Echo Ranch Bible Camp is a unique outpost for Christ located in the Alaskan wilderness—a modern-day mission to one of the remotest places on earth. Every summer, hundreds of boys and girls travel to Echo Ranch, coming by car, ferry boat and even floatplane. Some are even in transit for three days to get there.
Caption: The beauty of the Alaskan wilderness
When our foundation President, Stephanie Smith, and her husband, Josh, prepared to visit Echo Ranch, their journey included two airplanes, an hour drive from Juneau. Then they motored in a skiff across the bay to the remote camp because driving to the camp is impossible for many hours each day when the water rises.
Caption: The front of the motor skiff approaching the camp in Auke Bay
Josh worked at a Christian camp in California for ten years and has seen firsthand how camping can transform lives. Stephanie discovered a personal connection to the camp when she learned her great-aunt and great-uncle helped grow the camp when it was just getting started. There are no coincidences in God’s world!
The camp serves not only the community of Juneau but also the remote towns and villages hours and even days away. From the shoreline set deep in the wilderness, God’s glory is evident as you look out over the bay toward the gigantic mountains and glaciers in the distance. Hiking through the forest, the kids can see His power in the trees and rivers throughout the natural landscape of Alaska.
Caption: Inside Echo Ranch Bible Camp
The first camp in 1964 included 55 campers. Since then, Echo Ranch has expanded and, over time, become trusted with an excellent reputation within the community. The local parade organizers in Juneau even invited Echo Ranch staff members to participate in the annual community parade. They wanted to promote this positive influence on the city.
Many of the kids coming to camp fall below the poverty line in Alaska; they don’t have a lot. Others come from broken homes. Their families do not have the resources to pay for camp. Generous donors make it possible for them to attend and experience the fun, exciting and healthy environment Echo Ranch Bible Camp cultivates for kids to thrive and learn about God’s love. Many campers hear the Gospel for the first time here.
Caption: Campers preparing for a game
The staff at the camp are so dedicated to their community and making a difference in the kids’ lives. They show Jesus’s love to them, teaching and reminding them that God is with them always, even when they leave camp.
The camp continues to expand, one project at a time. To help with the new building projects, local craftsmen (and women), small groups, couples and other helpers come to donate their time and skills.
This brand-new chapel was built entirely by local hands using local materials. It is gorgeous and welcoming. What Stephanie loved most was the stack of Bibles on the back table—their old, worn covers the result of many hands opening them to read and learn about God.
Caption: Brand-new chapel
Caption: Well-loved Bibles at the back of the chapel
These Bibles tell the story of the camp. As new buildings materialize, they are used to share the age-old and eternal Gospel of God’s love to the community, many of whom have never heard His name. Each building is built with wood harvested from their property; this is the way of Alaska: to make do with what you have.
Caption: The interior of the chapel
The perfectly dressed timbers and wood panels show a love of detail and excellence not found in many camps. The chapel was built with Christ’s love and is now a home for services and programs that declare Him. We hope you are as inspired by Echo Ranch Bible Camp as Stephanie, Josh and all of us at the Inspiration Travel Foundation are.
What better way to show the Gospel than to share His love with neighbors? Echo Ranch is doing this every day to the people who come to them from the remotest corners of America’s most northern state.
Will you help support Echo Ranch or sponsor a child to attend camp? Click here to make a difference!