Who We Are

Journeying with you in the pursuit of Christian discipleship through high adventure camp and retreat ministry.

Our Mission

Our mission is to connect youth and families to Christ. Home to Camp Kateri Tekakwitha and some of the richest Catholic retreat programming in the Midwest, Prairie Star Ranch serves as a ministry of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

We understand how important it is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and as such, Prairie Star Ranch exists to help parishes and communities in that crucial work.

We want to help youth, families, educators, and parishes bring about conversion in the hearts of those we serve, and we do so by guiding our guests to see their story as part of the great Christian narrative of salvation.

Our Story

The year was 2000. Archbishop James Keleher and Msgr. Tom Tank saw that it was time to capture the momentum that had been growing within the Archdiocese for youth ministry. Two years before, Camp Kateri Tekakwitha had been launched as an adventure summer camp in the Archdiocese, and it needed a home in which to grow.

On August 4th, after extensive searching, the Archdiocese purchased 291 acres of beautiful hills, woodland, and prairie that were ripe with possibility. Previously known as Timberlake Ranch, this beautiful facility included two serene lakes, a few large buildings, and stunning landscapes. It was perfect. It just needed some tender love and care!

Our Name

Archbishop Keleher christened the new property Prairie Star Ranch. Borrowed from the title “Mary Star of the Sea,” our name and patroness became “Mary Star of the Prairie.”  Archbishop’s hope was that Mary’s powerful patronage would guide youth and families to the love of Christ, her Son, and to the Church, his body.

There was still a great amount of work to be done before Prairie Star Ranch welcomed its first summer camping season. It was amazing – with the generosity of thousands of individual donors, volunteers, and corporate contractors, we began the process of constructing a high adventure summer camp and retreat center that would serve the Archdiocese for the next one-hundred years. 

Our Impact

Retreatants kept saying things like Prairie Star Ranch was “a fun place to come and discover Jesus Christ.”  

In the 20 years since the opening of Prairie Star Ranch, our story has blossomed and the ministry has grown by leaps and bounds. Beginning with 15 retreat groups in its first year, the Ranch now hosts hundreds of retreats and events each year. In fact, so much growth occurred that additions to our facilities were needed.

Beginning in 2006, the families and parishes of Northeast Kansas made a capital campaign possible that raised the funds to construct a new dormitory, a giant multipurpose gymnasium, and most importantly the Saint Kateri Chapel. 

Serving Dreams

Prairie Star Ranch has become more than just a dream. It has become a servant to the dreams of so many youths, families, and parishes. It is humbling to have become a part of so many lives and stories. So please know that when we say we are grateful to grow as disciples with you and make disciples with you, we mean it.

Please keep Prairie Star Ranch, our benefactors, our guests, and our mission in your prayers, and know that the youth, families, and parishes we serve will ever be in ours. 

In humble gratitude, 

Gregory Wellnitz, Director of Prairie Star Ranch

Building a Camp for your kids, your family, and your parish.

Who We Are

Journeying with you in the pursuit of Christian discipleship through high adventure camp and retreat ministry.

Our mission is to connect youth and families to Christ.

Our Story

The year was 2000. Archbishop James Keleher and Msgr. Tom Tank saw that it was time to capture the momentum that had been growing within the Archdiocese for youth ministry. Two years before, Camp Kateri Tekakwitha had been launched as an adventure summer camp in the Archdiocese, and it needed a home in which to grow.

On August 4th, after extensive searching, the Archdiocese purchased 291 acres of beautiful hills, woodland, and prairie that were ripe with possibility. Previously known as Timberlake Ranch, this beautiful facility included two serene lakes, a few large buildings, and stunning landscapes. It was perfect. It just needed some tender love and care!

Our Name

Archbishop Keleher christened the new property Prairie Star Ranch. Borrowed from the title “Mary Star of the Sea,” our name and patroness became “Mary Star of the Prairie.”  Archbishop’s hope was that Mary’s powerful patronage would guide youth and families to the love of Christ, her Son, and to the Church, his body.

There was still a great amount of work to be done before Prairie Star Ranch welcomed its first summer camping season. It was amazing – with the generosity of thousands of individual donors, volunteers, and corporate contractors, we began the process of constructing a high adventure summer camp and retreat center that would serve the Archdiocese for the next one-hundred years. 

Our Impact

Retreatants kept saying things like Prairie Star Ranch was “a fun place to come and discover Jesus Christ.”  

In the 20 years since the opening of Prairie Star Ranch, our story has blossomed and the ministry has grown by leaps and bounds. Beginning with 15 retreat groups in its first year, the Ranch now hosts hundreds of retreats and events each year. In fact, so much growth occurred that additions to our facilities were needed.

Beginning in 2006, the families and parishes of Northeast Kansas made a capital campaign possible that raised the funds to construct a new dormitory, a giant multipurpose gymnasium, and most importantly the Saint Kateri Chapel. 

Serving Dreams

Prairie Star Ranch has become more than just a dream. It has become a servant to the dreams of so many youths, families, and parishes. It is humbling to have become a part of so many lives and stories. So please know that when we say we are grateful to grow as disciples with you and make disciples with you, we mean it.

Please keep Prairie Star Ranch, our benefactors, our guests, and our mission in your prayers, and know that the youth, families, and parishes we serve will ever be in ours. 

In humble gratitude, 

Gregory Wellnitz, Director of Prairie Star Ranch

Building a Camp for your kids, your family, and your parish.