In its 92nd year, Ingham-Okoboji goes Beyond, offers pie

They piled the table with pies of strawberry-rhubarb, sour cream-raisin, blueberry, lemon cream, chocolate silk, cherry, three-berry, and a strawberry with cream that the baker said could usher in world peace. There were jars of handcrafted jam, Scandinavian lefse, and the nordic baked treat called Kringla. This was no bake sale of $5-10 per pan. Don Jensen, auctioneer, stepped to the front and bidding started at $50.00.

He drove up the price of one pie to $350, though most winners achieved the $100 range. All of the carbs and cash served to help fund Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp‘s Beyond campaign.

According to the American Camping Association,  fees to attend a week of overnight camp range from $150 per week to $1,500 per week or more. IOLBC fits at the affordable end with fees for an individual camper around $400, and generous scholarships available. Summer camp is a $41 billion dollar industry. Like many camps, IOLBC has in recent years added music camp, adventure camp, and other themed camps to its selection. For decades, the camp has offered family sessions, and with each succeeding year they grow in popularity.

In its 92nd continuous year of summer camp, with one location on West Lake Okoboji and the other on Ingham Lake, a half hour apart in Northwest Iowa, the camp leadership and participants knew they needed to do more than what they now could. Two main concerns centered on reaching those not already reached by the life-uplifting message of the camp.

The camp, according to executive director Rod Quanbeck, does a terrific job of serving the same people year after year. Everyone has a mountaintop-experience of a great time, but it falls short of reaching people who have never been to camp.

That’s where Beyond comes in. Already at $1.37 million of its $2 million dollar goal, the campaign will reduce debt, build infrastructure, and has hired a new leader, Kyle Fever, who will develop and oversee new efforts to reach beyond the current constituency of the camp.

“We have a chance to reach kids and families not now connected with a church,” Director of Programs Dan Antoine said. “That’s a powerful opportunity.”

With the first week of summer camp kicking off with Elderversity, the camp reaches toward its second century seeking to be more than camp — something Beyond.

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New Media Journalist, writing plays under the pen name Ash Sanborn.

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