7th Annual Bluegrass Festival July 28


Join us this coming Saturday, July 28, for our Annual Bluegrass Festival! This is a day filled with great food, amazing music, two auctions (live and silent), a bucket raffle, and our main prize raffle - definitely something for everyone!

New this year is a chance to try a pizza baked in our wood fired pizza oven. From 1:00-3:00 our you'll have a chance to create your own pizza and bring it out to the oven to be baked. Starting at 3:00 we'll be serving pork fresh off the spit, along with corn on the cob, salad, and chips. Pie and ice cream, Root Beer Floats, and Kettle Corn will be sold all afternoon.

We are also adding a sing-a-long to this year's Festival. Our bands, and probably some of our staff, will lead everyone in some well-known and loved hymns and songs. 

Raffle tickets are still available until 6:00pm Saturday. Don't miss your chance to win a 50 inch Toro Zero Turn Mower, two Grey Duck Sol Paddle Boards, or $500 in cash.

We can't wait to see you at Camp Vermilion this Saturday!   


Last week at Camp Hiawatha, I had the opportunity to lead a stargazing devotion with the high school age L.O.S.T. campers. We wandered out into the middle of the ballfield after the sun had fully set, as the stars and planets were coming out in the night sky above us. We were wrapped up in towels, sleeping bags, and sweatshirts against the mosquitoes and the chill, and there was a bit of rustling around as we settled in and got comfortable on the grass. But the rustling quieted, small annoyances and distractions faded into the background, and our focus turned to the stars and to this verse:

"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. Lift your eyes up and looks to the heavens: Who created all these? God who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of God's great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God'? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God will not grow tired or weary, and God's understanding none can fathom. God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young people stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:25-31

If you live in or near a city, you know how hard it is to see the stars at night. Light pollution pushes the brilliance of the stars into the background, and many of them fade into invisibility. They pass unnoticed, dimmed; we are distracted from the beauty and vastness of the stars by the glare of so many garish earthly lights. Camp is one of the places where we can escape light pollution and see the stars for themselves. It is also one of the places where we learn that God has created and called each and every single one of us lovingly by name, exactly the way that we are.

Who is pushed to the fringes in our lives? Which people have been obscured by "light pollution" and other distractions? Who gets talked over, interrupted, or ignored? Are there voices and faces in our communities that are invisible, unnoticed, unheard?

Think on this: How can we listen more deeply, not necessarily to have an answer or a response every time, but to gain more understanding? How can we tune out, get away from, or remove the distractions that get in the way of connecting with and fully loving God and other people in our lives?

God's peace,

Michelle Hofeldt
Communications Coordinator and VLM Summer Staff

Camp Hiawatha's 60th Anniversary - July 7

Join us from 2:00-7:00pm on Saturday, July 7 for an afternoon of memories, stories, and camp activities. The waterfront will be open with game opportunities and fellowship happening around the dining hall. A short program will happen at 4:00, dinner will be served at 5:00, and the evening will end with a celebratory worship as we look ahead to the next 60 years. There is no charge to join us for the afternoon of the 7th.

Family and friends are welcome to stay at camp for the weekend. The Retreat Center, Dorm rooms, and camping options are available on a first come, first served basis at our regular retreat rates. Meals will be served throughout the weekend, and all are invited to join us for Sunday worship and brunch with the Deer Lake community. 

Contact the VLM office to RSVP, and to book your Dorm or Retreat Center room for the weekend.

We look forward to seeing you at Camp Hiawatha!



I had a couple small dry sacks used for personal items while guiding in the Boundary Waters. One filled with my maps and the other containing a compass, 6 sheets of paper filled with Scripture and devotions, all stacked together folded in half, and lastly Reflections from the North Country by Sigurd F. Olson. This dry bag sat tucked inside my personal pack nestled on the top. I never knew exactly when it would be opened; on a portage, at night around a fire, or over morning coffee. But I did recognize I'd be needing it often. I'm not sure if the compass ever made it out of that sack the entire year, but those 6 sheets of paper and my book became well used.

