BRBC Family Camp brings together Orthodox Presbyterians and their friends throughout the Presbtyery of Southern California once each year for four days of relaxation, fun, and edifying teaching. Family Camp, as it is often called, was first called the Blue Ridge Bible Conference and began as a young people’s camp in the summer of 1941. The first camp was held at Acorn Lodge, in Wrightwood. Dwight Poundstone was a principal figure in the establishment of the Bible conference, and he acted as dean for many years. Blue Ridge is a mountain that looms over Wrightwood to the south, and the bible camp was named for it. Attendance at the camp gradually increased through the years, the character of the camp changed to include people of all ages, and the location of the camp changed a number of times. Despite these changes, the name ‘Blue Ridge Bible Conference’ has continued to be used to the present.
In the early years of the camp there was only one Orthodox Presbyterian presbytery on the Pacific Coast, and people attended the Blue Ridge Bible Conference from both northern and southern California. The conference has been held at a number of sites during its history including Camp Sierra (near Big Creek and Shaver Lake), Hume Lake, Camp Maranatha, Canyon Meadows, Thousand Pines, and currently, Pinecrest Christian Conference Center. The original presbytery that extended from Canada to the Mexican border divided into three presbyteries as the denomination grew. Today there are camps in each of the daughter presbyteries.
Speakers at the Blue Ridge Bible Conference have been quite varied. They have been, and continue to be, committed to the Reformed faith. Speakers have included pastors of our own and other presbyteries, missionaries, seminary teachers, various denominational officers, and well-known people from sister denominations. The Blue Ridge Bible Conference Board has sought to provide a variety of speakers with different kinds of messages. Topics have included pastoral concerns, theology, church history, Christian education, foreign missions, apologetics, and evangelism and outreach.
The Blue Ridge Bible Conference attained something approximating its present form by the late 1950s and early 1960s. Children’s classes, fellowship times, general formats, and the basic structure of the camp organization were decided upon. In the 1980s bylaws were adopted, job descriptions for staff were adopted and implemented, and camp procedures were adopted and implemented. The camp organization that exists today has come about through a long process of development and refinement. The Lord has blessed the ministry of the Word at our conference through the years. It has been and remains an important means of fostering fellowship between the Lord’s people of all ages in various congregations of our presbytery.
As the regional church grows closer in Christian love and unity, the overall health and long-term strength of the churches are improved. Church officers are less lonely and better equipped to serve, presbytery debates are less polarized, families grow closer, singles get married, new friends are made, and people new to our churches are welcomed in to the family.
Many campers choose to volunteer some of their time at camp as teachers, sports leaders, nursery workers, audio aides, and other kinds of helpers. This enriches their camp experience adn helps keep registration fees low. The camp is overseen by a board of elected Orthodox Presbtyerian elders and pastors. Current members of the board are Joe LoGiudice, Jason Lund (President), Peter Moelker, Matt Cotta, Mark Schroeder, James Lim, Christopher Chelpka, John Kent, and Paul Kent.