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Meet The Staff
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Jeff & Ann Nelson

Jeff's journey with Ponderosa Bible Camp is marked by a profound connection to our mission. Beginning as one of our inaugural campers in 1976, Jeff's evolution from camper to a vital member of our summer staff during high school and college demonstrates his enduring commitment.

Armed with a Degree in Business Management and an Associates Degree in Landscape/Horticulture, Jeff's post-college journey took a corporate turn. He and Ann married, and Jeff spent a decade as the Vice President of a multi-million dollar commercial landscape company in Birmingham, AL, showcasing his business acumen and horticultural expertise.

In a pivotal shift, Jeff chose to leave the corporate world after 10 years to embrace full-time ministry at Ponderosa. Since 1998, Jeff and Ann have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the camp. In his role as Executive Director, Jeff's visionary leadership propels our camp towards continuous growth and impact. Ann, his wife, contributes significantly as our camp photographer and adeptly manages our website and social media platforms.

Choosing to live and work at camp year-round, the Nelsons have transformed Ponderosa into more than a workplace; it's their home. Their commitment transcends professional roles, shaping the very essence of our camp community.

The Nelson family stands as a testament to deep love and connection, with 11 children, 6 happily married, and 11 (and counting) proud grandchildren—a vibrant reflection of the values we hold dear.​

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Jon David & Sarah Nelson

Jon David, born and raised at Ponderosa as the son of Jeff and Ann Nelson, has a rich history with our camp. In June 2022, he married his college sweetheart, Sarah Welch. Their love story began at Bryan College, where they not only excelled on the track team together but also graduated side by side.

Having served as Camp Counselors during their college years, Jon David and Sarah felt a divine confirmation of their call to become full-time missionaries at Ponderosa. Their journey continues with a commitment to raising support, actively seeking new prayer and financial partners.

Living and working at camp year-round, Jon David and Sarah contribute significantly to our mission. Sarah, currently an Assistant Track & XC Coach at Covenant College, adds her expertise to our vibrant team.

As donor-supported staff members, Jon David and Sarah, like their colleagues, depend on your generosity to continue their impactful roles at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your donations towards their support are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt.

Thank you for considering supporting Jon David and Sarah Nelson. 

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Diane Chavers

Bringing over 30 years of devoted service in children's ministry, Diane Chavers stands as a pillar of experience at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Prior to her time with us, Diane, alongside her late husband Daryl, shared their passion for ministry at The Big Oak Ranch with John Croyle in Gadsden, AL., and later at the Baptist Children's Home in Memphis, TN. 
In 2009, both Daryl and Diane joyfully joined the Ponderosa family, serving side by side until Daryl's passing in 2018. Diane, committed to honoring Daryl's legacy, continues to serve as our Mailbox Club Coordinator and Lesson Grader, contributing significantly to the outreach of our ministry.
Beyond her official roles, Diane extends her warm and compassionate nature by assisting Mrs. Sherrie with grocery shopping and food prep.
As a donor-supported staff member, Diane relies on your generosity to sustain her impactful role at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your donations towards her support are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt.
Thank you for considering supporting Diane Chavers in her compassionate service at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your generosity is fundamental in maintaining our vibrant community and diverse ministries.

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Max & Sherrie Grizzard

Max and Sherrie Grizzard have been instrumental in our ministry since 2002, passionately serving through DeKalb County Released Time Bible Classes and Summer Camp.

Max, our dedicated director, has led DeKalb County Released Time, providing weekly Bible classes in public schools in DeKalb County, Alabama. This vital ministry has been impacting lives for nearly two decades under his leadership.

During summer camp, Max and Sherrie take on the crucial role of Kitchen Directors, overseeing menu planning, and training and supervising our TEAM Members. Their dedication ensures a smooth and enjoyable dining experience for everyone at camp.

Beyond their roles, Max and Sherrie are parents to 7 children, with 5 happily married, and proud grandparents of 6 (and counting). Recently relocating from Gadsden, Alabama, they now call Ponderosa home year-round.