As I open that book up now, I'm drawn to a page I have tabbed with some word's underlined in blue that I would read to my campers, "Wilderness can be appreciated only by contrast, and solitude understood only when we have been without it." And with that quote by Sigurd, I then turned to Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." This was usually always my devotion on day 3 or 4, depending when I felt that everyone in the group was able to contribute something from their wilderness experience. A time to derive solace or peace to share with others. It was usually at this point when the group was in harmony with the surroundings and this was the time in which Sigurd Olson said that the purpose of the trip is defeated. Everyone had been able to fully appreciate the wilderness and understand solitude. This was always an uncomplicated devotion, yet the most powerful as we reflected on the simplicity we had submerged ourselves into. Following this devotion was a time of solitude, usually lasting an hour or so. Some would read or nap and others would cast a line from shore. We would gather back up and close with a prayer.

I guided an entire summer not knowing what a Posé was, but chuckle as I write this because I always had time for rest and solitude without even thinking to create or make time for it. Being a guide was work, but restful as well. But it is outside of the BWCAW and camp when we need a Posé the most. Remote silence is becoming increasingly hard to find. Most of us have a chaotic, crazy, and hectic schedule. The day becomes consumed by work, bills, and household chores before darkness sets in. Yet we lack sixty minutes of simplicity. It's easy to find in the woods, but we do not have to be in a canoe or the remote wilderness to achieve this, rather we just need to take time to rest with God and family. If we just stopped to breathe the wind around us, listen to the birds, or even just watch the leaves fall, we could all be stronger, better, and happier than we were before.

Mike Olson DC, CCSP

VLM Summer Staff 2005 & 2007

Current VLM Board President

*This Posé originally published by VLM on June 5, 2014.

22nd Annual VLM Golf Scramble!

Grab your friends and hit the green to golf for a good cause! June 22nd is our annual VLM Golf Scramble event! When you support the ministry of VLM, you give campers a chance to explore their faith, be in community, and build confidence in themselves. You can do all this while relaxing and having fun!

This 4-person scramble event includes 18 holes of golf, a catered dinner at Camp Vermilion, and time to connect with camp friends and meet new ones. Golfers of all levels are welcome, even those who only golf once a year! Not a golfer? Come to watch and stay for dinner! We'd love to have you. Register by June 15th!

For more information and to register for the Scramble, call us at (218) 666-5465, or click here. See you at the first tee!

THANK YOU, Volunteers!!!

We want to extend a big HUGE thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers!  Our recent Work Days at both Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion were a fantastic success. YOU make camp possible! We couldn't do it without you!

A Thrivent Action Team at Camp Hiawatha Work Day continued stewardship of the shoreline restoration project started 10 years ago. This summer, we hope to plant some additional trees and do our part to keep Deer Lake clear and healthy!


"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Hebrews 10:23-25 NRSV    
  provoke (v.) - Latin provocare "call forth, challenge", from pro "forth" + vocare "to call"

My brothers and I know exactly how to provoke a reaction from each other. My mom called it "pushing each other's buttons".

We mostly used this superpower for evil, finding ways to encourage a negative response. Even now that we are all pushing 50 years old, we still find ways to "push each other's buttons". As I have aged and become a parent myself, I have seen this trait in my own children, as well as pretty much all of the families I know. We have such power over our relationships. Though it is easy to elicit a negative response with teasing or poking, it never ends well. My brothers and I either ended up mad, in trouble, or usually both. It always came to a head when we had spent too much time with each other, like in the hot mid to late summer days when summer boredom started creeping in.

"...let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another..."

Hebrews 10 reminds us of the good that happens when we use the superpower of provoking for good instead of evil. Consider this; what would our relationships, our church, and our world look like if the world pushed each other's buttons for good instead of evil? What if our Facebook posts, our tweets, our advertising, and our friendships "provoked one another to love and good deeds"?

