It’s the last night of Varsity Camp and as the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun! This week has been a blast! We've cliff jumped, enjoyed water sports, conquered the ropes course, engaged in late night conversations and listed to unstoppable laughter. Not to mention the outrageous vintage vibes at the banquet tonight! Campers have surrendered their lives to Jesus for the first time. Some have opened up and found freedom in conversations they thought they never were going to be able to have! God has moved powerfully and we pray that our students keep moving towards where the Lord leads them as they head home tomorrow morning!

SERVE 15 - Friday

It is Friday night, and the inaugural week of Serve 15 is almost over! We are tired, grateful, sore, and excited. We have worked hard, and God has answered a lot of prayers. We have also played hard, and learned a lot from scripture about what it means to be a servant.

Praise the Lord with us that we were able to dismantle and move one of the Adirondack shelters in the back 40, provide firewood to some of camp’s neighbors, serve in the kitchen, help longtime local camp and Little Lake Chapel supporters with home maintenance, and clear, clean, and weed various areas of the Main and Woodlands Campuses.

Please pray that God would keep our campers safe tomorrow as they travel home, and that he would bless them in the coming days, weeks, and months as they seek to live out what they’ve learned into practice.

VARSITY CAMP 2018 - Tuesday

Varsity Camp 2018! It’s the Tuesday of Varsity Camp and things are In full swing! 2.5 days of dance parties, swim tests, lots of good food, team games and of course some powerful chapel sessions. Our campers have already been incredibly impacted by the power of love God has for us! This week we will be fighting for freedom In the lives of these students. These first few days we have talked about all the lies that we start to believe about ourselves from a young age that can sometimes tragically enslave us for the rest of our lives. Be praying that God would give our students the courage to be honest with the lies that have crept into their lives over the years and that they would commit to believing what God has to say about them.

SERVE 15 2018 - Monday

It is Monday night and the inaugural week of Serve 15 is flying by! It’s been amazing to see every single camper both serving sacrificially and making new friends as they join in both the work and the fun with great attitudes.

We have been working on some tough projects, including relocating one of the Adirondack shelters in the back 40, cleaning the camp buses, making hobo breakfast cans and burners, and two campers each day have been serving as Kitchen Boy and Kitchen Girl.

Please pray that God would bless our day away tomorrow as we hike, swim, and soak in some sun and scriptures on Lake Superior.

BOYS CAMP - Tuesday

We’ve made it til Tuesday. The halfway point. It’s said that if a counselor can survive Boys Camp until now, he can survive the rest of the week standing on his head. We’re having an incredible week of ministry, but let’s face it: 116 boys age 9-12 can tax the best of us!

Last time we corresponded with you, we were about to light out from chapel to the fire pit to hear counselor testimonies. And we did, and several boys later told their counselors the testimonies they heard were foundational in their new decision to follow Christ! Amen. But it didn’t end there...

The journey Chief Tom Felten is taking us on has steered even more boys to a first time commitment with Jesus. This is what makes it all worth it. There’s nothing like the wave of Christ crashing down on this camp.

So what else are we up to? Well the heat wave broke last night, finally. We walked south to the railroad tracks this morning for Hobo breakfast. It was a balmy 58 degrees, cloudy with a chance of rain. It was glorious! Gotta love the Yoop in mid-July. 

Of course the boys have played two more games of Capture the Flag, and this afternoon we had another all camp activity called “Coinopoly”. Don’t ask this author what it was all about, but the important thing is it involved a lot of running. This, coupled with the game of CTF tonight, should tucker out the little fellas tonight after their cabin devos. 

Tomorrow afternoon we will pack up the camp and make for several destinations for the annual overnight camp out. This is a unique event only Boys Camp does. It’s an exhausting and exhilarating event, but we wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Keep praying - the Lord is not done here yet. Not by a long shot. 

W.O.L.F. Trails 2018

The W.O.L.F. Trails group has had a wonderful first two days. On Saturday everyone completed the registration process and enjoyed the cool water during their swim test. The rest of their afternoon was filled with learning how to set up their tents, use their camping stoves, purify their water and how to best pack all their gear. In the evening they spent time getting to know one another and then settled in for the night.

