Lutherlyn Family Camp :: The Perfect Vacation!

I had to take a few weeks off before writing this post to fully reflect on why our week at Lutherlyn's Family Camp was the PERFECT vacation.  Spoiler Alert:  After reading this, you will be racing me to sign-up for Family Camp next year.  GO AHEAD... that's precisely what I want to happen.  I'll even offer to camp in a tent for the week if all the cabins get filled (I believe there were 5 empty cabins this summer... that's not very many!).

First a little background:  I was a camper at Lutherlyn for 5 years, summer camp counselor for 3 years and full-time staff for 2 years.  My husband was a camper there for probably 10 years and counselor there for 1 year.  We met there, we fell in love there, we've baptized our children there, we've made the majority of our "lifetime" friends there, my sister worked there, I met my brother-in-law there...  This place is HUGE for us.  It is the greatest place on the planet (though I might be a tad biased).

When I worked there, I could never understand why families would come there for vacation.  It's a place for KIDS, yet a huge amount of family campers are adults without kids.  WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?  Even for families with kids, I didn't get the appeal.  Hey, if you live in paradise, you become immune to it, right?

Despite my history of not understanding the allure of Family Camp, this past winter I had, what my husband has deemed "MY BEST IDEA EVER"!  "Jake, why don't we go to Family Camp this year?".  The subcontext that we both immediately understood was:

  • Let's go to an all-inclusive resort where 70+ highly trained college students (they have a rigorous 2 weeks of staff training, WAY more than any other camp I've ever heard of) will entertain, teach, engage our children for part of the day while we do ADULT THINGS.
  • Let's go on a vacation where we don't have to cook or wash dishes.
  • Let's go on a vacation where we never get into our car to go anywhere.
  • Let's go on a vacation where the day is packed with awesome activities that we can chose from, without ever shelling out money for these activities.
  • Let's go to a place that attracts interesting people so we can engage in meaningful conversations while our kids do whatever they want to do on this safe, beautiful 600 acre property.
  • Let's go on a vacation with some of our favorite people (granted, this was an advantage for us... but even if you don't know anyone there, you will quickly meet people who you "click" with... there's something in the water there that makes this happen!).
I tend to think anything that isn't free or less than $10 is expensive.  It blows Jake's mind that I can look at any restaurant menu and feel aghast at the prices.  It's a gift.  So, let's cover this part first because for this family, this is always the first obstacle discussed.  In fact, we hadn't gone on a week long vacation with our kids EVER!

Here is what it cost my family of four (click here to see your family scenario costs):
  • Cabin= $258.  Now when I say "cabin", I mean gorgeous wooden cabin with large porch, six beds, nice bathroom, carpet and plenty of plugs for the multitude of fans, clocks, etc I travel with.
  • Adult program and meals= $284 x 2 = $568
  • Kid program and meals= $125 x 2 = $250
  • TOTAL = $1076
Ok, that is a hard pill to swallow!  But, that works out to about $180 a day (Sunday dinner through Saturday breakfast)... or $60 per meal... or

$15 per person per meal!?!?!  WAIT ONE GOSH DARN MINUTE!  For $15 per person, I can feed my family GOURMET food without lifting a finger, stay in gorgeous clean cabins, have programming for all interests and ages, get perks like swimming lessons, high ropes course, pony rides, parade with candy, have s'more roasts and dessert buffets, etc FOR NO EXTRA CHARGE?!?

Speaking of meals, camp has come a LONG way from the 5 years I was on staff.  They have a head chef who specializes in delicious foods and fascinating flavors.  I wish I had more pics, but my saliva almost ruined my camera:
Salad bar at every meal and a delicious turkey dinner!

Here was a basic day for us:
Daily Schedule and coloring fun
8:30 breakfast
Kid Bible study music into, parachute games, Adult Bible Study
9:15-11:45 take the kids to their camp counselors for their age group activities and Bible study.  I don't seem to have saved their daily schedule, but they learned A TON of songs, had a simple Bible Study played games, etc.
9:30-11:45 Jake and I head to one of the Adult Bible studies and engage in meaningful dialogue about the state of our world, the climate, our responsibilities, etc.  Jake is not interested in the Bible, yet he loves having discussions with the Director, Pastor Randy because well, we talk about REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF!
11:45-12:15 Swimming lessons
12:30 LUNCH 
1:30 Head to the cabin for rest time.  This is when we often had a babysitter (counselors available FREE OF CHARGE) so that we could do adult things like crafts or the high ropes course (granted, a friend of ours asked to be in the adjoining cabin so that she could be my kids camp Grandma for the week.  Spoiled much?  THANKS LESLIE!)
3:00 pool, explore nature center, fish, craft cabin, pony rides, parachute games, etc
5:15 DINNER 
6:00 Group activity (one night this was a talent show, one night this was minute to win it games, one night was "Christmas in July" activities, one night was SQUARE DANCING, etc)
7:15 Preschool Campfire (only offered on select nights)
8:00 Camp style worship (if we could stay up that late!)
9:00 BED (for the kids)
9:30 PARTY ON OUR PORCH with old and new friends

Hello Joe Ice breaker song, Hazel on climbing net (note: this activity is for 7th grade and older, we brought special gear and made special arrangements.  This is not available for others (ie non-Koskers), Heidi lounging on the creek hike, Hazel at swimming lessons, posing in front of the sign for the first week of camp (this was taken on July 4th), Jake and Hazel at the square dance, the FACE DIP challenge on the creek hike, by the end of the week Heidi was EXHAUSTED :)

Phew, that was one busy day!  Notice how we NEVER got into our car?  It was awesome!  My kids actually smiled for the entire week!  Plus, since it's such a safe place, they could be FREE.  After each meal, Hazel's favorite thing was to leave our table and RUN OUTSIDE where she would play with other kids.  Can you imagine simply letting your children leave your table while on vacation and running free?  Yes, they had boundaries for how far they could go, but I didn't have to worry.... there were always staff and guests near and handfuls of other kids doing the same thing.  It was so awesome for her growing sense of autonomy and self confidence!

Lutherlyn has the uncanny ability of attracting interesting people.  Sit next to anyone and you will find yourself deep in a great conversation.  While the majority of people there are Lutheran, certainly not everyone is and diversity is the spice of life... so the more diverse, the better!  All worships and Bible Studies are optional, I know quite a few people who attend neither and that is ok.
The majority of people who attended all week.  In case you're playing "Where's Waldo Kosker":  We are at the bottom right.

Okay, I can't resist ONE MORE COLLAGE!  I call this one "Favorite moments":
clockwise:  Hazel sang "I'm A Little Tea Cup" for the talent show...she got a standing ovation, super cute kids at a camp worship, one of the "free play" times after dinner (they found our dear friends TyManda and were playing duck duck goose.  RUN Heidi RUUUN!), more parachute games, floating candles during Friday night worship (Amanda and Hazel got to do this together with our "family" cross), Hazel riding Susie- her FAVORITE horse!

So, who is joining us at Lutherlyn's Family Camp next year?


  1. I recognized our pastor's daughter Cassandra in your picture collage. My daughter loves Lutherlyn and is going for 2 weeks this summer. We have never done Family Camp, but we might need to try it sometime! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Looks and sounds like a blast. I'd love to join you sometime.


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