I think all of us know the potential impact of a good deed. I think we also know that we are far from perfect, but that is what makes this extraordinary. Even though we are imperfect humans who make mistakes, we are still encouraged into our call. We are provoked by a loving a gracious God amidst disagreement and frustration to be helpful and loving. Called to be God's hands in the world. My brothers and I who teased and poked and pushed each other's buttons have grown up to be: an award winning kindergarten teacher and musician; a skilled electrician, coach, and grandfather who is helping to raise the new child of his step-daughter; a Lutheran camp director; and a creative and beloved elementary school principal. We have provoked each other into different calls despite the button-pushing that continues still to this day. This happens because it is easier for us to provoke the good in people when we are connected to each other. When we focus on what we love, the hate and disagreement that divides us begins to lose power over us. We may or may not change minds, but we definitely change relationships. Who can you sit down with this week? Who is that someone who you have been provoking, or who has been provoking you? Whose buttons are you pushing?

As I write this, I watched my 7 year old son Isak, walk from the kitchen to the table for a snack, and sneakily reach up and lock the door of the porch. He knew full well that his 11 year old sister Ella, who was on the porch reading, would get upset that she was locked out. (Deep sigh.) I am sure that my mother planned this lesson for me in some long ago hot boring summer day.

My brothers and I provoke each other now as we encourage music and sports in our children's lives. We celebrate things like new bee hives and old stories. We try and spend our time lifting up what we love about our family and have been trying to limit the teasing and poking. We are successful, sometimes. Here is my hope and prayer in the middle of the coming summer months; that we do not neglect to meet together, that we encourage one another, and let us consider how to "push each other's buttons" to love and do good deeds.

Joel Abenth, Executive Director
Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry

Summer Worship Opportunities

Join us for worship at camp this summer!

Worship opportunities are happening at both Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion this summer. Both camps offer a unique worship experience and include food and fellowship.

Camp Hiawatha - Sundays from June 3 to August 26. 10:00 am in the Chapel followed by brunch.

Camp Vermilion - Sundays from June 14 to August 5. 11:00 am at the Lakeside Fire Ring followed by lunch.

If it is a beautiful morning for a boat ride, feel free to boat in and dock outside our swimming areas!

Plan a Retreat at the Bakk House!

We invite you to get away to the Bakk House at Camp Vermilion! Camp is a great place to hold your next youth group retreat, crafting getaway, church council meeting, fishing weekend, or family reunion. The Bakk House is a cozy year-round retreat space that overlooks Lake Vermilion, and can accommodate up to 36 people. We offer a variety of options for meeting space, overnight accommodations, and food service. Come to relax, to build relationships, and to be inspired!

For more information about our facilities, click here.

Call or email us at with questions or to book your next retreat!

Camp Hiawatha Work Day!

We've got some info for you about our Camp Hiawatha Work Day on April 28th! Please share this info with your family, friends, and congregation community; we'd love to see you all there! Work Day not only helps us to get camp ready for the summer, but it's also a great chance to meet others who love camp while serving together. It's even a great time to introduce new faces to camp!

First, join us at camp on Friday evening (the 27th) and stay overnight! We'll serve dinner at 6:30pm and have games, campfire, and fellowship. Open to youth groups as well as families! This event is free if you help with Work Day, $50 per family or $5 per youth if you are unable to stay. If you haven't RSVP'd to the VLM Office at (800) 331-5148, please do that TODAY! For more info about Work Days and the overnight, click here.

Here are just a few of the things we'll get done on Work Day:

  • Removing webs, pollen, leaves and pine needles and cleaning the exterior of cabins & buildings; washing windows and cleaning screens
  • Deep-cleaning the interior of cabins & buildings; vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting
  • Raking the waterfront and beach; doing shoreline restoration at the edge of Deer Lake
  • Clearing brush and undergrowth; splitting and stacking a supply of firewood
  • Sanding, staining, painting, and sealing projects for various camp buildings
  • ...And more!

