Camp Penuel's History
Camp Penuel was chartered as a Missouri Corporation in 1973 and recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 C 3 charity making gifts to us tax deductible. We are a nondenominational charity focusing on inner-city and “at risk” children and are governed by one Board of Directors under the leadership of our founder's daughter and president D. Joy Douma Booth.
Camp Penuel’s headquarters and main location is Ironton, Missouri on Lake Killarney. This camp welcomes children from the St. Louis Metro Area, all Missouri, Illinois, Kensas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
Begun in 1994, our East Camp in Eldred, Pennsylvania reaches their local area and includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington D.C. Jeremy and Jena Walter lead this camp.
In January 2003 Penuel dedicated land in Esparaza, Costa Rica. Paul and Thelma Bernhagen, who worked at our main camp for over five years, lead the new operation. Not only Costa Rican children benefit from the camp, it will reach out to other countries in Central America.
Camp Penuel Costa Rica
Paul Bernhagen first came into contact with the camp in 1990 after bringing some children there from a church he was pastoring in St. Louis, MO. Paul first met his wife Thelma who came to volunteer at the camp from Costa Rica over the summer. After falling in love and getting married, God put on the hearts of Paul and Thelma to start a similar free Christian camp for children in Costa Rica in 1999.
Camp Penuel East
The Current President of Camp Penuel is Joy Booth, Harry and Carole's Daughter. The future of Camp Penuel East is very bright with Jeremy and Jena as the directors there. We will constantly be improving and renovating our camp to keep it a top notch facility.
Larry and Joy Booth
President of Camp Penuel and Executive Director
Tribute to our Founder
Rev. Douma was born in New York and placed in an orphanage at the age of two. At six years of age he was adopted by Christian parents of the Reformed Faith in New Jersey. He attended Christian schools in elementary and high school. After leaving high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a chaplain’s assistant. Harry received his B.A. from Shelton College in New Jersey and a Master of Divinity from Faith Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. During seminary he became a chaplain at the Johnstone Training and Research Center in Bordantown, NJ, where he ministered to children and young adults. Rev. Douma has pastored several churches in New Jersey and Missouri including the First Baptist Church of Pilot Knob where he served for seven years and now has Penuel Fellowship which meets at Camp Penuel.
In 1973 the Lord lead Rev. Douma to found Camp Penuel on Lake Killarney in Ironton, Missouri, which has expanded to Camp Penuel East in Eldred, PA, and to Esparsa, Costa Rica. The camps have ministered to over 82,000 children and at least half of these have made decisions for Christ. There has never been a charge to any child.