Who we are

Camp Sankanac is a ministry of BCM International and exists for the sole purpose of seeing children and adults grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Our desire is that our programming and facilities enable individuals to get away from life’s distractions and focus on God. Camp Sankanac partners with parents, churches, and schools in providing a unique outdoor learning environment for children and adults to deepen their walk with God. Throughout the year we offer overnight youth camps, day camp, retreats, educational opportunities, hunting resources, and sports programming.

To learn more about Camp Sankanac, contact us at info@campsankanac.org or call us at 610-469-6320.

What do we believe?

What Makes Sankanac so Special?

Everyone who comes to Camp Sankanac says there is no place like it. What makes Camp Sankanac so special?

Our Focus

We exist to encourage youth and adults to accept Christ as Savior and Lord and to lead them to mature in their Christian walk. This purpose is carried out through summer camp programs, retreats, and educational initiatives. The Gospel and God’s Word is central in everything we do.

Our Location

We are located right between several major cities (Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Lancaster), yet our Camp is in a quiet, forested and historic area nestled along the beautiful French Creek. It’s a perfect getaway for your child, family or church!

Our History

We are located in a beautiful and historic area. Many of our buildings date back into the early 1800’s. Two camps were already using the property before BCM Intl. purchased it in 1941. Since that time, we’ve made an effort to keep all this history alive.

Our People

We are made up of almost 80 years of staff, campers, alumni, partners, and many others. It is these special people that make Camp Sankanac unique and special. We now have both new families, and multi-generational families attending Sankanac.

Our History

With a deep appreciation of what camping could mean in the life of a child, and having had some exhilarating camping experience herself, Bessie Traber, founder of Bible Club Movement, incorporated into her Bible Club program a summer camping program. Until 1941 properties were rented, but in the spring of 1941 the Lord laid it upon Miss Traber’s heart to seek a permanent facility that could operate throughout the year….

After many weeks of weary hunting and looking over various properties, none of which were suitable, Miss Traber told the Lord she would no longer be hunting, but would trust him to bring to her attention the site He had for a camp. Not long after, a realtor took her to see a property known as Olde Mill Lodge, an expensive boys camp with a girl’s camp known as Camp Sankanac across French Creek. A high school principal owned these camps, but wanted to sell only Olde Mill Lodge. With assurance in her heart that the Lord wanted BCM to have both properties. Miss Traber waited on the Lord to cause the owner to sell both camps. Within a few days they offered both properties for sale and at the close of the week funds had been given miraculously, and settlement was made. Both properties became one camp – Camp Sankanac, the first Bible Club Camp.

Mr. Vaughn Smith a dedicated high school teacher, directed boy’s camp which had two encampments that first summer. Miss Dorothy Scott of the BCM staff directed three weeks of girl’s camp. Camp closed that summer with much joy and evidence of the Lord’s working in lives.

It was apparent that more dining room and kitchen space would be necessary for the following summer. During the winter of 1941 – 42 Mr. Earl Webster, who lived on the camp property, constructed the present dining room and kitchen. In these early years, one half of the dining room was used as the chapel. Later as the need arose for dining room space, the barn was cleaned out and floored over to make what is now the Camp Sankanac chapel.

In 1956 much prayer went up to the Lord for a modern, chlorinated swimming pool. Campers, parents, and counselors got behind this project in a wonderful way. The contractor built it at cost and then accepted monthly payments of whatever the Lord sent in. Within two years there was great rejoicing that the pool was paid for. Two years later a dam was constructed across French Creek to provide a better boating area.

In 1971, sensing the need for winterized cabins to care for a growing retreat program, the BCM board authorized two double winterized cabins to be built at Cliffside village. Many campers and parents provided the fund for this undertaking. Between 1960 and 1978 additional acreage became available so that Potts farm, two sections of the Himes farm, the Kulp property and the Taylor property were added to the original 41 acres, bringing the camp property to it’s present size.