Contact the VLM office today for a full list of Hiawatha Work Day projects or to share your ideas about a special project!


One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple.  When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.  But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.   Acts 3:1-8

I have been trying to plan a wedding shower for my nephew and his fiancé. The shower is being thrown by "the aunties", all of which live within about 30 minutes of each other except for me. The entire planning process over the last month has taken place pretty much by group text. Not a conference call, not a face to face meeting for those who can make it; by text. And these are six people will busy schedules so even the texting has been a bit sporadic. I finally had to call my sister to see if there had been any forward movement because I had not heard anything.  She assured me that I had not missed any key communication; what was on my phone was all there was to know.

I find it fascinating how much of our world enables us to not have to actually talk to anyone: self-service options, online shopping, email, text, etc. Granted, when I'm in a hurry, I love "pay at the pump" gas stations! I don't have to talk to the cashier, I can just do my thing and keep going. Many of my communications with co-workers is also done via email or text. With our staff in three different places - Hiawatha, Vermilion, and Duluth - this does make staying in contact a bit easier. But there is something to be said for actually hearing another person's voice and having a conversation. I probably talk to our office manager, Patti, a couple times a day about things that we could probably do over email, but I like that we actually talk about things. When she was on vacation recently, my phone was pretty quiet and I missed her regular phone calls.

While there are camps across the country experimenting with letting campers keep their cell phones while at camp, VLM has held pretty firm to our "no phones" rule. Giving our campers, and staff, permission to unplug is sometimes the biggest gift we can give them. Camp provides a chance for them to live in the present, to focus on the people around them, and to fully experience the beauty of our camps. So many times during the camp day we sit together - meal times, Bible study, worship - and we talk. We aren't looking at a device, we are looking at each other.

Not only did Peter heal the man in the story from Acts, but Peter also acknowledged him. The disciples could have probably healed this man just in passing, but instead they stopped and looked at him. And the man looked at them. A connection was made and the man knew who it was that gave him the ability to jump up and leap around the temple. And Jesus did the same thing in his ministry. He looked at people, he acknowledged them, he made a connection. Even the woman who tried to be anonymous and simply touch Jesus' robe for healing was sought out by Jesus. He looked at her, he acknowledged her, and sent her on her way in peace.

So often we say that Jesus came to show us a better way. In a world of screens and impersonal communications, maybe that better way includes taking the time to talk with people face to face.  Perhaps this week, put down the phone, skip the easy text or email, and seek out a friend or co-worker and talk to them.  Practice unplugging and connect with the people around you the way Jesus did. You might even find that you don't miss your phone!

Gretchen Bachman, VLM Director of Operations

Check out Rendezvous!

Created through a partnership with Rural Living Environments of Babbitt, MN, our Rendezvous program is a fun, Christ-centered camp experience for campers with intellectual developmental disabilities. It is two days packed with all of the amazing experiences camp has to offer: games, swimming, worship, campfire, Bible study, creative arts, and the chance to make new friends!

Our Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry staff will lead participants through each day's activities, working to meet them exactly where they are at and to provide a fun, appropriate, and memorable experience.  The camp also has a health care person available 24-hours a day, kitchen staff who prepare great meals, and certified lifeguards on the waterfront. Participants may have a caregiver attend with them, and all are welcome!

For more information about Rendezvous, click here, or don't hesitate to contact us with questions!

Call us at (800)331-5148 or email Gretchen Bachman at gretchen@vlmcamps.org.

This summer, lead campers on a Journey!

Mentor a group of campers and teach them about something you love to do! Come up to camp this summer and lead one of our VLM Journeys!

Last summer we invited our week-long campers to "journey" with us: to spend time each week learning a lifelong skill from an experienced mentor, specialist, or guest artist. We are excited to continue this experience for another summer, and we need your help to offer exciting new activities! A Journey is a 2-hour block of time during the camp day for campers to focus on learning new skills such as canoeing, music, dance, theater, sports, arts, and more.

