The farm that would eventually become the site of Camp Deerpark was settled in the early 1800s. Around 1935 the owners began taking in guests, mostly city folks wanting to experience country life.
Such “farm resorts” were common in the area and as they gained popularity, the farmers transformed more of their buildings into guest rooms: first the buggy shed, then the chicken barn. By the 1950s the future home of the camp had become less “farm” and more “resort”; at one point, 10 acres were even turned into a golf course.
In 1968 Mennonite Action Program—the parent organization of Camp Deerpark—was formed with only $5,000 in assets.
With the help of many personal gifts and loans, MAP purchased the 277-acre property for $85,000. The camp was put to use almost immediately; MAP closed on the property on May 6 and the first campers arrived Memorial Day weekend!