Camp Vermilion Dining Hall Update

One of the exciting motions passed at the Annual Meeting in February was to break ground on the new dining hall at Camp Vermilion by July 2015. That's just a year away! Joel and the Board have been busy defining VLM's physical and programmatic needs, working with architects at DSGW of Duluth, Virginia, and Grand Rapids to design the space, and seeking out funds for the new building. At a meeting earlier this week the Board of Directors approved the design, which includes a new trailshack and retreat space on the bottom level, but they also said we will not go into debt to complete the project. It's an exciting time for VLM as we all dream about the future and work to make it a reality.

Community Picnic - June 24th

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Camp Vermilion is hosting a community picnic and we would love for you to join us. Our staff will be grilling and serving up delicious food! Whether you've always wondered what is beyond that Camp Vermilion archway or if you are one of the many neighbors who enjoy walking the camp road, please come enjoy time with other people from the area.

This event is free and open to the public, so be sure to invite your neighbors and friends!


5:00 Appetizers and fellowship

5:45 Picnic dinner (free will offering accepted)

6:15 Songs by campers


Please RSVP by June 17 so we can be sure to have plenty of food for everyone. You can RSVP by emailing the Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry office or by calling 218-666-5465.



Camp Vermilion, 2555 Vermilion Camp Road, Cook, MN

Camp Vermilion Work Day Recap

166 people from 24 different churches came out to camp to clean and repair cabins, rake leaves, haul wood, and prepare camp for the busy summer season. In addition, 3 churches came out the weeks before and days after to work on the cabin they sponsor. We are inspired by the amazing energy and gifts these volunteers bring each year. We are so blessed to be part of these wonderful congregations, and we thank the volunteers for sharing their time and skills with camp! Find more pictures here in our Facebook album.

Camp Vermilion Work Day next Saturday, May 17th

Now it's time to bring that same energy to Camp Vermilion! Join us May 17th as we prepare camp for the arrival of staff and campers and kick off the busy summer season! 

  • 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. - Registration with rolls and coffee available
  • 12:30 p.m. - Lunch

Click here for information about projects and goals for the day. For additional information, please contact the VLM Office at 800-331-5148 or email VLM.

You are also invited to come early for the Family Overnight! Join us Friday night for dinner at 6:30 followed by games, campfire, and fellowship in the evening. After breakfast on Saturday, explore the camps on your own or join in on Work Day as we get our camps ready for the summer.

Open to youth groups also! This is a great opportunity to introduce new friends to camp - especially if the camper (or camper parent) is nervous about being away from home this summer.  

  • Friday, May 16 - Saturday, May 17 at Camp Vermilion (RSVP by May 9)

This event is free if you help with work day. $50 per family if you are unable to stay.

Bluegrass Basket Challenge for Member Congregations

Mark your calendars! This summer the Bluegrass Festival will be Saturday, July 26th at Camp Vermilion!


As part of the Bluegrass Festival, VLM will have a basket raffle to raise funds to get more kids to camp. We have challenged each member congregation to put together a basket for the raffle. If you want to be part of this challenge, we encourage you to contact your church's VLM delegate or email Laura from the Bluegrass Committee. The basket that raises the most money will earn their congregation a free overnight retreat at Camp Hiawatha or Camp Vermilion next winter. So work together with your church to put together an awesome basket, and be sure to join us this July at the Bluegrass Festival!

Into the Woods with Andy


What a gorgeous last few weeks it has been up here at Camp Vermilion. The majority of the snow has finally melted, projects are piling up, and the maple sap is running.

Two weeks ago we tapped thirty or so maple trees to collect sap to produce maple syrup. We tapped mostly red maples, but also had a few sugar maples tapped as well. We no sooner got our taps in when the sap started flowing. It is always a guessing game as to when the sap will run. There is no one hundred percent fail safe way to tell how much sap you will collect either. Not having ever run taps here at Camp Vermilion, we didn't know what to expect, but after just one night we realized we were doing something right. After our first ten days, we had collected about twenty-five gallons of sap. We were not disappointed. The cold temperatures over those ten days kept the sap from running really consistently, however.

What did run usually ended up freezing in the tap lines. So, we decided to leave our taps in longer in hopes for a few more gallons. When I returned to work after Easter I found something I was not expecting. In the three days that I was gone the sap ran and it ran. I found three of our five gallon buckets completely full of sap, and numerous buckets half full or more. All said and done I ended up with fifty gallons of sap in just those three days alone. Now to turn it into the liquid sweetness we call maple syrup.

The maple sap that we collected is mostly water. The next process is to boil down the sap to evaporate off the water. It takes just about 30-35 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup once it is all boiled down. That is not an exact ratio; it is just a ratio we learned from researching and reading about the maple syrup process. It will take quite a bit of time to boil it down to the consistency we want. We measure the consistency with a maple syrup hydrometer. The hydrometer measures the density of the sugar in the water. Once the sap boils down enough, you use the hydrometer to read the sugar content. This determines if you still have sap or if you have crossed the line into syrup.

Once you have reached the desired point of syrup, just jar it up and enjoy. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy real maple syrup are with coffee and over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.


-Andy Arola

Camp Vermilion Site Director