"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" Luke 16:10

There are many definitions of trust; it can be a reliance on the integrity, strength, or ability of a person, or a confident expectation of something or someone.
Trust can be hard at times, whether it is trusting that you are doing something right, or trusting that someone will be there to catch you when you fall. And building trust with each other is a whole other topic - everyone tends to have a different time scale of when they rely on or have enough confidence in you to share something with you.

Every week at  in the summer, you can witness this as you see campers come and go and watch how relationships build trust. Some campers don't need a lot of time to trust someone, while other campers take until almost the last day to open up and rely on their cabin mates or counselor.

One example that I saw this past summer was when a group of seekers were learning to paddle board on the lake. Most of them had never paddle boarded before, but they trusted the staff and the PFD's that they had on, if they fell in they would be saved. One camper in particular could not find his balance and would keep falling in and then would need help getting back on the board. Instead of screaming for help he would simply say "I'm in a pickle". A staff member would help him back on the board,  and when he would fall back in would again say "I'm in a pickle". He didn't give up and continued to be confident in the fact that there was someone there to help him.

God's trust is an absolute trust that can't be broken. I think you could associate the saying "I'm in a pickle" as a call out to God to show that you have trust in God. Think about who you trust, the trust you have in God, and perhaps think about a saying you can use when you are calling out to God, or that trusted person when you are "in a pickle".

Jamie Szamatula

Camp Hiawatha Hospitality Coordinator

Let Us Host You

You know that Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion are available for retreats and meetings, but did you also know we could host your next family gathering, specifically over the holidays? The Bakk House at Camp Vermilion and the Retreat Center at Camp Hiawatha provide an ideal setting for a holiday celebration. With a kitchen, plenty of tables, living room/gathering space, sleeping rooms, and outside winter activity options, it has all the things your house offers with the bonus of not having to clean before your guests arrive! Consider using one of these spaces for a day, an overnight, or even a few nights. 

Contact Bobbi to inquire about available dates and costs.

Thanks, Tavis!

We said thank you and farewell to Tavis Reiderer at the end of October. Tavis has been the Camp Vermilion Site Director since February of 2017, and brought a passion for camp and a constant smile to this position.

Tavis loved to solve problems; if something wasn't working, he was relentless in figuring out a solution. He helped us get many of the final tasks completed on Voyageur Lodge, and took great pride in knowing how things worked in that building. His enthusiasm for camp, working with volunteers, and strengthening Vermilion's connection to the Cook community was evident throughout his time with us. 

In addition to being Vermilion's Site Director, Tavis is also the owner of The Crescent, a restaurant not far from camp, and a frequent choice of both summer and year-round staff. His decision to leave Camp Vermilion was not an easy one, but one he feels is necessary to give The Crescent the time and energy needed to keep it a successful business for the community. And though he will no longer be on staff, we look forward to seeing around the area as well as volunteering at camp!

Quilting Getaway at Camp Vermilion

Join us October 26-28 for a weekend of sewing!We'll cook and clean while you create. 

This retreat is ideal for quilters who need some focused time to start or finish a project, who are interested in connecting with others who share a passion for sewing, or simply need a weekend away in a beautiful setting!  Of course we would love to have you join us for the whole weekend, but this retreat also provides the chance to join us for the day as well. (Or, if you live close enough, come to sew and eat, but perhaps go home to sleep in your own bed!)

Cost is $30/person per day, which include two meals, snacks, irons, a cutting table, and space to sew. Overnight costs: $30 for multiple occupancy in Voyageur Lodge ($75 for single occupancy).

Not a quilter? Bring your knitting, crocheting, needle point, scrap booking, or any other craft you wish.


"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." -1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Community - It's one of those words we use a lot around camp all year long, but especially in the summer. We use it to cover a variety of groups and contexts from a cabin of summer campers, to a group of cabins (or village), to a broader context that includes groups of volunteers, member congregations, and friends of VLM who extend beyond those parameters. Community covers a lot and is used a lot. The downfall of overuse, often times, can be that we forget the power of the word and how it is really defined. So consider this a "community" refresher. Let's start with a few of the most common definitions of community:

  • a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

  • a group of people living together in one place practicing common ownership.

  • a particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants.

  • the people of a district or country considered collectively in the context of social values and responsibilities.

  • denoting a worker or resource designed to serve the people of a particular area.

  • a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

  • a similarity or identity.

  • joint ownership or liability.

  • a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.

As I review these definitions and pair them with the above verse from 1 Peter, I am reminded of how important and impactful our time in and our identity as a community at VLM truly is. Community at VLM can be seen in a variety of ways:

  • a cabin of fifth and sixth grade Trekkers spend a week living, growing and fellowshipping in a common place while building their identity as friends, campers, a chosen people who belong to God; 

  • on a portage trail where a canoe country group works towards a common goal to complete their route to reach the next campsite, warm meal and fellowship time around the fire; 

  • our summer staff, a group of interdependent people from different backgrounds, spend weeks living together, training in our summer program, develop a common goal and identity in the midst of their responsibilities as a part of the royal priesthood of all believers;

  • VLM board members and volunteers who give their time and energies to Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion engaging their sense of identity and "ownership" of these places that hold deep meaning and a sense of belonging.

All of these instances and more show a fuller, deeper meaning of community.

