CLITHERALL, Minn. — Fall flooding may prevent hundreds of children from attending their beloved Inspiration Point Christian Camp and Retreat when summer rolls around.
"Some green spaces where kids typically play in the summer, including our ball field, are underwater," said A.J. Smith, camp director. "Our front lawn has sandbags."
Spitzer Lake rose 12 inches this fall and flooded Inspiration Point's front yard. With floods predicted for next spring, camp leadership decided to close for summer 2020.
This year they've already spent $50,000 on pumps and raising the roads, but Smith said it's not enough.
"During the summer we have hundreds of cars coming out each week," Smith said. "The roads just wouldn't be able to handle the traffic at this point."
The Spitzer Lake location will host winter activities at the current location through the spring.
But not all hope is lost. Inspiration Point Christian Camp bought a new addition last year 12 miles from Spitzer Lake. "Twin Oaks", a space intended for first through fourth graders, was scheduled to open next summer. Because of recent events, they've decided to move the location of summer camp 2020.
"It wasn't what we planned for but we're doing the best we can to make it ready for all ages," Smith said.
Twin Oaks can host 100 campers weekly. Spitzer Lake could host approximately 200, so they'll need to add more cabins and bathrooms at Twin Oaks to double capacity before the summer.
"We're gonna work feverishly to increase capacity because we want as many kids as we can to hear about the good news of Jesus Christ that we proclaim," Smith said.
While the new location doesn't have the lake, Twin Oaks does include a pool and 1,000 more acres for activities. Seth Kinrade, a camp staff member, admits change is hard.
"But we have a positive outlook here," Kinrade said. "We know that there are many people praying and supporting the ministry here."
Summer registration for Twin Oaks opens Nov. 27.