Read and Share Camp Stories!
Scroll down to read camp stories from former campers, staff, pastors, and volunteers - or share your own!
A Counselor's Perspective - Why camp?
Seeing the faith of the kids transform throughout the week and filling their hearts with Jesus Christ is the number one reason I want to come back to Lutheran Lakeside Camp another summer. I have never had such a fulfilling, fun, life-changing experience with children. I feel like the experience of a Christian camp is one of the best life experiences any person can have. Being a part of education children about God's love, miracles in the Bible, and the unique plan God has for each and every person is something I've enjoyed more than anything I've done in my life. Lutheran Lakeside Camp is a beautiful place to be and most importantly has a beautiful message. I learned so much about the faith of others as well as my own faith. I want to be a part of this intentional Christian community again this next summer and positively impact campers as well as staff in our journeys through our lives with Christ.
It was nearing the end of the week and we saw a program called "Christ Walk". It was about the life of Christ and what he went through to save us all from the devil. It really got through to me. I was crying for the rest of the night. Little did I know that this was because God had got into my heart. I talked to someone about it and slowly the tears stopped coming. When the person I talked to explained this, I felt not only closer to God, but also closer to the people I love.
THREE meals a DAY!
...at one point a girl who was with us at camp was talking to me on the dock one day with our other kids gathered around. She was getting very loud about how only rich people can help with this camp and she kept going on and on about this. Other kids were telling her that people could help in many ways but she was getting louder and louder about how she was not rich and so there was nothing she could provide. Finally a boy got real serious and told her to "be quiet" and then he talked about his father who works every day just to provide a house and some food...he went on to say that anyone can help here...even hammering a nail is a way to give back. All the other kids got real quiet and were surprised at how serious he was about this...that anyone can help. Later the next day, we were riding back home in the car. He talked to me and those in the car about how much he enjoyed camp...he also talked about how good the food was and that he has never had so much food in his life...THREE MEALS A DAY! He, matter of factly, talked about how at home he only has one meal a day.
And of course the other fun things
My summers at Lakeside always make me smile. It was at Lakeside that I felt at peace. It was at Lakeside that I felt accepted. It was at Lakeside that I could hear God talking to ME. It was at Lakeside that I KNEW I was special. And then there were the other fun things.
Jake, 14, after giving his counselor grief all week and testing everyone's patience, wrote a letter to D-Rock (his counselor's nickname) telling him how important it was for him to be with D-Rock that week. You guys at camp have gotten me out from hiding. Without D-Rock I would still not have faith or believe in God. I have learned a lot about God and who He really is. (Jake has served as a counselor in training two summers since)
Sara, a thirteen year old confirmation camper, attended her first session with Pastor Bob and Pastor Carol who talked about forgiveness as their topic for the week. Pastor Carol made the comment that being angry with someone who has hurt a person we love is like holding a burning coal in our hand. It only hurts us and not the person we are angry with. This stayed in Sara's mind until Thursday night at campfire campers were asked to pray for someone. As Sara picked up a candle to place in the cross she began sobbing and her cabin mates and counselor were crying as well. Sara had told all of them her story of when she was 5 years old on her way with her Mom to the first day of Kindergarten a young man being initiated in a gang came up to them and shot her Mom. Sara's mom died from the gunshot. Sara prayed for that young man and forgave him that night.
A thirteen year old girl was just getting on the bus heading for camp when her parents mentioned to her that they were getting a divorce and would talk with her on her arrival back home. A summer counselor heard the conversation and tried to console the girl as she cried for the entirety of the trip to camp. During the week at camp, the girl was surrounded with love and support from her cabin mates and counselors. It didn't lessen the pain of her parents' decision to get a divorce, but all that community helped her know that she was loved by many new friends who kept in contact with her long after her week at camp had ended.
