.
Lynn Havitz 460
1984

  • Greenwood moves from a summer on-site "administrator" to a half-time off-season off-site / full-time summer on-site "camp director."
Doug Hansen Lynn (Havitz) Hansen 389
1985

Annette (Hannula) Shauver Wendy (Richards) Henderson 424
1986

  • A Quonset hut was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Plans to replace all the Quonset huts with wood-built, year-round cabins began.
Annette (Hannula) Shauver Wendy (Richards) Henderson 486
1987

  • Camp shenanigans are a staple of the Greenwood experience, with extra points for creativity.  This summer, the contents of the boys' Quonset hut were placed in a tent on the roof and a lake was made inside, using a tarp and filled by hose.

Annette (Hannula) Shauver Wendy (Richards) Henderson 504
1988

  • The director position becomes a full-time year round, on-site position after the conclusion of the summer camping program, and the Retreat Center is converted back into a house for the new director and his family.
Annette (Hannula) Shauver; Dick Mahlmann (Oct.) Dwight Blubaugh 550
1989

Dick Mahlmann Julia (Strobel) Littley 461
1990

Dick Mahlmann Julia (Strobel) Littley 605
1991
  • Marta Amundsen, program director, started the bead tradition
Dick Mahlmann Marta Amundsen
1992
Dick Mahlmann Heather Boltz
1993

  • Brad Peterson, a counselor at the time (and former camper), started drawing Al E. Gator for Camp Greenwood
Dick Mahlmann TJ Torrey
1994

Dick Mahlmann Tami (O'Bryant) Chalmers
1995

Dick Mahlmann Dave
1996

Dick Mahlmann Maria
1997

Robert Vodra Kristin Simpson
1998

Robert Vodra Steve "Jethro" Delp
1999

Robert Vodra Annie Poole
2000

Robert Vodra Mel Boughton and Kevin "Ox" Irish
2001

Robert Vodra Kevin "Ox" Irish 241
2002
  • Last year of MITW (Music in the Woods)
Robert Vodra Mel Boughton and Bethany (Clark) Bickel
2003
  • First year of AITW (Arts in the Woods, which includes music)
Robert Vodra;
Ryan Gombas (Operations Manager)
Annie Poole
2004

Ryan Gombas (Ops Mgr) Annie Poole
2005

Ryan Gombas (Ops Mgr) Annie Poole
2006


2007

Dave Webber Mel Boughton
2008

Greg Hoekman Mel Boughton
2009

Greg Hoekman Bryan Keeley and Rachel Warren 
2010

Greg Hoekman Rachel Warren
2011

Greg Hoekman Teresa Larson
2012

  • New logo instituted; a tree, dove, and stream replace Al E. Gator as the primary logo for the camp.
Cully Culpepper (summer interim); Duane Skene (interim, came end of July)
Teresa Larson
2013

Duane Skene (interim) Jacob Dayringer 118
2014

  • Greenwood Alumni Gator Association (GAGA) formed in August - a group dedicated to supporting Camp Greenwood and its spirit.
Duane Skene (interim, to May); Verla Custer (interim) Jacob Dayringer 117

*Camper count refers to the number of campers for summer programming. It does not include other groups who rent the facilities.
Camp Greenwood Alumni