As a Journey mentor, you are welcome to spend the entire week with us as your schedule allows, but you can also be at camp only on the days you will be teaching and sharing. It is our hope to offer 4-6 different Journey options for campers to choose from each week!  You are able to determine how many campers are ideal for the activity you are leading, but our hope is that each Journey can accommodate at least 10 campers.  If your activity does not have a maximum number, we will need to work with you to maintain a 10:1 camp to adult ratio. You are welcome to invite your own assistants as needed, or to talk with our leadership staff to secure additional staff help. 

We can't wait to explore and learn with you! For more information about Journeys, contact Gretchen Bachman, Director of Operations, at (218)666-5465 or gretchen@vlmcamps.org.


As a Minnesotan working in outdoor ministry, I've learned quickly that a campfire without bug spray is basically sentencing yourself to torture starting the minute you step outside. (Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the point). They're everywhere! Tiny, flying, buzzing annoyances that quickly get extremely irritating, and leave a lasting, itching mark for days, even weeks if you continue to scratch. They are distracting, and frankly, everybody deals with them.

Honestly, what is their purpose?

Although they are criticized for being super awful (which they are), those bug bites are related to a lot of things we deal with everyday. The gross stuff. The regretful stuff. The sad stuff. The frustrating and stressful stuff, too. When we let it sit in our minds and hearts for days, weeks, or longer, we sit and we itch. And itch. And itch. And the longer we itch, the worse it feels. It becomes redder, it itches more, and scabs over. Eventually, it can leave a scar. A constant reminder that we've been bit. 

Luckily, we have repellent. We have itch cream. (Thank you, modern medicine.) We have things we can use to prevent and help heal the scars that are left on our skin. What does this mean when it relates to our problems?

To start, we all have our own repellent. We all have our own ways we deal with situations. Same with itch cream; we all cope afterwards in our own ways. We all have something. The cool thing is, we also have a God that does both. Not only does God help us through our problems, but our Creator helps us heal, too. We'll all be bitten by the world, but we have an eternal God who walks through that suffering with us and strengthens us.

This is not to discredit that some issues are harder than others to overcome. Many people deal with things that are bigger and broader than imaginable for others. Some bites take longer to heal. Some will always leave a scar; yet God still remains present with us through them.

"Yet when they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, the Lord brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm and its waves quieted down."
Psalm 107:28-29

I am completely undeserving to have a God who calms the storm in my heart and heals the bug bites on my skin. I'm a sinner. I don't learn from past bites, and continue to forget repellent and try to heal on my own. It's exhausting, and embarrassingly repetitive. I don't deserve the loving God I have, but I will continue to praise in thanksgiving for God's mercy. The bug bites have each taught me something important: about my life, myself, and my faith.

So. What's your repellent?

Jena Vander Broek - Summer Staff Alum 2017

VLM Work Days and Thrivent Action Teams!

Save the Date! Our Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion Work Days are fast approaching! Rally your family, friends, and congregation! We are preparing both sites for our summer camp season, and we can't do that without YOUR help.


Camp Hiawatha Work Day | Saturday, April 28th

Camp Vermilion Work Day | Satuday, May 19th

Registration and rolls start at 8am. Lunch served at 12:30pm.

Join us at camp on Friday evening before Work Day and stay overnight! We'll serve dinner at 6:30pm and have games, campfire, and fellowship. Open to youth groups as well as families! This event is free if you help with Work Day, or $50 per family if you are unable to stay. Please RSVP to the VLM Office at (800) 331-5148. For more info about Work Days, click 

Are you a Thrivent Member? Forming a Thrivent Action Team  is a great way that you can spark action at camp. Each member can form two Thrivent Action Teams per year, and each Action Team is awarded a $250 debit card to purchase supplies, tools, and volunteer appreciation gifts to fund and complete a project.

