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Parents Guide

Parents Guide For Camp

Send your little ones prepared!

Contact Information:
21455 Seward St
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Overnight Camp and Day Camp at LOUMC provide an opportunity for youth and families to meet new people, learn and try new things, and grow in their faith with Christ.  We want both campers and families feeling safe, comfortable and excited about their camping adventure.
Preparing Your Child For Camp
  • Whether it is for a few days or a full week, time at camp can be intimidating for both parents and youth and could cause some anxiety.  This is normal and can be worked through both prior to a camp experience and while at camp.  Here are a few things remember.
  • A camping experience is full of learning and growth opportunities, from meeting new people, trying new things, and sharing about your faith. Camp is a safe place to learn and grow.
  • Having conversations with your camper about how to act and handle situations that may arise will go a long way in helping them have a positive experience.

Check-In & Check- Out

Check-in: Campers will be greeted by staff upon arrival and assisted through the check-in process.  Please have any necessary forms/paperwork readily available.

  • Short Stacks: 2:30-3pm on event day.  (July 1-3 event: 11am check in-11am pick up)
  • Adventure Camps: 3-3:30pm on event day – Monday
  • G’s & A’s: 11am – Friday
  • Family Camp: 11am on event day – Monday
  • Day Camp: 9am on day of event
  • Weeklong Day Camp: 8-8:30am each day – Tues thru Friday

Check-out:You will be greeted by camp staff and directed to where you will check-out your camper.  Parents and guardians are then encouraged to attend the closing program for where campers will join them.

  • Short Stacks: 2pm Wednesday of the event
  • Adventure Camp: 10:30am Saturday
  • G’s & A’s: 10:30am Saturday
  • Family Camps: 11am Saturday
  • Day Camp: 5pm on day of event
  • Weeklong Day Camp: 4:30-5pm each day(Tues thru Friday)


Packing List

Adventure/Short Stacks/G’s & A’s

What to Bring:

  • All forms (if not mailed back to camp or completed online)
  • Needed medications in original bottles
  • Sheets and blanket or Sleeping bag, Pillow
  • Toiletries and towel
  • Bible, pencil, and notebook
  • Swimsuit, beach towel
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent
  • Clothing for each day
  • Closed toe shoes and flip flops or sandals
  • Lightweight jacket or sweatshirt
  • Bag for dirty laundry
  • Water shoes for swimming at the lake (strongly encouraged)

What Not to Bring:

  • Cell phones
  • Smart Watch
  • Money
  • Extra food/snacks/pop
  • Ipods/computers/MP3 devices
  • Fireworks/lighters
  • Alcohol/drugs/tobacco
  • Weapons (knives, guns, etc)
  • Animals

Day Campers

What to Bring:

  • All forms (if not mailed back to camp or completed online)
  • Needed Medications in Original Bottles
  • Swimsuit, Beach Towel
  • Sunscreen, Insect Repellent
  • Water shoes for swimming at the lake (Strongly encouraged)
  • Closed Toe Shoes and Flip Flops or Sandals
  • Lightweight jacket or sweatshirt
  • Bag for Dirty Laundry

What Not to Bring:

  • Cell phones
  • Smart Watch
  • Money
  • Extra food/snacks/pop
  • Ipods/computers/MP3 devices
  • Fireworks/lighters
  • Alcohol/drugs/tobacco
  • Weapons (knives, guns, etc)
  • Animals

If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call. If campers happen to bring any of these items our staff will be happy to hold on to it until the end of the camping event.



Please fill out all forms at least 2 weeks prior to the start of your camper’s event. Remember to check to be sure you’ve signed all forms so your camper will be able to participate in all activities. Having all forms completed prior to the event will speed up your check in process. You may log in to your child’s account HERE.  If you have troubles logging in, please contact our camp registrar.


Camp Store – NEW 2024!

Each day, campers will have the opportunity to visit the camp store. The camp store carries items such as beverages and snacks, t-shirts, hats, souvenirs, etc. Items in the store range in price from $1.00 to $30.00. A good rule of thumb is $4 per day (this will allow your child to get 1 drink and 1 snack item) plus any additional for souvenirs.

At check-in parents may choose to deposit money into a personal account for their camper using either cash or personal check. When campers make purchases at the store, their account is debited for that amount. Cash is not accepted from campers at the camp store. Campers should not keep money with them at camp. Refunds will be processed at the end of camp week and returned to the camper before leaving camp. Parents may elect to donate any remaining funds towards Lake Okoboji UM Camp Campership Fund, helping those who need support to attend a week of camp.

Contacting Campers
  • Mail: Campers LOVE to receive mail! Please allow at least four days for standard mail to reach camp. Keep in mind that for shorter events, you may need to mail letters before your camper leaves home. Please do not mail your camper any snacks or candy. You are also welcome to leave letters to be distributed throughout the week with a staff person during check-in time. Simply write what day of the week and you want the letters delivered.  Mail can be sent to 21455 Seward St. Spirit Lake, IA 51360.
  • Phone Calls: Campers can receive phone calls at camp in case of emergency. If you need to speak to your camper you are more than welcome to call us at 712-336-2936 during business hours.
  • One-Way Email: Campers may receive email at camp Monday-Friday.  Emails are printed once daily and will be delivered during dinner. We encourage family and friends to keep emails loving, positive, and encouraging in the case of potential homesickness. Send an email to [email protected], and be sure to write the camper’s first and last name and event name in the subject line.

