Denominational Focus: Ridge Haven is a camp, conference, and retreat center that has locations in Brevard, NC, and Cono, IA. Thousands of children and adults gather at Ridge Haven throughout each year to learn about Jesus while surrounded by God’s wondrous nature.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
‒ Isaiah 55: 10-12
Praise God for His faithfulness to Ridge Haven since its beginning in 1978, and especially through the pandemic.
Praise God we are seeing an increase of our year-round campus staff which allows us to serve our guests better and have a more sustainable workload for all of our staff.
As we approach another busy summer, pray that each camper who will attend Ridge Haven would leave knowing Jesus better than when they arrived.
March 26‒April 1
Pray the Lord will continue to bring people here to hear His word, that He will continue to provide staff, and that His name will be magnified above all else.
“God has been faithful to provide to Ridge Haven over the years. By His grace, this past year we have been able to build a gym with a large indoor meeting space as well as cabins for new staff housing – two much needed spaces on our campus so that Ridge Haven can continue to serve each guest that comes. ‒ The Staff
“I can easily remember multiple ways God provided month-by-month the financial resources needed: at one point extras like the funds for two new vans, the summer that we had the largest number of campers in its history at that time; a sequence of chefs that continued an extraordinary reputation for the best meals of any camps, conference, and retreat center in NC from one of the most under-sized kitchens in existence; and an extraordinary resident staff, camp counselors, and group of volunteers that was always God providing ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.’
“In the late nineties, we could not have imagined what God had in store for us as we prayed and planned for that winter’s teen mission conference we called YoWAW, Youth World Awarness Weekend. One of the clues God was about to do something extraordinary was the growing number of registrations. Very early, we passed the 200 mark, the projected number we had expected. Then it passed 300. The day the conference started there were more than 400 junior and senior high students. On the second night, it became obvious the Spirit of God had gone before us and was doing something that most of the leadership had not experienced before, not at Ridge Haven, nor in any of the churches or youth groups represented. God made His presence known in the singing of our worship. It was not that it was loud or in any way that everyone was “feeling” the music as at a “rock concert.” There was an unmistakable joy, humility and holiness that was capturing hearts. I can no longer remember the details about the speaker that time. I only know that the Word was preached and a challenge was given to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and in faith to make themselves available for Kingdom work. (I think part of my inability to remember the name of the musicians and the speaker is that God was, even then, hiding them in Himself so that the One to be known, seen, and heard would be only the Lord Jesus Christ.)
“At the conclusion of the scheduled time, we began to sing with a closing prayer to follow. Toward the end of the song, one of the students stood to his feet to share what God was putting on his heart. Among those who also stood to their feet were some speaking about their conviction of sins and need of Jesus Christ. Others shared that they believed God was calling them to missions with others simply confessing that they were available for whatever God wanted to do in them and through them. About two and a half hours later it just became quiet and we together bowed before the Lord to give thanks and commit to him each other for all that would bring the Lord all the glory. It is God alone who knows all that took place that night as well as at the many other YoWAW conferences that followed.
“As we mark the 50th Anniversary of the PCA, we simply bow before the Lord Jesus Christ giving Him the glory for all that God is doing in and through the many PCA ministries of which Ridge Haven is a part.”
‒ Mo Up De Graff – Executive Director 1994-2009
“My story is personal, the kind of story you only share with the family of God. I received so much more than I gave. My mind is flooded with a collage of video vignettes of very specific moments of God’s faithfulness that I will take with me to heaven.
“I recall the day that Karen and I arrived at the Ridge Haven gatekeeper’s cottage that was to be our home for 6 ½ years. Mo Up De Graff was on the floor working on some last-minute fix-up item to a rustic cottage that had been empty for quite a while. It was a perfect preview of his model of Christian stewardship. He did everything at Ridge Haven, far beyond any duties you ever saw a CEO do. I helped him clear brush, cut trees down—we rode chainsaws for two days to clear a mountainside for what became the outdoor sanctuary—split rails the old-fashioned way, worked with the maintenance man to repair water line breaks in the middle of the night, plowed snow, fired up the tractor on the coldest night of the winter to pull a Greyhound bus loaded with covenant children up the snow packed winding ascent to Ridge Haven. We bused tables in the dining hall and made beds and did laundry in the busy season with the help of a lot of saintly volunteer residents, and hauled out the garbage. All this Mo did and more while performing the crucial executive duties of an agency head.
“Those were lean years. As a former businessman, I had considerable empathy for Mo as he struggled to keep the operation on the rails, but he smiled through it all and by God’s grace he did it. He knew who was in charge, and no matter how harried he was, weekly staff meetings always included a devotional. I could easily turn this into a testimonial for Mo, but God’s faithfulness to me at Ridge Haven extended beyond his substantial witness.
