HOW DID WE GET TO CAMP MANITOWOC?
Here's the story...
Camp Manitowoc is the next step in a long line of Christian Camps in Oklahoma. Its roots date back to the 1980s to a place called Frog Road. In a joint effort between several churches, the camp was put on for the youth of Oklahoma and surrounding states to help bring the kids closer to God. As the years went on, the camp eventually moved to Saints Grove Campground in Glencoe, OK and went by the name West of Heaven. At this point, children of former campers were attending the camp. It was becoming a generational summer experience.
In 2019, Kent Houck, Deanna Whitley and Gary Johnson, the reigning camp directors, retired from a long run of summer camps for over 40 years!
While COVID was not ideal, it did by some time to let God's plan work itself out for the continuation of the camp. Former camp counselors Matt and Vanessa Fletcher moved back to Oklahoma from New York and Matt took began his job as a Youth Minister. Getting the camp running again was clearly the next logical step.
In 2022, Matt and Vanessa, along with an amazing team, brought West of Heaven back for its last summer. Although the camp was much smaller that summer, the staff survived the week and the campers had a blast!
Now, we're moving forward still. Leaving the legacy of West of Heaven intact, Camp Manitowoc is here to carry on the mission of giving our youth a place of spiritual nourishment away from the world, so they can grow closer together with Christian friends, and closer to God.
Ok, and I know what you're thinking. What in the world is Manitowoc? It almost sounds familiar. You might know it as a brand of ice and water machines. Well, that’s how we know it, too. During camp every summer, in the heat of July, our campers are constantly visiting our Manitowoc ice and water machine in the mess hall, refilling their bottles to the brim, hydrating their bodies for the activities of the day, and honestly, getting in a little of that “water cooler” talk.
Our camp works the same way for these young people. They come back to camp every summer looking to fill their spiritual cups, nourish their souls and making lasting friendships connected through their faith.