General FAQs about Ewalu

At Ewalu, campers will experience new things every year they come to camp as they progress through new camp programs. When they are younger, they begin by staying in comfortable, air-conditioned cabins, and as they get older, our programs grow generally more adventurous with accommodations varying from pioneer wagons to tents to cabins and more, alongside greater options for off-site and high-adventure programming. All of our programs center their day in God’s Word with morning Alpha worship, Bible study, and evening Omega worship. Great camp music is guaranteed, too!

Elementary campers will spend their weeks creek stomping, visiting the farm, swimming in the pool, playing games, and exploring camp.

Middle-school campers can expect to do some high ropes or the climbing tower, and to attend program-area specific off-site trips (such as visiting the Amish, the Clayton County Conservation Center, or Backbone State Park). They may also elect to attend M.A.D. (Music-Art-Drama) Camp or stay up all night with Night Camp!

High-schoolers should expect additional adventures consistent with the program area they choose–everything from overnight canoe trips to river rafting to sleeping in hammocks or cruising the Mississippi River on a houseboat. There’s something for everybody!

Ewalu programs are relational. Campers will grow in lifelong faith and confidence, experience a truly uplifting Christian community, enjoy outdoor adventures, make new friends, and go home more comfortable with themselves and able to better connect with other people. A decade’s worth of survey results have shown a strong positive influence on campers when it comes to their faith, self-confidence, and even their capacity for empathy!

Ewalu’s unique villages and offsite adventure trips help your child experience world-class relational ministry. Ewalu programs are set up in a small group ministry style that helps kids to connect and feel more personally appreciated. Camp Ewalu’s wonderful facilities include a large swimming pool, high ropes course, team-building games, 10+ miles of trails, the pristine Maquoketa River for creek-stomping, a working farm with animals and a garden, plenty of indoor meeting spaces, over 50 campfire rings, a dozen worship sites, hands-on environmental education tools, and much more!

The camp experience is also important because it is participatory. At Ewalu, children and youth practice leadership skills, grow in healthy self-confidence, learn more about God and community, and build empathy and compassion for others. Campers also enjoy creative unstructured time together in community, and often are given the choice of what the group does next.

Camp is different from home. Being away from home is shown to be freeing for kids to get away from the normal expectations of old friend groups and daily surroundings. They can try being who they want to be and grow into the person God made them to be. Campers at Ewalu explore new things daily guided by energetic, well-trained, caring, and super fun summer staff. They experience a natural environment unplugged from screens – for more than a couple hours a time. Lodging can be in tents, teepees, covered wagons, classic bunkhouses, modern cabins, lodges, or if weather permits even outside under the stars. Kids will benefit from even more face-to-face conversations than in a typical school day. They enjoy trying out new skills in a safe place, sing and talk around a campfire every night – and form memories of the type of adventures together only possible in this awesome setting.

Ewalu is a safe space. Our facility and programs are fully ACA-accredited. The ministry of Ewalu consistently meets or exceeds hundreds of rigorous national standards every year for safety, training, facilities, documentation, program quality, and staff certifications by the American Camp Association.

Ewalu is faith-centered. We believe God is good – and that we are saved by grace through faith, not as the result of works (Ephesians 2:8). This faith produces good works in how we live out our vocation daily. Camp works so well because, as our mission statement proclaims: Ewalu serves all people as a place to connect the Word of God with the world of God. Through a faithful, imperfect, loving and supportive community, campers each summer can experience God’s loving presence, come to know Jesus better, and grow in their understanding of the Bible in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The American Camp Association (ACA) is the premier accreditation organization for camps in the United States. The ACA accreditation process is thorough, involving site visits every five years and a yearly questionnaire to assure that camps have the highest standards for the safety of campers and guests.

Ewalu is accredited through the ACA, which means Ewalu meets or exceeds ACA accreditation requirements. In turn, this means you can rest assured that our policies, procedures, facilities, and staff training are dedicated to assuring a great, safe week at camp for all campers–and it’s not just us saying it!

Yes, we are! Ewalu is a camping ministry of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), owned by ELCA congregations throughout eastern Iowa.

What does this mean for your camper’s experience? It means that they will be experiencing a positive faith-oriented environment with camp counselors who seek to live out their Christian faith in service. Ewalu offers a nurturing perspective on faith, walking alongside campers as they deepen their appreciation for God through experiences in the outdoors in the fellowship of a caring community. We are open to campers of all faiths and no faith at all. Our camp counselors reflect the wide diversity of Christians from many denominations. We do not seek to proselytize but to share the good news of Jesus Christ and let the Holy Spirit do what it will.

