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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Family camp

Summer camping programs not just for kids anymore

Sending the kids to summer church camp is a yearly routine for many Lutheran families. But these days, parents are loading up their luggage and coming along for the fun too.

Across the country, Lutheran outdoor ministries are ramping up summer "family camp" programs to reach out to parents and kids alike. "Parents want to have specific family time together without having to run from place to place," said Lisa Spitler, interim executive director of Koinonia, an ELCA camp and retreat center in Highland Lake, NY. "What we see here are families truly connecting with each other and spending intentional faith development time together."

Jason and Melody Sundbakken and their
Jason and Melody Sundbakken and their daughter, Kaitlyn, were among those attending family camp in June at Metigoshe Lutheran Bible Camp, Bottineau, N.D. The Sundbakkens are members of Zion Lutheran Church, Minot, N.D.

Koinonia, located about 90 miles west of New York City, offers weeklong summer sessions for families that include cross-generational Bible studies, rafting trips along the Delaware River and a variety of outdoor sports. Other family programs, such as those at Lutheran Camp Chrysalis in Kerrville, Texas, offer private cabins, hillside nature hikes and zip line adventures.


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