St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA purchased land for a camp in 1976. Originally called, “St. Paul Outdoor Ministry Center”, it primarily served youth of the congregation. A master plan was formed to provide a vision of the future. Volunteers labored to turn the rough farmland into a working campsite. They constructed cabins, cleared trails, cooked meals and created a summer program.
In 1982, St. Paul Lutheran raised money to build the Program Center. This building continues to be the hub of camp life.
Around this time, St. Paul Lutheran held a contest to re-name the camp. A young camper won the contest with the name “Shalom.” Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning “Peace.” Commonly used as a greeting, it can also mean the kind of peace only God can give.
By 1995 many of the buildings from the master plan were in place, but summer camp was very small. The people of St. Paul felt that the sole ownership of Camp Shalom was limiting the camp’s potential. Therefore, in 1996, Camp Shalom incorporated as an independent ecumenical ministry.
This initiative proved to be instrumental in the maturing of Camp Shalom. While initial growth came from Roman Catholic congregations, later increases have come from other denominations and the larger community. Today, over 1,100 youth and families from over 110 different congregations in the Greater Quad-City area support Camp Shalom. Every child is welcome at Camp Shalom without regards to race, gender, creed or national origin.