Faith is at the heart of our identity and our mission: Ewalu serves all people as a place to connect the Word of God with the world of God.

Registration and Logistics FAQs

For all your registration questions, reach out to the camp office at 563-933-4700 or email office@ewalu.org.

Diane Parker, Ewalu’s registrar, or one of our camp staff will be glad to help you out!

Traditional full-week camps begin on Sunday and end on Friday.

Half-week camps (such as Minis) run Sunday-Tuesday or Wednesday-Friday.

Family camps are on weekends, running from Friday evening – Sunday morning.

Grandparent camps run Monday – Wednesday.

 

DROP-OFF LOCATION &SCHEDULE:

Arrival and registration is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in the Creation Center (big building with green metal roof) at our Main Site, which is located at 37776 Alpha Ave., Strawberry Point, IA. Our Main Site is 3 miles west of Strawberry Point, just off Iowa Highway 3–look for the green road sign that says “Ewalu Main Site” and then turn south onto Alpha Avenue. You’ll see the camp’s main entrance in about a mile, then keep driving past the swimming pool. In another 1/4 mile, you’ll follow a big bend to your right and see a big parking lot. Park there and make your way to the Creation Center (big building with green metal roof) for check-in. There will be lots of summer counselors there to meet you and help you get to the right place! Our Camp Store will also be open if you need any gear like a day-pack, water bottle, hat, or apparel.

Suggested arrival times:

2:00 – Pack & Paddle, Houseboating

2:15 – M.A.D. Camp, Confirmation Camp

2:30 – Night Camp, Uplifted Camp

2:45 – Pioneers, Ranch Camp

3:00 – Foresters

3:15 – Trailblazers

3:30 – Explorers

3:45 – Mini-Camp, Farm Mini-Camp

If you have more than one child, come near the latest time. Please call the office if you will arrive late (after 4:00), noting a specific arrival time (563-933-4700). All campers must check in at the registration table.

Special Arrival Times:

Boundary Waters and Rock & Raft: Check-in is at 9:00 a.m. Sunday.

Mini-Camp: Session A: Check-in is 3:45 p.m. Sunday; pick up at 2 p.m. Tuesday

                    Session B: Check-in is 3:45 p.m. Wednesday; pick up at 2 p.m. Friday

Day Camp: Please not, schedule is Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check-in each day is in the Creation Center (big building with green roof).

 

PICK UP AT END OF WEEK:

Expect a Closing Program on Friday from 2-2:30 p.m. on main camp. Campers can be picked up immediately following the program.

Everything you need to bring can be found in the packing list on the Download Summer Camp Form page.

YES! First off, please know that we do everything we can to keep the cost of camp as affordable as possible, but we also recognize that camp can be expensive (especially if you have multiple kids in a family!). The true cost of camp is roughly $800 for a full week, which means that ALL of our camps are already subsidized at $275 per camper per week thanks to generous donations of camp supporters.

We also offer discounts: $40 for registration by February 28; $20 for registration by April 18. And we offer a $50 discount for each additional camper beyond the first from a family

However, above and beyond all that, we have CAMPERSHIPS for those who need them. Camperships can be for 1/3 cost; 1/2 cost; 2/3 cost; or even the full-cost of camp and are dependent on the need of the campers. No camper is EVER turned away from Ewalu for lack of ability to pay.

In order to receive campership funding, please call Diane Parker, Registrar at 563-933-4700.

Absolutely! We honor all requests to share cabin space with friends.

With that said, many campers also come without knowing anybody, and by the end of the week, they have made great, sometimes life-long, friends through the experience of a week at camp.

Whether you come knowing many people or nobody, you will have a great experience at Ewalu!

Yes, sort of! You can’t stay in a cabin with your camper. However, parents are very welcome to stay on camp and serve as volunteers during the week while their campers are here. This is also true of youth leaders and pastors.

Please call Registrar, Diane Parker at 563-933-4700 to arrange accommodations.

Don’t forget to check out our Family Camp and Grandparent Camp programs… both are a great way for families to enjoy camp programming together! They do tend to fill up quickly, so sign up soon!

Campers love receiving mail! You can either pre-arrange a letter that can be dropped off during registration, or you can send a letter that arrives mid-week to:

Camper Name & Program Name (i.e. John Doe, Trailblazers)
Camp Ewalu
37776 Alpha Ave.
Strawberry Point, IA 52076

You can also email your camper through camp@ewalu.org. Please include the camper’s name and program area (if you know it). This is a great way for other relatives or friends to communicate with campers while they are at Ewalu.

