Scenic view of trees at camp

A Legacy of Generosity: The McKenzie Scholarship Fund

by Valerie Morby


If you spend enough time around Pine Cove—attending camp, reading copies of Transformed Magazine, or following us on social media—you will inevitably hear about the impact that God has made on countless campers’ lives through our scholarship program. Pine Cove has long been passionate about making sure no one is turned away from camp because of the cost, and many generous donors faithfully give to our scholarship fund to continue to help these kids and families come to camp. We are grateful to be able to share the stories of all the Lord has done in the lives of our campers and staff, from military families who are able to come to Pine Cove for a week of respite to high school students who walk away from their time at the Shores completely changed.     

Our founder, Bill ‘Red Baron’ McKenzie once said, “These stories and thousands like them are the reason I give God praise for all He has done throughout Pine Cove.” Bill and his family’s commitment to opening the doors to campers from all walks of life has always been inspiring to us. And this is why we are thrilled to announce that our scholarship program has a brand-new name to honor this amazing family: The McKenzie Scholarship Fund

Bill’s passion for making it possible for more campers to come to Pine Cove who otherwise wouldn’t be able to is exemplified in many members of the McKenzie family. Paul ‘Regulator’ McKenzie, Bill’s great-nephew, served for many summers on the Pine Cove staff before transitioning to a period of several years on full-time staff. Paul shared, “In Deuteronomy 15:7, God addresses His chosen people regarding his blessing of the land given to them. The people are instructed to ‘not harden your heart or shut your hand against’ those in need. While these commands were specific to Israel, there is certainly application shared with the Lord’s blessings and the gift that Pine Cove is to so many.”


Each summer Pine Cove awards more than $1.5 million in scholarship funds, financial aid provided not only by faithful donors, but also by our own college-aged summer staff. During the summer of 2022, more than 2,100 staffers continued a long-held Pine Cove tradition of giving money from their own paychecks to enable more kids to come to camp. Last summer those donations totaled more than $225,000.

Paul remembers that tradition well. “It was amazing to watch an overwhelming majority of staff, who had given up part or all of their summer in exchange for pennies on the dollar compared to what they could be making elsewhere, choose to give of their own pay to donate to bring more campers to camp.”

Jill (McKenzie) Chesnut, Bill’s daughter, remains a huge proponent of Pine Cove’s scholarship program and the effects it can have on a young child’s life. “It is such a blessing to know that through this scholarship, deserving campers will be given a Christ-centered week of camp. This has a capability to be life-changing for them.” From her front-row seat to Pine Cove and the way the organization has grown in its 50+ year history, Jill has been able to witness again and again the overwhelming power of the Gospel and the ways God has and continues to move in the hearts of not only the campers who attend, but also the donors who continue to support the McKenzie Scholarship Fund. “The generations of our family that have watched Pine Cove grow into what it is today are honored to be a part of this scholarship.”

Because of the constant updates needed to ensure all properties remain safe and all regions are staffed with the best Christ-centered college students, camp ministry continues to be an expensive endeavor. This means the cost of a week at Pine Cove can be out of reach for many families. Fortunately many friends and supporters of Pine Cove continue to step up and say, “We want to help.” They selflessly give to our scholarship fund to make sure no one who wants to come to camp has to stay home simply because they can’t afford it. These selfless donors make a way for these kids to have the opportunity to attend the best week of their summer and return home changed for the glory of God. 

Bill’s niece Sharon (McKenzie) Young is passionate about camp and how God can work through it to transform lives for eternity. As a former Pine Cove staffer and board member, Sharon saw firsthand the impact camp could have on the life of a child. From her days as a 14-year-old witnessing Pine Cove’s very first summer back in 1968 to the endless hours she spent helping build our very first camp store, Sharon has remained prayerfully and financially committed to the mission of Pine Cove.

The McKenzie family set an incredible example of being good stewards starting decades ago when Bill’s father Alex (more commonly known by friends and family as “Pop” McKenzie) gifted the 200 acres of land on which the Woods family camp now sits to Bill. Now, generations later, the McKenzies continue to exemplify godly generosity as they continue to support Pine Cove and give all glory to God. 


We are so excited about the new name of the McKenzie Scholarship Fund, and even more excited about the life change that will happen as a result. Hundreds of campers have already applied for a scholarship for Summer 2023, and we can’t wait to continue running hard towards our goal of making it possible for anyone who wants to come to camp to be able to do just that. 

For the glory of God. 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Join us in our goal of helping more kids come to camp! Give to the McKenzie Scholarship Fund.

Posted Mar 27, 2023

Valerie Morby

Social Media and Copy Manager

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