In 1981 the maintenance building was erected and in the winter of 1983 the infirmary was constructed. In 1985 Pilgrim’s Rest was renovated into a year round residence for full time camp staff. In 1987 the Parker House was renovated and turned into a small group retreat house, giving camp it’s second year round retreat facility. Starting in 1992, the Parker House began to house the Aleitheia Learning Center, a weekday educational ministry for local homeschoolers at the primary and secondary level.

1988 brought the purchase of a new John Deere tractor and the complete renovation of the camp olympic sized swimming pool. It also saw the beginning of our Outdoor Education ministry with a Creation/Creator emphasis and the first of three “Goodscience” curriculum workshops with the Institute of Creation Research.

1990 was the 50th anniversary of Camp Sankanac and was celebrated with two very special reunions for former staff and campers. “Mr. Roy” Lowrie, director of boy’s camp for over 20 years gave the keynote address and a special Kanaknas ceremony was held. Miss Dorothy Scott founder and director of Sankanac gave the amp girl’s camp address. These were two of the most memorable days in camp history. In October of 1991 the main house was dedicated in Miss Dorothy’s Scott’s honor, and soon after, she went home to be with the Lord after a long illness. Also, in 1990, ‘Last Resort’, the male staff housing facility, was torn down and rebuilt as Lenape Lodge.

Throughout the 1990’s, Camp Sankanac has renovated, remodeled, and upgraded it’s facilities. The Pinesite and Creekside white houses were rebuilt. Pott’s Barn and the Mill were re-roofed. Bear Lodge, the female staff housing facility was rebuilt and winterized. A soccer field was added to the old archery field.

Since 2000, a kitchen addition was completed at the Parker House and Pilgrim’s Rest, the Laurel House, and the Scott building have been remodeled. We are grateful for the facilities the Lord has given us at Sankanac, but far more important than all the material provision the Lord has given is the change He has wrought in lives through the years. Hundred of campers have come to know Him and have gone on to live for Him daily. Many of these campers are serving the Lord throughout the world today. Truly He has done and is doing ‘exceeding, abundantly more than we ask.’ Praise His Name!


Our Staff

Roy Schell
Roy SchellExecutive Director
Roy and his wife Sheila have served at Camp Sankanac since 2002…

After serving as the Director of Maintenance for 12 years, Roy has been serving as the Executive Director since 2012.  Roy gives oversight to all that happens here at camp and insures that everything we do helps us in fulfilling our mission.  Sheila shares in the ministry by serving as camp nurse whenever she is needed as well as a variety of other roles.  Roy and Sheila serve alongside their three children, Cole, Kyle and Larissa.

About Roy:

  • Favorite scripture verse: Ephesians 2:10
  • How old were you when you became a believer in Jesus? Teenager
  • One thing you’d love to do: I would love to travel to Hawaii and/or Alaska with my family
  • Favorite place to eat: Red Lobster
  • First job: I worked at the Steak Shop at Zerns
  • Favorite place at camp: Along the French Creek back behind Lenape (Please don’t tell anyone. Too many people will ruin the peacefulness).
  • What do you love most about working at Camp Sankanac? The diversity of jobs that each day can bring, and watching the Lord work in the hearts of young believers.
Dave & Brielle Stallard
Dave & Brielle StallardAssistant Directors
Brielle Stallard – Director of Finance and Administration. Dave Stallard – Director of Programming, Recruiting, and The Call Outdoors…

Brielle has lived at Camp Sankanac her entire life and enjoyed being raised as a “camp kid”. Being the daughter of the previous camp director, Jan Coudriet, she enjoys continuing the legacy of ministry that her parents established here. Brielle has served as Office manager since 2007 and is responsible for registration, finance and other office (and non-office) related responsibilities. She also enjoys being the Secretary for The Call Outdoors ministry. Brielle loves watching her daughter, Ella, experience a similar childhood that she enjoyed and the whole family has been blessed by the safe arrival of  Jordan in January of 2017.

About Brielle:

  • Favorite Bible passage: Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Favorite worship song: What Wondrous Love is This?
  • Favorite food: Italian
  • Favorite season at camp and why: I love fall–camp is stunningly beautiful as the leaves change!
  • First job at camp: Dishwasher at Traber Center
  • Country you’d like to visit: Anywhere I can see the Northern Lights!
  • Where you grew up: Right here at Sankanac!
  • What you wanted to be when you were a child: Singer
  • What do you like most about the ministry of Camp Sankanac?

