A History of Lakeside


Lutheran Lakeside Camp was established in 1959 when two Lutheran bodies, the Augustana Synod and United Lutheran Synod agreed to purchase 133 acres of farm land on East Lake Okoboji just south of Spirit Lake, Iowa. The Camp was incorporated as an Association of 140 Lutheran churches in Iowa in 1960. The emergence of several separate Lutheran synods in Iowa created the Lutheran Church of America which took responsibility for Lakeside and provided a synod staff person annually during the summer for children and youth camping. Pastors felt that much could be accomplished by bringing confirmation students for a week of camp during which several topics could be individually or team taught. Today there are four weeks of confirmation camp with hundreds of young people attending along with their pastor(s) and youth directors. After planting what seemed like one million trees in 1960, Lakeside now has the most diverse variety of deciduous trees in Dickinson County with over 28 different trees.

In 1980 a new pool was constructed and in 1988 the merger of two church bodies, the Lutheran Church of America and the American Lutheran Church, created the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The Iowa Synod of the Lutheran Church of America released Lakeside and a new association of 124 congregations formed a supportive body with the election of board members from across the state. And in 2004 the current Dining Hall was finished and now sits atop one of the highest hills on camp overlooking a panoramic view of East Lake Okoboji. 

Today Lutheran Lakeside Camp is a year round facility offering individuals, children/youth, families and congregations all the amenities of rustic or high comfort facilities. Family reunions, high school receptions and weddings occur throughout the year. Congregations enjoy worship, picnics and youth retreats as well as attending summer camp. Sailing is a major event at Lakeside and offers a high quality sailing camp each year with certified sailing instructors teaching children and adults on five classes of sailboat from Sunfish, Catamarans and two, solid hulled sailing vessels the Glass Elevator aka the "Jolly Roger." RV and tent camping are also a fun part of spring, summer, fall camping.

Join us when you can! Expect the unexpected! Whatever you are looking for in camping in the Iowa Great Lakes - You just found it!

Remember something from when YOU went to camp? Send us your Lakeside History! :)

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