Through the VLM community, in all its forms, we are drawn into this group of people belonging to God, called into fellowship, a royal priesthood, that spreads far and wide through many years past, present, and into the future. How good it is to be in community, connected to one another and God through these special places and this unique ministry in God's great Northwoods.

Brett Amundson

Camp Vermilion Program Director

Fall Projects at Camp Hiawatha

Thanks to some dedicated and hard working volunteers, a lot of updates have happened at Camp Hiawatha since our summer programs ended.  

The Log Lodge, which is almost 100 years old, got some new logs, new window frames, and new screens. We are so thankful for these updates that will allow us to use this building for generations to come!

Those staying in Lindberg Dorm will notice a drastic improvement to the building. A new cement was poured last  spring in front of the building, and this fall a covered walk way was built. Not only will this keep the snow from landing right in front of the doors, it will also provide shade from the sun during the long summer days. Sitting in front of Lindberg enjoying the view of Deer Lake just got much more enjoyable!

The final project was new racks for our canoes and paddle boards. In a more sheltered location, our canoes will be protected from high winds, and we have a set location for storing our paddle boards when not in use.

Stand Up Paddle Board - Paddle Building Weekend

September 14-16 at Camp Vermilion

This weekend long class includes four sessions during which you will complete your own stand up paddle board paddle. You will craft your own Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle, from gluing the wood blanks to a finished work of art. 

Go to our Paddle Building page for more information, including cost and how to register!



"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Ephesians 3:14-19

It should not come as a shock to anyone when I say that we pray often at camp. Not only do we pray often, but we also pray in many different ways: shout prayers, bubble prayers, responsive prayers, whisper prayers, rain prayers, and more. However, I can't remember anyone, myself included, praying the way Paul does in Ephesians. Every time I read any of Paul's writing I am blown away by his prayers, and this reading from Ephesians is especially impressive to me. But more importantly it brings me back to camp every time I read it, especially this time of year when all the camper names and faces start to blur together in my mind. I can't help but think of camp as the family from verse 15; an extremely diverse, dedicated, laughing and loving family that is tied together by Christ.

In July we celebrated 60 years of ministry at Camp Hiawatha, and it was incredible to be there surrounded by people that have so many stories and memories of their time at camp. We planted some pine saplings around Grandfather Pine to commemorate the occasion, and in the firm hope that camp's ministry will continue for many years to come! When Paul talks about having power together with all the saints, it's hard not to think about all the people that have come before at camp, and how we are connected to those people; not only because of the beautiful site, but also because of our passion for sharing God's love with youth. I am beyond grateful for all the directors who have navigated Camp Hiawatha, Camp Vermilion, and VLM as a whole through the good and the bad times and gotten VLM to the point we're at today. I'm also grateful to every single person who has helped camp in any way, small or big, whether that was working for 11 summers or 1 day, being a camper, sorting mailings, removing trees from program spaces, leading a journey, helping with the merger 28 years ago, inviting a friend or family to camp, or donating your time or money. Thank you to everyone who loves camp enough to tell a camp story to a friend or family member; you all are camp saints, part of the camp family that I get to see every week in campers, retreat guests, volunteers, and staff. Thank you, so very, very much.

To take a page out of Paul's book: I pray that you, being rooted and established at camp, may have power together with all the camp saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that is so prevalent at camp and surpasses all knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen!

Aaron Burnside
Camp Hiawatha Program Director

Log Lodge Gets an Update!

Now that our busy summer camp season is over, the Log Lodge at Camp Hiawatha is getting a bit of a face lift! Volunteers cut and de-barked the trees last winter, had them cut to length, and are now working to replace the logs that have started to rot. It is definitely a labor of love, and we are so very thankful to the dedicated group of volunteers who are taking on this project. We love this building and look forward to using it for many years to come!


A Busy Summer!

Camp Hiawatha Celebrated 60 Years of Ministry!

On Saturday, July 7, we invited friends to join us at Camp Hiawatha to celebrate 60 years. It was a beautiful day filled with stories, fellowship, and worship. The worship included planting three new White Pine trees near Grandfather Pine. It is our hope that those trees will one day take Grandfather Pine's place as the location to gather for campers and guest who use this camp. Thank you to all who joined us in this celebration! 

See more pictures of the day by clicking here.

Camp Vermilion Loses 200-350 Year Old Trees in Storm

The same weekend we celebrated Hiawatha and planted trees, a strong and fast storm moved through the Lake Vermilion area and took out about 100 trees at Camp Vermilion. Some of those trees had been standing for hundreds of years! Fortunately the storm did minor damage to buildings, though the amphitheater damage was significant. We have had some wonderful volunteers helping with cutting trees, cleaning up brush, and wood chipping.  Join us at our Fall Work Day on September 22 and help us continue the clean up.

See our initial Facebook Post here; additional posts on our page will show clean up progress. 

Camp Vermilion Sauna

Our summer season ended with the discovery that the sauna at Camp Vermilion was destroyed by fire the night of August 9. We are so very grateful that no one was hurt and that the fire did not spread to any other buildings. With the heat involved in this incident, it is truly divine intervention that stopped any other part of camp being affected by this fire.The sauna had been used by campers earlier in the day so the stove was lit, but it is our understanding that the cause of the fire was simply too much heat for a 50 year old building. Plans are in the works for how to rebuild this much used and loved building.

See the Facebook Post here.

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!