This place is a place of peace and rest for so many…there is something about coming here and seeing God’s beautiful creation and being away from your typical surroundings that draws your focus to higher things. It’s the perfect setting to dig into God’s Word and learn more about Him. One of my favorite things is seeing campers who are long past camper age return to camp and reminisce about all that God taught them at camp and how those truths impacted them throughout the entire course of their life. No matter the setting, no matter your surroundings or circumstances, God’s truth never changes. For generations, this simple and life-changing message has been communicated to campers and guests.  It’s awesome to see campers, staff and alumni apply God’s truths to their lives bringing about restoration, encouragement and strength to face each day.

Dave Stallard has been serving at Camp Sankanac since 2007 when he started The Call Outdoors ministry to hunters.  As a ministry of Camp Sankanac and BCM International, The Call Outdoors uses church game dinners, to hunting videos, to hunting trips, to national television and other outdoor related avenues to share the Gospel.  TCO has seen over 1,000 individuals come to faith in Christ through their outreach events.  Dave also serves at Sankanac as Co-Assistant Director and oversees the summer camp programming, recruitment and directs boys’ basketball camp each summer.

Dave and his wife Brielle serve at Sankanac together and praise the Lord for their two daughters,  Ella and Jordan.

About Dave:

  • Favorite Bible passage: Rev. 21
  • Favorite worship song: In Christ Alone
  • Favorite food: Mashed Potatoes
  • Favorite season at camp and why: Fall & Summer. Fall is the most beautiful time to be at camp. Summer is a time to spend with all the kids!
  • First job at camp: Pulling weeds out of all the flower beds at Traber Center.
  • Country you’d like to visit: Israel
  • Where you grew up: Clarks Summit, PA
  • What you wanted to be when you were a child: A professional Basketball player.
  • What do you like most about the ministry of Camp Sankanac? Being a part of growing disciples of Jesus Christ.
Travis Emmett
Travis EmmettDevelopment & Communications Manager
Travis has been involved with Camp Sankanac since 2015 when he served on Sankanac’s summer camp staff team. Travis returned to work year-round…

for Sankanac at the beginning of 2017 to complete a year-long internship program through City Vision University while finishing his degree in nonprofit management. After completing his internship, Travis was asked to become a full-time staff member and BCM Intl. missionary. Travis enjoys being married to his childhood sweetheart, Bonnie; being a father to his twin children (Adalyn & Clayton); and serving the other Sankanac staff members, guests, and partners.

About Travis:

Favorite book of the Bible: Ecclesiastes

One thing you would like to do: Start my own nonprofit that focuses on helping bring together other nonprofits and faith-based ministries to work together to be more effective and efficient through collaboration and innovation.

Favorite thing about Camp Sankanac: Being able to share the gospel and help disciple and train the next generation of Christian’s.

Jeff Murphy
Jeff MurphyMaintenance

Jeff and his wife Debbie have been serving at Camp Sankanac since 2011. Jeff works hard keeping our facilities…

Jeff and his wife Debbie have been serving at Camp Sankanac since 2011.  Jeff works hard keeping our facilities functioning properly and in excellent condition.  As a team member of The Call Outdoors (TCO), since 2007 Jeff has led countless individuals to faith in Jesus through that ministry.   Jeff and Debbie have also served as mentors to our summer support staff.  Additionally, Debbie uses her creativity and photography skills to help capture all that goes on here at camp.  Jeff and Debbie serve alongside their son, Jake.

About Jeff:

  • Favorite scripture verse: Isaiah 53:5, John 3:16-17, Romans 10:13
  • How old were you when you became a believer in Jesus? 8
  • One thing you’d love to do: I would love to visit Israel as a family.
  • Favorite place to eat: Friendly’s, Red Lobster, and Camp Mill in the summer.
  • First job: I worked as a dishwasher at the Peddler Inn Restaurant
  • Favorite place at camp: Main Camp in the summer time, Old Field in off season
  • What do you love most about working at Camp Sankanac?

