Turtle Races Part 2!

I got more pictures and videos from Kristin from when Roots went into Longville last Wednesday! Here’s some you might want to check out!













Thanks for such a great week Roots!

7/2 Update: Thanks to Dani, we have a few more pictures to share with the roots!








Fantastic Friday!

Fantastic Friday!

Fridays are interesting here at Luther Dell. The first thing the campers do is clean their cabins and check out. Depending on how well they cleaned throughout the week, this might mean an early morning for them or they may have gotten the last check out time possible. We then had a filling breakfast of biscuits and gravy bake and the campers regrouped for one last devotional with their cabins.

However, come 11:00, we have our closing Olympic ceremonies and this week, we were also able to celebrate with the 5 campers/staff who passed Jedi Academy throughout the week.






After the Jedi Commissioning Ceremony, we held our closing Olympic ceremonies







The Winning team, the Black Polka-Dots, then got to throw a staff member of their choosing into the lake. They chose Kenny, the self-proclaimed Eternal Grand Master of the Luther Dell Jedi Order, to be thrown into the lake.





After Kenny exited the lake, we went over to the Outdoor Chapel for one last chapel




We then had to say our sad goodbyes to the campers before they left; it’s always tough to see them go
















Thursday: A Day to Remember

Wednesdays are a great day at Luther Dell because it is the most different day we have at camp during the week, since we have the Turtle Races and the emotional worship. However, Thursdays are one of the most memorable days.

First, there’s breakfast in bed where the counselors bring back breakfast sandwiches for the whole cabin! This lets all the campers sleep in until 9:30! After that, they pack in clean cabin and Bible study before going to worship.

BUT, worship looks very different. Instead of having the Luther Dell staff plan and lead worship, the high school program, Roots, do all the work of planning and leading chapel!
















After Chapel finished, we went up to Sunwall for lunch and after a quick break for a post-lunch nap, we got to have some free time!

Today was the first day we were able to open the beach, but we didn’t want to make all of camp lose half of their free time for the swim test, so we only opened up the shallow end for swimmers and allowed Paddle Boarders to paddle around the deep area of the swim area, so they could be directly supervised by a lifeguard.




In the second half of free time, we got 60 campers to play a dodge ball game called Star Wars with us. The goal is to run through the course and grab the Death Star plans and return them to your base. You have 4 Jedi defending you with fun noodles and if you get hit by a dodge ball, you must join the Empire. The campers had a blast!



After playing Star Wars, it was time for noodle hockey, one of the most challenging games at Luther Dell. The victor from this would most likely win the Luther Dell Olympics for the week!








After supper tonight, it was time for our second game of Might Mighty for the week and the campers loved it!





After Mighty Mighty, it was time for Holden’s Evening Prayer. For the most part, this was a worship that the campers were not super familiar with prior to this evening, but they seemed to enjoy it. There was even a break in the middle for me to give a quick homily





After worship, the campers got to go back with their cabins and hang out for one last evening!

Wednesday: Turtle Races, Emotional Worship, and Scrambled Eggs…Oh My

Today was a very interesting day. It started off like every other day at camp (Breakfast, Clean Cabin, Chapel, etc.) but as soon as it was time for lunch, things got interesting. Every Wednesday, the roots go into Longville to help volunteer at the Turtle Races, but with 28 Roots this week, it was slightly more logistically challenging to transport them all in. So Katie and I got to drive them in in two trips with the vehicles, and then also drove them back…so for a camp that is always doing things, it felt really weird driving for 4 hours in one day.

However, the campers didn’t seem to mind a road trip

One of the Roots Counselors, Kristin, caught some videos of the roots dancing in Longville, so I’ll hopefully make another post tomorrow or Friday to get those to you.

But, that’s a lot of words with very few pictures. So what else did we do today? We played a new Olympic event called Scrambled Eggs where we have 150 different items on the basketball court labeled with a color and a letter. Each team has to find all of their letters and then unscramble the message in order to win the game. Each team only can have 2 people searching for their items at a time and they must walk heel to toe in order to get to an item.

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After dinner, our time-traveler dodge-ball game got rained out, so we ended up packing into Upper Sunwall to watch Inside Out.


