It all began back in the mid 1940s when a member of St. Paul's Reformed Church in Lancaster, Harry Andrews, had a vision to start a camp for children from the city of Lancaster. The camp functioned as a “summer only” facility during its ownership until the early 1970’s.
On May 14th, 1973, Baltimore Mennonite Mission bought the property. Melvin Delp, Harold Burkholder, and Clyde Weaver, all members at Wilken’s Ave Mennonite Church in Baltimore, had a vision to take youth from the city to Lancaster County. God was reaching the hearts of youth who came to Youth Haven, but more discipleship was needed.
Originally they looked for a “working farm” to give the boys a place to learn good working skills as well as receive spiritual training. Instead they found a camp which they purchased for $75,000.
In 1983, because of the financial and organizational strain that the camp was putting on the Baltimore Mission, Camp Andrews Association was formed with its own board and structure. Ownership was transferred and the first full-time director, Wesley Nolt, was hired in 1984. The buildings were then winterized, and the camp’s use greatly increased as other urban ministries and churches began renting the camp.
In 1993, a new director, Phil Herschberger, was hired. A number of new facilities were added in the subsequent years. A new maintenance shop was built in 1996 and most of the buildings received updates, including furnishings and new siding.
The present dining hall, Pine View Lodge, was completed in 2001. By 2003 the number of youth coming to camp more than tripled (from 1993) to close to 5,000 each year.
A new pool bath house and gymnasium were built in 2007 and 2009, respectively. In 2006 a wilderness trip program began, focusing on reaching young people who had outgrown camp. In 2009, thirty-three trips were taken, and the trip program ended several years later.
In 2017, Marcus Beiler served as a temporary director for two years until Benji Wagler took on the role in 2019. The old Millhouse was replaced in 2019 and expanded to be Creek View Lodge.
From the very beginning to the present, through all the changes and growth in the program and facilities, the vision and purpose of Camp Andrews has remained crystal clear: to introduce urban youth to Jesus.