The story of Camp Nakamun really begins with the assignment of Jessie Hyde, from Ottawa, to do mission work for the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination in this area, first in Fort Chippewa, then later in Onoway where she lived with Mr. & Mrs. Roland Jespersen.
Following discussions with Ron & Doreen Gillespie who were doing mission work in the area north of Lake Nakamun, Miss Hyde moved to Fern Valley where she worked for about five or six years conducting Sunday School classes in about 35 schools, traveling by a horse drawn buggy or sleigh .Jessie Hyde worked together with many people from the area, including Dorothy Plomp (Undheim), Ruth Dye, Dorothy Crocker, Pearl Fustey, Vera Rudd, Anne Shaw, Beryl Sabine (Long), Harold Jost, Ada Noble (Walker), Franklin Irwin, Keith Lonie, Margith Carlson and Esther Neistedt.
A need for Daily Vacation Bible School and summer camps was recognized and a five day camp was first held at Hambling’s Beach on Lac La Nonne with four staff (Dorothy Plomp, Ruth Dye, Jessie Hyde and Rev. Murray Downey) and about twenty five campers. The following year the camp with many more campers was held at Kildeer Beach and Virginia Meckelburg from Barrhead also assisted, with help and support from Rev. Paul Undheim the first pastor of the Alliance church in Barrhead.
This camp carried on at Kildeer Beach for a few years until 1947 when Ruth Dye and Dorothy Plomp heard of a site for sale on Lake Nakamun that was about 35 acres, had a log farmhouse, a small red barn, with five cottages and was priced at $2,500. Ruth Dye arranged for a down payment and the property was purchased.
At a meeting on January 5, 1948 a camp board of trustees was established including Jessie Hyde and Ruth Dye with Paul Undheim as the Chairman, Harold Jost the Vice Chairman, and Dorothy Plomp the Secretary. “Nakamun Point Bible Camp” was selected as the name and a motion was made to purchase the property on Nakamun Lake from Ruth Dye to be held in trust by the camp board for the Western District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. At a meeting on March 29, 1948 at “The Point”, it was decided to move the building from Kildeeer Beach to Nakamun and that a sign be erected identifying the camp.
Ruth Dye and Dorothy Plomp lived in the farmhouse all that winter, melting snow for water needs and chopping a hole in the ice for water for the team of Shetland ponies used to pull a sleigh for transportation. A camp was held at the end of June that year and later plans were made to construct an ice house, a dining room and a 16’by 20’ chapel.
In 1949, Nakamun Point Bible Camp was held July 1-11 with a total of 119 campers, twenty three staff and four speakers. The camper fees were $1 per camper. In the summer of 1949, Dorothy Plomp and Paul Undheim were married in a beautifully decorated tent at the camp.
No camp was held at Nakamun in 1955 because of health concerns as a result of a fish die off the previous winter.
In 1957 the old log house (Lookout Lodge) was torn down and the foundation for the new tabernacle was laid. In 1958 a dining room was constructed which served for many years. In 1960 there were 166 campers, and in 1963, the first Family Camp was held under the direction of Rev. Neil Foster. A dorm/lodge was built in 1969 , which included a suite for a camp director on the main floor, a fireplace and a small kitchen in the basement , and some year round accommodation for small groups upstairs.
In 1975 the name was changed to Camp Nakamun and in 1977 four children’s camps were held in addition to the Family Camp. During the late 1970s the A-Frame cabins and the Martin Chalet were built to accommodate the boys for summer camps. In the 1980s discussions began regarding the need for a swimming pool. At the same time, more requests were coming for groups to come for retreats at all times of the year and there was a need to upgrade the kitchen facility. In 1999 some land was purchased on the north shore of the lake to be used for “tent camps”, hiking trails, bike trails, etc. During this time the camp was under the leadership of Arlie and Gail Jespersen and in 1988 a new project was approved and undertaken to build a Family Centre including an indoor pool, a gymnasium, a modern commercial grade kitchen, meeting rooms and accommodation rooms.
It was built on the site of the old tabernacle and opened in 1990. It has provided a year round facility for school groups, particularly bands, during the weekdays and for retreats on the weekends, particularly for groups associated with various churches in the Edmonton and north central Alberta area. In 1992 horsemanship was added to the summer program at the “ranch” about a kilometer north of the main camp site. The old dining hall/kitchen was renovated into a dormitory in 1994.
From 1996 to 2006, Don and Carol Kosman provided leadership with Don serving as the Manager and Carol looking after bookings and hosting of groups while Howard Gitzel served as Camp Director from 1998 to 2004. During this time several facilities were upgraded including the old dorm/lodge which was completely rebuilt; it opened in 2002 and was renamed the Heritage Lodge. Other renovations included the girls’ cabins, called the Sunset Cabins, and the Lakeview Chapel/Hall as well as the Bluebird cottages which were built to provide more family accommodations.
Challenge activities such as the climbing wall and zip line were developed as well as the “human fooseball” court.
The community Christmas Banquet started in 1998 is always a highlight and gives opportunity for many people, usually 200-300, from the area to get together at this special season of the year.
The camp continues to provide a quality facility for retreats and to maintain its purpose of offering summer camps for children, and Family Camps, with a Christian focus and engaging activities.