"5 Summers in a Row"
I have been going for 5 summers now and i must say I will never stop going to camp! I found my family there and I don't like ignoring them... But most importantly I found Christ there. In 3rd grade I didn't know to much about Christ but now I can tell you (not everything) but a lot about Christ and I am happy that I have found Him! In 3rd I went to camp and at first I was scared because I was the only Junior camper there besides 3 boys. But the staff made me feel so welcome and I was able to feel relaxed. It was the greatest camp experience I have ever had! Thanks Lutheran Lakeside!! < 3
5 summers in a row
This is, by far, the best church camp I know of. I attended as a youth, and my children have followed in my footsteps. I cannot say enough about my experiences, the friendships I made, and how much closer to God you feel. The staff and facilities are excellent. I pray everyone who needs inner peace finds it, and feel this is a phenomenal place to try. Very, VERY highly recommended
A Lakeside Dad
"Emily Hall 2"
This was my second time to camp this year.Every camper there went with their church because it was a confirmation camp.I made tons of new friends.No doubt, every counselor,support staff,etc. was welcoming, nice, and cool.There was lots of support staff that i havent met yet, so it was very cool meeting them.My 2 favorite support staff were Patrick and Karley.When we played the sports at camp Patrick made them 10 times better,"which i didnt think was even possible thats sports could get any better".And Karley made the music fun, although all the songs at camp have something to do with Christ there were no hyms at camp, all the songs are fun and filled with spirit.As usual I had an awesome time at camp.EH
"Emily Hall 1"
when i went to camp the 2nd time this year i thought their would be no change. everyone went with their churches because it was confirmation camp the 1st group of kids of the year even though i knew some people from my church they were mostly guys. I made tons of new friends.probably my two favorite support staff were Patrick and karley.my two favorite things are music and sports and karley makes music so fun, and patrick makes the sports 10 times better, which i didnt think was even possible.as always i had an amazing time at lutheran lakeside!!!!!
"...Lakeside the first time..."
When i went to Lakeside the first time i went to camp i was worried that i wouldn't meet any new people and i sure was wrong i had the time of my life at camp my counselor AK made it MUCH better i had an unbelievable time and cant wait to go back next summer and in the future i will surely apply to be a Counselor or Utility Player!
"The Beautiful People's Tour..."
The Beautiful People's Tour was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed every second of it from the long car rides to working with the little kids! The counselors, AK and Sam, made this opportuinty a blast and I'm sure everyone involved really did have the best week ever, just like the sign says. We became such a close knit community which made heading for home one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Lakeside has given me so many amazing opportunities and friendships over the years. I can't wait to be a UP next summer!
"...5 summers in a row..."
I'm 20 now but went to camp 5 summers in a row, met sooo many friends and had the time of my life learning to sail, canoe, rock climb and so much more. Church camp is something I wish everyone could experience at least once. I hope to be able to come and join a morning worship or camp fire the weekend July 13th or 14th, our pastor recently moved away and I have found it hard for me to make it to church since then. A weekend back at church camp to reconnect would do me good!
The first time I went to camp,wow was I sacred. But then I gained confendice. I'm way more cofiendent,all because of camp!
"My love for God is as Wide as ever..."
Every year I go to camp I meet new people, and I see my friends, but best of all I come home! There is nothing greater than seeing everyone you love! (Even if you don't know them, grow to love them!) I am now a Sailor and Lutheran Lakeside and I hope my experience as a sailor is going to be just as great as my Junior experience. My first year I was the only girl in the cabin and sure I didn't like that. But my counselor made me feel so welcome that the next day I realized that even without cabin mates, you can still have the best time of your life! If you plan to go to camp I hope you will have the same connection that I did!! :) My love for God is as Wide as ever, and that is all possible because of camp! I < 3 LUTHERAN LAKESIDE CAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This year is going to be my 4th
camp is amazing...it is a good experience and it turns learning about god funner than normal. it has taught me many things and made me want to go again and again.
laken joy mullinix
2009,10,and soon to be 11
IT WAS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow, that's all I can say about lakeside camp. I loved every little piece of it. Counselors, meeting new people, and becoming closer to god. When I left, I was crying so hard that I couldn't see where I was going. My counselors name was Carley and we hugged until my arms hurt. I am going to write to her and I hope she gets it. I loved it.'Go to lakeside. Sincerely, Ali(: Stud #1((:
Ali Watkins 2011
"its real and it changed my life..."
i felt this belonging feeling and understanding here at lutheran lakeside. the support and kindness of everyone there... its real and it changed my life and the way i want to live it. i learned so much there about God and true meanings and all i want to say is thank you guys SO much. i would never trade it back for anything.
