By Chad Koenen
The hallways, and vast outdoor space at Lutheran Island Camp, will soon come alive. After essentially being shut down last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the bustling camp on the shores of East Battle Lake is gearing up for another busy summer of campers, counselors, songs, activities and opportunity to share the message of God through worship.
“It’s super exciting. We did reach out and do some independent family groups that rented cabins as families last year. This year we are looking forward to hearing a few more voices and a few more kid voices laughing on our grounds and participating,” said Melodie Hobbie, of Lutheran Island Camp. “We have a summer schedule starting with our traditional staff training. We will actually start up the weekend of June 11.”
While the start of camp will be about a week later than normal, it will give staff members an extra opportunity to get ready for camp in light of the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
Hobbie said the staff is planning to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, however they change in the next few months, in order to keep campers and staff members as safe as possible this year.
“The advantage is we are a camp and we tend to be outside anyway. We will be following protocols and have a plan in place,” she said. “Definitely with an eye toward caution and safety.”
One of the changes people will notice at camp this year will be in regards to dropping off campers and picking them up. There will be a drive through drop off where family members can stay in their vehicle and temperatures will be taken through the check in process. Camp will also be keeping the guests in pods based on their cabin as much as possible, which will become their family unit throughout their camp experience.
In addition to staying in their cabin group as much as possible, Hobbie said they will also try to keep people socially distanced outside.
Even though registrations for camp continue to come in, Hobbie said people need to do what they feel comfortable with in light of COVID-19. The camp will work with people, however they can, to make sure the campers have a fun experience. The goal is to provide campers a variety of activities that can get them back to a more normal life.
“People are registering, we do have some that are not and I guess my statement is people have to do whatever they are comfortable with. We support and respect everybody’s decision and what they make for themselves,” said Hobbie. “There are a large number of parents who said they are looking forward to the kids to have some piece of normalcy in their life.”
The theme for this year’s camp is “God of Wonder,” said new program coordinator Julie O’Laughlin said she is excited to be back at camp this year.
“I’m really looking forward to giving the campers at Lutheran Island Camp an opportunity to get outside, be with each other and have some semblance of a normal summer. It’s just exciting to be able to provide that for them.”Julie O’Laughlin
O’Laughlin worked as a camp counselor in 2018 and is looking forward to the opportunity to return to the place she called home for a summer.
“It’s kind of weird there is a lot of déjà vu and nostalgia but it just really is a different side of camp,” she said.
For more information about Lutheran Island Camp, or to register for one of their camps and activities, contact 583-2905 or visit them online at www.islandcamp.org.