Our History

Prior to becoming a Christian camp, Camp Wartburg was formerly known as Thorburg Acres or Thorburg Estates.

In 1967, during the 450th anniversary of the Reformation, the camp’s original name of Lutheran Recreation Center was changed to Camp Wartburg.

In the 1970s, Camp Wartburg began what we now consider to be our “traditional” programs. The first summer program was based on the motto “Growth in Christ through Christ-centered camping.” The framework for fulfilling this motto was small-group camping, which meant that there was one counselor to every six to seven campers. Since the ratio was so small, this made it possible for the campers to quickly build honest, personal relationships among themselves, thereby establishing an atmosphere that would permit them to share their faith in Christ with each other, a model that Camp Wartburg holds to this day.

In 1996, Camp Wartburg was bought by Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois. The original purchase consisted of 38 acres surrounding the dining hall (what is now Thorburg Hall). Since then, 86 additional acres have been acquired.

At that time, the goal of Camp Wartburg was to expand its programs, as well as offer the community services such as family camping, trip camping and outdoor education. Camp Wartburg also wanted the facilities to be available for weekday and weekend retreats, church-group meetings, pastoral conferences, scout encampments and a venue for other organizations.

Today, Camp Wartburg consists of 124 acres of park-like grounds, wooded trails and recreational fields. The buildings have been renovated and new facilities added, including Negwer Family Center, Grandma Linda’s Craft Center and the Pool House. On an annual basis, Camp Wartburg serves approximately 1,200 summer campers and more than 75 retreat and school groups.