History of the Camp
Gimli Bible Camp has been in operation for over 84 years, below you will find links to the history of Gimli Bible Camp. Read and enjoy, and if you would like to add your story to the legacy please contact us.
The following is an excerpt from the book "EXPLOSION of the ordinary" the on-going story of the CANADIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL MISSION.
THE FIRST CAMP
Since the prize for memorizing 500 verses was a trip to camp, and since some children were apparently going to qualify, the next step was obvious. the Mission had to find a camp! The committee met on May 31, 1928, and appointed a summer camp committee.
Mr. A.J. Nesbitt, a prominent Montreal businessman, volunteered to finance the camp to the extent of $500.00, and a member of Elim Chapel in Winnipeg volunteered to lend his property and facilities to the Mission.
Twenty-nine children came to that first camp, held at Loni Beach on Lake Winnipeg. It seemed clear that Rev. Hunter was correct in having them come to camp saturated with the verses they had learned, for although only three were professing Christians on arrival at camp, all twenty-nine headed home with Jesus Christ as their Saviour!
The children memorized the Scripture so eagerly that at least two of the children had committed to memory far more than the required 500 verses. One learned 1,170 and the other learned 1,177!
The second camp was held in 1929 at Sans Souci Public Park. Seventy-six children attended, and every child professed conversion before returning home.
As it turned out, Sans Souci Public Park was too public. Curious vacationers were drawn by singing and laughter of the children, making camp routine difficult. But Loni Beach had been too private. Neighbors had not appreciated having a children's camp next door.
Since by this time the Mission had spread to other provinces, the committee was concerned that building a camp in one province would look to the others like an act of favoritism. It seemed that their hands were tied until they received a legacy from Lady Schultz, widow of former Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and long-time friend of CSSM. The legacy would draw a heavy penalty if used outside of Manitoba.
A PERMANENT SITE
The committee believed this to be God's solution. In June, 1930, the money was used to buy a campsite near Gimli, Manitoba. Elmudur Gudmundson sold them seventeen acres with excellent lake frontage for a price that almost matched the legacy.
That was just the beginning. Now came the task of preparing the property for its designated purpose - CAMP. The members of the committee met almost every days. By camp time in July, some of the buildings were up and ready for use, and two large tents had been rented. One of the leaders of that camp recalls that meals had to be served out in the open, and a particularly rainy month made this rather difficult.
But showers of blessings also descended on the camp that year and in the years following. Literally thousands of lives have been transformed at that camp - lives like that of Nick Woychuk.
Nick spent the winter of 1932 on a farm in the backwoods of Manitoba memorizing the 500 verses that would earn him eight days at the Gimli camp. But Nick had no money to pay his trip to camp. He had resigned himself to a disappointing summer on the farm, when a car drove into the yard. A CSSM worker stepped out.
"I've come, Nick" he said, "to take you to camp."
Within half an hour, Nick was on his way to Lake Winnipeg. His only thoughts were swimming and games and fun, but at camp he was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today in almost any Christian book store you can pick up books that have come from the pen of Dr. Nicholas Woychuk, graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Presbyterian pastor. Or you might be told of the Miracle Camp in Shreveport, Louisiana - attended by some 1200 boys and girls each year. Nick started that camp!
Nick testifies today; "It was the Canadian Sunday School Mission camp at Gimli that did the trick. It was there that I found the Lord Jesus Christ!"
Rev. Henry Hildebrand and Olive Carmichael,
Gimli's 75th anniversary, 2003
As we receive and find pictures from the past, we will be adding them accordingly.
If you have old pictures from Gimli Bible Camp that you would like to share you can get them to us by letter mail or by scanning them into the computer and then emailing them to us.