After a few years of sitting on the to-do list, Camp Okoboji welcomes one its newest additions, Lending Libraries. A few years back, summer staff member, Sarah Rutt, brought an interesting idea to Executive Director, Doug Kading, and finally, this year, 2016, Youth Week took on the task of bringing this fun idea to life. Youth Week campers painted and filled small chests with various books including devotional and story books and placed them around the camp for everyone to enjoy. The Lending Library boxes are located in the Christian Life Center entry, Ginny DeWall Dining Hall, Refuge Chapel, Joppa Hall, Bethel Retreat Center, Public Laundry House, and Hauck. Feel free to take a book and leave a book; there are many good ones to choose from.
New Wood Duck Houses
June 16, 2016 10:37 AM
Sixteen year old, Timothy Frostestad, has been working to become an Eagle Scout since he first joined the scouts. He is a junior in high school from Spirit Lake, Iowa. Frostestad, a member of Boy Scout Troop 152, stated, “I like being a scout because it teaches you many valuable skills one will need to know for their future such as: first aid, fire safety, lifesaving skills, swimming skills, and many more.” To earn his Eagle Scout ranking, he chose to build wood duck houses for Camp Okoboji because he enjoys wildlife and heard that camp needed some built. After gathering the proper supplies, tools, and safety equipment, he built the houses and hung them on the trees. He is happy that “Camp Okoboji gets to enjoy watching duck houses in action,” and he gets to teach others about wood ducks. Frostestad is excited to earn an Eagle Scout rank, and Camp Okoboji thanks him for his work and contribution to camp.
Family Ministry cabins......
February 4, 2016 12:00 AM
We still have some open prime times if you would like to plan a last minute family vacation. Look under facilities to see the open dates.Call and talk to Joy to make a reservation.
February 1, 2016 12:00 AM
Calling all choirs (Church / Schools) & Music Ministry Groups & Musical Talent! Camp Okoboji has a strong tradition of Sunday Morning Worship Services. We want to further enhance our 2016 schedule by inviting special musical guests from across Iowa. Join us for the day! Sunday Morning Worship 9:45am Consider a special presentation following worship. Enjoy the camp with a picnic lunch, swim, canoe, fish etc. Worship Calendar: Basically runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call if you have a specific date in mind.
Take Action With A Thrivent Action Team!
January 5, 2016 5:04 PM
Camp Okoboji is looking for Thrivent members willing be a Team Leader for a Camp Action Team. There are so many ways that Action Teams can positively impact Camp Okoboji. We can help with the entire process; from applying to planning to conducting and reporting. Contact the camp 712-337-3325 Thank You! Ideas Include: camp projects, support one of several retreats, support one of many summer programs, omelet brunch sponsors, mailings, special events, share an idea! We would like to see 50 Action Team Sponsors this year!
Year-end Gift Considerations
December 14, 2015 3:20 PM
Blessed to be a blessing. If God has blessed you this year... and Camp Okoboji is on your support list... some areas of support to consider. Annual Fund * DISCOVER CAMPaign OKOBOJIO * Summer Camperships * Samuel & Ezra Cabin Replacements * New Picnic Shelter * John Picnic Shelter. Click on 'Make a Donation' or mail your gift. We Thank You!!
DISCOVER CAMPaign OKOBOJI Updates:
September 4, 2015 5:11 PM
A Future Vision for the next Generation of Campers and Guests. The DISCOVER CAMPaign OKOBOJI goal is to replace the Hauck and Crafts buildings with a single facility called 'Discover'. The over-all goal of the campain is to raise $2,800,000. The campaign was unveiled at Camp Okoboji's Annual Meeting in April 2015. To date, the first $1,400,000 phase one goal has been raised.
A second $250,000 Matching Gift Challenge was announced this summer. We are within $50,000 of meeting that goal!
YOUR participation is still needed. Gifts and pledges can be made payable to: DISCOVER CAMPaign OKOBOJI and sent to camp. Newsletter for updates!
