In 1974, Calvary Baptist Church and their Pastor, Dr. E.R. Jordan, were seeking a property to be used for a Bible Camp. In December of the same year, 53 acres of beautiful Berks County was purchased from the Assembly of God Church. This was the start of Camp Calvary. The responsibility to direct the camps became part of the Sr. High youth pastor’s ministry. The first camping program was in play during the summer of 1975. Dr. Jeff Tuttle in 1975, Dr. Tim Jordan in 1976-78 (the present Sr. Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale), Pastor Tom Jordan 1979, Pastor Joe Johnson 1980-1981, Pastor Vince Deagler 1982-1983, and Pastor Brian Wahlberg, 1984 – present!
There was much work needed to transition the property from farm usage to Bible camp usage. Through a sacrificial Sunday offering and volunteer labor, Camp Calvary built the large C-shaped pool in 1977 along with setting up a kitchen and dining room in the lower level of the main building.
Further development of the camps potential escalated in the 1980’s. This property offered many possibilities for fun and activities. A plan was then initiated to make full use of the pond and woods, and to create some recreational fields and areas. This sparked the interest of other fellowship church ministries to join in on the camp program. Such attractions as the water slide, water trolley, raft, paddle boats, basketball court, soccer field and land trolley were added. The 80’s brought the start of the unique summer themes with team names, leaders, cheers, costumes and special décor.
A master plan was developed in 1990. The first phase which was a bath-house and six of the fourteen cabins was started in 1993. Rich and Barbara Weaver took residence on the campgrounds that summer. Barbara was the first full-time cook and Rich was the part-time care taker. In 1994, six additional cabins were completed and in 1995 Pastor Wahlberg made the transition from youth pastor and camp, to camp ministry exclusively. The last remaining cabins of phase I were completed in 1998. This plan included the hiring of a full-time staff to compliment the network of hundreds of volunteers who faithfully serve in various capacities. Most notable are our counselors, kitchen staff, lifeguards and the retired men better known as the Craftsmen for Christ; Pastor John Garber was the first member.
The 90’s also brought Camp Calvary an expanded program to include specialty camps such as: Sportsmens’ Weekend, Couples’ Retreats, Wilderness/survival Hikes, Father & Son and Father & Daughter Retreats, Pastors’ Wives, Mens’ and Ladies’ Retreats, School and Family Camps, Senior trips, Outdoor Education, Reunions and Weddings.
Plans were then developed for the renovation of the main building with an additional 5200 square feet added. April of 2000 brought ground breaking and Rich Weaver was brought on as the full-time general contractor and the project began. In January 2002, Camp Calvary purchased 37 additional acres and a 10,000 square foot industrial building to be used as a future activity center.
The Lord has richly blessed the camp ministry and it has grown from 40 days per year usage to over 250 days per year – 500 campers per year to over 6000 per year and a network of over 250 fellowship churches from fifteen different states.
Regardless of this growth, the purpose and mission of the camp has not changed. Camp Calvary is still a Christ-centered, camper conscious ministry utilizing the out of doors to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and edify the believer. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
History of Camp Calvary