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Camp Phillip
Let's Celebrate a Christian Marriage, Again!

We have something great to celebrate. Camp Phillip has a special place in the story of another Christian marriage.


I’m not sure when Pastor Tom began to notice it as a trend. But, around the time that our camps began to be staffed by paid college students rather than volunteer high school students, the number of camp couples who eventually got married increased dramatically. It has happened at least 44 times in the last 25 years of our history as a camp.


In the last six months, we have had the chance to celebrate the weddings of past staff members Kristen Carow and Ryan Moldenhauer, and current staff members Kate Zabrowski and David Marquardt. This May, we gathered to celebrate the wedding of Leslie Prothero and Justin Heise, who will again serve as our Junior Staff Directors this summer. At the wedding there were ten couples who had met at Camp Phillip and gotten married. You see nine of the couples pictured here:





What a blessing it is to be a ministry that brings so many Christians together. Camp Phillip is a place that people get away to. But it is also a place where people come together in the name of Christ. A wide variety of people come to Camp from all sorts of backgrounds and regions.


I suppose it makes sense that if college-aged Christians spend a summer together serving the Lord, they might learn to respect each other enough that they entertain the idea of dating and possibly marrying one of those staff members.


Camp Phillip SALT staff certainly isn’t a dating service, and we train the staff not to let romance take a priority over their service during the summer. In fact, it is enjoyable to leave the campers out of our romantic lives, and then see their surprise when two staff members do get married. If we hear the campers say, “What?! I didn’t even know you two were dating, and now you’re married?!” we know we were doing a good job of putting them first.


But even though we do not encourage staff to spend their time at camp selecting spouses, we certainly don’t mind celebrating the way that God uses Camp Phillip to support and encourage staff members as they become mature Christian adults. And if that time spent here helps them find a spouse or be a better spouse in the future, then praise the Lord for doing that work through our humble efforts at Camp.

The Lutheran Ceili Orchestra is Coming to Family Fest
Lutheran Ceili Orchestra 

If you’ve never experienced Family Fest before, imagine this: Camp Phillip’s staff put all the awesome experiences that are a part of a week of camp into one weekend.  And then add a unique night of concerts at the end of Saturday’s schedule just to make sure the weekend is extra special. This summer, Joey Schuman and the rest of the performers in the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra will be performing at Family Fest. If you haven’t heard this group of talented musicians play their Celtic Style Music, you will be in for a treat when you come to our outdoor stage at Family Fest.


Note: Family Fest is not on Father’s Day Weekend this year. It usually is. Many of you have already booked your campsites or cabins for the weekend almost a year ago. But there are a handful of spots left.


Call the Camp office to make a reservation for Family Fest 2014. (920) 787-3202

Upcoming Events

Memorial Day Weekend (Half Price Camping) 

 May 22 - 25

Junior Staff Training 

 June 7 - 12

Family Fest 

 June 12 - 14

Fledgling Camp 1 (current grade: 2 - 4) 

 June 14 - 17

Pee Wee Camp 1 (current grade: K - 2) 

 June 14 - 17

Day Trip Specialty Camp (current grade: 6 - 8) 

 June 21 - 27 

Jesus Cares Camp 

 June 29 - July 3   

Son Shine / Specialty Camp 1 (current grade: 6 - 8) 

 July 5 - 11

Pee Wee Camp 1 (current grade: K - 2) 

 July 12 - 15

  Fledgling Camp 2 (current grade: 2 - 4)

 July 12 - 15

Son Rise Camp (current grade: 5 - 8) 

 July 15 - 18

Teen Adventure Days (current age: 14 - 18) 

 July 12 - 17

 You can head here to find a summary of our different summer camp options, 

 and you can go here to fin out about how to register.

Camp Looks Different This Year!

We hope that each time you come back to Camp there are some small changes (hopefully improvements) that you find a pleasant surprise. Each winter Nate Klusmeyer, our faithful Maintenance Director and Chef, takes on a new renovation project, and that is in addition to projects like repairing the dishwasher, or dealing with storm damage to buildings and the forest.


Here you can see some during and after pictures of the most recent cabin renovation. You have to imagine the before picture. This is cabin 9, in the basement of Wisco 3. As you are imagining the before, you should picture the concrete block walls and the carpet that has been there at least since I was on Junior Staff in 1994. The room looks great with new lighting, tile floors and finished walls.




