Camp MiVoden Changes Lives

"Pastor Jeff, I have always wanted to work at Camp MiVoden. I have been going to Camp MiVoden for a long time, family camps as well as youth camps, and now I am finally old enough to be a part of the staff. I really want to work at Camp MiVoden." This is one of many conversations I have had with staff.

Campers and staff alike love being at Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho. They love the place and the experience. The passion I have found across the conference regarding Camp MiVoden is wonderful. Many campers have looked forward to becoming a part of summer camp staff. Not only that, but campers who aren't old enough to be staff yet try to figure out ways to lengthen their stay at camp during the summer by coming for multiple weeks.

Camp MiVoden is located in a wonderful place on the east side of Hayden Lake. With about 540 acres of mountainous woods and a beautiful waterfront, Camp MiVoden is one of the best outdoor places to be. Over the years, MiVoden has developed many activities and facilities, which are used the most in summer. The many activites include:

  • A high-ropes challenge course and low challenge course that includes a climbing wall;
  • A large grassed field for playing games;
  • An equestrian program (which includes a horse barn, round pins, arena, trails over the entire camp and of course a good herd of horses);
  • Archery range;
  • BMX track along with mountain bikes (also trails all over the camp for mountain biking);
  • Several zip lines;
  • A basketball court;
  • Unicycles;
  • Ceramics;
  • Arts and crafts (beading, card making, drawing, painting, etc.);
  • Photography;
  • Cake making/decorating equipment;
  • Guitars for lessons;
  • Cajóns for lessons;
  • Gymnastics and gymnastic pads;
  • A pool and hot tub (used all year);
  • Extreme Camp equipment and program (white-water rafting, mountain biking, and climbing and rappelling in the Inland Northwest);
  • And of course an excellent waterfront (Natique boats, sail boats, a pontoon boat, canoes, paddleboards, skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, swimming areas along with water toys).

We have quite a few facilities that allow us not only to run a summer camp for young people and families, but to facilitate groups. Our facilities include but are not limited to:

  • Cabin dormitories with multiple rooms;
  • Moose Cabin (our newest cabin);
  • Cowboy Camp Cabins (rustic cabins near the equestrian arena);
  • Lakefront Cabins (individual rooms facing Hayden Lake);
  • Cottonwood Cabins (looking out over Hayden Lake);
  • Dining hall looking over Hayden Lake;
  • Indoor meeting room;
  • Small meeting rooms;
  • A kitchen for small groups;
  • A store;
  • Reception area with offices;
  • A few homes for full-time staff;
  • Three outdoor amphitheaters (one near the center of camp, one at cowboy camp, one rustic one in the woods);
  • Prop Cabin;
  • Shop;
  • Beach area.

Over the years our facilities have expanded. Currently, we are replacing the roofs on four of our dorm cabins (Pine, Spruce, Larch and Fir). The roofs will stop major water damage and leaks we have been dealing with for quite a few years. Along with our roofs there are many other parts of MiVoden facilities that need to be remodeled, updated and repaired.

Before the roof repair, a fundraising campaign brought in enough money to help us go through a multiyear process of getting county approval of a master plan. That master plan was started and resulted in a new, required septic system for MiVoden as well as one cabin, Moose Cabin. In the future, the MiVoden board will continue to look at the needs of Camp MiVoden.

As MiVoden strives for success, we have actively sought to not only start addressing the needs in our facilities but raise the level of our entire camp. Over the last few years MiVoden has won several awards, including the Norm Middag Award of Excellence (an award given by the North American Division) in 2016 for two areas of excellence: programming and activities. In 2017, Camp MiVoden received the Norm Middag Award of Excellence for all areas of camp (for a full article, click here).

Also in 2017, MiVoden was accredited with the largest accrediting body in North America, the American Camping Association. In order to continue growing professionally, MiVoden year-round staff are also engaged in multiple camping associations: the Association of Adventist Camp Professionals (this includes the majority of camps around the North American Division, which is about 60 camps), the Christian Camp and Conference Association (the largest Christian camping association in North America), and the American Camping Association.

As MiVoden strives for excellence the real success is seen in the lives that are changed at Camp MiVoden — the friendships made, the experiences of trying something new and the connections campers are able to make with Christ-centered staff because Christ is the heart Camp MiVoden.

While the following are just numbers, they do tell us some of the direction MiVoden is taking. Out of 1077 campers in 2017, we had 487 youth campers and 590 family campers. Of those who came to camp, we had 69 campers who wanted to be baptized, another 132 who are interested in baptism and 15 who were baptized at camp. What an incredible experience to see God working in such a mighty way.

In addition, and just as importantly, we had 258 campers recommitted their lives to Christ, 353 who want to learn more about Jesus, and 348 who want to live ready for Jesus. After having served in multiple conferences in the United States and being a part of large evangelistic campaigns, it has become evident to me Adventist summer camps are one of the best evangelistic campaigns/tools the Adventist Church has.

Camp MiVoden is a place where you have the opportunity to learn about Jesus, connect with staff that are following Jesus and, for some, begin, for one week, to live a life connected with Christ. And after all, isn't this what Christian Seventh-day Adventists are all about? To point people to Christ? That is why our mission at MiVoden is to "Connect Campers to Christ."

The impact happening at MiVoden isn't just with the campers and groups that come throughout the year. It is also with the seasonal summer staff hired. A 2008 study done across the Adventist summer camps in the North American Division found out many amazing things, including the impact summer camp has on summer staff. Two samples from the study include:

  • "In every question asked, the camp staff experience was a positive factor as relates to their religious experience."
  • "Camp staff experience influences leadership training, career choice, positive religious experience and (83 percent of alumni staff are or were employed as workers in the church)". Wow! This group of young people are amazing!

The other group of people who influence camp are, of course, the individuals who volunteer and work at MiVoden. MiVoden has had a fantastic group of Maranatha Volunteers coming to camp every spring for many years. The work they have done has helped the full-time staff continue to do their jobs well and do things that just wouldn't get done without their help.

MiVoden has also had many other countless volunteers over the years helping with everything from construction and technology to giving of their time on a board or their money. To each person who has or is working at camp, to each person who volunteers or has volunteered at Camp MiVoden, we want to say THANK YOU. Your support makes it possible for MiVoden to continue a wonderful tradition of taking young people out into nature and connecting them to the God of the universe.

As we continue to show Christ to every person who walks on Camp MiVoden's property, we covet your prayers. Please pray God will continue to lead MiVoden to reach people for His kingdom. We covet your support — support of volunteers, support financially, support of sending campers to MiVoden, support of families coming to MiVoden, as well as the support of bringing groups to MiVoden during the off season. We appreciate your dedication to camp ministry.

Jeff Wines, Camp MiVoden director

April 27, 2018 / Upper Columbia Conference