Iowa UMC Camps Change Lives

March 24, 2014

--From Rev. David Hobbs, Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation 

Spring 2014 is upon us and summer is just around the corner, and that means lots of Christian fun and excitement at one of your Iowa UMC Camps. There is still plenty of time to register for camp and camperships to help your youth get to camp. Enjoy the two testimonies below from past campers and staffers on how camp impacted their lives, one recent Wesley Wood’s camper and summer staffer, and the other from a wonderful gentleman recalling his experience of being a camper at Lake Okoboji UMC Camp nearly 75 years ago. Our Iowa UMC camps have maybe changed over the years, but as you can see, the experience and the impact of camp on one’s life is one thing that hasn’t changed. Thank you George and Andi for your amazing stories about Iowa UMC Camps! As you can see, Camp indeed changes lives.

Camp Wesley Woods and Retreat Center: Andi Werger, teacher,WDM School District, Wesley Woods summer staff 2006 - 2008, still brings her Jr. High student’s back to Camp Wesley Woods every fall

“They say that for everything there is a season. A time to dance and a time to mourn. A time to live and a time to die.  A time of war and a time of peace.  In reality, it seems as if the saying should go more like "A time to work and a time to clean. A time to pay bills and a time to call the insurance company.  A time for e-mails to read and a time for obligations to fulfill."   What I usually find myself wondering is, "When it is time for me?"

No matter what season of life I may be in, my experiences at Wesley Woods remind me of one thing: every time is God's time. Every season in my life can be used to glorify God. Every change has some purpose, and every challenge awaiting each new dawn is in fact a new possibility. Wesley Woods reminds me that life is messy and is not meant to be comfortable, but that some of the greatest rewards come from a unique combination of hard work and faith. Wesley Woods constantly challenges me to let go of what I cannot control, and to put God in the driver's seat. To do the best I can for others every day of my life, and to do more for them even when I am exhausted. Wesley Woods is where I found God and will always be my place of peace.”

Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp: George Burnet, originally from Fort Dodge

George Burnet – Thoughts from Camp 1939-1941

“I grew up attending the Epworth United Methodist Church in Fort Dodge, IA. I helped with the leadership of our local MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) and the Fort Dodge sub-district. This led to my serving as President of the Fort Dodge District MYF in 1940 and 1941. In that role, I had duties at the Camp such as participating in the opening ceremonies, morning chapel and evening vespers. Just as they are to this day, camp wide events were announced by ringing of a large bell.

In 1940 and 1941, a fellow camper from Epworth United Methodist Church (Phil Ulstad) and I were lifeguards in charge of the waterfront program. We both had completed Red Cross water safety training.

It was at camp in 1940 that I met my future wife, Betty Riggs, daughter of Rev. Joe Riggs of Wesley, IA. We courted, were engaged in 1942 and married in 1944 while I was home on leave from the military.

My younger sister, Lois Burnet Kline, attending Camp with me and has equally fond memories of our experiences there. About 20 years ago, we endowed a campership fund at Epworth United Methodist in honor of our parents. Income from the fund is used to meet the expenses for youth from the church attending camp.” 

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