History

1963 Maple Village WalkingMount Luther was a response to the need for a place to provide small-group camping experiences in the former Central Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. Lutherans were outgrowing the facilities at Camp Juniata near Milroy, and despite a successful camping program at Camp Susquehanna held on the campus of Susquehanna University each summer, it was the wish of the synod’s Commission on Camping to have a local central to this part of the synod. The synod purchased the former Buffalo Valley Fruit Farm in western Union County, and the camp was dedicated in 1963. When the camping season began that year, the A-Frame cabins in what is now Maple Village were not yet complete.  Mount Luther enjoyed great success in its early days and often had a waiting list.  To help accommodate more campers and provide some larger office facilities, Pine Village and the Administration Center were added in 1967.

1981 Staff croppedThe decade of the 1970s would prove to be crucial to Mount Luther’s survival as a building up of programs and facilities would need to be undertaken to combat burnout and the destruction of a main cabin, which burned down.  The camp was part of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania from the mid-1970s until the early 1990s. The corporation operated Mount Luther, Nawakwa, in Arendtsville, and Kirchenwald in Colebrook.  During that time period, a capital funds campaign helped make improvements to the camp, including a swimming pool and winterization of the cabins.  Trip and specialty camps and opportunities for younger children were added to the summer program.

With the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988, the Upper Susquehanna Synod decided to bring local control to the camp and the Camp Mount Luther Corporation was formed in late 1990. Since then, Mount Luther has seen an increase in use and programs from cmlworkdaythe people of this synod.   Full-time staff, including an executive director, were hired to provide quality facilities and programs during both the summer and "second season" when retreats and events began to be held.  The summer camping program grew, with over 500 campers attending in 2002 and 2003.  In 2004, the Evergreen Center was constructed as a result of the need for more dining and activity space.  The camp began a partnership relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania (ECUSA) in 2006, offering a joint camping week for both Episcopalians and Lutherans. In the early 2010s, a new method of Bible study called “GROW Time” (Gather and Reflect On the Word) was introduced.  In early 2017, the debt was paid off for the Evergreen Center, two and half year ahead of schedule.  In addition, the total project, including the loan, was paid for by donations for the cause.  No general operating funds were used for loan payments.