Parents can also call camp if it’s important for you to talk to your child, especially in the case of an emergency or something that the camper should be made aware of. Call the office at 563-933-4700 and we can either pass a message along to your camper or, if circumstances warrant, we can arrange for them to talk with you.

Ewalu does not allow cell phones or other electronic devices, such as video game consoles. Part of the beauty of Ewalu is in the possibility of being disconnected. If there is an emergency reason for a camper to have a phone or other device, exceptions may be made. Please reach out to the office at 563-933-4700 if you have any questions or concerns.

Each summer, campers leave water bottles, sleeping bags, clothes, entire bags–you name it, someone has left it! The first thing you can do to help with Lost & Found is pre-emptive: Label your kids’ things! It will help us return them to you in case they are left behind or lost. You may even want to make a list of all the items your camper is packing for camp, and even take photos of important items (treasured stuffy, favorite sweatshirt, etc.).

If you return home and discover your camper left something behind, call the office at 563-933-4700 or email us at office@ewalu.org. Please note that the office is closed from Friday afternoon through Sunday so you will likely not hear back until Monday. At that time, somebody will arrange to return the missing items. You can either arrange a time for pickup or we can ship items in exchange for a shipping fee donation.

Health, Safety, and Food FAQs

Three nutritious meals a day! Younger campers will eat most of their meals at Cedar Lodge, while older campers will often eat trail lunches and even cook some of their meals over a campfire. Meals are kid-friendly and planned to provide the energy necessary for your child to go-go-go while they are at camp!

Campers will also have the opportunity to purchase snacks from the Canteen, typically once per day. Many campers spend roughly $3-5/day on snacks, which includes chips, Gatorade/juice pouches, candy, ice cream sandwiches and the like.

In 2024, we are excited to start utilizing our camp garden for fresh seasonal vegetables–grown and picked in part by campers themselves!

Absolutely! Make sure you are clear in the camper’s health forms with all allergies and dietary restrictions. For typical restrictions, such as gluten-free (Celiac’s), dairy-free, vegetarian/vegan, and nut allergies, we will have no problem making substitutions. For more complicated dietary restrictions, our Food Service staff will reach out before the camp week to talk with parents to make a game-plan for the week.

Check out our Special Dietary Needs statement here for more information.

Please call the camp office at 563-933-4700 if you have questions or concerns.

We take seriously the health and well-being of all our campers, and we strive to provide the best week at camp possible. When a camper is sick or homesick, expect a call from our office–typically from the Program Director or Program Assistant–to collaborate on how best to provide a positive experience for your camper. Sometimes campers are sick and simply need to go home, but other times, campers can rest up and recover at camp and still end up having a great experience.

Typically, homesickness can be worked through, but we recognize that parents tend to know best, and we will strive to work with you (the parent) on solutions that honor the particular reasons a child may be missing home. We always seek to make decisions on campers’ participation in programs in a collaborative way with parent involvement, and we expect our staff to reach out to you first.

Yes, we would love to have your camper come to Ewalu! Part of our commitment to the ELCA’s Total Inclusion initiative is to increase our accessibility to campers with disabilities and different abilities. Week 2 of camp is always our Inclusive Camp Experience (ICE) week – a week dedicated specifically to assisting campers with special needs. Campers experience camp in a regular cabin alongside campers both with special needs and those without. Week 2 is a GREAT time for a camper with special needs to come to Ewalu. However, you may come anytime. Please be descriptive of the camper’s needs in their health form, and expect that somebody from Ewalu may reach out ahead of the camp week to assure the best possible experience for your camper.

Ewalu summer staff receive training that prioritizes camper safety, risk management, and effective strategies to include all campers in activities.

Every Ewalu summer staff member is required to have two weeks of rigorous training in a variety of areas pertaining to camper safety, boundaries, risk management, bullying and cabin management, sexual harassment and abuse, facility and equipment use, as well as Bible study and Lutheran theology. Coordinators are also trained for specific program areas so that we can assure the highest standards of safety for every off-site trip and on-site activity.

All driver-chaperones for out-trips are at least 21 years old and possess a chaperone endorsement, if available in their home state.

All staff and volunteers at Ewalu are required to pass a yearly background check.

Emily Tull, Program Director
Office Phone: 563-933-4700
E-mail: program@ewalu.org

Note: Youth programs typically fill up early… RSVP for your experience soon!

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