Camping Ministry

Deke Rider, the site director of our Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center, had a lunch meeting at a local restaurant recently. This is the season of the year for preparing for the busy summer months of camping for children and youth.

“It was a fantastic meeting,” he reports, and as the conversation was coming to a close, a women dropped a napkin into his hands. The message written on it read as follows:

I’m a Methodist & went to Wesley Woods Camp as a child. My 3 sons camped there too. It was wonderful! Thank you for sharing the Gospel with our youth. God bless you both & your ministries.


Wesley Woods is located just southwest of Indianola on 344 acres of rolling hills. The staff there offer outdoor education to school groups at all times of the year. The camp also plays host to retreats for families, businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations in adult-friendly facilities.

The Iowa Conference is investing $731,316 in camping ministries in 2017 for the work of Wesley Woods and two other sites, Pictured Rocks in northeast Iowa near Monticello and Okoboji in northwest Iowa near Spirit Lake. These funds are made possible with apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state.

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