Congregations are being asked to support the campaign while work continues to involve individuals and families. Several congregations have already stepped forward with 'pledges' ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 over the next three years! What a Blessing!
Congregation 'Ambassadors' are church members willing to help Camp Okoboji share the campaign within their congregation. If you are interested in serving, Ambassador information can be down-loaded or mailed.
JESUS PAINTER: AWESOME!!!
July 10, 2015 3:18 PM
People are still talking about the Jesus Painter events in Iowa! Nearly 600 people attended the three events in Des Moines, Sioux City and Spirit Lake Aug. 21-23. The picture below shows Rrev. Dave Simonson leading a closing prayer at the Spirit Lake event. A basket Auction and Ice cream social followed their event. Camp Okoboji wishes to thank all the time, work and efforts of the volunteers at each site. Camp Okoboji is proud to bring such events to the area. Proceeds from each event went to benefit the Discover CAMPaign OKOBOJI fund raising program. For further information on Jesus Painter Ministries: jesuspainter.com Click here for a flier
2015 Quilt Auction
June 18, 2015 4:06 PM
We had a great turn-out for the Quilt Auction on Saturday, June 13th. Over $25,400 was raised! Praise The Lord! Thank you to all of you that came out for the auction, helped with the set-up and meal and continue to support Camp Okoboji.
Information Updates Needed!
November 21, 2014 2:58 PM
Abandoned land lines, missing email addresses, no cell phone numbers listed, moved, family changes. We need to upadate our information on our camp friends. Please e-mail us your key contact information. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Thank you, staff!
July 31, 2014 4:00 PM
As some of our summer staff are leaving and others have already returned home, we'd like to take a moment and thank you all for the hard work and wonderful memories made this summer. For staff remaining during these last couple of camps, thank you for continuing your extra work and attention. And even though they aren't in this picture, we'd especially like to thank the year-round staff for all the work and time they put in to running our beautiful camp.
"That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10
Heading north: from White House, TN to Camp Okoboji
July 28, 2014 2:42 PM
Before Pastor Tom Vanderbilt came to Wendy Golter’s church almost six years ago, Golter had never heard of the small Iowan camp in his stories.
“There’s no Lutheran camps in Tennessee, really,” Golter said of her home state. So when her youth group was invited to try the fourteen-hour trip from White House, TN to Okoboji, IA as a freshman, she decided to give it a chance.
“Pastor kind of sold me saying all the fun I’d have,” said Nathaniel Oehlkers, a fifth-year camper. “He was right.”
“I liked it so much I brought Megan,” Golter laughed.
Megan Neideraurer, Golter’s high school classmate, laughed.
“I just wanted to come and give it a try, and I liked it so much that I just came back,” Neideraurer said.
With nine campers and three adults, the group had to fundraise to rent a fifteen passenger van and U-Haul trailer this year. The group breaks their trip up into two days, spending the night in between at Pastor Vanderbilt’s brother’s house, before continuing on their journey. While most campers go home Saturday morning, their youth group spends an extra day on camp for Pastor Vanderbilt to give the Sunday service.
“After everyone was done taking naps we all went down to the beach and just hung out with each other,” said Oelkers.
Word about Camp Okoboji is spreading. The Sunday after their return, Golter said, the group presents a slideshow in front of the church and shares what they take away from the week.
“God is higher than the mountains, and his love for you is just that big,” said Golter.
“I made so many friends. I love how I’m able to read and learn the Bible with them as well,” said Oelkers.
After years of memories, campers have nothing but good things to say about their Iowa experience.
“It’s the experience of a lifetime,” said Neideraurer.
“You need to come to Okoboji. You really need to. It’s an experience you’ll never forget,” said Oelkers.
Giving back: service projects bond Davis family reunion
July 21, 2014 9:59 AM
For the Davis family reunion, service to Camp Okoboji started with the playground set in 1997.
“There was a group effort for putting it in and paying for playground equipment,” said returner Carmen Stephens. ‘But that was our first service project. I remember a lot of, ‘hmmm’.”
