Iowa United Methodist Camps kicks off annual campaign

Iowa United Methodist Camps kicks off annual campaign

January 26, 2022

With a mission of sharing Christ with kids, Iowa United Methodist Camps will once again be launching their Annual Campaign this February. The Camps Annual Campaign has become vital to the sustainability of outdoor Christian faith experiences for youth and adults in Iowa. As the apportionment system continues to change and financial support for extension ministries isn’t as readily available as it once was, the Iowa Board of Camps implemented an aggressive fundraising strategy to offset apportionment reductions and increase viability.

“The Annual Campaign is a celebration of friendships and relationships – both with God and with one another,” said Bryan Johnson, Iowa Conference's Director of Camping and Christian Formation. “Nearly everyone has a camp story that they can tell, and that story forms the backbone of the Annual Campaign and the experiences that are cultivated as a result.”

In the last two years, the story of camp has been shared by volunteer campaigners with over 3,000 people during the month of February. The success of the February campaign not only helps Okoboji and Wesley Woods U.M. Camps survive but thrive into the future.

“I used to think fundraising was about raising money, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Johnson. “Fundraising is really about friendship and relationship. We are so blessed that camping ministry is based on those very things.”

All funds raised during the campaign support kids coming to camp. Many kids attend camp on partial or full scholarships each year. It’s important to the Board of Camps that finances do not prevent a young person from coming to Okoboji or Wesley Woods. In addition to daily Bible Study and worship times, campers get to do a variety of activities including go-karts, horses, climbing, swimming, ziplining, canoeing, and archery. 

Registration is open for summer camp at Okoboji and Wesley Woods. Right now registrations are tracking 30% higher than they were at this time last year.

“I think that speaks to the quality of the accredited program, the staff, and the simple fact that each February people are talking about their camp experiences in positive ways,” said Johnson

The Iowa Board of Camps continues to receive apportionment funds, although the amount is less than half of what it was six years ago. Someday, Johnson envisions the camping ministry not reliant on apportionment funds at all.

“Kids are both the present and future of the church. It’s been fun to see so many people adopt this important ministry,” said Johnson.

Johnson said that last year the largest pledge was $25,000 while the smallest pledge was $10. Any pledge of $1,000 or more becomes part of the ‘Campfire Circle’, the highest level of giving. Dozens of churches and individuals have been recognized on the ‘Campfire Circle’ wall.

“If this thing continues to grow,” said Johnson “we are going to need to get a bigger donor board!”

If you or your church are able to consider a gift to support kids learning about Christ at camp, or for information on how to register, please visit www.iaumc.org/camps or contact the camps office at camps@iaumc.org.