Greenwood History

gatorHistory Courtesy of the Greenwood Alumni Gator Association, they’re GAGA for Greenwood!

Year Events Camp Director Program Director
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.

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.

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.

1967

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

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.

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 usage 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.

1974

The Robert Finneys 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 and friend, created the iconic graphic of a reclining Al E. Gator, with straw hat and bow tie, in time for the 1980 camp season.

Bud Thompson
1982

Added storage building, activity building, and new log cabin.

Lynn Havitz
1983

Added five Adirondacks for wilderness camping; task force established to make recommendations concerning the Presbytery’s future involvement in Camp Greenwood.

Lynn Havitz
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
1985

Annette (Hannula) Shauver Wendy (Richards) Henderson
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
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
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
1989

Dick Mahlmann Julia (Strobel) Littley
1990

Dick Mahlmann Julia (Strobel) Littley
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
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
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
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