"TOTALY WRONG I LOVED CAMP!!"
I went to camp this year because my mom made me I was pretty mad bout it i thouht it was just another thing to occupie me or to gt me out of their hair i got on the bus to go and i was thinkin oh yeah im going to some camp in spirt lake IA their just gunna push jesus on us so we made 3 stops i got up their and im like not that bad so i got checked in everything was cool i found out my cabin counciler and mates what i was thinking from eairlier was TOTALY WRONG I LOVED CAMP!! i didnt do much hung out with new friends but our camp cook out was the best though stanic was really funny i cant wait intill next year all the councilers where awesome and not to peppy but just the rght ammount I hope you had or wll have the best time
Bailey P. 2010
"Brought to Tears"
I have been two Lakeside twice now. I was forced to go the first year, but because of the great experience, I chose to go back again. The reasons are endless on why I went back. My friendships I have made have stayed strong and those people are the ones always there for me. I can count on them because of how close we got at camp. I don't think I have ever felt closer to God. Everything you do is related to Him somehow. Your relationship feels stronger every time you pray. I miss camp so much. Everything that goes on at that camp is the best experience ever. I have been brought to tears both times I left. It's so hard to part from all the great counselors and friends you got to know. I love camp! :)
Madde 2009 & 2010
"The very first time..."
The very first time i went to camp i remember sorta spaceing out during bible study and thinking i can be inside with T.V that was when i was little, and now i am so excited for camp we have so much fun you would not believe it!!!!!! And now i am zoned in to what ever we are doing in bible study, in song worship, you name it, i wish i could stay longer at camp every year!
P.S. The best camp!
I<3 my GOD!
I hope you all get to go someday!
You have helped my relationship with GOD!
this is my 6th year going to camp.....
Before lakeside, church was just something that my parents made me go to every Sunday. When I went to lakeside for the first time i learned so much about why it is important for me to go to church. Now four years later, I am in confirmation, and I am excited to go to church!! Thank you Lutheran Lakeside!!
I have gone to Lakeside for 4 years.
"he changed my life forever..."
i went to camp and didnt really believe in god then i went and he changed my life forever now every year i go to camp and have the best time of my life meeting new friends,tasting new food and learning about god everyday
he lead me toward him
2008 and .......ect
"He has me secure in the palm of His hand, always there, no matter what."
I came to Lakeside for family weekend July 20-22, 2007. It was great to see my son, Kyle and his friends at Lakeside. I was able to go on the zip line and I realized after I got home how this experience was such a metaphor for my life as a believer in Christ. I didnâ€™t make it up the tower (tried twice, but only made it half-way) This represented my feeble attempts to be in control of my life before I trusted Jesus. I eventually made it to the top by climbing the ladder inside the tower. When I got to the top of the tower, I was really uncomfortable. I realized later this represented the sin in my life and life in this world without Christ as my foundation. It represented how life feels without Him in my life. The harness securing me to the zip line represented Jesus, Himself. He has me secure in the palm of His hand, always there, no matter what. Next came the leap. For me that was the easy part. I was so uncomfortable on the platform that leaning in and letting go was easy. That represented trusting Christ as my Savior and living for Him everyday. The joy of both rides is like nothing else in this world!
Thanks to everyone for the great family weekend!
"I found God here"
I went to camp for a week in the year 2007. I found God here. I got closer to God here. It was nearing the end of the week, and we saw a program called Christ Walk. It was about the life of Christ, and what he went through to save us all from the wrath of Satan. It really got through to me. I was crying for the reat of the night. Little did I know that this was because God had got into my heart. I talked to someone about it, and slowly the tears stopped coming. When the person I talked to explained this, I felt not only closer to God, but also closer to the people I love.