Sunday was an early morning rise (3 a.m.) to make sure they caught the ferry from Copper Harbor to Rock Harbor. Lake Superior was beautiful and flat. Once at Rock Harbor they heard from the Park Service and then caught their water taxi to Daisy Farm. Once they left the boat at Daisy Farm it was time to start hiking. They hiked from Daisy Farm to Moskey Basin (about 4 miles) and closed out the long day by enjoying the peaceful wilderness.

Thank you for praying for this group! 


It’s Day 2 of Boys Camp 2018. Starting with the program staff meeting at 7am, until cabin devotions each night around 10pm, the party is on. Full throttle. Non-stop activity. (Yes mom, we are taking some breaks and your sons are well hydrated). 

There’s a series of events which must occur in order for Boys Camp to function properly:

1. The bus must arrive on time - check.
2. Lice free - check.
3. Swim tests - check. 
4. Fiesta picnic - check. 
5. Flag raising - check. 
6. First day of morning/afternoon activities - check. 
7. Trading Post - check. 
8. Stadium supper - check. 
9. Capture the Flag - check. And breathe. 

All good stuff, but that’s not what we’re really here for. We’re here to see Jesus change the hearts of these young men. We’re here to see boys make a commitment to follow our Lord and Savior. Everything else is just a tool to lead this camp of 116 boys into eternity with their Creator. 

Chief Tom Felten is back in the pulpit after several years away. He’s a gifted communicator of God’s word who commands the attention of these lads. The theme for the week is “A Journey with Jesus." Each boy has received a printed guidebook to lead them to the cross. 

Tonight is counselor testimonies. Please be praying for this group of men, our entire program and summer staff who are entrusted with the hearts of your sons this week. We know the Lord has plans for the boys, and we wait with open hearts to see Him move through this camp. 

Adventure 13

Friday, July 13

Adventure 13 wrapped up with a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain providing an amazing view of the U.P. and Lake Superior. It was fun to watch the campers mesh and become a united group as the week progressed. They enjoyed activities at camp like high ropes, biking, riflery, and leathercraft, as well as adventures away from camp such as a bike ride through Marquette, and walking out on the breakwater for an experiential learning moment from Pastor Steve.

Worship has been a special time as campers have worked to set aside worries and focus on their relationship with God. Pastor Steve continued to talk about what should make up the core of who we are; multiply disciples, live to serve, have radical compassion for all people, and live courageously. As camp comes to a close, campers are making decisions about what they will take home and live out. Please continue to pray for the campers as they transition home and have the opportunity to live courageously each day.

Adventure 13 - Monday

It was another warm day in the U.P.! Campers began the morning with a Hobo Breakfast -- a camper favorite! Then they went to the Main Campus to participate in team building activities. In the afternoon, campers chose two activities such as bike riding; waterfront: kayaking, skiing, tubing, canoeing, or swimming; music and outdoor games. 

In chapel, we are learning about some of the core values that should shape our lives if we want to be disciples of Jesus. Monday evening, campers played Capture the Flag and hung out at theTrading Post before heading off to bed.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Girls Camp is off to a great start! So far the weather has been sunny and warm, and the girls have enjoyed lots of time down at the waterfront. 

Jon and Andrea are teaching on the names of God during our chapel sessions. They've covered El Shaddai (sustainer/almighty), El Elyon (most high God), El Olam (the eternal God), and Yahweh (God of Covenant). The girls are learning about how the names of God reflect who He is and how they display His love for them. 

Our theme dinner last night was unicorns and glitter, and all of camp is still sparking from the glitter. Tonight the girls will be enjoying a Star Wars themed dinner. Be sure to check the SmugMug page to see pictures from our theme dinner photo booths: 

Thanks for your prayers for a safe, meaningful, and fun week. We're having a wonderful time so far! 

Adventure 13 2018 - Sunday

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Adventure 13 campers played games on the ball field Saturday night that were designed to help them learn each others’ names while having fun. Their voices sounded beautiful as they sang in the chapel later Saturday evening! Thank you to Eric and Chrissy Griffon for leading the campers in worship. Sunday we had a looooong  hike to Chapel Rock along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Our speaker, Steve Zarrilli, used that famous tree growing atop a huge rock, sustained by roots suspended across a ‘divide’, as a picture of how our lives are nourished through relationship with Christ (John 15). Some campers then swam in a very chilly Lake Superior, while others enjoyed the nearby falls. After the long hike back, dinner at camp, chapel and a snack, the campers were headed for bed. We anticipate that everyone will sleep well tonight!