This was really fitting, because Wednesday night is our emotional worship, which is one of the strongest cabin bonding events of the week. It also is a great time for campers their counselors how thankful they are for each other. It’s an absolutely beautiful evening!

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Tuesday: A New Perspective On Camp

Hello, my name is Mike Pahl and this is my 7th summer working with middle school and high school students at Shepherd of the Valley. In all of those years, you would think that I would have been to Luther Dell, but this is my first time. I would love to share some of my observations from the perspective of an adult leader that is brand new to Luther Dell.


The first thing that stands out to me is the counselors. I have had a chance to speak with the majority of them and they are really neat individuals. They are passionate about their faith. Many of them have been campers here in the past and found Luther Dell to be a place that really helped develop their faith and now they want to help kids grow in their faith.



I love how the cabins stick together throughout the day. The counselors eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with their cabin and this provides the opportunity to build some strong bonds. When you couple this with one on ones that take place each morning it makes it possible for the kids and the counselors to really connect.



The second thing that I have noticed is how the environment and culture at Luther Dell makes it possible for the kids to be kids and to just be themselves. The fact that no one has a cell phone really helps with this. It allows the kids to be fully present in the activities and not worry about checking Snapchat or Instagram. The counselors do a great job of being themselves and the kids seem to follow their lead. Participating in worship on Tuesday night was a great example of this. There were a couple songs that involved dancing and if kids weren’t comfortable they would not have danced. The whole room was dancing and moving around the room as if they didn’t care what anyone thought! So much fun to watch!




You can’t talk about camp without talking about camp games! The games at Luther Dell are an absolute blast. I have played a lot of games in my days hanging out with youth but many of the games here are brand new to me and they are an absolute blast. The kids absolutely love them and you can tell that they don’t really care who wins or loses because they are just having fun!





Last but not least, I wanted to share about the faith component. Throughout the day we have the opportunity to participate in different faith building activities. We start out the day with First Word. Students stay in their cabins until 8:15am and then come out to the “Circle Up” area. They can’t talk until one of the counselors shares a bible passage with the group. We pray throughout the day (before meals, during worship, in Bible studies). Each cabin does a Bible study in the morning. I have been impressed in the discussions that have taken place in each study that I have attended. We worship in the morning and evening. Right before bed, we have devotion time. On Tuesday evening, the guys got to do a very cool activity during their devotion time. All the male counselors sat up on the stage and the boys got to write down any questions that they had on any topic (we did weed out the super crazy questions for the sake of time). The questions asked of the “Man Panel” ranged from questions of faith, “Is it bad to doubt God?” to questions about girls, “How do I get a girlfriend and once I do, how do I keep her?”, to questions about life, “How has the death of a loved one affected you?”, to questions about our favorite games and movies.







[Pictured above is a Team Building Activity where the campers had to design a baptismal font using foundations of nature]

Based on everything I have seen and heard the first couple days at Luther Dell, I can understand why kids love Luther Dell so much!


The Confirmation of Acacia Terzich

Tonight we got to celebrate a very important moment in Acacia (Casey) Terzich’s life as she was confirmed at Luther Dell. In the Lutheran Church, Confirmation is also known as the Reaffirmation of Baptism. Essentially, this is the student’s opportunity to affirm their faith and ask for God to reside in them, as their parents first did over a decade earlier when they were first baptized.


Casey’s family moved a number of years ago and since then haven’t found a new home church. So in October, when many of her friends were being confirmed, Casey wasn’t able to join them.


Because Luther Dell has been such a big influence on Casey’s faith and she still considers SOTV to be her home church, it made sense then to try to let her be confirmed at Luther Dell this summer.


We are so thankful that Casey was able to celebrate this wonderful moment in her life with us here at Luther Dell! Congratulations Casey!


Monday Sunny day

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After such an intensely hot first day at camp, today was absolutely beautiful! We started out the day with some rock, paper, scissors games before breakfast to get our blood pumping!



After breakfast and cabin cleanup, we were able to have some fun praising God at chapel!





One of the greatest things about Luther Dell is the quality time every camper is able to have with their counselor!