"BEST week of my life."
Lakeside describes me. You know how when people always ask you where your special place is and most people respond with a beach or their bedroom? Well, my special place is Lakeside. I had always gone to Lakeside when I was younger, but I had never really gotten the full meaning of it. This last summer (2006) I went to the senior high camp and had the BEST week of my life. There were only like 5 of us campers in the group (but 2 campers to 2 counselors in a cabin!!!) but it was amazing! We all got along so well and the counselors were amazing. Iâ€™m going back this summer, the last time i can go as a camper :(. Hopefully this time we can actually go on mission tripâ€¦:). I just wanted to let you all know how much Lakeside means to me and how much I love you all!!!!
2006 and Many Years Before...
"I pray that many more kids are receiving the blessings"
I am now a 40-something adult. When I look back on my teenage years, my summers at Lakeside always make me smile. It was at Lakeside that I felt at peace. It was at Lakeside that I felt accepted. It was at Lakeside that I could hear God talking to ME. It was a Lakeside that I KNEW I was special. And then there were the other fun things. Like Lori Luhmann being the â€œcrazy ice cream ladyâ€. Or Bob PetroffÃ‚ and his crazy dives . The flour wars. Romans vs Christians. The Friday night dances. The â€œaround the lodge you must goâ€ (I never could make it all the way thru a meal). The campfires on the hill. Crying my eyes out on the last night. Swimming in the murky lagoon (the pool was built the year after I graduated). Many many memories and thereâ€™s a picture album in a box somewhere with all the pictures. I pray that many more kids are receiving the blessings that I had thru Lakeside. God Bless you All
"We're coming back!"
Hi! Well i went to Lakeside about 1 year ago and i loved it!! We played these awsome games and it was amazing! My friend and I are hoping to go back next year.
"everyone was nice and awesome"
I had never been to a sleepaway camp befor and was nervious. That and that I wasnt Lutheran that i was going with my lutheran friend made me think that no one would like me. But when i got there everyone was nice and awesome and they didnt mind i wasnt luthern. So this year im coming back with the same friend and i invited some of my other friends.
summer of 2006
"Camper Comments #1"
What was the most important thing you learned this week at camp?
To serve your neighbors and spread the word of God. - Connor B.
To trust in God no matter what. - Philip S.
Stand up for believing in God and tell others GOD IS AMAZING.
...team work is important and Jesus went through a lot to get us here. - Alyssa D.
THAT GOD IS AWESOME. - Trenton N.
That people all over the world fight to live for being Christian! How lucky am I to be able to live my faith openly and to tell everyone about Jesus and the incredible love of God. - Katie S.
God will love us forever. - Ashlee V.
Pray can be fun and there are different ways to do it. - Emily V.
That I can pray anytime of the day. - Courtland S.
To always serve God.
Jesus came to serve not to be served. - Jakob H.
"Our week of Day camp..."
I just wanted to thank you and the counselors again for coming to our church last week. It was a wonderful experience for us and the children of this community. You have a very talented staff of young people. It was a pleasure to meet and work with them.
"Three Meals a Day!"
...at one point the Latina (girl) who was with us at camp was talking to me on the dock one day with our other kids gathered around. She was getting very loud about how only rich people can help with this camp and she kept going on and on about this. Other kids were telling her that people could help in many ways but she was getting louder and louder about how she was not rich and so there was nothing she could provide. Finally, a Latino boy got real serious and told her to â€œbe quietâ€ and then he talked about his father who works every day just to provide a house and some food...he went on to say that anyone can help here...even hammering a nail is a way to give back. All the other kids got real quiet and were surprised at how serious he was about this...that anyone can help. Later the next day, we were riding back in the car. He talked to me and those in the car about how much he enjoyed camp...he also talked about how good the food was and that he has never had so much food in his life...THREE MEALS A DAY! He, matter of factly, talked about how at home he only has one meal a day. This is the same kid who told the girl that anyone can give back...that it was not about money.
The camp made a good impact on these kids, THANKS!