At-Risk Youth personal strength building trips

Jan 22, 2013

A Date with the Largest Lake in the World

Campers gather firewood on Lake Superior
Campers gather firewood on Lake Superior

Dear Friend,

If you’ve ever seen Lake Superior, you know that its scope and beauty can stop a person in their tracks. If you’ve never seen the inland sea known by the Ojibwe as Gitche-Gumee, you’re in the same boat as many Amnicon guests. From the very beginning, it has been Camp Amnicon’s undertaking to “connect the mission of the church and the care of God’s creation” by providing awe-inspiring outdoor experiences—like a date with the largest lake in the world. Through your gift to Camp Amnicon, you’re helping to make that mission possible.

On the first night of their Amnicon experience, summer campers make the almost half-mile trek from the main site to a campfire on the shore of Lake Superior, following a wide and grassy trail. This is where the Amnicon miracle starts—a welcoming circle of warmth and wonder and, for many campers, their first glimpse of the big water. This year, due to disastrous spring storms, a portion of that essential lake trail slid downhill, creating a dangerous edge, and requiring extensive rebuilding. This project and many others, large and small, are funded by your generosity.

When you come to Amnicon and see a well-cared for site, with sturdy buildings, safe infrastructure, and clear trails—all a part of the camp’s ministry of welcome and hospitality—you know that your money is being put to good use. Thank you for your support. Together, we’re living up to Lake Superior, creating a truly Superior experience in Christian community.

In Peace,

Alana Butler

Executive Director, Camp Amnicon

P.S. If you want to see your generosity at work, come visit us! Schedule a stay in a hermitage cabin or just stop in to say hi—and catch a glimpse of Gitche-Gumee while you’re at it. And you can always call with thoughts or questions, or to share your dreams for Camp Amnicon, at 715-364-2602.


Sep 20, 2012

Campers Give their Thanks

This Adventure 100% Donor Funded
This Adventure 100% Donor Funded

One Friday this summer, twenty campers came back down Camp Amnicon Road just jumping to tell us the stories of their time together in the woods—stories of hard paddles against the wind, success in the rapids, and new friendships made—stories that never would have come to be if it weren’t for you.  These trips were 100% funded by your generous campership donations.  

Thank you for your gift to Camp Amnicon’s campership campaign.  Since my words always feel inadequate to describe the significance of your contribution, I’ll turn the thanking over to some of the campers whose lives you’ve touched.  Here’s what they have to say:

“Thank you.  That’s the least I can say because I had a great time and I couldn’t have experienced it without your donation.  The world needs more people like you that are willing to give instead of receiving.”

“Thank you, Thank you for your kindness…  you created an opportunity for those youths to meet each other, become friends, and work together to experience an incredible, marvelous, challenging, and bonding experience.  ”

“It is people like you who inspire me to do kind things like you have done because this trip has changed me to be a better person.”

You did that.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Peace in Christ,

Alana Butler

Executive Director, Camp Amnicon


P.S. I invite you to ‘like’ Camp Amnicon on Facebook to see pictures and stories from the adventures that your generosity made possible! 


Mar 27, 2012

Give the Gift of Camp to a Kid in Need

Enjoying a Flat Stretch of Water
Enjoying a Flat Stretch of Water

It's that time of year--the weather, the flora and fauna, and all of us are starting to lean hard towards summer.  Here in the office at Camp Amnicon, I'm watching a chilly spring wind whip last year's leaves around the yard while I take reservations for this summer's exciting adventures.  On the wall of the back office is a giant master calendar, with each trip color-coded and each week of our summer season laid out in a grid--and it's starting to fill up!  Our summer will consist of canoe trips of every type, from lake trips in the Sylvania wilderness of upper Michigan to adventure on the high seas of Lake Superior in the Apostle Islands, to a lot of relaxed paddling on the beautiful Namekagon river. The guides we just hired are equally likely to lead a trip of rural girls in foster care as a group of suburban lutherans.  In fact, of the 23 trips on our summer calendar, 13--that's more than half!-- come from some kind of an at-risk background.  We're hosting trips from inner-city churches and neighbhorhood organizations, from Cass Lake reservation, and from foster care agencies.  We're working with first-generation college-bound students and immigrant communities.  And almost half of our trips will need some kind of financial help to make their camp experience a reality. 

When groups come for an Amnicon adventure, they’re equipped with everything they need for a week of camping, and two caring, competent, and well-trained guides.  Campers engage their minds and spirits through a Bible study or secular theme study; they unplug from cell phones and plug into community; they are challenged and changed as they paddle downstream, cook over an open fire, and learn how to live the simple life.  As a guide for three years, I’ve seen incredible things happen on trail; young people open up to each other, glow with pride as they accomplish things they never thought they could, dig deep and find strength in themselves, in their community, and in their faith.

A young person from the projects in Chicago once told us that he had thought summer camp was just on tv, not a real possibility.  At least not for someone like him.  At Camp Amnicon we take this personally.  It is our mission to share the wonder of God’s creation, of caring community, and of self-empowerment with young people from all backgrounds, not just those who can afford it. In almost 50 years of history, Camp Amnicon has never turned away a single camper because they can't afford our price--and we don't plan to!  Funds are tight this year, and to make these powerful experiences possible, we need your support.  Just $400 can provide a campership for a young person who needs what Amnicon has to offer. 