But even missing playground set pieces couldn’t hold them back, and the Davis family tradition of tackling a camp project during every reunion began.
“We’ve worked on the meditation trail. We’ve worked on, a couple years ago we built the stage for a concert that was here. We painted benches and stuff one year…a week or two in advance you call them up and say hey, what do you need done, and we’ll do it,” said Clyde Davis, one of the original siblings and Stephen’s brother.
This year the group did groundwork on the banks of the canal by the camp sign, which can be seen from the road outside camp. After checking in to camp on Sunday, the nearly fifty family members set a time to go over their project for the week.
“Almost everyone” took part in this year’s project, said Stephens. “We’ve pushed strollers down, so there’s people on stroller patrol, and we kind of swap out. Like when we cleared the brush out by the bay. That year the older people had stuff to cut with, we had people driving trucks.”
“[There were] not quite as many today because the rocks were a little too big for some of them, for the littler kids,” said Steve Haase, Stephen’s and Davis’ brother-in-law. “We did that landscaping last year, I think there was probably 90 percent of them that came down and pulled weeds or whatever they needed.”
“It’s also fun to just stand around and watch the younger ones work. You teach them how to work and you encourage them to go help pick up rocks,” Davis said.
“Or throw rocks,” Stephens laughed. “It’s really a bonding experience for our family, I think.”
The seven Davis kids began reunions at camp in the 1960s through their mom’s side, staying for the Bolton family reunions every summer.
“At that time we stayed in cabins 1, 2, and 3 most years. Some years we were in 4, 5 and 6. We were in the individual cabins, all the boy cousins in one and girls cousins in another cabin and all the parents would stay in a third one,” said Davis.
After a few summers with their parents in housekeeping cabins, family reunions resumed every other year under the Davis family name in Bat’s Roost, now known as the Bethel Retreat Center.
“It keeps growing, because we get older and the younger ones start having a problem of getting married and having kids. So now Steve [Haase] and Pam are the oldest parents here, and their children and grandchildren are here now. So you’re starting to look at the fourth generation,” said Davis.
Family narratives have stayed closely tied to Camp Okoboji, with a former program director and camp director in the staff ranks. Haase came to Concordia Cub Week as Pam, his wife, and the rest of the Davis family was attending Bolton reunions.
“I originally came in ’61 to Cub Weeks. My mom and dad came here for Walther League before they got married, and they got married in ’51. So right after the camp first started they were coming here,” said Haase.
“That means that Pam was here for the reunion and you were here as a Cubbie!” Davis exclaimed.
“We were probably here the same time and didn’t even know it,” said Haase. “I’ve been part of the family for forty years now.”
After laying gravel on the meditation trail, landscaping cabins, painting benches, repairing pump houses, and everything in between, the Davis family is as much a part of Camp Okoboji as the camp has been in their lives.
“Some of us have kind of kicked around, what can we do for a legacy project that would stay with the camp forever, and benefit the camp,” said Davis. “There’s long-term connections here this week.”
Jr. High Camp overview
July 12, 2014 10:46 AM
What were Jr. High campers up to this week? Take a look!
Jr. High campers give back
July 10, 2014 1:53 PM
After being fed and served by Camp Okoboji staff, Jr. High campers take matters - and lunch - into their own hands and serve homemade Hobo Stew to their counselors, leaders, and camp staff members.
Look back: Minneboji 2014
June 30, 2014 8:37 AM
Every year we look forward to the return of Minneboji, a camp geared towards 4th-9th graders who mostly hail from South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Check out why campers say they love to return to our little slice of Iowa!
Available: the best week ever at Junior High Week 2014
June 23, 2014 2:51 PM
Where are your kids going this summer? The pool is fun. Family vacations are awesome. But if they need a week on a lakeside, don’t think they’ll be alone – they’ll have Jesus (and a host of other campers and counselors) along every one of their adventures this year at Camp Okoboji!