1) Watching men come to the Lord through game dinners and challenging them at Father/son weekend events through The Call Outdoors ministry

2) Seeing kids come to know the Lord and grow in that relationship through summer camps and retreats

3) Helping the summer support staff mature in their walk with the Lord and the many off season visits we get from them.

In conclusion, what is not to love when you are following God’s will for your life?

Ben Hallman
Ben HallmanMaintenance
Ben and His wife, Erin were both campers and counselors at Camp Sankanac in the past. Ben served on full time staff from 2002-2008…

Ben and His wife, Erin were both campers and counselors at Camp Sankanac in the past.  Ben served on full time staff from 2002-2008 as part of the maintenance crew. They returned to camp to serve full-time in 2014.  Ben serves on maintenance; taking care of all the facilities and keeping the grounds looking good. Ben and Erin serve alongside their two boys; Jacob and Samuel and their daughter, Kate.

About Ben:

  • Favorite Bible passage: Micah 6:6-8
  • Favorite worship song:  It is Well with My Soul
  • Favorite food: Anything my wife makes
  • Favorite season at camp and why: Winter – I love snow
  • First job at camp: Counselor in Creekside
  • Country you’d like to visit:  I have no desire to travel overseas
  • Where you grew up: Gilbertsville, PA
  • What you wanted to be when you were a child:  A police officer or doing some sort of construction
Phil Stallard
Phil StallardMaintenance
Phil is serving the Lord full-time on the maintenance team and helps…

with IT support. He is also a long-time team member of The Call Outdoors ministry and looks forward to continuing to serve in that capacity. Phil became a full-time BCM Missionary in May of 2016 and is excited to be in full-time ministry at Sankanac.

About Phil:

Favorite Bible passage: Habakkuk
Favorite worship song: Be Thou My Vision
Favorite food: Chick-fil-A
Favorite season at camp and why: Fall, because of the cooler temps and the changing of the leaves.
First job at camp: Maintenance
Country you’d like to visit: Israel
Where you grew up: Clarks Summit PA
What you wanted to be when you were a child: Professional basketball player
What do you like most about the ministry of Camp Sankanac? The best thing about Camp Sankanac is being able to pour into the next generation of kids through the outdoors.

Jonelle Tholan
Jonelle TholanHousekeeper
Jonelle has been serving at Camp Sankanac since 1998. Jonelle serves as our housekeeper at the Traber Center and our Main Camp facilities…

Her expertise is making sure every aspect of those facilities is in great shape for our guests. Jonelle plays an invaluable role in making sure our guests have a great experience at Camp Sankanac.Jonelle

About Jonelle:

Favorite scripture verse: Psalm 139
How old were you when you became a believer in Jesus? 7, accepted Christ at camp
One thing you’d love to do: travel to Finland to see where my mother’s ancestors lived
Favorite place to eat: the Pit Stop
First job: newspaper deliverer
Favorite place at camp: The waterfall
What do you love most about working at Camp Sankanac? That it is ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. I had wanted to work at a Christian camp since I was a little girl.

Bob & Sharon Emmett
Bob & Sharon EmmettChurch Relations Coordinator & Guest Services Coordinator
Bob and Sharon join the Sankanac team with decades of camp…

experience. After serving at a wilderness therapeutic camp for boys, they joined BCM Int’l as missionaries in 1996. Following an ‘extended’ route through Southeast Asia, they landed in northern New York and were privileged to serve and raise their 4 children at BCM’s Mandaville Camp & Retreat Center. Both are passionate about reaching and discipling the next generation for Christ using outdoor and wilderness experiences. They are eager to discover how they can best help the team effectively minister to campers, families, and local churches in the surrounding communities.

