About Okontoe

Okontoe Fellowship has provided a place of rest, refuge and Christian discipleship for over five decades. Our homes, Retreat Cabins and campground are located on 80 acres of pristine northwoods forest on a private, non-motorized lake.

four rustic cabins at Okontoe
Four of Okontoe’s rustic cabins

Bill and Willie Barr, who had served in India as missionaries, bought the property in 1971. It already had the campground and the “Lake House”—where the Selin family now lives. It quickly became a “church without walls” for many people experiencing spiritual renewal.

In the 70s and 80s Okontoe staff ran Discipleship Camps for teens that included wilderness skills, service projects, Bible study, Boundary Waters canoe trips, and mission trips to First Nations villages in Canada’s far north.

Over the years other programs have come and gone, including dog sled teams and a widely-popular sleigh ride business. Churches and other non-profits regularly bring groups to both serve on-site and use our wilderness atmosphere for retreats.

Our Internship Program welcomes young adults who are actively seeking the Lord to live and serve with us here for an extended time. It could be for the camping season or for up to a year. Interns join with staff in all areas of camp life as well as in intentional discipleship.

campers visiting at the campsite
Campers from several sites enjoying morning coffee together

Okontoe celebrated its 50th Anniversary in August of 2021 with a campout on-site, hosting almost 200 long-time friends and former staff!

Mark Patten became Okontoe’s director in the late 70s and held that role until his death in 2019. He and his wife, Nancy—daughter of Bill and Willie—raised their family here.

Ben Selin is Okontoe’s current Executive Director. He lives on the property with his wife, Jody, and their four children (when their oldest two aren’t away at college).

Okontoe’s mission is to be a place for our guests, staff, volunteers and interns to connect with Jesus, His family and His creation so they can be restored, transformed and equipped for His Kingdom purpose.

people gathered around a large campfire
Saturday night Community Campfire with worship and fellowship

A note from Ben Selin, Okontoe’s Executive Director:

We want nothing more than to see you come to Okontoe to draw closer to the Lord and know His love for you. To leave refreshed, restored and in a closer relationship with Him and with your loved ones.

Turn off your phone and open your eyes again to the wonderful creation God’s placed us in. There’s nothing better!

You may rediscover His creation here. You may rediscover your spouse, your family…even yourself and His purpose for your life.

We invite you to come, be refreshed, take time with the Lord—whether alone, with your spouse, with your family or with friends.

We invite you to turn your busy life off for a while.

Be with Him, quiet your heart, read His word, listen to Him. He’ll transform your life!

“Come with Me by ourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” ~ Jesus (Mark 6:31)

To learn all about our rich history, please see Okontoe’s History Timeline.

Meet Okontoe’s Staff and Board of Directors