Camp Amnicon

Camp Amnicon strives to be a sanctuary to all people who set foot on its beautiful Lake Superior shoreline. Amnicon's ministry empowers today's youth by building community on small group adventure trips for at-risk youth groups. Campers are transformed by a week in the wilderness by learning that they are capable of overcoming challenges. Youth return home with the confidence and support to address the challenges in their home lives after team building in the wilderness at Camp Amnicon.
Aug 26, 2014

Easement will Protect Camp Amnicon Land

A camper enjoys the Amnicon beach--now protected
A camper enjoys the Amnicon beach--now protected

Before each group of kids gets into their canoes for a week-long adventure at Camp Amnicon, they learn about the ‘seven-generation principle.’ They learn that many Native American communities protected the about the land in it’s pristine state by thinking seven generations into the future in their decisions; and campers are challenged to think the same way during their trip. And we tell them that we at Camp Amnicon are working hard, with the help of you, our supporters, to be a seven-generation organization, so that someday they can take their kids, their grand-kids, their GREAT-grandkids to camp and find the same strong program and pristine land and water.

This year, the Camp Amnicon board of directors took a big step towards seven-generation sustainability by signing a historic conservation easement. The easement legally protects 500 acres of Camp property as habitat in perpetuity, including a half-mile of wild Lake Superior shoreline and two miles along the Amnicon River; it excludes the area where the camp currently functions, as well as some extra space giving the ministry room to grow.

Protecting the Amnicon wetlands means protecting the fragile ecosystem of Lake Superior, and preserving the land for generations of youth to come.

The Western Wisconsin Land Trust will hold the easement on Camp Amnicon, and the administrative costs are funded by a $10,000 gift from Enbridge Energy and a $5,000 gift from a Land Trust member.   As part of the deal, the property will become a migratory bird research area through the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative. Bird experts say the waterfront forest may be an especially important component for neo-tropical migrants that summer in northern forests and winter in South America.

We are proud to be a seven-generation organization, seeking sustainability in our community, our programming, our finances, and our relationship with the land. Many thanks are due to the Western Wisconsin Land Trust, Enbridge Energy, and the Amnicon Board of Directors for their work on this project, but the biggest thanks belong to you, the supporters and friends who sustain this ministry for the generations to come.

A campership supported camper
A campership supported camper
Campers learn to care for the God
Campers learn to care for the God's creation

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Jun 6, 2014

"You are the heart of Camp Amnicon"

Kids from St. Olaf Lutheran Church.
Kids from St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

Dear Friend,

You are the heart of Camp Amnicon. You hear us say this all the time; and I hope you know that it’s true. You are, quite literally, the vital life force of this ministry.  

Because of you, Amnicon is known as a camp that follows Jesus’ call to serve the poor, the down-trodden, and the outcast, by providing wilderness experiences to all, regardless of ability to pay. Campership is what we’re about here at Amnicon. I hope that you feel proud of your camp in the Northwoods, and that you feel a sense of ownership for the empowering ministry that goes on here.

Amnicon’s very identity is dependent upon your generosity, and you haven’t let us down yet. Since 1966, we’ve never had to turn a camper away because of inability to pay. With your help—and only with your help—Amnicon can continue that proud legacy in summer 2014.

This year, we have the ambitious goal of providing $25,000 in campership funds to kids and families who would otherwise never make it to camp. That’s a big number—but it’s not just a number.

I want to tell you about a few of the many children who are hoping for the opportunity to come to camp this summer—the children who you can impact directly by giving to the Campership Campaign. They are what is at stake in your choice to give.

This summer, a group of young men from the foster care system will paddle and portage the Sylvania wilderness with their guides. I talked to Gretchen, their social worker, to learn more. These boys have experienced horrifying abuse and neglect. That long-term trauma, Gretchen says, has a negative impact on “everything they do, including their ability to be in a social setting with other kids.” And yet, when it comes to Amnicon trips, she says “they get completely invested, are very well behaved, and become completely different kids. These are the boys who need campership this year.” For these young men, camp isn’t just a fun vacation—it’s a lifeline. “It’s way more than one week.” says Gretchen. “It’s huge for these kids.”

Later in the summer, a racially diverse group of kids from the St. Olaf Lutheran Church in inner-city Minneapolis will be paddling the sparkling waters of the Namekagon River. These kids are part of a year-round peer mentorship program at the church, and Pastor Dale tells me that their yearly Amnicon trip is an important part of the program’s impact. “It’s a part of bonding—a special kind of bonding that comes from being in the wilderness. To resolve childhood trauma they need a time away, in close proximity to a group; it’s a place to work that out.” But money is always an issue for the group from St. Olaf. Pastor Dale says “These kids just don’t have any money. People don’t understand that.” The garage sales and work days they hold can only pay for a small portion of the fees. They need you to pick up the rest of the tab.  

Scripture tells us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Today, I am asking you, in Christian fellowship, to ‘bear the burden’ of these precious children of God.

Yes, $25,000 is a big number; but together, as followers of Christ and supporters of Camp Amnicon, we can provide campership funds for every single camper in need. It costs $400 to bring one child to camp.   Now is the time to prayerfully consider how you much you can give to bear their burdens. For kids who have so little, any amount will help.

Please join me in prayer: for every child we will serve together this summer, and for all the friends and supporters of Camp Amnicon who commit to bearing their burdens.

In Christ,

Alana Butler

Executive Director—and proud supporter of the Campership Campaign

P.S. Thank you again for making campership who we are at Camp Amnicon!   I look forward to sharing with you in this summer’s ministry. Please give today!

 

 

  

Links:

Mar 20, 2014

A Note from the Executive Director

A Young Retreat Guest
A Young Retreat Guest

10 years ago, a group of ladies from Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carleton got the idea to put on a women’s retreat. They signed up for a weekend at Camp Amnicon—and they’ve never looked back since. That same group met for their annual retreat a few weeks ago, and after many hugs, reconnections, and exclamations, I had the opportunity to sit with them and hear just what makes them come back—some from as far away as Alaska and Montana—year after year. Their answers say much about the power of the retreats that you support by supporting Camp Amnicon.

The women of Bethesda told me that their retreat is intimate, their attention undivided and that the sharing is often deeply personal. Inspired by the awe and beauty of the natural world and set apart from normal routines and distractions, this time together in a quiet place creates opportunities to get to know one another in a powerful way. Lasting friendships and support naturally blossom in this setting, even for people who have “known” each other for years. “You just can’t go this deep during a coffee hour!” one of them told me. Another one exclaimed: “She’s my daughter-in-law and I didn’t know something this important about her until now!” Deep indeed.

Retreats can be quiet, reflective and relaxed, with free time to read, craft, walk, stargaze and sip something warm by the fire; retreats can also be busy and fun with a an organized program. At a time in our history when more and more people struggle to find quality time with family and friends or find any time of Sabbath – a time to renew and reconnect with that which is greater than us—retreat programs are increasingly necessary. Your support of camp Amnicon helps provide those experiences and rebuild what our busyness has stolen from us. Maybe Jesus was right to gather his community in ‘a deserted place!’ The experience of the women from Bethesda is just more evidence that we need retreat for ourselves, and for our friendships, for our church, and for our world.

May you be filled with the peace of Christ,

Alana Butler

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