June 2012

Friedens Lutheran Church, a 125 year old church which closed on December 2011, entrusted Tomah Shinga with $100,000 to Build the Ministry and remember the people who have come before us that make ministry today possible.  

Upon receiving the gift the board decided to carefully consider how best to develop the camp.  As part of this the name of Friedens will be remembered for generations.

Dec 2011

The ministry partnership, having achieved it's goal to revitalize the ministry, between NLOM and LOMAK concluded.

May 2011

John Xavier began as Executive Director of LOMAK.


The ministry partnership of LOMAK and NLOM began work together with NLOM serving as the managing partner.


Both the LC-MS District Board of Directors and ELCA Synod Council voted to accept the task force’s proposal. Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Association of Kansas (LOMAK) was formed. 

Late in the year, the LOMAK Board of Directors invited Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM) to consider resourcing the LOMAK ministry. Conversations resulted in a Memorandum of Agreement wherein LOMAK and NLOM entered into a ministry partnership to provide camp and retreat ministry at and out of Camp Tomah Shinga.


Task force was formed to look at the future of the mission and ministry of the camp. Recommendation to the board was to restructure the camp governance.


An agreement was established between the LC-MS Kansas District and the Lutheran Church in America Kansas-Missouri Synod to collaborate in operating the camp. It was a veryi unique outdoor ministry venture that was jointly managed by the LC-MS Kansas District and the LCA synod (and later the ELCA Central States Synod.


Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Association was incorporated December 14, 1981 by the Central States Synod (LCA) —Southwest Synod of the Association of Ev. Lutheran Churches in America (AELC)—Southwest Kansas Conference and Kansas City Conference (ALC)—Kansas District (LC-MS); Roger Gieschen was LCA Synod President; Wayne Weisenbuehler was ALC District President; Central States Synod (LCA), owner of the Tomah Shinga land, leased the property to the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Association for 25 years—renewable.


Harvey Prinz, President/Central States Synod (LCA) suggests in a communication that a camping association be established, comprised of the LCA synod, ALC Central District and the LC-MS district…and that the land, owned by the synod, be leased to the new association.


Construction of the buildings in the Search Memorial Village was begun, a limited camping program was conducted & Bethany College provided two summer camp counselors.


Road and dam were constructed.


Central States Synod advertised and sold 137 acres of farm land formerly part of the Collins Estate (along Lyons Creek) for $41,187.89.


Camp Tomah Shinga was purchased by the Central States Synod from the heirs of J. L. Collins. Purchase price of Tomah Shinga Land was $150,447.92. A major gift from the Mariadahl Lutheran Church located near Cleburne, Kansas provided key funding for the purchase. 

Mariadahl Lutheran was the first Swedish LutheranChurch located west of the Missouri River. The congregation disbanded and the property was sold in 1960 when the Tuttle Creek Lake Project inundated the church site.

Early 1960's

Early 1960’s--

Youth and Camp Committee of Central States were exploring potential new sites and, as identified, the sale of Wa-Shun Ga. 

(The Rev. Don Conrad/Chairman—The Camp Committee)

“It became evident to the camp committee of Central States Synod/LCA that “the development of new, creative, relevant programs would be extremely difficult on the present site of 17 acres” (Wa-Shun-Ga)…”

The camp committee…proposed to the Central States Synod/LCA the purchase of 840 acres near Junction City, Kansas. Harrison and Rippell of Nevada, Iowa were engaged to do some conceptual planning.

“Three concepts are prominent in the consultant’s work:

  1. A progression is available for various age levels, allowing a   camper new sights and insights as he would move through program offerings…
  2. The allocation of areas is designed so one group or age level will not interfere or interrupt another’s activities…
  3. A large area is designed for outdoor teaching stations, preserving the values and features nature has endowed this property.

Camp Wa-Shun-Ga served a very useful purpose for the Church and to thousands of youth, pastors and laymen during its time…

Programming for the new campsite includes more than just a facility for our grade and high school youth. It will include a program for the retired person and an outdoor education course, involving our church school, Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, and special “camper-ship” to youth from cities, thus incorporating various social, racial, and religious diversity into a normal Lutheran camper clientele.”


(Wah Shunga) Sold by the Central States Synod/LCA for $51,359, less $2,000 given to Rock Springs Ranch for storm damage)


(Wah Shunga) Electrical Connections were added.


(Wah Shunga) The first four permanent structures were constructed by 1930 and in the following two years, a dining hall and a cabin for the cook were added.


(Wah Shunga) Dr. E. E. Stauffer, Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church/Wichita, suggested the name Wa-Shun-Ga, the name of one of the most noted Osage chiefs, for the camp. The musical-sounding designation was adopted.

Situated in a valley of the beautiful Flint Hills twelve miles southwest of Junction City (Across the road from Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Camp) the region was a favorite hunting and camping ground of several Indian tribes including the Osages and Kaws.  A dam was built across Lyons Creek to form a quarter-mile long boating area and swimming pool. For the first few years, surplus WWI tents housed the campers coming from across the state.

Initially, only Lutherans used the camp, but in later years, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian and Mission Covenant groups used the camp. Also Theta Rho, the Masonic girls’ organization used the camp for a week each year. 4-H camps also used the property for camping.

Owned and operated by the Ev. Lutheran Synod in the Central States, then by the United Lutheran Church in America (A predecessor body of the Lutheran Church in America…which was a predecessor body to the current Ev. Lutheran Church in America)


(Wah Shunga) Lutherans of Kansas Synod bought 17 acres along the west part of the original ranch for a campsite, and operated the site as a camp beginning in 1923. 


(Wah Shunga) Abilene Lutherans led by Rev. Robert Wolf first camped in the area.


(Wah Shunga) James H. Dickson (“Buttermilk”) bought the ranch, by that time comprising 365 acres. A dairyman, he built the present ranch house and put up a barn. Other owners of the land in following years were Riepert Jackson and John Beggs, both of whom operated saw mills powered by the big spring.


(Wah Shunga) German immigrant John G. Recken came to a railway construction camp on he Kansas Pacific at Junction City (then known as Whiskey Point) walked down Lyons Creek and chose 40 acres of land watered by the same huge spring Spanish explorers had noted (Coronado) and built a large cabin.


(Tomah Shinga) Three bachelors, Cobb-Bean-McCoy, too claims to land in the area, and they, together with James McClure, built cabins and planted crops.


Fort Riley, seen from the bluffs, was built in 1853.  One of the first officers there was Captain James Lyon, for whom Lyon Creek was named.


Colonel Zebulon Pike visited site as his party passed through Kansas. The Mormons also came through this area on their way to Utah.


Fr. Juan de Padilla, who accompanied Coronado, remained behind as a missionary to the Indian tribes, and reportedly was killed by the Pawnee Indians on Lyon Creek in 1542. He was the first Christian martyr in America.


Coronado, the Spanish explorer and the first white man to visit the territory now the State of Kansas, camped with his Spanish legions beside “a great spring of sweet water” near the northern limits in his search for the treasures of Quivira. The spring was one day’s journey from his final stop at Logan’s Grove, just southwest of Junction City. 

Plains Indians—Osages, Kaws and others inhabited the rolling tree-shaded area.