Camp Lakeview began as an idea in the minds of just a few. As Lutheran Lake, a resort association, was developed in the mid-1950’s near Waymansville, some of those involved in the association realized its potential to serve churches and children other than those whose families purchased lots on the new lake. The vision of a camping ministry took root.
In 1963, the South Central Lutheran Camp Association of Indiana, Inc. was established. This organization, doing business as “Camp Lakeview,” acquired 120 acres of property adjacent to Lutheran Lake in Bartholomew County, Indiana. Facilities were constructed, and the first camping season occurred in 1965. Camp Lakeview’s ministry had begun.
For over three decades, the camp steadily grew, but it was used solely as a children’s summer camp. In the mid-90’s, the camp’s leadership developed a plan to expand the summer youth camp and transform it into a year-round ministry for all ages. At this time the average summer season welcomed 600 children to camp. From 1997-2002, the “Pathways of Promise” capital campaign raised $1.1 million and the Lilly Endowment contributed an additional $600,000 to help the camp expand its summer camp accommodations and construct year-round retreat facilities.
In the years after the completion of the “Pathways of Promise” expansion, the popularity of the camp steadily grew to the point where its capacity was exceeded and hundreds of campers were being turned away each summer. At this time camp welcomed over 1800 children to its summer programs and hosted over 50 groups throughout the year. To meet the needs of these patrons, and to provide opportunities for future growth, the camp’s leadership decided to develop an additional site on 70 acres of land on the south side of Lake Road, directly across from Camp Lakeview.
Construction of the new “Lakeview Villages” site began in 2008 with the building of a 30-foot dam that would form a 10-acre lake. At this time the organization became officially known as “Lakeview Ministries,” operating both Camp Lakeview and Lakeview Villages.
From 2009-2011, roadways, cabins, bathhouses, equipment sheds, and a devotional area were constructed — sufficient facilities to begin a summer program at the new site in 2011. By the summer of 2012, the Village Lodge was completed, and a fourth set of cabins was completely operational. This gave the village camp a capacity of 80 campers per week and a beautiful year-round retreat facility.
To pay for the Lakeview Villages expansion project, the “Let the Children Come” capital campaign was launched in July 2009 and reached its $2.5 million goal in July 2012. All in all, over 1,250 households had given or pledged toward this effort.
As a result of the “Let the Children Come” campaign, over 2,200 campers get to experience camp each summer season. The guest group schedule has also grown considerably throughout this expansion. Lakeview Ministries now hosts over 200 groups (totaling over 10,000 guests) throughout the year, with many weekends seeing 6-8 different groups coming to camp.
The most recent addition to Lakeview’s facilities is a third site located just outside of Louisville, KY. This facility, Camp Cedarbrook, has been a ministry inside the Lutheran Church since the 1950’s. Camp Cedarbrook was acquired by Lakeview Ministries in the summer of 2016 and is ideally situated to facilitate the growth of family and adult ministries. Over the past two years Lakeview has conducted extensive research to form a strategic plan for the development of this facility. Part of this strategic plan is rebranding the Cedarbrook property to become “Lakeview Springs”. It is exciting to see how GOd continues to expand Lakeview Ministries to provide even more experiences of growth, inspirtation, and recreation to people of all ages.