Since Luther Dell is a place to grow, we also put a lot of importance on growing as a community within your cabin. That’s why every day we do fun team building activities to help strengthen that bond!

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After Team building, we got to have a wonderful homemade lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup to give us energy for the afternoon. Because the wind was so strong yesterday, we ended up cancelling the swim tests s we got two hours of free time instead of just one! That gave us a chance to play some great games like Dodgeball gauntlet, Gaga, start a basketball tournament, and begin Jedi Academy (a course in which campers are tested to determine if they may have what it takes to become a Jedi).







After free time, we began the 5th annual Luther Dell Olympics. Our first day was dedicated to creating team names, flags, cheers, and then was wrapped up with speed Pictionary.








After Olympics finished, we got to have Parmesan chicken for supper and the played one of the all time best camp games, Mighty Mighty.







We got to end the night before worship with a beautiful sunset



WE got to end our night with a very special worship, but you’ll see more about that in the next blog because it is special enough to get it’s own!

Sunday with SOTV: The Dawn of a New Summer

After two long weeks of staff training, we were more than excited for our first full week of campers to show up! However, unbeknownst to the counselors, SOTV brought nearly 90 campers with them this week.

Let’s just say, it took them a while to get off the bus 🙂




After the bus arrived, we got to check in all of our campers in using our new check-in software…it didn’t quite go as smoothly as hoped, but we eventually got all of the campers through with only a couple hic-ups. The worst part was it took a couple hours longer than usual, but we’ll continue to experiment as the summer moves forward and maybe try an Ethernet cable to connect with the software instead of the wifi, so hopefully for future weeks and summers we can speed up the process!

New things are great, but it is tough having your trial run with so many campers…

That being said, the SOTV crew was so flexible, and all around courteous as we continued to make adjustments to the schedule, and as we ran into technical difficulties. #alwaysrefresh We are so thankful for all of the amazing campers this week!

Frustrations may have run a little high today too, because the temperature was so high; the floor of our dining center was wet from the condensation. However, as the severe storms passed about 30 miles south of us, we got to enjoy our dinner and then play quad-medic as the region cooled off after the storms passed.





But after playing games for a while, some campers were just tuckered out


So they just enjoyed each other’s company instead




After the game, we got to have some canteen time as we learned how to operate our new software in Canteen too (have we mentioned how thankful we are for the flexibility of our campers this week?!)






We then got to enjoy our first skit of the summer while watching an absolutely beautiful sunset!





And as a classic group of guys, the night was capped off by some post worship cereal eating. For as crazy as the first day was, it’s sure great to be back!


Youthway Week!

Even though we weren’t able to have a full week of campers come up this week, we are so glad that Youthway was able to bring up 8 kids to hang out with us, do some work projects with us, and play a lot of games throughout the week.

They arrived on Sunday, just in time for supper and a game of Medic. However, that was quickly trumped by the beautiful campfire worship we got to enjoy with the only beautiful sunset of the week (it rained for most of the week while they were here).

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After worship finished, it was time for a quick devotional and then off to bed.

The next day, Youthway got up early to start helping with work projects around camp; their first mission, to fill in the holes in the road with dirt so it will be a smoother drive. They also transported firewood, collected sticks that fell during the storms, and even helped do dishes back in the kitchen!

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We are so thankful for all the help that Youthway was able to provide for us!

We are also so glad they could come so we could play games with them, instead of only sitting through our sessions on boring technical and legal things. So instead of sitting around a table for an hour, we got to do some team building activities with them and play some dodgeball games.






We tried playing a new Olympic game yesterday, and have figured out a few kinks to work out, but it should hopefully be a great one for the summer!

Thanks for such a great few days Youthway!

Staff Transitions

The hardest part of every staff training is saying goodbye to last summer. Each year, our staff is phenomenal in so many unique and different ways, it really is impossible to compare one summer to the next. However, that being said, it’s even harder to say goodbye to the people who were up here for the summer who are not returning. Below you will find the names of the staff who left after last summer:

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Dave Peet

After 8 years as site director, Dave has stepped down as Luther Dell’s site director. This summer he is working with an organization called Camp Noah, which provides disaster relief around the United States. AS much as Dave is going to miss camp, he will enjoy having a little more time to listen to Podcasts.



