Camp Mini-Yo-We has a rich history stretching all the way to 1940’s. It was in 1945 that Sunday school teachers and superintendents from various Brethren churches in Toronto began to see the need for a place where children could get out of the city, experience nature, and be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. A committee was formed and the first camps were held in 1946 using rented facilities from the Fair Havens Bible Conference in Beaverton.
The original name of the camp was The Fountain of Living Waters, based on the Bible verse John 4:14. This first camp was such a success that the committee began to seek potential land on which they could establish a permanent summer camp. It was in 1946 that the Brethren Assemblies purchased the property on Mary Lake in Muskoka. On January 28, 1947 the organization was also officially incorporated and the name changed to Camp Mini-Yo-We meaning “spring” or “fountain of living water” in the Dakota Sioux language.
In 1947 Camp Mini-Yo-We had boys come in July and girls come in August. This split-gender camp would continue until 1992 when “parallel camping” was introduced. Even in 1947 Camp was very similar to what it is today. Campers still met in the morning to pray, breakfast was still at 8:00, and the activities still included hiking, swimming lessons, campfires, singing, and treasure hunts. Over the next 10 years there was a flurry of construction at South Camp including the first aid centre (’49), lodge (’51), staff house (’56), gatehouse (’58), and waterfront (’60) – all of which still stand today. By 1960 Camp was providing amazing experiences for over 750 kids each summer!
Today Camp Mini-Yo-We operates four sites: South Camp, Chemawa, Edgewoods, and Northwoods. Each site has a lodge and is divided into section of cabins. In total, Camp Mini-yo-We can accommodate up to 400 campers per week during the summer. It has been over 70 years since we started, and our goal continues to be the same: to develop leaders and impact lives for Christ. We look back on a rich heritage and forward to a bright future!
If you would like a detailed history of Camp Mini-Yo-We’s origin and early years, you can purchase The Source of Mini-Yo-We from our tuck shop throughout the summer months.