The Rapidian

Local Couple to Receive Building Bridges Award for Exemplary Life of Service to Urban Youth





Camp Tall Turf is a community-based year-round youth development ministry in Grand Rapids that has operated a camp in Walkerville, Michigan for more than 40 years. The organization, with a mission of “Equipping Youth for Lives of Reconciliation in God’s World,” will be presenting their annual Building Bridges award to two of their former long-time camp directors on Tuesday evening, November 2, at Oakdale Park Church in Grand Rapids.
Camp Tall Turf will present Arie and Pat (Sneller) Knoester, with the 14th Building Bridges Award. Since 1996, Camp Tall Turf has presented the Building Bridges Award to an individual or group that has both exemplified and made a significant contribution in some way to Tall Turf’s mission of reconciliation with the organization as well as in the community.
Tall Turf’s longtime CEO, Jack Kooyman, observed, “Together, Arie and Pat, as a husband and wife team, made tremendous personal contributions and sacrifices to Camp Tall Turf for the better part of two decades. Tuesday evening’s award presentation will include some memories that former staff and campers have submitted to be shared during the presentation. Dr. Ronald Hofman, a local pediatrician and former Tall Turf staff and board member is among those who have submitted a memory. Dr. Hofman wrote the following about Pat and Arie:
Arie and Pat extended themselves well beyond the needs of the job.  They did the camper and staff recruiting, they arranged for the food, the supplies, they ran the camp on site.  They organized all the fund raising including coordinating the board's fund raising efforts.  They personally wrote dozens of letters to find funds to keep the camp open.  They did all the licensing red tape.  In addition, they were both full time teachers.  They also ran the off-season program coordinating staff in their follow-up with kids in Grand Rapids and Chicago.  They communicated with supporting churches regularly. Beyond that, they shepherded several of the Tall Turf campers personally. Michael Jones was is one example of a young man that I know was profoundly impacted by their presence.  Today Michael is a father and grandfather and has his own business installing appliances.  Doors opened for him because of their involvement.  
Former recipients of the Building Bridges Award were: James Bosscher, Gene Proctor, Lottie Tyson, the Founding Board of Directors, Camp Tall Turf Guild, Denise Fase, Dr. Ron Hofman, Noreen Botts, Virginia Proctor, Gary Tilkin, Reuben Smartt, Donald DeGraaf, and James White.
The award presentation is scheduled to occur sometime between 7:30 – 7:45 pm. Oakdale Park Church is located at 961 Temple St. SE in Grand Rapids.
Corporate financial support for this event is being provided by the following: Underwriter: Global Forex Trading; Benefactor: Request Foods, Inc.; Patrons: Accurate Alignment & Brake Service, LLC ; BISSELL Inc.; and Christian Evangelical Trust;  Friends: Above Roofing, Inc.; Gordon Food Service; and The Shack
Camp Tall Turf is a Heart of West Michigan United Way Partner Agency; accredited by the American Camp Association; and licensed by the State of Michigan’s Department of Human Services.

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