arcadia lodge
Arcadia Lodge, Mary Lake

Whether you spell it Widji or Widjii, did you know that Camp Widjiitiwin turns both 51 and 90 this year? Our history goes back to Muskoka Baptist Camp (now Muskoka Bible Centre) that was created in 1930 so that youth and young adults would have a place to hear the Word of God preached faithfully. That’s our 90th anniversary.

We also have a 51st anniversary because those campers from the early years grew up and MBC became a conference centre for families that in turn, started a youth camp in 1969. And it was then that Camp Widjiitiwin was created. Fifty-one is a good age to be!

The first home for Widji was across and down the river from our current site on the land of the former Arcadia Lodge (picture above at right). It was 4.5 acres of fun!

In 1973, a group of individuals provided funding to purchase the 26 acres of the current Camp Widjiitiwin. The dining and chapel hall consisted of three army tents joined together with a sand floor. The original cabins were built in 1979. The current Tub and Tubbette served as washrooms until the current ones were built in the 90’s and those building became staff accommodations. The Longhouse was built in 1984 and serves for both dining hall and chapel. (Side note, the main stove is from 1964, the dishwasher from 1978 and the original water heaters from 1976! WOW, they have served us well and are soon to be upgraded.)

The camp committee was inspired to name the camp Widjiitiwin because of the inclusive nature of Indigenous cultures in Canada, and to pay respect to the original inhabitants of the area where Camp Widjiitiwin is located. Widjiitiwin is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) word for fellowship.

In this, our 90th year, we had to cancel our summer on site programs and move them to online and camp-in-a-box in order to keep our ministry going and impacting the lives of camper, staff and partners. It was one of the hardest decision we have ever had to make. We were heart broken to have to tell 600 plus campers, 50 plus staff, Ignite partners, donors, alumni and camp pastors, that they would not be spending their summer at Widji. 

Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” God has built this ministry and used many faithful available people to do it. He has sustained MBC/Widji over these 90 years and we pray He will continue to provide for us as we look forward to a great summer of camp in 2021. We ask and invite you to pray with and for us though this season of uncertainly.

Celebrate with us! – Camp Widjiitiwin – the way camp was meant to be… relational, central, natural, reaching out, a loving community focused on Christ. It’s like coming home! It’s my camp!

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