From July 6th-12th, your child will discover what it means to have (and to hold on to) a mountaintop experience with Christ. From music to sports, swimming to crafts, late nights in their cabin with friends to mornings exploring the Word in devotions, Junior High Week helps campers discover the unconditional love and grace that never leaves – a mountaintop promise that is never left behind.
Three tornado warnings have surrounded camp in the past three days, sending camp staff and residents hurrying to the dining hall for coverage from high winds and heavy rainfall.
“We didn’t lose electricity,” said camp director Doug Kading. “We didn’t have any building damage, there was no vehicle damage. We were blessed.”
Kading said small hail and four inches of rain hit camp on Monday but didn’t have measurements for the last couple days. The impact of predicted storms can be hard to anticipate, said Kading, which makes it challenging to know when campers don’t need to take cover.
“That’s a difficult call to make. Right now the forecast is that we can expect storms every day through next Tuesday. Not a good thing, but there’s potential,” said Kading.
In case of a weather emergency, staff will go door to door to notify and assist cabin residents over to the dining hall basement. Residents will then be notified when the warning lifts and they can go back to their cabins.
“Everyone cooperated very well. The camp staff did an exceptional job in going out and notifying people that they needed to seek shelter. Everyone was just very calm and supportive,” said Kading.
LWML Conference arrives on camp
June 19, 2014 12:23 PM
A warm welcome to all our guests visiting this week for the Lutheran Women's Missionary League conference! We are so happy to have you join us and can't wait to see the blessings God has in store through your work!
Annual auction raises $24,000+ for Camp Okoboji
June 14, 2014 6:19 PM
Auxiliary president Judy Rozek talks about the highlights from today's auction and how the donations will benefit camp.
New Adventure Camp challenges boundaries
June 12, 2014 10:39 AM
Attracting all scraped knees, underused bicycles, and general thrill-seeking kids, Adventure Camp brings something a little different to campers who want more than kickball during recreation. Biking, zip lining and archery will be some of the sports on this coming week’s agenda for the campers seeking to go beyond softball games.
Previously, campers looked to last year’s Archery Camp for three days of sport, according to program director Lori Gamble.
“We didn’t have very many participants, so we changed it to Adventure Camp to include more things besides archery. So it’s going to include canoeing, bicycling, we’re going to go wall climbing and zip lining, so it’s more adventurous rather than just archery, “ said Gamble.
The one-year Archery Camp originated after staff members noticed the sport was growing in the area, Gamble said. Archery clubs were gaining in popularity and camp had the facilities to capitalize on the trend.
“We’ll get more kids interested in archery and do it in a Christian environment,” Gamble said of the planning.
Camp Okoboji has also hosted a bike camp in the past, which returned as a component of Adventure Camp.
“By combining them we thought that would spur more interest. For this first year we have fifteen campers and that’s more than we’ve had for any of the other ones when they were separated out”, said Gamble.
The camp is surrounded by the greater Okoboji bike trails and has personal watercraft like canoes available, which will be used by campers. A neighboring camp down the road has zip lining and wall climbing facilities, which they are allowing Okoboji campers to use. And the welcoming camp experience Okoboji LCMS is well known for fostering will also be present.
“There are also Bible study, music, campfire devotions, your ‘camp stuff’,” said Gamble.
Adventure Camp will be welcoming 7th – 12th graders from across Iowa on June 15th and will run through June 18th.
“Our goal is for it to grow, so we’ll see how this year goes and hopefully we’ll be able to offer it again next year and get more campers,” said Gamble.
Video: Kids' Kamp
June 9, 2014 10:45 AM
What did we do this year at Kids' Kamp? Christian the Bear explores!
H.U.G. Puppets come to Joy camp for June 8th evening performance
June 8, 2014 3:16 PM
Hailing from Estherville, IA come a few animated friends who have a lot to share with the Joy campers and other camp residents this week. The H.U.G. Puppets ministry will be performing a show tonight in the Christian Life Center at 6:30 PM – and they’ve got a lot planned.