Gathering Firewood
Gathering Firewood
A Quiet Moment
A Quiet Moment
A Camper and Guide
A Camper and Guide


Dec 22, 2011

Amnicon--a Ministry of Koinonia

Dear Friends of Camp Amnicon,

Koinonia means “communion, sharing and intimacy.”  That’s what campers experience at Camp Amnicon: a safe, loving community where they meet themselves, others, creation, and God in a new way.  Your support of Amnicon has an impact on the lives of youth.  Your gift today will increase the spiritual growth, leadership development and outreach that are nurtured at camp.  A large percentage of these youth—those with behavioral and mental health issues, and those with difficult backgrounds—would not make it at other camps; they need that Koinonia desperately. These campers—the ones who need every ounce of love we can give them—are our raison d’etre at Amnicon.  Koinonia is what you make possible through your support of Amnicon’s mission; we can’t do it without you.  

One camper, Rachel, writes about her experience of Koinonia this way:

“Amnicon is a sanctuary for beliefs and ideas.  You have the security of knowing what is said around the campfire won’t be judged or used as comic material later.  Amnicon is a place free of criticism, a place where people and ideas are welcomed with open arms and chocolate chip cookies!  For me, Amnicon is a safe place to thrive.  Their support and love deepened my beliefs and furthered my journey of faith.”

In this winter season, the year-round staff of Amnicon are still busy, scurrying around the office, dreaming about and working towards the summer ministry while offering the gift of hospitality and space to a healthy flow of retreat and hermitage guests. Like the staff, Koinonia never rests at Amnicon!

Part of creating that community is to provide a welcoming and useable space.  We need your donations in order to keep our site safe and maintained, and to provide camperships to youth at risk.  Consider a gift of 400, or whatever is right for you.  Every penny will be put to good use!  We are so grateful, too, for your prayers volunteer efforts.

Thank you for being a part of our Koinonia, and for your generous financial support! 

If you have ideas or comments or know of others who would support our mission, please contact us at or view our website at    

In Christ,

Bethany Ringdal

Amnicon Volunteer Corps


Sep 28, 2011

A Great Summer of Wilderness Experiences!

Dear Friends of Amnicon,

Camp can be a powerful and often life changing experience.  Many youth don’t even know what they have been missing until they come for the first time!  They comment on how confident they feel after paddling a whitewater river and how good it feels to be a part of a community – to belong someplace.  They are amazed at how much they can accomplish if they have a positive attitude and work together.  AND they do it all without being plugged in – they make their own music, play together and talk face to face about important things. 

Through the generosity of our donors, we are lucky enough to serve a large percentage of youth who would not normally be able to come to camp because of our campership program.  Teenagers of all ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and life circumstances find a home at Camp Amnicon – a large percentage of youth that often would not make it at other camps - kids with behavioral or mental health issues.  This note from a social worker who attended camp with her group says it well:

“For the last several years, we at the Professional Association of Treatment Homes (PATH) have been fortunate enough to have a remarkable association with Camp Amnicon and its directors and staff.  Each year we have been offered scholarships provided by Camp Amnicon for many of our foster youth to attend a week of summer camp.  Although PATH makes a contribution towards camp expenses for these youth, it doesn’t come close to the amount required for Camp Amnicon to provide such a great week of fun.

Having been involved with Camp Amnicon for three years now, and having personally attended a week of camp with a group of foster youth, I wanted to write this letter to express gratitude for what this camp experience means to our youth.  During the week that I spent with Amnicon’s two guides and our 6 foster boys, I saw tremendous growth in all of the boys.  They were taught many survival and camping skills, but also life skills such as getting along with one another, working together as a team, learning appropriate communication skills, and finding empathy for each other.  They learned about the environment, nature, birds, fish and animals, canoeing skills, and the importance of caring for others, themselves, and our planet.  Some of our youth have returned over and over to Camp Amnicon, and some are striving to become an Amnicon youth leader one day.

I’d also like to mention the amazing directors, staff, and guides of Camp Amnicon.  How Camp Amnicon manages to find such wonderful, compassionate, patient, fun-loving guides is unbelievable!  Each guide has such an enormous capacity to create a safe, fun, learning environment while also demonstrating an incredible amount of patience for youth who can be extremely difficult at times.  Each year I am so impressed with the new guides who come in, and happy to see many of the same guides return each year.

Camp Amnicon has been a Godsend for many of our foster youth who would otherwise not have the ability to attend a camp during the summer. The adventures they’ve had at Camp Amnicon are so worth the effort it takes to get them up there, and the memories they make are priceless.

Thanks so much, Camp Amnicon!  You’re the BEST!”

-Mary Petersen, LSW, MSW

 PATH Social Worker


You can make a difference!  Would you help Amnicon support over 100 youth with a generous donation towards camperships.

Thank you for all that you do and give to Amnicon and for your generous financial support! 

If you have ideas or comments or know of others who would support our mission, please contact us at or view our website at    


In Christ,

Alana Butler & Simon Gretton

Co-director       Co-director


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Camp Amnicon

South Range, WI, United States

Project Leader

Bethany Ringdal

Associate Director
South Range, WI United States

Where is this project located?

Map of At-Risk Youth personal strength building trips