Our Mission Statement: Utilizing its natural, God created setting, Sky Lodge Christian Camp, a ministry of the North Central Conference of the Free Methodist Church, exists to provide physical recreation, emotional renewal and spiritual restoration through camping activities blended with biblical principles and Christian values.
Initially, in the 1940s, the Sky Lodge property was used for farming fruits and vegetables by Col. Myrland. After WW II, Myrland had it transformed into a “fly in” dude ranch and a resort. That resort included a dining area, pool, motel, and airstrip, which inspired the name Sky Lodge. It wasn't until 1976 that the North Central Free Methodist Conference purchased the establishment, and changed the name slightly to the name we know and love today, Sky Lodge Christian Camp. This was the beginning of a fruitful ministry that would lead thousands to Christ.
IIn 1977, the camp began to take shape as cabins, a chapel and a camper park were added. Not long after, a Sky Lodge Board of Directors was put into place. In 1979, Fletcher Simpson, the 'pioneer' of Sky Lodge was appointed as the first camp director. Fletcher spent his time at Sky Lodge working hard, along with his wife Carolyn, for the next four years.
It was at this time that camp began to face financial woes, so in 1983, Alan Mellinger was appointed as the next camp director. Mellinger brought creativity to the camp. in a need for a maintenance person emerged. The new maintenance department was put under the leadership of Walter Brannon in 1984.
In 1985, Alan Mellinger and his wife Diane moved on, and the Board of Directors appointed our current director, Steve Hankins as the new director, along with his wife Terry. Steve and the Board of Directors put their focus of four key items: debt repayment and budget, promotion, development, and prayer. God continued to bless the camp blessed by the service of a variety of godly men and women.
Sky Lodge Christian Camp began to expand even more in the early 90s. In 1991, funds had been raised to start the construction of phase 1 of the Chapel and Recreation building. Three years later, in 1994, the construction of phase II began, and was completed in 1995. In the summer of 1995, the Army Corp of Engineers blessed our camp by helping with the construction of the new cabins, Hickory and Cottonwood. Within 13 days, these 25 volunteers framed, roofed, enclosed, and sided the cabins.
With the new bathrooms added to the Chapel/Rec building, the number of campers in the camper park expanded and doubled in size. The new cabins provided for more growth, and attendance has than doubled in size since 1986. This new growth allowed Sky Lodge to provide more programs. In addition to the favorites – Junior, Young-Teen, and Family Camp – Sky Lodge introduced a staff mentorship program called The Zone. Started in 1998, The Zone offered a discipleship program led by college-aged Foremen in partnership with high-school-aged Crew members. This program is unlike many other traditional camp staff programs, and many of the people who have passed through this program have continued to serve the conference as pastors, youth leaders, camp directors, parents, and counselors.
While Sky Lodge is a ministry of the North Central Free Methodist Conference, it has also become home to our many guest groups over the years. Some of these guests have been running programs at camp almost as long as we have! At the same time we open up our facilities to our guests, we also offer a variety of specialized camping sessions that focus on a particular skill or activity. interest as well.
God has used this camp to do great things and we are excited to see what He has in store for the future.
Guiding Principles in Ministry
Sky Lodge Christian Camp Will:
Intentionally use creation in our programs and recreation.
Predominantly minister to the North Central Conference, while maintaining a guest group ministry.
Target “churched” population.
Provide development and leadership of programs.
Provide clean, safe, modern facility reflective of its natural setting.
Develop facilities geared toward adults and recreation toward teens.
Offer a variety of quality recreational opportunities (staffed).
Have all buildings and major recreation areas accessible to the physically challenged.
Meet the need for technology without allowing it to be a distraction.
Provide quiet opportunities.
Fully provide for and equip full-time, part-time and volunteer staff.
Actively pursue donations and endowments to significantly contribute toward financial commitments.
North Central Conference
Sky Lodge is proud to be apart of the North Central Conference of the Free Methodist Church of North America. We are passionate about equiping our campers with the tools and passion they need to reach out and serve others in their communities, and in turn we greatly appreciate the support given back to us from the great churches in our conference.
Christian Camp & Conference Association Member
Sky Lodge is a member of the Christian Camp & Conference Association. We appreciate the support, education, and inspiration we get from this organization. The collaboration across camps helps make camp for everyone!