Camp Arnes was formed as the Lake Winnipeg Mission Camp Society on March 29, 1949, when fifteen men, including Mr. A.A. Kroeker and Mr. D.E. Redekop met to formalize the beginning of a Camp for Mennonite youth, with a dedication happening that same year.
The beginning started ten years earlier when ten men, led by Mr. Kroeker, each contributed $100.00 and purchased the 160 acres that continues to be our main site. World War II put a pause on the development of the Camp until 1949.
The desire was for the Camp to be a place for youth to study God’s Word and His wonderful handiwork in creation. Roads and buildings were constructed through many hours of volunteer labour, including Mr. H.W. Redekopp bringing a Sunday School class of teenage boys to build a cabin. Other men involved were A.A. DeFehr, Walter Voth, H.H. Voth and Abe Quiring, to mention a few.
Mr. A.H. Kroeker was the first director and camps ran for ten days with a Bible-centered emphasis. As the Camp grew, more programs were added. In the early years the Camp had a profound impact, particularly on the Winnipeg Mennonite Brethren churches and through outreach programs to other children.
Camp Arnes has always been overseen by a Board of Directors, people of devotion, vision and action. They saw the potential in Christian camping and were committed to growth and continued improvement. The first full time director was hired in the late 1950s and the season extended to include June and September.
The first four season building, originally called “The Wigwam”, which has since been changed to “The Vern and Agnes Koop Memorial Lighthouse” (The Lighthouse), was constructed in 1966. By the late 1960s, Camp Arnes was running year round. Added to Summer Camp was rentals to families, seniors, churches and schools. Soon people from all walks of life were attending the Camp and experiencing the joy of the Lord as they heard the Gospel and joined in Christian fellowship.
In the early 1970s, follow up programming was begun to help youth grow in their faith throughout the year.
Camp has continued to expand, adding more activities, programs and accommodations. We have built relationships with the local communities and other organizations as they use our facilities and programs. In 2013, Camp Arnes added a year round leadership program for university age youth.
Over the years, God has blessed us with growth and tremendous support. We look forward to adding more years to the history as we continue to serve and minister to our guests.