It started as a mere vision approximately 14 years ago, but now Lake View Camp & Conference Center is what many would call a hidden treasure. Currently scattered across central Iowa, using leased facilities from Eldora to Ottumwa, Lake View is preparing to create their own camp facility, just south of the Pella area (see photo above). Lake View’s 244-acre property, located approximately 10 miles south of Pella, was recently purchased and board members are moving forward to develop a site plan. The property currently includes a large cabin, two small cabins, and other buildings to facilitate small gatherings, retreats, or reunions. The property also features several ponds and small lakes.
An Open House has been scheduled for Saturday, October 20 from 12-6:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 21 from 1-5:30 p.m. for the public to view the property and join with Lake View as they celebrate a new opportunity to help others connect with God. The open house will include horse drawn wagon and ATV tours of the property, tours of the on-site facilities including the main house and cabins, hiking, fishing, food and games. The public is encouraged to come view this “diamond in the rough,” the fruition of many years of prayer and dedication to the Lord’s calling. Rain date for the open house is November 3 and 4. The vision is for Lake View to provide an environment where all people may encounter God’s love and be transformed by the hope that Christ gives. The natural beauty of the new property invites all to be refreshed and re-energized.
Lake View became incorporated in April 2000 and has been recognized as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 since May 2001. The organization has been hosting camps since the summer of 2002. The property will offer camping opportunities for the young and young-at-heart, from school-aged children all the way through grandparents and retirees with day camps, overnight camps, volunteer experiences and work trips.
Lake View held their first camps in Boone, and hosted 336 campers that summer, 119 of which were Angel Tree campers. Angel Tree children have a parent or parents who are, or have been incarcerated. Working in cooperation with Prison Fellowship, a national organization, Lake View provides separate camps for Angel Tree kids, allowing them a week to “just be a kid.” The campers get to attend camp with other children who have had similar life experiences and may relate to, and support one another without fear of being judged.
For the past 11 years, Lake View has been holding camps each summer, with increased numbers each year. The organization refers to itself as being “nomadic,” because they lease facilities in various locations, moving staff and supplies as needed.
This summer was another record-setting year in terms of campers, with over 1,100 people attending camps held by Lake View. 430 of those campers were Angel Tree kids. Eight different summer camp locations were used for the 10 weeks of camp, with 24 counselors, as well as five mission trips to three different locations throughout the year. They have held mission trip camps to New Orleans, Louisiana, Reynosa, Mexico, Flat Rock, Alabama, and Kansas City, Missouri. Most recently, groups have gone to Joplin, Missouri.
Without volunteers, Lake View would be unable to provide the opportunities for campers that it is currently able to do. Volunteers are what make the organization so successful. Churches, youth groups, and individuals volunteer their time and talents to meet various needs of the camp. Churches host meals, fill backpacks with supplies for Angel Tree campers, make quilts and pillows to keep campers wrapped in warmth and love, provide boat, plane, and horse rides, host adventures at Camp Creation, and do so much more!
Diana Brummel is the director of Lake View, aided by Gwyn Ferguson and Kristen Burghorn. Ferguson and Burghorn are both former Lake View Camp counselors who have put their college degrees to good use working for the camp. Ferguson is the administrative assistant and Burghorn has just begun work at Lake View, focusing on marketing, fundraising, and development. Rev. Joe Brummel, Chaplin at Central College, helps in the summer as Volunteer Program Director.
Lake View strives to make it possible for every camper to attend, regardless of his or her financial situation. Since its inception, Lake View has fundraised nearly $1.2 million, using proceeds to scholarship Angel Tree campers and others in need, as well as to fund development and staff, and help build homes for disaster relief mission trips.
With such growth each year, Lake View is outgrowing the leased facilities and is now working to build a camp of its own. A site development committee will be working on plans for future development to make summer camps on the property a reality. Development will progress as funds become available.
To learn more about Lake View and the camps they do, find out about available volunteer opportunities, or to make a donation to Lake View, visit their website at www.lakeviewconference.com, contact the office at 641-628-2160, or call Diana at 641-780-3031.
Information about the Open House, including directions to the property, can also be found on their website.