Winkler Bible Camp began in the summer of 1949, founded by the faculty of Winkler Bible Institute who saw the need for additional ways to serve children besides the current DVBS programs. The Winkler Bible Institute wanted to do something for the children of Winkler and the surrounding districts; currently, few children from this area could attend camp because of the far proximity to other camps so this provided the solution. This venture was widely supported by the community and many friends. Brethren H. H. Redekop and G. D. Pries began searching for locations to hold the camp. Firstly Morden was considered because of the location of Lake Minnewasta and its recreational facilities. Next came Miami because of its scenic surroundings, and finally, the search landed on Burwalde, just 7 miles from Winkler because of its proximity, its general environment, the Burwalde School, and the nearby neighbours.
Donations were solicited by the WBI faculty and according to records, $974.00 was raised by private donors. The foundation for a chapel was poured and a chapel was built in three days during the summer of 1949. A dedication for the chapel, tents, and site took place on July 19, 1949. This occasion was marked by worship and dedication to the Lord in a new venture of faith for the children. That first summer 200 campers attended; sleeping in tents and enjoying the simple amenities of camp. By July of 1952, there were five buildings: the dining hall/kitchen addition to the chapel, boys dorm, girls dorm, and shower house.
In 1951 the camp offered three different camps with a total of 212 children, which had doubled from the year before. A large part of the daily program was Bible teaching, memory work, Bible drill, worship services and prayer time. The staff also taught the children how to play sports as Christians; to play a clean game, to lose gracefully, to cooperate and use good clean language during play. The aim was to carry the ideals of the Christian life into everyday activities.
For seven years (2003-2010) Winkler Bible Camp had the privilege of running Mission Point, located on Shoal Lake, which was the third site of Winkler Bible Camp. Mission Point was an outreach opportunity to the local Native reserves in that area. In 2010, the Lord revealed a new plan in store for Mission Point through a land settlement with the local Native reserve. God did many amazing things at Mission Point and we praise Him for those many opportunities that we were given to share God’s love.
According to the annual report in 1955, they encouraged children to hand in applications early since the camp fills up so quickly. We praise God that our camp continues to be full to this day. The Lord has provided for and worked through the camp in amazing ways. Many people look back over their time as camper or staff to be a starting and/or growing point in their walk with God. We pray that we would continue to honour God in our future and have the opportunity to minister to the many who will come through our doors.