The idea of Walcamp Outdoor Ministries was born in 1955 by the Northern Illinois District of the Walther League, a dedicated group of young Lutheran Christians. Walcamp’s 180 acres were purchased in 1959. The camp officially opened in 1963. The campground grew and developed as new buildings and cabins were built and summer camp, family camp, and outdoor education began to grow and boom.
Since then, Walcamp has grown to be a ministry that is far-reaching and diverse. Walcamp hosts over 3,000 campers a year, sharing God’s love through relationships and God’s creations.
Our ministry has grow to include ministries to adults and children with special needs, retreat ministries, our growing T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves More) retreats, and Jr. and Sr. High Ministries and Mission opportunities.
Walcamp comes from a rich history founded in God’s word and the dedicated support and prayers of God’s people. We are excited to see how God will continue to transform lives through the ministry of Walcamp.
Walcamp History Highlights
- 1959: 200 acres of beautifully wooded property located in Kingston, Illinois, about 60 miles northwest of Chicago, were purchased by the Lutheran Camp Association.
- Multi-purpose, Retreat Building (main Lodge) constructed.
- Two lakes were developed to provide attractive swimming areas as well as an adequate supply of water.
- Mr. Wesley C. Visser was engaged as a full-time director of the Lutheran Camp Association of Northern Illinois
- First summer camp programming in 1965.
- 1st Annual Fall Festival at Walcamp: Sunday, October 10, 1965.
- “Small Groups Center” construction began October 30, 1970. This later was dedicated as “Oak”.
- “Maple” was constructed in 1972.
- Trip camps were added to Summer Camp program.
- 1974 marked Walcamp’s 10th Anniversary year.
- Ron Habedank called as Director of Outdoor Ministry.
- Pavilion was built.
- Tree House camp began!
- Sue Smith became Director.
- Camp Store (now “Trading Post” ) opened in Family Camp.
- Walcamp earned American Camping Association Accreditation.
- Pioneer and Recreational Sports camps were added to Summer Camp program.
- Thiel Center dedicated in memory of Alma Thiel.
- Noah’s Ark, Tee Pee Village and Counselor in Training camps added to Summer program.
- Jeffrey Meinz moved from Program Director to Executive Director position.
- One-room cabins added to Family Campground.
- Amphitheater replaced logs.
- Deon Hull called as 5th Executive Director.
- Challenge Grant eliminated debt in 2003.