Iowa United Methodist Camps announce summer ministry plans

Iowa United Methodist Camps announce summer ministry plans

May 22, 2020

Registration for Backyard Camp can be found at

The Summer of 2020 is just around the corner and with it comes opportunities to connect in different ways than ever before. Iowa United Methodist Camps are proud to announce “Backyard Camp”, a one-of-a-kind summer program offering from the combined staff at Wesley Woods and Okoboji United Methodist Camps. 

Bryan Johnson, Director of Camps and Retreats says “connection with friends old and new is one of the best parts of the camping ministry. While summer camp can’t happen in the way that it has in the past, we miss seeing you and don’t want to wait a whole year to be together. Backyard Camp is a great way to check in and continue growing together and sharing our love of Christ.”

There are five summer sessions available for campers with different themes and activities for all ages. Backyard Camp is more than just a virtual option, however, as program elements like group bible studies and horses are included, as well as individual time with year-round camp staff and activities to get campers away from the screen. For example, the Wesley Woods Equestrian Center is included with Backyard Camp.

Laura Hutler, Equestrian Coordinator at Wesley Woods says, “the ponies will help you and your herd learn about connected faith-filled relationships, develop leadership skills and even learn about becoming better balanced rider - right from your own backyard!”

Gracie Green, Program Coordinator at Wesley Woods says “while camp at Wesley Woods and Okoboji has to look different this summer I’m so glad that everything that makes these sites so special remains the same!” 

Phil Bargfrede, Program Coordinator at Okoboji, is thrilled to be able to offer Backyard Camp. “It provides opportunities for all ages to grow closer as family units and in our faith in Christ, too! Backyard Camp will keep us from missing the 2020 season and promises to be an experience we will never forget!”

Camp staff began preparing Backyard Camp when it appeared that the summer would be disrupted in some way. Significant time and thought has been put into each session to create a truly unique experience. 

“People and relationships are really the core of camp,” says Chip Hutler, Site Director of Wesley Woods. “We are really looking forward to seeing everyone in Virtual Backyard Camp where we can bring camp home to you! Let’s hang out, share stories, laughter and ideas. Let’s grow in our faith and have some fun.”

“This is a great opportunity to continue building positive relationships with young people, learning about our faith and experiencing Iowa Camps in a new way,” says Eric Scheve, Site Director at the Okoboji U.M. Camp.

Backyard Camp is open for campers to register today! Recognizing that this is a difficult time for many, Backyard Camp uses a ‘Pay What You Can’ tiered system. “Consistent with any Iowa United Methodist Camp Program, we won’t turn away any camper based on financial need,” says Bryan Johnson. “We believe that if people have the ability to help support camp by funding Backyard Camp at a level that works for them they will. We’re all in this together, after all!” 

Registration for Backyard Camp can be found at