Saturday, July 29, 2017

The History of Church Camp

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Summer camps started in the 1880s. They answered the growing concerns of boys growing up in cities. Parents wanted to toughen the boys up and reconnect them with nature. 

Camps ran all summer. The activities ranged from swimming and hunting to playing Indian. Church services connected the boys with God in outdoor services on Sundays but were not the primary reason for camp.

In 1892, the first girl’s camp allowed girls to attend a boy’s camp for one month out of the summer. The first all girls camp started in 1902, Camp Wyonegonic in Bridgeton, Maine.

The first camp to emphasize spiritual growth, also began to introduce boys to nature and outdoor life. In 1885, Sumner Dudley started the first YMCA camp in Westport , New York.

The Bennett Spring Church Camp funded by the American Bible Society started in Lindenlure, Missouri in 1936. In the 1940s and 1950s, church camps began to spring up in every denomination. 

Through the years, church camps have become shorter and more organized. One thing that has not changed is that they have impacted the lives of countless young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and was a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her Novel, Alice’s Notions and her novellas Resurrection of Hope and A Christmas Promise are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.


  1. I enjoyed the history of church camp. This post brought back memories of going to church camp as a camper and then later as a worker. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The remains of a huge Methodist summer campground is still evident in Epworth Park here in my home town. Entire families participated, taking up residence in cabins on the campground. I'm so thankful for the faithful workers who make our church camps run every summer ... investing in kids lives for eternity.