Luther Point Bible Camp History
The Vision of a Bible Camp began in the 1930’s with a dream by two men, Pastor Arvid Larson, Zion Lutheran Church, Trade Lake, Wisconsin, and Mr. Ed Dahlberg, the owner of the land which is now Luther Point. Lutheran congregations of the ELC, UELC, and Augustana Synod were among the charter member congregations. The articles of incorporation for the Lutheran Bible Camp Association (Luther Point Bible Camp) were signed in July of 1946.
Construction of the first cabins began in October of 1947 and the first campers attended in July, 1949. Luther Lodge, originally the faculty cabin, which now serves as a year round retreat center accommodating up to twenty people, was built in 1951. In 1956 the chapel was built and Zion Lutheran Church of Trade Lake donated their pipe organ to be placed in it. The acreage owned by the camp expanded when Ed Dahlberg donated forty acres of woods across County Road M.
In the early years counselors were strictly on a volunteer basis and the program took place only in the summer months. Bob and Erna Berthelsen from Albert Lea, Minnesota, were the camp managers for several summers. In 1970, the first paid counselors were hired. In 1975, the first year round director, Gary Loktu, was hired and the director’s residence was built. The following year Gary Loktu passed away during heart surgery.
In 1977 Rev. Chip Salzgeber was hired as the second camp director. Under his leadership, programs expanded to include group retreating and canoe trips. Also in 1977 the camp dining hall (now known as the Gary Loktu Retreat Center) was winterized. The center has over night accommodations for up to forty people. Salzgeber resigned in 1979 and in 1980 Rev. Ted Berkland was called to serve as director.
Some significant improvements were made to the facilities in 1983-84 including a new septic system and an addition to the Gary Loktu Center (which included bathroom and shower facilities, kitchen storage and a walk in refrigerator/freezer). The ministry also expanded in the number of staff hired and programs offered during the eleven years that Berkland served as director. He retired in October of 1991, and in May of 1992, Rev. Craig Corbin became Executive Director.
Under Rev. Craig Corbin’s direction a beautiful Retreat Center was built and most of the buildings except for the Camper Cabins on site were remodeled and updated. He also started a campaign to build a Storm Shelter/Multi-purpose building. Corbin retired in October 2013. Jesse Weiss served as the Term Executive Director from November 2013 until September 2014. Rev. Mark Peters served as the Executive Director from September 2014-16.
After Mark Peters left the Board of Directors hired Jon Hoyme as Interim Executive Director and he served from the end of 2016 until October of 2017. Hoyme brought with him over 30 years of outdoor ministry expereince and began leading the camp into the future. In October 2017 the Board of Directors hired Sam Campeau as the Executive Director.
A volunteer Board of Directors, elected from the camp’s constituency at the annual meeting, provides direction and supervision of the ministry, and hires the Executive Director. The camp has five other year round staff and hires approximately 35 summer staff, primarily college age adults.
Luther Point’s summer program includes day, half week, and week long sessions for children in grades 1-12 as well as a special week for families. The camp can accommodate up to 140 campers each week and offers week long canoe trips on the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers for junior and senior high youth. Retreat groups use the camp on weekends during the eight weeks of Bible Camp Sessions. During the fall, winter, and spring the camp hosts retreat groups during the weekends and weekdays. Luther Point opens its doors to community groups and family gatherings, as well as retreaters from any church denomination.