VLM Work Days are a great reason to put an Action Team together! Not only can Action Team dollars be used to purchase supplies, but they can also help cover fuel costs for people from your community who drive to camp for the day. What a great way to introduce someone new to camp! Or use the funds to make curtains, purchase light bulbs, or replace screens on a cabin. Get creative!

Projects made possible by Thrivent Action Teams include:

  • Gaga Ball pits at Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion
  • New and very sturdy ball boxes at Camp Vermilion, in partnership with confirmation students from Gethsemane and Our Savior's Lutheran churches in Virginia (See the picture above!)
  • Updating the Bakk House kitchen and replacing the Bakk House deck at Camp Vermilion
  • Supplies for the Reformation Fest at Camp Vermilion last October

Contact the VLM office for a list of potential Work Day projects or to share your ideas! More information on setting up an Action Team can be found here.

Canoe Country - Adventure with us!

Escape. Explore. Discover. Challenge yourself. Work together. Grow in faith.

Plan a trip through our Canoe County program this summer and experience the Boundary Waters!

A VLM Canoe Country adventure provides the opportunity to unplug and dive into the wonders of creation while experiencing faith in community from an amazing new perspective. Our staff are trained not only to guide trips, but to lead deep discussions that take the lessons learned in the BWCAW and apply them to our faith and our life back home. No two trips are the same. Lifelong friendships are formed. A trip with Voyageurs Canoe Country does not end with the final portage!

We can't wait to go on an expedition with you! Get your group signed up today!

For more information about Voyageurs Canoe Country, click here. Questions? Contact Brett Amundson, Program Director, at (218-780-2696) or brett@vlmcamps.org.

Right now, these weeks still have available spots for Canoe Country trips: June 23-29, July 15-21, July 22-28, and August 5-10

Bring your retreat to Camp Hiawatha!

We invite you to get away to Camp Hiawatha! Camp is a great place to hold your next youth group retreat, crafting getaway, church council meeting, fishing weekend, or family reunion. We offer a variety of options for meeting space, overnight accommodations, and food service. Come to relax, to build relationships, and to be inspired.

For more information about our facilities, click here.

Call or contact us at retreats@vlmcamps.org with questions or to book your next retreat!

Welcome Brett, our Vermilion Program Director!

Brett Amundson is joining our VLM team as the Program Director at Camp Vermilion. Help us in welcoming Brett and his family!

The Amundson family has been fairly active with VLM for many years, from being delegates and volunteers from Gloria Dei Lutheran, Duluth to volunteering as resource staff for a week at summer camp. Brett and his wife Daphne met each other at different synod youth events at Camp Hiawatha years ago while both of them were working with youth and family ministry in NE MN. In addition to attending different weeks of summer camp at both sites, they have been attending family camp the past four years with their three children Journey, Raine and Per.

VLM has been a special place for the Amundson family over the years, and they are all excited to be more involved and a part of the deeply meaningful experiences that VLM provides. Brett is grateful for the opportunity to join the staff on site at Camp Vermilion as they gear up for 2018 summer programming, and looks forward to greeting canoe groups as they come to camp and back to camp.


This cartoon, "Jesus Eraser", is one of my favorite depictions of Jesus. Here's the reflection that the author, David Hayward, chose to post alongside the cartoon:

"The more violent the world becomes the more impossible unity seems, but the more necessary it is."

Lately, I've been reflecting a lot on these verses, from the writings of Paul:

"You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being constantly renewed in knowledge in the image of your Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God your Creator through him."     Colossians 3:9-17

I love the idea of the "new self"; a transformation we can choose to claim as our own identity through faith, when we believe that Christ died on the cross for each and every one of us. There's nothing we have to do or could ever do to earn that grace, but it should transform us and everything that we do! The idea of being constantly renewed--don't you long for that feeling on the days when you feel run down, lonely, stuck in a rut, or just plain tired? I do.

Just take a second to pause--posé--and take this mantra in. Say it in your mind. Say it out loud. Say it to another person, if you dare.

