Author: UMCampOkoboji

Andy Nygaard

My name is Andy Nygaard and 20 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about Lake Okoboji UM Camp. I didn’t know about singing graces, Morning Watch, or Boji-ball. That all changed in the summer of ’98 when I started my 5 year adventure working at camp. While I was never a camper as a kid, working there allowed me to have many of the same experiences, like building lifelong friendships and growing closer to God.

Seeing what can happen at camp, I knew I wanted to pass that along. As a staff member, I took two of my nieces to Guardian and Angel camps. Even though I knew the schedule and all the activities we would be doing, I got to be a first-time camper with many of the other guardians in the group.

With that first Guardian and Angel camp, my family became lifelong campers. I’ve watched those two nieces grow up attending camp each summer, becoming J-staff, and eventually working summers at camp. Their youngest sister is now old enough to also J-staff, and their brother continues to be a camper. My parents have also become volunteers over the years, helping in the kitchen when they can.

And now it has become my family’s turn. My wife, Katie, who I met at camp, took our daughter to her first Guardian and Angel camp a few years ago. She now cannot wait to return to camp next year. This past summer, I finally got to return to camp with my son. Being back at camp brought back a flood of memories, but also helped create new memories for my son and me.

As I walked around camp, reminiscing on old friends and memories, I started to notice how much camp has changed. Buildings are gone or have been added on to, the trees are all so much bigger, and the growth of activities on the south campus is great to see. But with all the change and growth camp has seen over the years, many things are still the same—the most important being the presence of God that has been felt for over 100 years.

I look forward to bringing my kids to camp for many years to come. I know those memories and friendships will last a lifetime.

Giving Hands

This past summer, campers learned about Connection – how God connects us to Him and to one another. (Check out this video for a summary). We all have different skills or connections that can be used to support the mission within our churches and at our Camp. The truth is, Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp cannot serve the youth, children, and guests that come here without your support.

Before the year’s end, we pray that you will consider one or two of the following ways you can support the mission at our fantastic site:

  • Pray – Lift up our camp in prayer as often as you can. Pray that God’s work is done. Pray for the staff at the camp. Pray that all guests will encounter Christ during their stay.
  • Send campers to camp – Without campers coming each summer, there is no point to what we do. The more campers we have each week makes for even more fun!
  • Make a financial donation – Send a check in the mail, or make a donation online here. All gifts support the programming here at Okoboji.
  • Sponsor a Wish List item – Various items on Amazon or larger items can be found on our website. Can you support the purchase of one of these items? Or do you perhaps own something (in good repair) that could be given to the camp?
  • Share a specialty skill – We have a list of other areas where specific skills are needed, such as Electrical, Engine Repairs, Painting, etc…
  • Complete a mission project – This list was first developed for Scouts looking to complete their Eagle or Gold Awards. It can be shared with any volunteer group looking to complete a project to support LOUMC.Visit our web page for more information about donating to Camp: http://okobojicamp.com/donate-to-camp/

It is amazing how change happens all around us, and many times it goes unnoticed. Then again, there are many things in our lives that change for the better, only when we work at it.

There were two days left in February when I officially started here at Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp. The office was quiet and the temperature was cold. A short time later the grass was growing, the trees were budding, and then campers and staff were making all sorts of noises. It was great!

Summer at camp can often be a whirlwind of activity. There is very little time during some weeks to sit, reflect, and thank God for all that was given to us. At the conclusion of the summer I sat in my office looking out the window remembering all the campers that would walk by, bring me donuts they made at Campfire Chef, or the cabin groups that would gather to ring the bell before each meal. That is when I noticed them through the sunshine—spider webs. I had spider webs on all my treasures that sit on my windowsill. I had neglected part of the office long enough that spiders had moved in.

The spider webs do not bother me but they did make me think about my faith and other things I care about. I pray that I do not sit still long enough for dust and spider webs to gather within my faith journey.

Some weeks we make excuses and try to justify that other tasks are more important than taking time to sit and clear those spider webs by doing some Bible study. I have found great reflection time can be while I am doing regular tasks and chores, like mowing the grass. We have had so much moisture this fall that that grass has not stopped growing. That shows me that God is always nurturing and feeding us like the grass. When we take a little time to care for our faith and the places that have value to us it is easier to welcome in other friends.

As the seasons change and the grass grows, please remember how important this camp is in the faith journey of our children and youth. Your financial support will go a long way in helping our campers and guests keep the spider webs from collecting.

Thank you for sending your prayers and gifts to Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp.

Derek Bergman, Site Director

For nearly 100 years, the Okoboji U.M. Camp has helped change and transform lives. Because of strong donors and volunteers, we’ve been able to keep our site up to date and safe to help future generations. Have you been impacted by the ministry here at camp? If so, we would love to talk to you about how you can contribute. Whether it be a general donation, equipment or as part of your estate planning, we would love to help figure out how you can contribute to the camp story.

GREAT OUTREACH OPPORTUNITY!  Okoboji Camp Ambassadors needed RIGHT NOW to make sure the children, youth and families in YOUR church know about camping and retreat Opportunities!  Click above for more information.

We are proud to announce the Okoboji CampCast, now available for download through iTunes!  This is a freely available podcast that will highlight things happening right here in Okoboji, as well as diving into current trends in camping and youth development.  We’re excited to share it with you, check us out on iTunes! Okoboji CampCast