Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry was formed when Hiawatha Church Camp, Deer River, MN and Camp Vermilion, Cook, MN merged. The offical date of this merger was January 2, 1991, although much of the program, adminstration, board and comittee structure was in place at the start of the 1990 summer camping season. All of the property on Deer lake and on Lake Vermilion is owned by the camp coporation.
The histories of Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion are given separately here. Much of this history is taken from two separate profiles written in the 1980's.
In 1956, with the need for an expanding, progressive camping program and no place or space for it to take place, a committee was appointed by the Iron Range District of the Lutheran Church in America to seek adequate quarters for a three week camping program. The committee went into action late in 1956. Camps from Mille Lacs to Vermilion, east to Week Lake, Wisconsin, and the Hanging Horn Lake near Barnum, Minnesota were visited and considered. Several resorts and camps were for sale. In the Spring of 1957 a District meeting was held at First Lutheran Church in Hibbing and delegates voted to establish the Hiawatha Church Camp Corporation at this meeting. It was also agreed to lease Camp Hiawatha for the 1957 season with the lease cost to apply to the purchase price if bought. Some renovation and new equipment was necessary. Several Corporation meetings were held in rapid succession. And offer of $27,000 was made, with a small down payment and future payments to be made from assumed support of the Iron Range District congregations.
in the late 1950's, many Lutherans of the Lake Superior and Range Conference of the American Lutheran church, began to sense the need for a Bible camp in the area. In 1959, negotiations were completed to buy 168 acres on Wakemup Bay, on the south short of Lake Vermilion for $72,000. The facility had been operated many years as a private boy's camp. Melvin Bakk was hired as a part time manager, and pastors provided the program leadership. Originally the camp was name Lake Vermilion Lutheran Bible Camp. The name was changed to Camp Vermilion in 1969.