JV CAMP - Thursday

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

As JV 2018 draws to an end, we would like to recap a number of the great things campers experienced over the past 2 weeks.

  • 25 chapel sessions of teaching and worship
  • 26 times of personal and small group devotions
  • A service project where we assembled care packages and wrote letters to members of the military
  • 10 team challenges including athletic competitions, skits, and the zip line
  • 2 special team challenges including the JV Olympics and the Sandcastle building contest
  • Minute to Win It Competitions during lunch
  • Weekend activities including the night game, Hobo Breakfast, Solid Rock Café Talent Show, and Messy Games
  • 4 skill activities including waterskiing, boating, riflery, archery, leathercraft, mountain biking, group games, and the challenge course
  • 5 different optional evening tournaments including Gaga Ball, Basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, Grizzball, and Nuke Em
  • 2 off-camp trips where we visited Sugarloaf Mountain, Wetmore Landing, and Au Train Beach
  • 3 evening campfires with snacks, worship, and sharing
  • Free time for swimming and visiting the trading post and pine post
  • Yet more important than all of this, counselors have shared that many campers are asking tough questions and making serious steps in their spiritual development. It’s our prayer that JV 2018 powerfully impacts the life of your camper.

On a practical note, if you regularly send emails to your camper on the UPBC website, please don’t send any additional emails after 11 am EST tomorrow (Friday, June 6th).  We want to make sure your messages are printed and delivered before camp ends.


JV CAMP - Wednesday

Happy 4th of July from UPBC!

It’s another picture-perfect day at UPBC. We’ve been blessed with great weather throughout the 2 weeks of JV 2018.

Yesterday was the second off-camp trip for the JV campers. After morning chapel, we traveled to Au Train beach on the shores of Lake Superior. We had lunch on the beach and campers enjoyed time swimming in the Au Train River and playing a variety of beach games. Teams of campers also competed in a sandcastle building contest and a polar bear plunge into Lake Superior. We returned to UPBC for dinner with a special birthday dessert to celebrate all of the birthdays that take place during JV Camp. Campers also continued our most popular evening tournament, the Nuke Em Tournament. Nuke Em is a modified version of volleyball and over 70 campers participated in the 3 night double-elimination competition.

We’re looking forward to another great day at UPBC! Tonight, we’ll celebrate the 4th of July with a campfire, snacks, and watching the fireworks launched by many of our neighbors around the lake.

JV CAMP - Sunday

Sunday, July 1, 2018

We’ve had a great weekend at UPBC! On Friday, we wrapped up the first week of skills and had the first 5 skit performances from the JV teams. We saw a lot of creativity out of the campers.

Also, on Friday night we played our night game. At JV Camp, night games are played after evening chapel and evening devotions. Friday’s game featured a competition between the boys and the girls. To begin, the boys had 10 minutes to hide somewhere on the campgrounds. After those 10 minutes, the girls had 10 minutes to find the boys. In the second round, the girls had 10 minutes to hide and the boys had 10 minutes to find the girls. The goal is to find as many members of the opposite gender as possible. The boys won by a score of 10-5.

On Saturday morning we took part in the UPBC tradition of Hobo Breakfast. Campers cooked their own breakfast on a set of unused railroad tracks near UPBC. Later in the morning, campers completed a service project where we assembled care packages and wrote letters of encouragement to deployed soldiers, new recruits, and veterans of the military.

In the afternoon, teams competed in the annual JV Olympics. The teams competed in different events including a water balloon launch, shooting at the archery range, and BALF (a relay style event where you toss different items into a bucket), and a canoe regatta. On Saturday evening we held the Solid Rock Café talent show. We had many talented campers sing, act, and perform for the entire camp. Saturday night ended with heavy rain breaking many days of intense heat.

Due to rain throughout the day on Sunday, we moved our messy games to Sunday morning. Be on the lookout for some excellent pictures of campers having good, clean... I mean, good, messy fun. 