“What you’re going to see this time is going to be almost like an old TV variety show or something like that,” said group leader Terry Lutzow. Interpretive dance, sign language, Christian song parodies – “As long as it’s got a good message, its fair game for us.”
H.U.G. Puppets, which travels mostly through northwest Iowa, will be visiting Camp Okoboji for this first time. The group is based out of Esterville’s United Methodist Church and has been performing since 2004.
“It’s kind of a unique way to get the word of God across basically. It’s just kind of a creative ministry,” said Lutzow.
Dining Hall additions open Camp to colder seasons
June 1, 2014 3:25 PM
Returning campers and staff members can be forgiven if they don’t immediately recognize the Camp Okoboji dining hall among all the new changes. The current overhaul of the dining hall focuses on winterizing the building for year-round use, according to Executive Director Doug Kading.
The Ginny DeWall Dining Hall is now insulated and fitted with all new lights and “more user-friendly” tables and chairs. Two heated and air-conditioned bathrooms have been added to the front porch, and a new dishwasher has been installed with a window out to the dining room so patrons can turn dirty dishes in directly to the kitchen. The former apartment behind the far wall with the fireplace is being renovated into a private dining room for smaller groups, and above the old showers a drink galley has been installed to keep diners’ beverages more accessible.
“We can keep the dining hall open year-round and serve all groups in the dining hall,” Kading said. “We already have events in February and March that we could be serving meals to. We’re hoping to utilize the dining hall more on a year-round basis and being able to have our kitchen staff work from one kitchen rather than two or three”.
Staff previously had to work out of facilities like Bethel and Joppa Hall during the winter months, which are not equipped with commercial kitchens.
All of the interior updates put into place have been fully funded, although funds for outdoor updates like new siding still need to be raised.
“My best estimate is it’ll take another $150,000 to do that,” Kading said. “We are not doing any additional work on the building until it’s fully funded.”
While concentration remains focused on completing the dining hall, there is another building project on the horizon. Floor plans to replace the Samuel Family Ministry cabin have been drawn up, but that project will not start until it is fully funded. There is currently no dollar amount set for the plans.
Friends of the camp who are interested in contributing to the dining hall project can gift through the annual fund and designate it for the Ginny DeWall Dining Hall, or they can call the camp office at (712) 337-3325 and make a contribution.
“Above all, pray for the completion of the dining hall,” Kading said.
Needs List Spotlight: Paddle Boards
May 21, 2014 3:44 PM
Imagine gliding gracefully across Emerson Bay, enjoying a unique camp view. Your gift can make that possible. Memo 'Paddle Board' with your donation. Thanks!
Chapel Gets Stain Glass Windows
May 21, 2014 3:30 PM
Four (4) Stain Glass windows were recently installed in the Refuge Chapel. They were designed and created by Bogenrief Studios in Sutherland IA. They are a moving and colorful addition to the Chapel and serve as visual reminders of our Faith and Salvation in Christ Jesus. Several more windows await sponsors. Call the camp office to inquire.
September 4, 2013 2:46 PM
The Iowa District West Operation Barnabas Task Force and Camp Okoboji have partnered together and received an ABLAZE grant and other donations to allow for all youth of military personnel who are deployed or returning from active duty this year to attend youth camps for a nominal fee.
We are also allowing families to attend our Family Retreats I and II at a nominal fee.
We also have family cabins and other lodging facilities for families to come and to rest and reconnect with their families for 2, 3 or 4 nights at a nominal fee.
On September 19-21, 2014 Camp Okoboji is hosting a Family Event by the Iowa National Guard Chaplains. There will be more information coming soon on this weekend.
If you are interested in making cash donations to this project you may do so by sending a check marked OPERATION BARNABAS to
Iowa District West
409 Kenyon RD, Suite B
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Please contact Lori Gamble at 712-337-3325 for more information about all of these opportunities.
JESUS AT THE LAKE
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