As donor-supported staff members, Max and Sherrie, rely on your generosity to continue their impactful roles at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your donations towards their support are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt.

Thank you for considering supporting Max and Sherrie Grizzard in their dedicated service at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your generosity plays a vital role in sustaining our vibrant community and diverse ministries.

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Wesley & Sarah Grizzard

Wesley Grizzard, son of Max and Sherrie Grizzard, has a long history with Ponderosa, having attended every summer growing up. Recently completing the 1-year Internship Program with our parent organization, Children's Bible Ministries, Wesley discovered a clear call from God to join our staff as a full-time missionary.

In a delightful twist, Wesley tied the knot with Sarah Smothers, who herself served at Ponderosa for many years during her high school and college days.

Wesley brings his dedication and passion to his role in grounds and building maintenance, working tirelessly to keep our campus beautiful. His commitment is not just seasonal; Wesley and Sarah now live and work at camp year-round.

 Your donations towards their support are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt.

Thank you for considering supporting Wesley and Sarah Grizzard in their devoted service at Ponderosa Bible Camp. 

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Donor Supported Missionaries

Empower Our Mission: Support Our Donor-Supported Staff! 

At Ponderosa Bible Camp, every staff member relies on the generosity of supporters like you. None of our dedicated staff missionaries receive a base salary from the camp; instead, we depend on individuals who appreciate our ministry and share our vision for reaching children and teens.

Your donations towards our support are invaluable, making a meaningful impact on our ability to make a difference.

Thank you for standing with us in this important endeavor!

Gratefully,
Jeff Nelson, Executive Director
Ponderosa Bible Camp

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Chris & Gina Dorough

Chris and Gina Dorough bring a wealth of diverse experiences to the vibrant community at Ponderosa Bible Camp. With a background deeply rooted in the commercial landscaping industry, Chris's journey includes founding his own successful landscape company before seamlessly integrating into the Ponderosa family. Interestingly, his connection with our Executive Director, Jeff Nelson, dates back to their collaborative efforts in the landscape industry in Birmingham, adding a unique and integral thread to the tapestry of our camp's history.

On the educational front, Gina, a seasoned Elementary School Principal and Teacher, alongside her husband Chris, responded to a higher calling a decade ago, embracing full-time ministry at Ponderosa. Together, they have become indispensable pillars of our team. Chris adeptly manages Guest Rental Group Bookings and serves as our skilled videographer, showcasing not only his organizational prowess but also his creative flair. Meanwhile, Gina, an educational powerhouse, lends her expertise to our summer camp and extends support and training to our new bookkeeper.

In a testament to her unwavering commitment, Gina returned to the classroom at Little Ridge Intermediate School in Fort Payne in the fall of 2023, further demonstrating her dedication to both ministry and education.

As vital members of our staff, Chris and Gina Dorough rely on the generosity of supporters like you to continue their impactful roles at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your generous contributions make a significant difference, and we extend our heartfelt thanks for your support. Rest assured, your donations will be warmly acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt, recognizing the crucial role you play in sustaining the meaningful work of Chris and Gina at Ponderosa Bible Camp.

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Gracie Ballard

Ponderosa Bible Camp proudly welcomes Gracie Ballard as our latest full-time staff missionary! Having reached her support-raising goal in May 2023, Gracie made the exciting move to Ponderosa, bringing her passion and dedication to our mission.

In the office, Gracie is a valuable asset, answering phones, and diving into the world of bookkeeping. Additionally, she actively contributes to our local Released Time Bible classes in public schools, adding her enthusiasm to this impactful outreach.

Originally from Memphis, TN, Gracie's connection to Ponderosa began through Mrs. Diane, with whom she attended and served at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. This introduction has blossomed into a meaningful partnership, as Gracie now finds herself an integral part of our Ponderosa family.

As a donor-supported staff member, Gracie relies on your generosity to continue her impactful role at Ponderosa Bible Camp. Your donations towards her support are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a tax-deductible receipt.

Thank you for considering supporting Gracie Ballard in her dedicated service at Ponderosa Bible Camp.

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