History of Camp Samish

Sig and Tora FreestadSamish Island Campground was established in 1958 when Sig and Tora Freestad gave approximately 82 acres of their property on Samish Island to the church for the purpose of building a campground. The Freestads foresaw potential for children, youth and adults to have a place to come for worship, spiritual growth, fellowship, recreation, personal reflection and healing. The property offered opportunity for all of these blessings to be experienced because of the beautiful setting of surrounding waterways; spectacular views of mountains, forests, trails, beaches and wildlife; and location for development of living, dining, meeting places and recreation facilities.


Samish Island Campground is currently managed for Community of Christ by the Samish Island Campground Association, made up of 33 congregations in British Columbia, Washington and Idaho. A Board of elected and ex-officio directors handle the administrative affairs of Campground. The Association has approved bylaws to specify how the Board of Directors is to administer the campground business.


The early reunions and camps had significantly fewer amenities than current campers enjoy. Tents, outhouses, outdoor spigots, an existing garage serving as kitchen, and a barn serving as a chapel were the only conveniences for several years. The church sold the reunion grounds that had been used previously, and those proceeds along with contributions from members provided the funds to begin improving the facilities. Forty-seven family cabins, six classroom cabins, a nurses' station, a dining hall, two bathhouses, an RV park, a playground, two caretaker homes, septic systems and a man-made seven-acre lake have been built over the years to enhance the utility and serviceability of the campground. In 1984, the Samish Island Campground purchased an adjoining seven acres from Elmond Scott, which added the adjacent property on the East Point of Samish Island. This addition provides privacy on the end of the island to protect the peaceful atmosphere that the beach, forests and wildlife offer persons on retreat. A Christian Fellowship Center (CFC) was built in 1991, replacing the old barn. It can seat from 400 to 500 in theater-type seating with folding chairs, and includes facilities for basketball and volleyball. The campground can now be used year-round.


Sig and Tora Freestad surely established the long heritage of sacrificial offering with the gift of these beautiful grounds to the church. Tora shared many times that the gift was their answer to the urgings of the Spirit of Christ to make this contribution. In keeping with the spirit of their gift, many have given voluntarily of their time, talents and resources to build and maintain these sacred grounds. This includes the people and families who have served as caretakers on a volunteer basis over the 46 years since it began.

Stewards of Sacred Space

Community of Christ

Samish Island campground is owned and operated by the Community of Christ. Three regional jurisdictions take part in the stewardship of the campground, providing camping programs and volunteer work parties.

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Samish Indian Nation

Prior to 1855, Samish Island was looked after by the Samish people. The Samish people were respected for their spiritual strength as well as their skillful carving of canoes and construction of longhouses. One of those longhouses on the eastern end of Samish Island measured some 1,250 feet in length.

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Samish @ 50
A Story of Community

Fifty years at Samish Island! The community of those who have a story about Samish reaches far and wide. There is a bond of spirit that arises at the mere mention of the words “Samish Island.” You have a story. We have a story. A story that has a past that grounds us for the future mission.


Looking Back . .


Contact information

Camp Manager
11633 Scott Road
Bow, Washington 98232
Tel.: 360 766 8125