Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Being a (Camp Luther) Grandparent

Submitted by Jim & Kathy Wiebel

 “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” (Mary H. Waldrip)

“Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.” (Donald A. Norberg)

These quotations certainly summarize well some of our own feelings about the joys of being grandparents. To be blessed, first, with two wonderful sons and their lovely wives, and now to have been gifted by them with six beautiful grandchildren in the past 11 years has made our hearts and our lives full, indeed! Not only that, but to have received a call to serve as one of the pastors at Faith Lutheran Church, Appleton, at precisely the same time as our first grandchild was born (bringing us back to Wisconsin from Florida) has been one of God’s great blessings in our lives. Living only 30 miles from each family (who reside in Green Bay & Oshkosh) has allowed us to share in their lives from infancy on by providing childcare once a week in each of their homes. Seeing life through the eyes of a child and underscoring the presence of Jesus in their lives with one of our favorite sayings, “I love you, but Jesus loves you even more!” always brings a smile to their faces. These years are something we wouldn’t trade for all the warm winters in Florida!

Jim & Kathy Wiebel with their granddaughter at their
first KinderCamp.
Living between our sons and their families, one of our family traditions has been to host a monthly “Family Feast” in order to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays together. We’re also blessed that our sons and their wives have become active members in their home churches where their children have been involved with regular worship and Sunday school activities. When we’ve had our grandchildren with us for “sleepovers,” storybook reading and prayers have become a regular part of the bedtime ritual. Now that they’re growing older, attending school concerts and sporting events have become a big part of our monthly routine. We’ve also made a priority of planning two or three family vacations together each year in order to visit relatives and new places, as well as to strengthen our family bond.

Camp Luther has also been a big part of our family’s spiritual development and faith formation. As soon as each child has been old enough, we’ve accompanied them to GrandKids Camp each summer. In the second year of their eligibility, we’ve been blessed to be able to pay for their parents to take them to KinderCamp, as well. In addition to those experiences, summer and winter Family Camps have endeared our grandchildren to Camp Luther even more! Camp’s staff and counselors have also been such a positive influence on each of us. Last summer, our oldest grandchild invited three of her neighborhood friends (none of whom are active in a church) to attend a Discovery Camp with her, made possible through the Every Kid to Camp campership program. All four are making plans to attend camp together again this summer!

If we can offer any advice to new grandparents or to grandparents who haven’t had the blessing of living as close to their grandchildren as we have, it would be to encourage your own children in their spiritual walk with the Lord and, whenever possible, to reinforce that with calls, cards, FaceTime, etc. with your grandchildren. And when they’re old enough, to invite them to go to GrandKids Camp with you, or help to make it possible for your children and their families to attend events at Camp Luther, or a church camp closer to them. There’s just nothing quite like sharing your love for God and His awesome creation like spending time together at Camp Luther! That’s been our family’s joy for over 40 years…and counting!  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 Theme: ANCHORED

For we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 
(Hebrews 6:19)

Water is unpredictable. This is a truth you learn very quickly working at camp. I remember taking a group out onto Rangeline Lake for a fun afternoon of canoeing during my first summer as a counselor. And it was fun—until it was time to head back in and I realized that the wind had picked up. It was blowing us away from the safety of the channel where we had launched our canoes and out across the open lake.

I, an experienced college student, struggled to even get my canoe turned around against the force of the wind. I looked behind me to see my campers’ boats scattered across the lake. All I could think was that staff training did not prepare me for this! as I watched the canoes get tossed around by the wind.

In the end, I had to paddle up to each boat individually and help tow them to the nearest shoreline. Once everyone was finally safely on shore, we walked back to main camp leaving a scattered array of empty boats and canoe paddles behind us. It was quite the adventure!

That was a day when we could have used an anchor. An anchor is what secures your boat against the wind and the waves. It’s what keeps your boat safe in the storms. It’s what protects your boat from getting blown off course and lost. It’s what secures your boat from crashing against the rocks.

Our theme this year at Camp Luther is ANCHORED. It’s based on the above verse in Hebrews, which promises us that the hope we have in Jesus Christ is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. All the things that an anchor is, Jesus Christ is for us.

We have the hope that He is with us no matter what. We have the hope that we can trust Him no matter what we’re facing in life. We have the hope of resurrection, of life after death, because Jesus defeated death, defeated sin, and made a way for us to be with God through His death on the cross. That’s what it means that Jesus is our anchor, and we’re incredibly excited to dive into the theme of ANCHORED this year at Camp Luther.

~Kardia, Director of Programs

Thursday, March 16, 2017

On The Road Again...A Day in the Life of Indigo!

