Friday, July 3, 2015

Promoting Camp

At the end of the day yesterday, a group of us from Lutheran churches across the county met at our church, a central location for us all.  We were there to hear about promoting the campaign for Luther Springs, our Lutheran camp in Florida.  The man there to train us to go out to talk to church councils was once my college Theology professor and campus pastor.

We talked about what outdoor ministry had meant to each of us.  It was interesting to note how many of us talked about the deep importance of camp to our grown-up lives, not our camp experiences as children.

Our Florida camp, Luther Springs, has gone from being on the brink of bankruptcy to being more successful than the space developed can handle.  Luckily, there's room for development.

How did this happen?  Ten years ago, most Lutherans in Florida had never heard of Luther Springs.

Part of it was their partnership with the group that manages the North Carolina camps, Lutheridge and Lutherock.

And when that group started helping, the camp started offering more programs for adults.  Once better housing was built for larger groups, the popularity took off.

I thought of the one day retreat that my mom and I have created for her church women's group.  Could one day retreats held at churches help support camp?  We've said it at my mom's group's retreat:  "If you liked one day of this, just imagine a whole week-end or week."  Last night I thought of offering 1 day versions of the more popular retreats:  a 1 day women's retreat, a 1 day creativity retreat, and so on.

Of course, the kind of support that Luther Springs needs right now is money to build more lodging, to build a better kitchen (I've had home kitchens bigger than the Luther Springs kitchen), and to build a bigger meeting space/chapel.  The materials we looked at last night made it clear how little it would take from each Lutheran church member to get the camp to where it needs to be:  just under $34 a person a year for the next 3 years.

History is full of examples of what can happen when a large group of people works together.  Hopefully this campaign for Luther Springs will be another example.

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