What is the cancellation policy this year?

If the camping office needs to cancel a camp for any reason(health/wellness, weather, minimal campers needed to operate events), you will be notified in order to reschedule or receive a full refund.

If a camper needs to cancel, we will provide a full refund in the event of illness, exposure or an emergency. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to request a refund. A refund will be issued only if requested. All camper cancellations must be received in writing at [email protected]. Please call the camping office at (800) 765-1651 (toll free) with any questions.

If a camper needs to cancel for any other reason, we will provide a full refund minus the $100 deposit. If a camper is a no-call or no-show, no refund will be issued.

Payment Information/ Camperships/ Refund Policy
  • A non-refundable deposit of $100, or the full amount if the camp is less than $100, is required to secure your registration. Cancellations will be refunded fees paid minus non-refundable deposit. “No-shows” will not be refunded. Policy exceptions due to unforeseen tragedy or serious circumstances will be considered on an individual basis. If your camp event is cancelled, you will receive a full refund including the deposit.
  • It is the position of the Board of Camps that no camper shall be turned away due to lack of funds. Therefore camperships are available through the Iowa United Methodist Camps office. However, as funding is limited, our expectation is that your local church/agency, personal funds, and conference support will combine to cover registration costs. To apply for campership funds, please speak to your local pastor to see if your church has scholarship money available. Then you can fill out a campership application form and submit to the Camp Registrar.
  • For assistance with or questions regarding payments, camperships, or refunds, contact the Camp Registrar at [email protected], 800-765-1651 (toll-free), or 515-974-8946.


We take homesickness seriously. We train our staff and plan our program in such a way as to help avoid homesickness. We create the most nurturing, comforting environment possible, and with all our activities, most children are able to overcome their homesickness quickly. However, there are a few children every summer who are unable to shake homesickness. If this happens, one of our leadership staff will contact you.

Prevention Strategies

  • Set your camper up for success: practice spending extended time away from home at a friend or neighbors’ home. Don’t promise to rescue your child if they become homesick, instead form a plan for if it happens.
  • Talk about what could happen while at camp and talk about the exciting opportunities that await, whether it be friends, games, activities or meeting new people.
  • Don’t suggest phone calls-it is very difficult to manage and takes focus off of the fun and experiences waiting for them at camp. If needed, leadership staff will be in contact to work on an action plan.

For tips for preventing homesickness, please visit:


Each Iowa U.M. Camp has a Health Care Manager qualified to handle distribution of medication, health issues, and, if necessary, accidents. On check-in day medications and health forms are looked over by parents and the camp Health Care Manager to ensure all special needs are being properly addressed. For more information, contact the site your camper will be attending directly.  A health screening will be done the day of check-in.

Severe Weather

Camp staff are trained in safety procedures in the event of severe storms, including flooding and tornadoes. We have below ground storm shelters where campers can gather if there is a tornado warning. Camp also stays closely connected to weather watch and warning sources, including NOAA weather radios, local news stations, and local law enforcement. If there is excessive heat, campers are given regular breaks and encouraged to wear sunscreen and drink water. Most sleeping and dining accommodations are held in air-conditioned spaces.


LOUMC staff are trained to deal with inappropriate behavior in a safe, constructive way that leads to positive outcomes.  At Okoboji, campers will be held responsible for their actions in a positive and respectful way. Misbehavior in a camping setting takes many forms.  At the Iowa UM Camps, we want to ensure campers and guest feel safe, secure and loved.  As staff we try to stop and redirect behaviors in which are not in alignment with this core value.  Each behavioral situation is dealt with on a case by case basis.  If staff are unable to correct the misbehaving, parents or guardians may be called to address next steps, potentially resulting in removal from camping program.

Okoboji UM Camp Staff

Okoboji Camp Staff are carefully screened and selected to ensure we provide a safe environment for campers to thrive.  Each staff member participates in two-weeks of training.  During training, staff learn about safety awareness, camper relations, safely facilitating programming.  Along with the training to work with youth, all Okoboji staff are trained in CPR, First Aid and AED.  We follow standards set by the American Camp Association to ensure staff are ready to care for your child.

Animals at camp

In order to limit risk, we strongly recommend that no animals are brought on to camp property.  In the occasion animals are on site, they must remain on lease and in possession of owner.

ACA Accreditation

Iowa U.M. Camps are accredited through the American Camp Association. The ACA is a nationally recognized accrediting body for camping programs and a leader in childhood development, education, and welfare. To earn ACA accreditation, our camps must comply with more than 300 health, safety, and program quality standards. Iowa United Methodist Camps are regularly reviewed by ACA professionals to ensure they continue to meet these high standards.

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