Fig Tree Logo

Camps and Retreat Centers 2024

Enrollment normalizes at UMC camps

Youth enjoy music in a boat on Spirit Lake at Twinlow. Photo courtesy of Alan Rogstad


Final preparations are underway to open the doors to summer programs in June at the four United Methodist camps—Twinlow in North Idaho, Lazy F outside Ellensburg, Indianola on the Kitsap Peninsula on Puget Sound, and Ocean Park Camp on the Long Beach Peninsula.

"Enrollment continues to normalize after the effects of COVID closures," said Alan Rogstad, executive director of camping and retreat ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church (PNW-UMC).

"The 2020 and 2021 seasons, when we canceled programming, created an interruption in the continuity of families sending their kids to camp. We are still seeing effects of that. It is also manifest in hiring the 50 seasonal staff we need for our four camps," he said. "As for many service industries, hiring enough staff is a challenge. Many camps underestimated the impact of the closures, but 2024 has been a return to our pre-2020 numbers."

This year the popular programs include day camps, family camps and specialty programs, which have filled quickly.

"Traditional week-long overnight camps are slower to fill, but doing well, which is a good trend," Alan reported.

"Nationwide, camps report a shift," he said. "Families seem to want more flexibility in programs for their kids. Week-long or longer sleepover programs seem less popular than day camps, which have the option for parents to have their children opt-out for a day or two, then come back."

In addition, he sees a trend for kids being enrolled in day camps for several weeks or more.

Another trend is for specialty programs offering a specific experience, as well as family camps where families come to share the camp experience together.

The PNW-UMC 2024 theme is "Building Blocks of Faith."

"The purpose is to give campers some context on why we believe what we believe," Alan said. "Each day has a construction theme starting with the foundation and ending with an open house, because God's love is meant for everyone. Along with a daily theme to do with construction is a Bible story. Campers have practical biblical stories to teach them the foundations of our faith."

"The whole Bible has lessons for us," Alan said. "Teaching campers how to see God's love throughout the Bible is another key to this curriculum."

For information, call 206-870-6807 or visit

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June 2024