In the year of our Lord, 1957, in our United States of America:
And in that same year on August 8th a new Christian, Lutheran Camp named Concordia began its first official camping season……
These pages of history were initiated from a 50th Anniversary booklet (revised January 4, 2013 to include photos and history) submitted by Humphrey DeVries and Judy Gager.
The Beginnings: July 13, 1955
The idea of establishing a Lutheran camp was hatched in the minds of a few members of the Lutheran Layman’s League, in the year 1955. The first recorded meeting was held on July 13 of that year. The group identified themselves as the Camp Site Committee. Early men involved were Dick Groggel; Rev. Brauer, Immanuel, GR; James Hale; Vicar Heintz, Grace, Wyoming; Walt Kayser; Herman Lindhout; a Mr. Luebke; Dick Meiner; Al Petzold; Carl Proch; Rev. Emil Schwan, Hope, GR; August Spurgat; Bill Standish; Otto Stoeffler; Richard Vekert; Ed Venroy; and Gerald Waldeck.
A number of possible camp sites were explored and on July 24, 1956 it was unanimously agreed to seek an option on the Half Mile Lake property owned by a Mr. J. B. Kempski.
On August 8, 1956, the Grand Valley Camp Association was formed. The property was purchased for $32,000. A Board of Directors was established; Ralph Richmond, Chairman; Al Petzold; Herbert Rachow; Carl Proch; Erwin Schwyn and Gerald Waldeck.
The Articles of Association were drafted at the February 24, 1957 meeting attended by President Carl Proch, Vice President Ralph Richman, Secretary Al Petzold and Treasurer Dick Groggel.
Board Members were Lewis Arndt; Ralph Bartelt; Rev. Brauer, Immanuel, GR; Charles Ederle; James R. Hale; Doug Humphries; Clare Kuiper; Arthur Lawitzke; Herman Lindhout; Herbert Rachow; John Rosenzweig; Rev. Richard Scholz, Mount Olive, GR; Erwin Schwyn; Wilbur Standish and Otto Stoeffler.
The name CAMP CONCORDIA was officially recorded on March 17, 1957.
BOARD OF TRUSTEE’S 1957-1959
Richard Groggel, Treasurer
Art Hesburn, Camp Director
Doug Humphries, President
Herm Lindhout, Building Chairman
Al Petzold, Secretary
Carl Proch, Promotion
Ralph Richman, Vice President
Rev. Richard Scholz, Pastoral Advisor
DEDICATED IN THE SPRING OF 1957.
THE CAMP MOTTO
BUILDING FOR CHRIST – BODY AND SOUL
adopted early in the first meetings.
The official colors chosen were white for the pre-sence of God, blue for His people in service.
The first logo featured the state of Michigan outline with a cross marking the location of the camp. It was later changed to the logo above. The inner circle to represent our never ending God is entwined with the triangle representing the Trinity and enclosed part of the Messianic Rose as used in Luther’s seal. Within the triangle is the lower peninsula of Michigan with the Chi-Rho cross, the first two letters in the Greek word for Christ. The camp motto is in the outer circle.