"I am created in the image of God. You are created in the image of God. All people are created in the image of God."

Think about this verse, about the cartoon, and about other verses that talk about Jesus' life or the Body of Christ. I absolutely don't believe that as Christians we should cease to recognize or acknowledge the differences between different people. The image of God is present, living on earth, living in us, in all of its infinite, endless uniqueness! And that diversity should be ecstatically celebrated. But I do think that we need to flip over our pencils and start erasing. We need to do away with the lines drawn in the sand. We need to do away with thinking 'us or them'. During Jesus' ministry on earth, he crossed every line that there was to cross! This verse calls out some of the 'us or them' lines from his time: Gentile or Jew. Slave or free. But these lines are just as present, and this verse just as relevant, to us today. Those who agree with us, or those who don't. Those who have power, privilege, and platform, or those who don't. Those who have access to basic living needs and human rights, or those who don't. Those who are heard and seen, or those who aren't. Christ is all, and is in all.

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Forgiveness. We would all say these are good things. But these values don't exactly rule our society, our world. They don't even come first in many of our day-to-day actions and interactions. Going to these things first, focusing on others rather than on ourselves, especially when we're challenged or outside of our comfort zone, isn't easy at all. We've got to get back to the very center, the very heart of what it means to follow in the footsteps of Jesus: this radical, out-of-the-box, boundless, selfless, unconditional love. For all people.

I want to leave you with this thought, which was inspired not only by Colossians 3:15-17, but also by the words of Archbishop Óscar Romero: Peace is not silent. It's not even quiet! Self-consciousness has nothing to do with peace. Peace is singing to God from the center of who you are, in thankfulness, in joy, and in the knowledge that you are made in the image of your Creator, to follow in the footsteps of your Savior. And at the same time, peace is recognizing that every person around you can also sing their own unique song--if they are free to do so--and listening. I think that oftentimes, we confuse peace with tranquility, but I see them as two distinct and different things. Teaching and even admonishing one another is a part of that peace. Calling one another out, not to be right or to build up our own ego, but calling one another out in love. What does it mean to let the peace, the message, of Christ dwell in us richly? I think it means engaging with an endless, diverse body of stories and perspectives. I think it means drawing on collective wisdom from a whole myriad of cultures and religions. I think it means seeking out new questions, new things to learn, and a willingness to change your mind. To be transformed by the renewing. I think it means there are no easy answers. I think it means radical, humble open-mindedness. I think it means listening to understand before we listen to respond. I think it means crossing lines, knocking down barriers and being erasers. I think it means turning the world we are so used to upside down. In the best way.

Seek that peace and love, camp fam. Do that internal work.

Michelle Hofeldt

VLM Communications Coordinator 2018

Summer Staff Alum 2011-12

Canoe Camp!

Calling all 5th-12th grade campers for a fantastic new adventure on the water! Join us for Canoe Camp this summer and explore Lake Vermilion or the BWCAW!

During the week, campers will learn to paddle, portage, and stern a canoe alongside their cabinmates, counselors, and friends. Paddle strokes, canoe and wilderness safety, and basic navigation are just some of the skills they will bring home. Overnight camping experiences will teach campers how to set up a campsite, prepare meals while "on trail", and to "leave no trace" as they discover and care for God's amazing creation.

Canoe Camp adventures also grow with your camper. Our 7th and 8th grade program includes an overnight, off-site canoe trip, and our 9th-12th graders get to go on a three-night trip to the Boundary Waters with one of our VLM Canoe Country guides!

We can't wait to go on an expedition with you! Register today!

For more information about Canoe Camp, click here.

Canoe Camp I:  July 22 - 27, 2018 - (Campers who have completed 5th & 6th grade)

Canoe Camp II:  June 24 - 29, 2018 - (Campers who have completed 7th & 8th grade)

Canoe Camp III:  August 5 - 10, 2018 - (Campers who have completed 9th - 12th grade)