A Place of Life-Change Since 1946
A Legacy of Vision
“Let’s start a Christian camp!”
In the late 1930''s, Paul Peters, Steve LaBelle, Frank Scaccia, Jabez Taylor and others from what is now known as Christ Community Church of Zion, Illinois began organizing overnight youth ministry campouts to state parks and a YMCA camp. These retreats were well-received by the kids and parents. These men shared a vision of a place where young people could consider the claims and transforming power of Jesus Christ in an outdoor setting.
After WWII, the camp leaders began scouting out sites for the church to own and operate its own camp. The church leadership eventually embraced that vision, and gave permission to start the camp near the northern tip of beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, on the waters of Green Bay.
In 1946, the group camped near our present location on the Beard Farm, in exchange for picking the cherries in the orchard. The church leadership purchased the first of four waterfront lots on our present site in 1947. 14.5 additional acres were purchased in 2001, and 2.5 additional acres were acquired in 2007, and 12.01 acres were purchased in 2016, making for a total of just over 31 acres.
Over the years, countless volunteers have helped build and maintain the facilities. Door County locals like Carl M. Carlson and the Weborg brothers donated time and equipment in the early days. Even now, the camp uses mostly volunteer staff, who have established a tradition of popular, well-run programs.
The original name was “Zion Camp”, a name still used by many Northern Door natives. In the early 1950’s a contest was held to re-name the camp, and “Camp Winnebago” won out. However, it never really caught on, and the name was changed to “Camp Zion”.
The camp program has always included summer youth camps and seasonal retreats for youth and adults. In order to more consistently manage and facilitate the camp’s year-round program, retreats, upkeep, and maintenance needs, as well as the ever-growing regulatory requirements, Executive Director Dale Stewart and family moved permanently to Ellison Bay in 2000, and built a home in Gills Rock in 2001. Matthew Gillmore joined the full-time staff as Operations Manager in 2017, and he and his wife Hannah and their boys live in Ellison Bay.
A Track-Record of Life-Change
Camp is a unique environment, a temporary community. Camp takes people out of their normal routines and away from life’s distractions, so they can focus on the truly important issues of life. Fun activities, outdoor recreation, and meaningful worship times work together to move hearts and minds toward a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe; lives are changed at camp!
The Camp Leadership Team desires to maximize ministry opportunities available to us. Operating under Values-Driven Governance Policies, we are committed to:
Serve current and new churches and groups for memorable, God-honoring camps and retreats, with an eye toward excellence.
Meet the growing demand of kids who want to attend camp.
Encourage adults to take time away to experience God’s creation, and to learn about and experience the goodness of God’s grace.
Appropriately update and improve our facilities and program.
Appreciate, grow, and challenge our donor base.
Continue to develop a new generation of volunteers.
Add an appropriate number of full-time, year-round staff, who understand and appreciate the ministry of Christian camping, and have a heart for serving.