The Jesus way: Camp shalom 2016

Mission | February 24, 2016

Ben Carlson first came to Camp Shalom as a middle-schooler. He’s been back every year – in one way or another – ever since.

He had his fair share of mischief and camper capers. Then he became an assistant counselor. He moved up to counselor. Then he served in the wild blue yonder as Outpost director (the Outpost is the more primitive area of camp for older kids).

Ben is now out of college, with a major in history and a secondary teacher’s license. He’ll be leading campers this year as program director.

His favorite part of camp?

“Being able to see kids who show up nervous and uncomfortable, but by about Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, they are just as comfortable as staff,” he said. “Parents come to pick up and wonder ‘what happened to my kid?’ It happens every single week.”

A Camp Shalom Celebration will be held Sunday, March 6, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 3:30-5 p.m., with a dessert reception at 4:30 p.m. The afternoon will include singing, campers and staff speaking about their experiences, and a camp-style worship. It is free and open to the public.

To register for camp, visit campshalomia.org.

40 years of ministry

The history of Camp Shalom – located near Maquoketa, Iowa – begins with St. Paul, which purchased the land for a camp 40 years ago, in 1976. Originally called “St. Paul Outdoor Ministry Center,” it primarily served youth of the congregation. A master plan was formed to provide a vision of the future. Volunteers labored to turn the rough farmland into a campsite. They constructed cabins, cleared trails, cooked meals, and created a summer program.

In 1982, St. Paul Lutheran raised money to build the program center. This building continues to be the hub of camp life.

Around this time, St. Paul Lutheran held a contest to rename the camp. A young camper won the contest with the name Shalom, a Hebrew word meaning peace. Commonly used as a greeting, it can also mean the kind of peace only God can give.

By 1995, many of the buildings from the master plan were in place, but summer camp was very small. The people of St. Paul felt that the sole ownership of Camp Shalom was limiting the camp’s potential. Therefore, in 1996, Camp Shalom incorporated as an independent ecumenical ministry.

This initiative proved to be instrumental in the maturing of Camp Shalom. While initial growth came from Roman Catholic congregations, later increases have come from other denominations and the larger community. Today, more than 1,100 youth and adults from over 110 different congregations in the Quad-City area support Camp Shalom. St. Paul will give $30,000 to support Camp Shalom in 2016, as well as $2,000 for scholarships.

Every child is welcome at Camp Shalom without regards to race, gender, creed, or national origin.

Six reasons

Songs. Games. Crafts. Cabins. Gathering around a fire. Camp is known for lots of zany fun. But there’s something deeper that kids gain when they spend time at summer camp.

“I’m in awe of what the staff members do – especially watching them work with kids who have challenging behaviors,” said Tom Bley, executive director.

What do kids gain at camp?

An identity: Kids are often defined by their looks, material stuff, parents, grades, and athleticism. Camp allows kids to be known for being a great archer, team player, cannonball jumper, friend, s’mores maker, table setter, frog catcher, and much more.

An emotionally safe environment: Children need a supportive environment where they can mess up and it’s OK. They need somewhere they can miss the bullseye and no one laughs. Instead, their friends give them pointers on how to do better next time.

A chance to be a kid: They can shoot a bow and arrow, dress silly, eat candy, paint pictures, play games, and go on adventures.

An opportunity to be outside: To grow emotionally, physically, and mentally – kids need time outside. As time with phones, computers, tablets, and video games grows, it has never been more important for kids to have substantial time outdoors.

Friends: There is something about people living together, praying together, playing together, and overcoming challenges together that creates long-lasting friendships.

Mentors: Camp provides children with amazing, college-age counselors who truly care about them and want them to be the best version of themselves.

“Camp Shalom really is a place where kids can be themselves,” Ben said.

The future of camp

It’s no secret that families have lots of choices for summer activities. Camp Shalom is working to engage with kids and families throughout the year – taking camp to where they are.

For example, Camp Shalom staff visited St. Paul in early January and led sessions of games and singing during Sunday school. They also visited a North Scott elementary school to lead team building activities.

The hope is to have so many kids coming to camp that every single session is filled to capacity, Tom said.

“We compete with extracurricular activities – dance, choir, jobs, sports. Kids have so many things going on. How can we fit into their lives?” Tom said. “Camp Shalom gives kids an opportunity to play, relax, and run around. It’s intentional downtime.”

A few changes are in store for this year – a therapy dog will be visiting during the week, one staff member will be designated as the archery director. A faith formation leader will guide fellow staff members on instilling important lessons of faith with campers (anyone who’s been to camp recently will recognize the name GG).

And as always, any kid is welcome – no matter their ability to pay. “I will not turn down a campership,” Tom said. “We will help the family through the process so that every single kid has an opportunity to experience Camp Shalom.”


One comment on “The Jesus way: Camp shalom 2016”

  • Kellen

    February 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    So thankful for my experience as both a camper and member of the Camp Shalom staff! Absolutely a vital part of my faith walk and extremely enjoyable activities. Wouldn’t trade that experience for anything!

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”