Indigo, Director of Donor Relations
Shelly “Indigo” Karolus is Camp Luther’s Director of Donor Relations, but what does that mean?!

As Director of Donor Relations, part of Indigo’s time is spent connecting people to the many different opportunities of supporting the ministry of Camp Luther. Part of her time is also spent thanking people who give in different ways to advance the mission of Camp. In all she does, she gets to hear about all the different reasons why Camp is such a special place to many.

When connecting people to opportunities to support and thanking them, Indigo uses the phone quite a bit, but also does much of this work on the road, meeting with people face-to-face.

"I have the wonderful opportunity of getting out on the road and driving to visit people who love Camp Luther. Sometimes I'll be on the road for a couple of days or just a day trip. No matter where I go, it is awesome to hear about why people love God and how Camp has helped them grow a closer relationship to Christ."

Indigo spends much of her time on the road, visiting people
who love Camp Luther
In February, Indigo had a week-long road trip, visiting churches, donors, and volunteers in Illinois, Michigan, and many towns in Wisconsin, including Stevens Point and Milwaukee.

At the beginning of March, she was on the road again, this time for a day. She and Woody visited pastors and churches in Greenville, Appleton, and Neenah.

Indigo plays a crucial role in connecting people with the Camp Luther they love and cherish. Her work ensures Camp will be a place that thrives for generations.

“It's a fun job and I'm blessed to be here.”

Thursday, March 2, 2017

NLOMA Conference Recap

Camp Luther staff Beemer, Woody, Sojo, and Kardia
at the NLOMA Conference
Every February, members of the Camp Luther staff join with ministry professionals representing nearly 30 Christian camps across the country. The organization is called NLOMA (National Lutheran Outdoors Ministry Association). This year, staff members Woody, Beemer, Kardia, and Sojo traveled to the Mount Olivet Conference and Retreat Center in Farmington, Minnesota for the conference. This annual conference features worship time, several amazing speakers, and plenty of time to enjoy fellowship and networking with staff members from other camps.

Pastor Gabe Kasper (Camp Luther Alumn) leading worship

Worship times at this year’s conference were led by pastor and Camp Luther alumn Gabe Kasper (Austin, Texas).

The keynote speaker was Dr. Andy Root. Andy’s discussion focused on place sharing in relationships and letting Jesus find His way into our lives by spending time with one another and sharing in each other’s suffering.

Attendees had time for recreation and sight-seeing throughout the conference, including the Como Zoo, local breweries, and a nearby NLOMA member camp called Camp Omega. One highlight every year is the annual “Pong-a-thon” tournament (ultimate ping pong). 30+ people took part in this year’s competition and the traveling trophy went home to Lutheran Island Camp in Northern Minnesota.

Pong-a-thon tournament
NLOMA Members praying over Summer Staff applications
before Joint Recruitment

Part of what makes NLOMA so special is that summer staff hiring is done as an association rather than by individual camps. This process is called Joint Recruitment and takes place on the final day of the conference. Camp Luther has benefitted from this process greatly over the years because it allows us to recruit staff from all corners of the country; many of which have experience at other camps and can bring new, refreshing ideas to help grow the ministry. Many Camp Luther summer staff members have also gone on to work at other camps as well.

All in all, the NLOMA conference is a very important time of personal and professional growth, networking and fellowship, and renewal for the ministry that happens at camp. 

Camp professionals from across the country. Can you find Camp Luther staff?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Keeping Camp Healthy

Have you ever thought about how many team players Camp Luther needs to be able to make plays in sharing Christ with others? Over the last 70 years, there have been thousands of volunteer team players who have come to camp and given their time and talents. Blaine ‘Beemer’ Welch, Camp’s Director of Guest Services, shares that thought in a devotion that he led at our October Workbee.

Fall is my favorite season for several reasons. The leaves are changing, hunting seasons begin, and there is a lot to do in the Northwoods this time of year. Like many people in Wisconsin and across the country, one of my favorite parts of the season is football. We all have our teams, from high school all the way to the NFL. These days it seems like one of the most important things for any team hoping to win a championship is avoiding injury and getting a healthy team all the way to the big game.

The more I think about a team staying “healthy,” the more I realize that it isn’t always about just avoiding injury, but the teams that seem to be the most successful are the teams that can still function at a high level when injury occurs. When the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, they had 15 starters listed on injured reserve, and two more starters got hurt during the game. Still, the team was able to continue to execute the game plan with whatever players were in the game. “Healthy” means building a team that can flourish and still win a championship with whoever is on the field.

Colossians 2:6-7 reads, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

One will often hear Camp Luther staff say something like “Camp can’t survive without the volunteers that donate their time and efforts.”