Getting to know the Emmetts:

Favorite Bible passage: Bob – Galatians 2:20 Sharon-Heb 12:1-2, Eph 1-2

· Favorite worship song: Bob- King of the Nations Sharon- Before the Throne, And Can it Be

· Favorite food: Bob- Sri Lankan chicken curry Sharon-anything cooked over a campfire, trail mix

· Where you grew up: Bob- Rhode Island Sharon-Michigan

· First jobs: Bob- Pizza maker Sharon-US Army

· What you wanted to be when you were a child: Bob- Professional bowler Sharon-Veterinarian

· When/where did you come to know Jesus as Savior? Bob- At the age of 23 back in RI

Sharon- When I was 7or 8 yrs old sitting up in a tree at home.

· What you would do with time off: Bob- play banjo and guitar, mountain bike, hiking/running

Sharon-explore, read, hike, camp repeat (preferably all those together)

· What do you love about Christian camp ministry:

Bob – I love the intentional relationship-building between campers and staff in the natural environment where God’s voice can be heard and responded to through His creation, His Word, and His people. It thrills me to see campers make personal and spiritual discoveries about themselves and God’s love for them that profoundly impacts their lives.

Sharon- helping kids come to know the Creator God and discover that God intentionally made them unique and loves them that way, helping kids conquer fears, discover and use their imaginations, and play in the outdoors.

Morgan DiGiosia
Morgan DiGiosiaHorse Camp Director & Riding Instructor
Hi, my name is Morgan DiGiosia and I am the Horse Camp Director/Riding Instructor at Camp Sankanac.

I have had horses since I was 3 years old and have been riding and competing since i was about 5 years old. I have competed in Hunters, Jumpers, X-Country, and Western Gaming such as barrel racing. I worked here during the summer since I was 15 years old and now have my dream job of not only teaching kids and young adults about horses and how to ride, but also sharing the gospel with them. I’m looking forward to this journey and seeing where God leads me at Stillwater Stables located at Camp Sankanac.

Amanda Smedley
Amanda SmedleyDirector of Food Services
Amanda’s love for camp began 20 years ago, as a camper and continued in 2009 when she came on staff as a kitchen worker…

She has been in the restaurant industry for 12 years and graduated from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in 2010. Aside from serving at multiple camps she has worked in numerous restaurants in Chester County and the surrounding Philadelphia region. Her responsibilities at Sankanac will include cooking for the various retreat groups as well as the summer camp, ordering and overseeing food preparation.

About Amanda:

Favorite verse: James 1:17

Favorite worship song: So will I

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite season at camp: Spring-it gets me excited about camp

What do you like most about the ministry at Camp Sankanac? I am so blessed to be able to pour into the lives of all who come across my path. I was blessed by so many staff members as a camper and it is awesome to be able to do that for others and be used by God in that capacity.

Kirsten McMullan
Kirsten McMullanYouth Camping Development / Bible Teaching
Kirsten describes herself as a ‘blow-in’ to Camp Sankanac representing the many Northern Irish who have served here in the past.

She joins the full-time Sankanac staff after 15 years teaching and subsequently leading a High School English Department. This summer marks 10 years since her first visit to camp where she has undertaken various roles – counselor, kitchen staff, receptionist, speaker etc. all in a summer volunteer capacity and in 2016, during a sabbatical, she worked at camp for the year.

During a busy season of her life: teaching teens, speaking at ladies and youth events, volunteering as a certified Biblical Counselor and recording her second studio album, God interrupted her plans. His calling to leave the comfort of home, the success of secular work and step out into full-time ministry for ‘such a time as this’ is how she has found herself here again.

Getting to know Kirsten:

Favorite Bible passage: John 4

· Favorite worship song: CityAlight – My God Is All I Need

· Favorite food: Chinese food / Fish and chips

· Where you grew up: Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland

· First jobs: The family dairy farm / Post Office Ltd

· What you wanted to be when you were a child: A teacher

· When/where did you come to know Jesus as Savior? At my bedside, as child of 6, following ‘The Good News Club’ at our church.

· What you would do with time off: Read, watch true crime series, play the guitar (badly), hike in the Mourne Mountains, spend time with my family and friends or anything that includes music.

· What do you love about Christian camp ministry: I believe that BCMs focus on the 4-14 window is a challenge to all who have a heart to win young people and children to Christ. I love building relationships and trying to share the gospel in a relatable, practical way with those God brings my way. There is no better place for this than at camp.

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