There are always plenty of projects around Camp. We do have 177 acres after all! We have recently added wifi to the campground, and a new climbing structure to the playground. Between Nathan and Pastor Tom, and our small army of faithful volunteers and donors, broken things keep getting repaired, and new features continue to be added. But probably the biggest change you will see when you arrive at Camp this summer, is the lack of trees in some prominent areas.


We had a forestry company come in to protect our woods from the spread of oak-wilt disease by doing some clear-cutting. They cut around Pastor Tom and Nancy’s house near the entrance of Camp, and they did some work in the pine forest near the tree-deck, to make the pine-forest more healthy and future proof. Also there were a lot of trees removed around the Nature Center and the Outdoor Stage. At first glance, it is a bit shocking. But we have recently experienced how quickly the woods regrow after this by watching the first stage of this project develop in the back corner of Camp near our hiking trails and the Crossroads. Look for a healthy variety of tress growing in where the old ones were in the next few years!


One fun benefit of the lack of trees near the Nature Center is that you can now see almost all of our main camp buildings at once. From outside Wisco 3, you can see from The Quad and Dining Hall to the Wiscos and Stage and Nature Center all the way to the Office and PT’s house. Check it out in this panoramic photo.


Alumni Update  Where are they now? Dave "Rudy" Ruddatt


RudyI was SALT staff in the summers of 1996 and 1997 and Junior Staff Director in 1998. I currently serve as Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Pierre, South Dakota. I’m co-organizing a new summer camp in the Black Hills for catechism students called CAT camp (www.facebook.com/catcampwels). The goals of CAT camp is to Connect kids to fellow Lutheran Christians, Augment the instruction given at individual congregations, and Train students to be future leaders in their congregations.  


What brought me to Camp Phillip?


When I was a freshman at Martin Luther College, my RA was Christopher “Topher” Doerr.  He pulled me aside one day and asked if I would to consider applying for a summer job at Camp Phillip. I had never been to Camp Phillip, nor to any camp at all.  My only taste of camp was when SALT staff at MLC would invite me to their informal get-togethers, where I’d listen to their stories and learn some of their favorite camp songs.  The idea of being in God’s Word daily while having a positive impact on campers intrigued me, so I applied.


My summers at Camp Phillip are a distant memory now, but they shaped who I am today.  Being a Camp Counselor has its times of adversity and challenges, but its blessings to your life and the lives of others make it all worthwhile.  You get a taste of how God’s Word comforts and empowers others, for at the same time it is comforting and empowering you.


I did meet my wife at Camp, although I didn’t know it at the time.  Kelly Dobberpuhl (SALT 97-2000, Program Director 00-02) was a friend while I was there, and we emailed each other when I was in Japan.  My sister got married in 2000, and Kelly was the perfect choice for a “non-threatening” date.   Later that summer, she asked me to go to another SALT staff wedding in Missouri, and along the way, my eyes were opened to Kelly as the perfect choice for a lifetime companion.  What a wonderful blessing she has been in my life!  We have 5 children, 3 of which have been able to come to Camp Phillip as campers.  Experiencing camp through my children has opened my eyes to the truly great blessing Camp Phillip is, not just for the staff, but also for the campers!


These are three of the things I learned at Camp Phillip that I will never forget.

  1. It is so important to recognize the difference between “soft thinking” and “hard thinking” during the creative process. Time and time again, I’ve had to recognize when to brainstorm open-mindedly, and when to think practically.
  2. Facing your weaknesses uncovers your strengths.  I’m partly deaf, so it was impossible for me to tell if campers were truly asleep.  So, I told really long stories of a boy named Stan and his magical best friend known as “The Purple Man.”   Today, my kids listen to stories about a boy named Pepe and his pet goat “Bellee.”  While I enjoy telling the stories, it puts my kids asleep and teaches them a thing or two.
  3. Camp brought out the best in all of us, and the best in all of us was different from person to person.  Camp Phillip is an environment where a person’s gifts can shine in a safe environment, instilling confidence that the Holy Spirit has given you gifts that can serve in God’s church.   

The faces and buildings have changed, but what keeps Camp Phillip the place where relaxation and renewal in Christ is found, is God’s Word.  I am forever thankful to God for bringing me to Camp Phillip.  I thank Him for: what I learned about myself and His Word there, the people I now consider my closest friends, and the opportunities to share God’s Word and God’s love with campers.

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Camp Phillip
W9944 Buttercup Ave.
Wautoma, Wisconsin 54982
United States
(920) 787-3202