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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sending moms & kids to camp

It’s no surprise — or secret — that Bible camp builds life-long memories and relationships. In August a group of single moms and their children will do just that atOutlaw Ranch, Custer, S.D. 

Rachel Jensen, who went last year, already knows this to be true. She is 11 and just finished fifth grade. She volunteers at the Humane Society, dances, plays the drums, bakes, and tends to her cats and tarantula. But what Rachel is really looking forward to is being baptized at camp in August, and into the community of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Spearfish, S.D.

Oh yeah, and the bonfires, singing, horseback riding, canoeing, hiking and … well, she says the list is just too long: “My highlight at camp was looking up at a clipboard of all the things you could try and cram into one day.”

Her mom, Cynthia “C.J.” Jensen, found family camp to be a respite from the clipboard of her usual responsibilities: “Once there, I don’t have to worry about money or bills or homework or anything. It’s a chance to relax, recharge and reconnect with the other moms and kids.”

The moms and kids have come to know each other through the “Adopt-A-Mom” program sponsored by Lutheran Campus Ministry at Black Hills State University, Spearfish. These moms “are determined to earn [a college] education for the betterment of their children,” explained Kris Garlick, who works for both Lutheran Campus Ministry andLutherans Outdoors in South Dakota

“At camp, they can spend truly quality time with their children and get the break they need. They’re single, going to school, working and they don’t get a whole lot of either [quality time or downtime],” Garlick said. “They are dedicated, with a passion only a mom could have to succeed for their children’s sake.” 

The Adopt-A-Mom program is 3 years old, and it was just more than a year ago that the moms began discussing camp. They hosted bake sales and yard sales to raise money for camp, and they donated an additional $2,000 to LOSD for camperships. This year their extra fundraising money will allow single moms from other South Dakota universities to go to camp.


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