After two summers at Luther Dell, Caitlin has taken the summer off for an internship at Allianz Insurance Company



After one summer at Luther Dell, Kenny is staying closer to home this summer, however, he will hopefully come up to help us out when we’re shorthanded and in need of more counselors.



Beth/Canteencelor/Elizadeathany is working at her home church, Bethesda, as an interim Youth Director for the summer. She will be back to Luther Dell this summer, but this time as a Church Staff!



EmJ is taking a summer course in Organic Chemestry at St. Olaf College this summer, so she will not be returning after one summer at camp.


After a 6 month internship down in LaCrosse, WI, Carly has officially gotten a job as a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Hospital in MN. While we’re sad to see her go after 3 summers at Luther Dell, we’re so excited to see he live into her vocation there.



After Two summers working in the kitchen, Erin has decided to stay closer to school and has an internship lined up at a ropes course in Eau Claire for the summer. We’ll miss her friendship and leadership, but it takes a lot of energy to work in the kitchen and we’re so thankful to have her experience in there the past few summers!



After three summers at Luther Dell and one summer at Trinity, Emily decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with her boyfriend, Jake. The trail is over two-thousand miles, so we are praying for safe travels and a lack of injury for them. No matter what happens, it’ll be quite the adventure for them.



After one summer of working at camp (and more volunteering) Stacey is not coming back because she has a full time position at General Mills! Among other things she’s learned there, the official name for the marshmallows in Lucky Charms are Marbits…who knew?



After spending this spring on a mission trip in Mexico, Valentine is staying closer to her family this summer so she will not be returning to camp. We are thankful for her help in the kitchen last summer!



After being one of the best maintenance goons in recent memory, we’re sad to say that Brock got an internship at SMC using some big machinery for his degree at St. Cloud Tech. We’ll miss his effectiveness and productivity…but will anyone miss being hit by his cannon in dodge-ball?



After two summers on staff, Zach couldn’t quite swing a third summer as he is working two jobs in St. Cloud while prepping for student teaching this fall. We’ll miss having him as a maintenance goon, but we’re excited to see how he does teaching this fall!



After 3 summers on staff, Devin finally hung up his counselor’s hat and put on a set of scrubs. After graduating from Bethel University this spring, Devin is currently studying for his nursing boards and hopefully once he passes those, he’ll be able to come up to camp some more and visit!


A huge thank you to all of these amazing, wonderful staff, for their years of service to Luther Dell, the camp, and most of all the campers! You will be greatly missed!

Staff Training

Staff Training

We are so excited for campers to finally get up to Luther Dell! Photo Jun 04, 10 20 46Most of the staff has been here for almost two weeks already, but a few of the returning staff have been here for almost 3 weeks! This place is awesome, but it’s really empty without any campers around!

If you’ve ever wondered what happens at staff training, here’s a quick rundown of everything we cover over the two weeks! Just like how Jesus grew closer to his disciples over meals, so does our staff! Eating lunch together was the very first thing we did as a staff as we began to grow our community. After lunch, the new staff got a tour around camp from Katie, Alexa, Evan, and Wes the Pirate.

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As we got going, we’ve done a million other things around camp!

We cleaned the cabins

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We played a bunch of games, from Eliminator to Dodgeball, and even had a great game of Thunder in there too!


And there’s even been some times to just take some goofy pictures as we’re been hanging out too!


Staff training isn’t all fun and games. We have some long training sessions where we talk about really important stuff, and we’re so thankful for Heather and Noah from LWLBC to come up and work through that with us. We also struggled because we only had one cook for the first half of staff training. However, since we have a competitive staff, that problem was quickly remedied by a challenge for the staff to create adventurous meals. One group created their own Chipotle style restaurant, one mad a unique meal (hot-dogs wrapped in spaghetti, stuffed with cheese, bacon, and jalapenos) but the winning group created a time machine and took us back to the time of the dinosaurs for our meal.

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But at the end of the day, we’re still able to come together as a staff for some quality bonding while watching The Sandlot at the first annual Luther Dell Drive-In Movie!

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It’s been a great staff training so far, but we can’t wait for the campers to come!