Looking ahead to the 2nd week of JV, we’re happy to have Nicette Ducote and Matt Frazer teach during chapel and having a Wellspring team from Spring Arbor University lead worship. Nicette is a missionary with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) based in Madison, Wisconsin. Matt is an elder and frequent speaker at Lake Pointe Bible Church in Plymouth, Michigan. It will be another great week of camp!

PS: If you write emails or send letters, please encourage your campers to drink water. We’ve provided all of the campers with nice, reusable water bottles. All of the reminders we can provide are helpful.

JV CAMP - Thursday

Yesterday, campers went on their first of two off-camp trips. Our first stop was a picnic lunch at Picnic Rocks Park in Marquette. The second portion of our afternoon was a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain. After spending some time at the summit, we hiked down the mountain to Wetmore Landing. For the final portion of our trip, we enjoyed some free time on the beach. We returned to UPBC for dinner, free time, the conclusion of the basketball tournament, and evening chapel.

Today is a very warm day at camp. Campers have continued competing in their team challenges and having fun during their skill sessions. Many campers are looking forward to getting in the lake during open-swim and enjoying some ice cream at the trading post.

We’re also happy to report that many campers are seizing the opportunities here at JV Camp to grow in their faith. Jeff Martin has structured morning chapels so that campers complete a “quiet time” prior to coming to the chapel session for worship and teaching. Campers have reported that this has helped them prepare for the upcoming chapel session. During the evening chapel times, Dean has structured the teaching so that campers are able to meet with their counselors to respond to the topics he’s presented from the book of Luke. Many campers are having good spiritual conversations with their counselors!

JV CAMP - Tuesday

We’ve had two more beautiful days at UPBC. The mornings are cool but temperatures have risen throughout the day. The Team Challenge Championship competition is heating up and campers are connecting and responding to the chapel time. Starting today, we’re providing campers with time prior to chapel to have a morning “quiet time” to read their Bible, pray, respond to prepared prompts from our speakers, and journal.

As you may know, the theme for JV 2018 is “Solid.”  During chapels and devotions, campers will investigate what makes for a "solid" foundation to their faith and ways to develop and maintain a "solid" relationship with Christ. It’s our hope and prayer that these two weeks will make lasting impact on each camper’s spiritual journey and walk with God.

During the evenings, campers continue to enjoy ice cream from the trading post and optional tournaments. Earlier this week we held a 4-on-4 Gaga Ball tournament. This evening we are starting the 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

In the days ahead, we’re looking forward to an exciting day trip away from camp and many JV traditions during the upcoming weekend.

JV CAMP 2018

Sunday, June 24th

Hello from UPBC!

We’ve had a great start to JV Camp 2018! On Saturday afternoon, campers checked in, learned about JV Camp, signed up for their skill activities, and completed the swim test. This week campers are water skiing and wake boarding, at the rifle and archery range, on the high ropes course and climbing tower, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and playing group games and initiatives.  

After a picnic dinner, campers met their teams for the two-week long team challenge championship. Teams are co-ed groups of 10-11 campers of all ages. Campers then competed in their first team challenge, a game called Ultimate Capture the Flag. After some great competition, campers gathered around the campfire to more formally meet all the counselors, counselors-in-training, speakers, and support staff. Campers were challenged to grow in their faith, step outside of their comfort zones, and to embrace the opportunity to make new friendships and strengthen existing friendships. 

The weather in the Upper Peninsula is chilly today. Despite the cool start, campers enjoyed a warm breakfast, and attended their first chapel. For the first week of JV 2018, Jeff Martin is teaching a series in the morning involving the foundational aspects of the Christian faith. Jeff and his wife, Angie, are missionaries with UPBC Missions serving as the Gwinn Area Outreach Coordinators. Joshua Haynes, the Pastor of Youth Ministries at Lake Pointe Bible Church in Plymouth, Michigan, is leading worship. In the evenings, Dean Johnson will be speaking out of the book of Luke. Dean is the Pastor of Lake Pointe Bible Church.

JV 2018 is off to a great start and we’re looking forward to a great 2 weeks of camp!!