And so, I began to think about what would actually happen without volunteers.  Camp staff would have an insurmountable list of projects that would constantly take away from time that is vital to providing the finest programs possible, and ultimately Camp Luther would crumble. 

Our faith walk is the same. We can all function for awhile but this is a sinful world and eventually that sin is going to beat us lower and lower UNLESS we take refuge in God’s Word and build ourselves up in it so that we can not only survive the trials but that we can thrive in them.

We know that in all these things, God’s grace will hold us up and it is our mediation on His Word that allows us to see that grace take form in our lives.

Camp Luther has been blessed with the servant hearts of thousands of volunteers. These people serve at Workbee weekends, as RV Volunteers, Guest Medics, and Guest Pastors in the summer, and give their time and talents throughout the year. Most recently, Camp has hosted men from Mount Olive in Weston, WI who prepared Lakeview Cottage to be remodeled, and youth from St. Mark's in Wausau, WI who helped prepare the lower level of the Retreat Center to be finished. 

Thank you, volunteers!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Welcome, Rock!

Hi, I am Rock.  I work at the Welcome Desk here at Camp Luther.   I meet and greet all visitors, campers and parents.  If you have a question, you can start with me and I will find the answer or someone who will have an answer!

I was brought up in Mt. Prospect, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago.  I attended John Hersey High School and was in the band.  I played the flute and piccolo.  I went to a few colleges and ended up at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  I graduated with a BSBA-Accounting.  I obtained my CPA and worked in public accounting at A M & G in Chicago.  I also worked as an internal auditor for Sears/Homart/Coldwell Banker.  My last job in Chicago was for 25 years at Margie Korshak, Inc., a public relations firm, as their CFO.

I headed north in 2009 to live with my aging father in Three Lakes, WI.  I have had a number of jobs here in the Northwoods.

I started at Camp Luther in November, 2016 and I couldn’t be happier!  What a blessing!

I live in Three Lakes with my two shi-tzus, Rosie and Allie.  I have many hobbies including knitting, crocheting and beading jewelry.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Memories at Camp Luther

Before joining the staff team at Camp Luther, I didn’t have much experience with camp in the winter, but the one time I did will forever remain a favorite memory. 

It was my senior year of high school. Our small youth group loaded up my Aunt’s SUV (she was also our youth leader) to start on the four-hour drive to Camp Luther for the Sub Zero Youth Retreat. A few of us had been to camp in the summer, and for everyone else this was their first Camp Luther experience ever! Along with trying to get some homework done, our ride was filled with lots of laughs and licorice. We arrived, got settled in, and sang some favorite camp songs during devotions, before plunging into our first winter activity: night tubing! 

Enjoying camp's tubing runs at night

Saturday morning, we broke into small groups for Bible study and talked about who God is to us and who the Bible says he is. Later that morning everyone hit the ice for some broomball! It was Team Colby Cheese versus Team Cottage Cheese. Being new to the game of broomball, some of our group focused on staying upright as we slid our boots across the ice rink, while everyone else focused on scoring goals. I don’t remember which cheese won, but it was a blast regardless of the score! 

Snow shoeing through the forest

After some ping pong and lunch, our small group strapped on snowshoes and headed out on a grand adventure! We left trails on the frozen lake (and some may have participated in a snowball fight…) before trekking into the woods. Lots of hot chocolate was in order during free time before more winter fun continued with a large group game of snow angleball. 

Getting creative with keeping my feet dry

When we headed inside after a day of winter adventure, I realized my boots were not all that water-proof, and water had seeped all the way through them! I attempted to dry them out using the hand driers in the bathroom, but to no avail. I was determined not to miss another round of night tubing, however, so I wrapped my feet in plastic bags and back into the boots I went! (Clearly, I was an ingenious high schooler.)

When my friends and I get together, we still laugh at all the fun memories from this weekend in the Northwoods. 



Bring your youth group to Camp Luther this January to have a blast, build your faith, and make memories of your own! Our Big Chill, Deep Freeze, and Sub Zero Youth Retreats are community building, action-packed, and an awesome reminder for your students (and you!) of who you are in Jesus Christ. 

Each retreat weekend will include the same incredible activities, but is tailored for your group’s age. More information and registration forms are available online!

Big Chill (Middle School Youth)                                          January 13-15    https://campluther.com/adultfamily/youth/jr.-high-big-chill 

Deep Freeze (Middle and High School Youth)                   January 20-22        https://campluther.com/adultfamily/youth/jr.sr.-high-deep-freeze 

Sub Zero (High School Youth)                                            January 27-28    https://campluther.com/adultfamily/youth/sub-zero-retreats