Named for the local family that donated their land for the use as a summer camp in the 1960’s, White Memorial Camp has nearly 60 years of tradition. The goal? Provide a quality camping experience for youth and adults to learn outdoor skills, build community and grow their faith. Our camp is surrounded by history. WMC is located in the heart of the Flint Hills, 13 miles from the City of Council Grove, Kansas. The Flint Hills are a unique geologic and physiographic area in Kansas. Council Grove was an important historic stopping point on the Santa Fe Trail. This property extends into the Council Grove Reservoir with lake access along the west, south and east side of the property.
Pre-Camp: This site was the campground of Indigionous Peoples including the Kansa Native Americans. Several Kansa burial mounds have been identified and explored by the Kansas State Archeologists, however, the sites had been opened previously. Native American points (arrowheads) have been found on the site.settlements. In the past, recognizing the unique aspects of the site, investigations have been made to identify and to preserve the heritage of the site.
1962 The C.H. White and W.W. White family in memory of their parents, donated 114 acres of property to the Kansas-Oklahoma United Church of Christ Conference in 1962.
1963 groundbreaking and work on the land begins.
1962 – 1964 When the Corps of Engineers was removing homes and barns in the reservoir area we secured permission to haul the limestone rock that many of the homes and barns had been constructed with, some in the early years of Kansas as a territory or a state. Thanks to the hard manual labor of our volunteers hauling the stones, all of our camp buildings are constructed of limestone rock from these old buildings. Thus we have not only recycled these building stones but also preserved the heritage of the early. Fun fact, hundreds of sheep were brought in to stamp out poisonous snakes so the workers could continue their work.
1964 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers completes construction on Council Grove Lake. The lake has approximately 40 miles of shoreline and 3,320 surface acres of water. Approximately 2,450 acres are open to hunting around the lake. 1,950 acres of this land is licensed to and managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The remaining 500 acres are managed by the Corps of Engineers.
1965 the Conference purchased from Mary Hughes an additional 70 acres to the north of the WMC property. A report was prepared for the Conference to study the philosophy, program and aims for the camp and set the direction of development of the site and the vision of the facility being for all ages on a year round basis.After incredible donations from churches, private donors and thousands of volunteer hours, the site is well underway including the nearly completed construction on the Dining Hall. The Sante Fe Railroad even donated our cherished camp bell.
1967 begins offering camps catering specifically to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of the first interfaith church-planned camps for folks with disabilities in the United States.
1984, Richard Chamberlin, involved with the Outdoor Ministries Committee in the preparation of a report entitled, ‘A Long- Range Plan for Camping and Ministries in the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference. Recommendations were made in three areas-program, site and finances.
1985, Cynthia Ramsey a candidate for BS in Landscape Architecture, Kansas State University, prepared a Master Plan which discussed the program and ways to preserve and interpret the natural environment.
1999 the Outdoor Ministries Commission hosted a seminar, with Richard Chamberlin, to obtain Conference members’ vision of the future for the camp and a master site plan for the future development of the total site was prepared by Ken Ebert Design Group, Manhattan.
2013 several former members of the Outdoor Ministries along with other passionate camp enthusiasts, formed White Memorial Camp Management Group, Inc. – a 501c3 not-for-profit organization who would be responsible for managing White Memorial Camp. The Outdoor Ministries and UCC no longer Managed the camp, its finances or its daily operations. Now owned and operated by a Board, they established WMC as a separate entity from the UCC. The group continues to work with the Conference and hold the long-standing traditions established by the UCC and camp.
2016, after a few years of renting the property from the KO-UCC, WMC Management Group, Inc. officially purchased the property from the KO-UCC. Now, WMC opens its doors even wider to accept all who wish to find a spiritual connection, an escape from the daily routine or a welcoming community. To quote the UCC motto, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
Today: WMC continues to provide a safe, welcoming atmosphere for all peoples wishing to experience respite, grow their faith, build social skills, improve teamwork and problem solving, and get in touch with the outdoors. The perfect mix of seclusion and modern comfort surrounded by prairie, lake, and woods. We’re having fun out here, come and join us.