Sunday, April 21, 2024

Help Camp Lutherhaven shine in 2021

Staff Writer | December 31, 2020 1:00 AM

Families and community members are stepping up in a big way for Camp Lutherhaven.

Lutherhaven has been through hard times in 75 years. The last nine months of 2020 have been among the hardest. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Lutherhaven to pivot from serving thousands of kids annually to limiting capacity for families seeking rest and hope in a weary and confusing world.

Because families can safely enjoy the outdoors along the shores of North Idaho's waters, Lutherhaven camps have remained a sacred space for respite all summer. Lutherhaven has been able to fulfill its mission and purpose, but finances have not been able to keep up. Program income for 2020 is projected to be 16% of 2019's total.

Among many of 2020's dim moments are beacons of light so bright, they light the world. Raniel and Eren Diaz, owners of Our Town CDA Real Estate, and their family presented a challenge to help Lutherhaven shine in this year-end season of giving. The family is hoping others who are able will take the opportunity to give to Lutherhaven before the end of the year. Gifts received through today will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $25,000 to provide a $50,000 year-end boost as Lutherhaven plans to open for traditional summer kids camp in 2021.

On Tuesday, director of philanthropy Kristi Rietze reported the fundraising was nearing goal at $42,000, including the generous Diaz family match.

"We're just so incredibly grateful for the challenge," she said. "The last week of the year is a big time for people to give."

Rietze said people gave much more than expected.

"The outpouring of generosity has been overwhelming,” she said. "Our community is so generous. I think it's part of what makes Coeur d'Alene what Coeur d’Alene is."

For the Diaz family, the best gift is to give to others.

"We have learned in just a few years how Camp Lutherhaven has played such a foundational role in the lives of many families in our town over the past 75 years," the family said in a news release.

"The families, staff and properties of Camp Lutherhaven have been such a huge blessing to our family," Raniel Diaz said. "We just want to be able to give a little back to help alleviate the financial gap created by a challenging year."

In 1946, Camp Lutherhaven was established when five families invested $50 each to purchase 12 acres on Mica Bay. Their vision was to create a sacred space of respite for families as service members returned from world war.

As 2021 approaches, bringing with it the 75th anniversary of Lutherhaven Ministries, all three sites — 120 acres of Camp Lutherhaven, Shoshone Mountain Retreat and McPherson Meadows — will continue to be a gathering place for families.