The WOLF Trails crew (8 boys and 2 counselors) has had an amazing trip. On Saturday the boys became familiar with the gear they would be using on Isle Royale. Once all the gear and food was given out, the counselors helped the campers get their bags packed and loaded up for an early morning departure. At 4 am on Sunday they left UPBC for Copper Harbor where they caught the ferry over to the Island. After a full day of travel, they arrived at Moskey Basin, where they enjoyed a wonderful dinner, a refreshing time in the water, and a friendly fox that attempted to get into their things. Monday, the group slept in and then hit the trail around noon since they only had 3-4 hours of hiking before arriving at West Chicken Bone. There they enjoyed another great dinner and some time in Chicken Bone Lake. Tuesday the group was up earlier due to the 11 miles they had to hike. They woke up to slight rain but the rest of the day it was clear skies. This picture shows how God was protecting them from a big storm that was just south of them. They wrapped up the day at Todd Harbor with some time enjoying Lake Superior, another great meal, and they even had time to do laundry! Wednesday the group traveled to McCargo Cove. Tune in later for a wrap up of their week!


Rumors of the demise of UPBC Boys Camp have been greatly exaggerated. Everyone made it home safe from the overnighter. One canoe tipped over on the AuTrain River...everyone dried out. Two cabins left their dinner (and breakfast) back at camp in the Longhouse freezer...they sent an embassy to ShopKo and bought brats and Kielbasa. Eighty-some campers played jungle capture the flag in a field of ferns and massive blueberries...great game, better eating. 

Everyone survived to live another gorgeous day of perfect weather at BC17. After returning from the overnighter, all showered. Everyone. Some for the first time. It ain't roses around here yet, but it ain't skunk anymore either.

We crammed in both the morning and afternoon activity sessions before dinner. After dinner was the annual treasure hunt, which apparently wasn't the most difficult. The winning cabin found the bounty in less than two minutes. What to do with all the extra time? That's right - capture the flag. 

In chapel tonight Chief George is speaking on Moses and the plagues. Following chapel, its camper testimony night. We can't wait to hear the stories of boys who have decided to surrender and follow Jesus. 

Keep praying - the Lord isn't finished with this group yet.


We apologize for the delay in posting a new blog. Here's the reason - when Boys Camp at UPBC is rocking like it is this week, it's hard to find a few quiet minutes to write. Let's work backwards, eh?  

Right now it's Tuesday evening chapel. Chief George is finishing up his messages on Joseph. There's little doubt, based on the feedback from counselors, the boys are being stirred by the Holy Spirit due to the words provided George. 

Before chapel, it was Swamp Capture the Flag. Why "swamp" you ask? Well if you've ever been at UPBC after a massive, hours-long rain, the center of camp appears as a swamp of floating pine needles. There is no better way to get messy. Mothers, please cringe. Your son is safe. Wet, but safe. 

Before S-CTF, it was fiesta dinner. Not a lot of great Mexican food places in the UP, but UPBC knocked it out the park. ¡Viva Susie Van Ryn!

Before fiesta dinner was morning and evening activities, lunch...blah blah blah. Before the blah's was Hobo breakfast, the single greatest signature meal of UPBC. Let us pause and give thanks for abandoned railroad tracks, paraffin wax, bacon grease and the all-purpose tool. May we continue to risk our lives in this marvelous way. 

Yesterday? Well that was kind of a blur and this author has since forgotten the events, but we have had some glorious stories shared. 

- There was a boy suffering from a little homesickness. He was alone, sobbing at the beginning of chapel. Two other boys sat down next to him and gave encouragement. Problem solved. 

- Another boy was lagging behind during the mountain biking class. A biggest and fastest kid saw what was going on, so he stopped and let everyone pass him by. He gave up his lead (and the challenge to go as fast as he could) to hang back and encourage the slower rider. 

- A boy with a limited-use arm signed up for archery. He didn't have the strength to draw back the bow...not even close. The activity leaders took the time to modify a bow, figured out a strategy for him to hold the bow with his feet and then lean back against a heavy chair. Mission accomplished. The kid was able to fire and was shooting bullseyes. 

Most importantly, there have been a few boys who have told their leaders they made a commitment to follow Christ. We trust there will be more.  

Tomorrow afternoon the camp empties as the boys and their counselors pack up and leave for the off-site overnight campout. Please be praying for the weather and the counselors. This is by far the most stressful part of the week, but it presents itself with amazing opportunities to reach young boys with the Gospel.