“Another of several blessings was driving the van to pick up guests and speakers from either the Asheville or the Greenville airport. For an hour to an hour-and-a-half I had the most gifted minds in the PCA all to myself. I made a number of forever friends. Perhaps the most memorable was a former Navy fighter pilot named Frank Barker, a founding icon of the PCA. As [I’m] a former Air Force fighter pilot, we bonded instantly. I also fell in love with his lifelong bride and secret weapon, Barbara.
“Another favorite blessing was guiding guest speakers over the many miles of Ridge Haven’s hiking trails. Busy men in high pressure jobs sometimes just need to talk, and I don’t know of a better place than two men alone on a mountain trail. I recall particularly one agency head, who spent his workdays in a perpetual Instant Pot, who found the company of an old, retired businessman turned bearded mountain man therapeutic. I kept a folding lawn chair stashed in a tree on one of my favorite meditation mountaintops. We would make the strenuous hike up to that spot and I would get that chair down for him to sit in and I sat on the ground at his feet and just listened in that majestic setting. In the background I could hear the steam being released from that Instant Pot. I don’t know which of us found it better therapy.
“I will always contend without full knowledge that Ridge Haven summer camp facilitates more conversions than any other agency in the PCA. They have the advantage with covenant children at a teachable age in a Garden of Eden setting with enthusiastic, dedicator mentors—the college aged counselors. The counselor program has an additional benefit, as many can attest. After all these years I am still in touch through social media with a number of former counselors who were making moon eyes at one another in their tour of duty at Ridge Haven, and are now married with families of their own and working the Lord’s vineyards around the world. The counselor program is a blessed happy hunting ground for young Christians of marriage age!”
‒ J.D. Wetterling – Resident Manager 2001-2008
“I am thankful to Christ for the early leaders of Ridge Haven who laid the foundation, and now we are building upon it. First of all, Kenneth Keyes. From what we understand, actor Jackie Gleason owned this land for a hunting or fishing club. He did not develop it, and Kenneth Keyes, a very successful real estate agent from South Florida, found out about it. He believed that the Sovereign God saved people more as children than any other time. With a vision for the young PCA to have a camp and conference center, Kenneth went to General Assembly with seed money and a vision to purchase the land Ridge Haven sits on today. There is a story that has been told to me that Ridge Haven had a birthday party for Kenneth Keyes’ 90th birthday. Many were in attendance, but many also sent their regrets, which includes a regret from Billy and Ruth Graham. Looking back on Kenneth Keyes’ life, it is evident that he was so generous and was a key founder of the PCA. When I think of Ridge Haven’s history, it has to start with him.”
‒ Archie Moore – Speaker and Chaplain 1995-present
“I love Ridge Haven because I love talking and hanging out with godly girls my age. Everyone there is super sweet and ready to have fun. I enjoy playing group games, staying up way too late, and worshiping with others. Ridge Haven is a great place to meet new people and connect with old friends while studying God’s Word.” – Lucy, age 16
“Ridge Haven is very welcoming and encouraging; the people there are so kind. They really make every moment at camp fun and special. The mountains are so beautiful and inspiring that worshiping God feels natural. I love it so much! – Ellie, age 14
“I love making new friends, playing in the lake, and going to the camp store to buy candy and ice cream.” – Anna, age 12
“I love the food, the sweet and welcoming counselors, and hanging out with new friends.”
– Mary Neal, age 10
- There are two locations for Ridge Haven Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center. They are in Brevard, NC and Walker, IA.
- Their summer camps welcomed over 4,500 campers and guests in the summer of 2022. That means they served over 55,000 meals and did over 200,000 dishes in the summer alone!
- In 2022, Ridge Haven’s summer staff was composed of 81 high school and college students – their biggest team to date!
- Ridge Haven Cono in Walker, IA, used to be a school, and after Ridge Haven started camps there in 2018, it is now used as Cono Christian School once again
- Ridge Haven’s most recent construction project is a new gym that can serve as an indoor meeting space for up to 1000 people!
Creation Bingo Instructions:
PAGES INCLUDED FOR MARCH:
- Four different bingo boards
- Blank board
- Tiles to cut out and arrange on the blank board to create your own board
- Two pages to cut. These are the drawing pile.
- March scripture verse
Print at least one bingo board for each player.
Place drawing card pile face-down.
Each player needs 24 markers per board. Small rocks, tiny sticks or other pieces of creation would work well.
Draw a creation card from the pile; each player is to mark it on their board. Repeat until someone gets 5 in a row and yells, “Bingo!”
Pray for God to use the beauty of creation at Ridge Haven to draw people to Himself.