75 Years of Discipleship at Camp Frenda

Posted: June 1st, 2022

When you hear “Camp Frenda,” what do you think of first? A picturesque lake, tree-lined paths, swimming, horseback riding, waterskiing and other outdoor adventures? Friendships with peers from across the province? A chance to participate in activities not available at home?

Most would concur with Camp Frenda Director Pastor James Rooney, who described his childhood experiences at Frenda as “unforgettable.” He noted, “When I stand [on the grounds] as director, I can picture myself as a 10-year-old running up and down the hill, along the lake. It’s still right there, very clear.”

But there’s more to Camp Frenda than outdoor fun—at its core, it’s a site for discipleship. Pastor James said, “[At Frenda], young people from both Christian and non-Christian homes are invited to encounter God in a unique setting . . . We begin by training our staff to be disciples, to model Christ in their work ethic and their interactions with children.”

Campers are also introduced to Christ through lively camp-wide morning and evening worships led by staff. Pastor James noted of these worships, “We start with the beautiful basics, that God loves us and we can encounter Him in nature.” Staff also begin and end each class with prayer. Then, before bed, counsellors discuss a devotional reading or Bible passage with campers and answer spiritual questions. If campers express interest in baptism, staff may refer them to a local pastor in their hometown for follow-up Bible studies.

With its sparkling waters and Spirit-filled atmosphere, Camp Frenda is a place where former or present campers, and sometimes staff, choose to get baptized. Such baptisms acknowledge the role Frenda has played in their spiritual journey. Camp is often transformative. Indeed, Pastor James has seen campers who struggled to communicate kindly standing arm in arm with new friends singing the theme song by week’s end, and staff who “didn’t display much interest in spiritual things come face to face with the reality that God has a plan for their lives.”

Pastor James added, “Every year, I have seen campers and staff who do not come from a strong Christian background express a genuine interest and longing to grow closer to God through the ministry of camp.” He observed that people who do not affiliate themselves with Adventism or any religion in particular still send their children to Frenda. Thus, the camp is rife with possibilities for outreach.

This year, Camp Frenda is celebrating 75 years, from its beginnings in 1945 in South River, Ontario, to its move to Lake Rosseau, Muskoka, 45 years ago. Over the years, Frenda has been transformed by building renovations, making it better equipped as a summer camp and year-round retreat centre for church, youth and other groups. However, its focus on exploring God in nature and modelling discipleship will be a constant for years to come.

To register your child or church group at Camp Frenda, visit, email the Camp Frenda office at or call 905-571-4211.