Camp History

Dennis and Glenda Rowan started Psalm 23 Camp in July 1985. It was not their intention to start a camp. Their objective was to simply take resources that they had at their disposal and give some local children “something to do”.

The first camp provided a three-day camp for 14 local children ages 8-11 without charge. The available resources included a 300 acre farm, some family pack tents, a pickup camper, two picnic tables, two outhouses and some part-time volunteers to help the Rowan’s. All meals were cooked over a open campfire and campers helped with fire building, dish washing, and other duties.

  • 1985 – Psalm 23 Camp began as “something to do” for young people
    • The camp is located on a 300-acre farm owned by Dennis and Glenda Rowan of Gap Mills, WV
    • The camp name, Psalm 23 Camp, was selected because of the Bible’s frequent reference to sheep, and the fact that sheep production is the only farm enterprise of the Rowans.
  • The accommodations for the early years consisted of tent camping on Peters Mountain (3/4 mile from present location), and cooking on open campfires.
  • 1993 – Servants At Work (SAW) program was established as the primary emphasis of the camp. The emphasis is to direct young people 14 and older in work projects for needy individuals/families as a Christian witness.
  • Home Service Projects (HSP) have been the central focus at Psalm 23 Camp for the past 18 years.
  •  Estimated service by volunteers to Monroe and surrounding counties
    • More than 4400 volunteers
    • More than 100,000 hours of volunteer service
    • The volunteer service is equivalent to more than 50 people working 40-hour weeks for an entire year, or one person volunteering 40 hours per week for 50 years
  • Other incidental facts
    • Teams arrive on Sunday evening and leave the following Saturday
    • Meal preparation, housekeeping, building maintenance and lawn care are completed by part-time camp staff
    • About 99 percent of all costs involved in the housing and feeding of volunteers, plus the setup and supervision of HSP, is covered by fees paid by the volunteers and their respective church congregations and/or Christian schools
    • Groups spend Monday of each week working on the camp facilities
    • Approximately 75 percent of the building construction at the camp was completed by volunteers
    • Approximately 250 groups have participated in SAW workcamps
    • Volunteer groups have come from 21 different states. More have come from Michigan than any other state.
    • One couple, John and Ellen Rendle, have lead youth teams from St. Marks Lutheran Church of Wilmington, Delaware every year for the past 15 years. Three Bridges Reformed Church of Flemington, NJ has sent teams for the past 13 years
    • One group from California came two years
    • Approximately 75 percent of the groups attending each summer have participated in a SAW workcamp one or more previous years