History

For over 50 years we’ve been reaching
youth with the Gospel

 
 

Where it started

Since The Island Youth Camp started in 1947, Word of Life has expanded to offer camping ministries in the United States and in 67 countries around the world. These camps provide families and youth of all ages with a place of physical and spiritual refreshment.

 

Humble Beginnings

In 1946, Jack Wyrtzen, founder of Word of Life, received a visit from a real estate agent who said, “Jack, I know you work with young people; you ought to open a camp. I have a beautiful piece of property up in the Adirondack Mountains on Schroon Lake.”

Hear how Jack Wyrtzen and Harry Bollback started the first Word of Life camp, the Word of Life Island.

Jack was uncertain about expanding into the camping ministry, but after visiting the property and praying about the opportunity, he decided to pursue it. God moved the hearts of 47 people who gave generously to provide for the purchase of the property and He has continued to bless and add to the camping ministry in remarkable ways ever since.

In 1947, the Word of Life Island Youth Camp began on that first piece of property and in 1953, the Word of Life Inn, formerly known as the Brown Swan Hotel and Cottages, was purchased. Between 1955 and 1973, two more pieces of property were added that would become the Ranch & Ranger Camp, now known as The Ranch and The Wild. And in 1975, the Word of Life Family Campground completed the Word of Life camping experience in the state of New York.

In 1988, a miracle camp property came to realization in Hudson, Florida, and construction began on the World Bible Conference and Resort Center and Youth Camp. Today, junior and teen camps are hosted at that location.

In addition to the miraculous way these properties became part of the Word of Life camping ministry, other ministries have expanded across the United States and in 67 other countries around the world. Each year, these camps provide physical and spiritual refreshment, dynamic programs, challenging Bible teaching, life-changing ministry and meaningful relationships to families and youth.