The vision for Camp Evergreen was planted in Spring of 1999.
When two members of Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia saw an unused rundown summer camp at Lake Burton, God planted a vision for camping ministry. The property which had 12 cabins for 70 campers was available for rent. As the couple prayed about the idea, they heard clear confirmation through a daily devotional reading.
The subject was the journey of God’s people through the wilderness as they paused at a place of refreshing. “There were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” (Exodus 15:27)
We sowed the first seeds in the Summer of 1999.
In the summer of 1999, Camp Evergreen sowed tiny seeds with big potential. The vision was to continue to plant beside the water a living forest of the faithful with leaves that are always green and have the promise of bearing fruit. (Psalm 1:1-3) The first summer of camp opened in June 1999 with three family camps.
Our seedlings were taking root in the Summer of 2000.
Our first summer as an official camp with both family camps and traditional kids’ camps was in 2000. Camp ran for only 4 weeks and our sessions were all 5 days in length. We were led to begin outreach to at-risk children, and we made the camp available to children and counselors from the Murphy-Harpst Home in Cedartown, GA. This arrangement continued for several years until changes in state policy no longer permitted it.
Camp began new growth in 2002.
More choices in camping sessions were added and we began a partnership with Atlanta-based Wilderness Works to provide camp experiences for disadvantaged inner city kids. The partnership continues today.
Camp Evergreen settled into a time of steady growth in 2004.
Katie Grady became the camp director, and Toby Grady became the camp pastor in 2004 and have continued to build the Evergreen program.
Camp was transplanted into new soil in the Summer of 2009.
In the summer of 2009, it became clear that Evergreen had outgrown our old property and in order to continue to thrive, we needed to find new soil. Mt. Bethel UMC in Marietta was leasing the Camp Winfield property, an attractive camp on Moccasin Creek established by Levoy and Deann Bell Knight. We were offered the opportunity to partner with Mt. Bethel, and once again God confirmed this move through scripture (Isaiah 55:12-13). We added a retreat ministry to the camping program.
Camp took on new life in 2012.
The partnership with Mt. Bethel ended, and the original vision for Camp Evergreen settled down beside a stream of living water in the midst of thousands of acres of National Forest. Camp Evergreen took on new life with 80 acres of growing space.
Camp Evergreen established permanent roots in January 2018.
January 18, 2018, Camp Evergreen officially purchased the camp property from the owner’s estate after the death of Deann Bell Knight. A capital campaign is well underway to pay off the debt and make long-needed improvements.
Camp Evergreen is thriving!
We run 9 weeks of camp. Fifty to sixty children come to Christ every summer. Approximately 160 campers attend camp on full camperships provided by generous supporters of Camp Evergreen.