Lifestyle Improvement for Teens at Camp Wakonda

Lifestyle Improvement for Teens at Camp Wakonda

On October 5-7, 2022, 7th-10th grade students from across the Wisconsin Conference gathered at Camp Wakonda for a program called Lifestyle Improvement for Teens, or LIFT for short. LIFT is an interactive retreat designed to inspire young people to make positive choices that will benefit their lives and the lives of others: spiritually, socially, and physically. The three day program, sponsored by the Education Department, focused on the theme, Stand Firm for Jesus.

After arriving on campus, students were divided into teams, in which they would travel together to the various activities. Each day began with worship before the teams headed out to the different break-out sessions. These sessions, taught by teachers, volunteers and pastors in the Wisconsin Conference, focused on spiritual, social and physical aspects in life. The pictures below will give you and idea of what the students experienced. Following lunch, students could choose from a variety of recreational options including canoeing, art, soccer and basketball before enjoying more break-out sessions with their team. The evenings were filled with supper, worship time, group games and a camp fire.

The following are quotes from some of the staff and students about what they liked about LIFT.

“I liked the camaraderie that was present among all the students and staff.  The sense of family was openly displayed each day, and the atmosphere was very welcoming.”

“I liked that it was a chance to bond with the students and the various stations gave a nice variety.  The food was very good as well.”

“I really liked the opportunity for students to learn interpersonal and life skills  (e.g. manners, relationships, money management).  These are things that can be tough to find time for in the classroom and helped the trip feel less like school outside and more like a “retreat” for many of my kids.”

“I liked the opportunity for everyone to come together.  The activities were well thought out and the speakers were great.  I enjoyed listening to the academy student give his testimony.  My students enjoyed seeing their friends from other schools.”

“I enjoyed getting the students outdoors at camp.  The experience for them to be with other students from other schools was great.  I really appreciated how the students had opportunities to be at a “summer camp” like program.”

Some students also responded that they enjoyed spending time at a retreat with just the “big kids.”

Thank you to all the teachers, volunteers and pastors for investing in our young people. We pray our students will take the lessons learned during LIFT and apply them throughout their lives as they Stand Firm for Jesus.


Sue Nelson, Superintendent for Education
Laurella Case, Communication Coordinator

After getting settled into their cabins, students participated in some “Get to Know You” games.


Each day began and ended with worship on the theme, Stand Firm for Jesus. Students and staff from Wisconsin Academy lead out in music, students from various schools shared the scripture reading and Pastor Loren Nelson and conference president, Titus Naftanaila, challenged the students to stand firm in their faith.


Break-out session with teacher, Danielle Lawrence: Stay ‘Rooted’ & Stand Firm


Break-out session with Wisconsin Academy Men’s Dean, Enrique Serna: “Rerouted”


Break-out session with pastor Kevin Moreno: Rocks and Minerals


Break-out session with teacher, Lula Allen: Etiquette


Break-out session with pastor Jonathan Fetrick: Relationships 101


Break-out session with pastor Loren Nelson: Chivalry & Chainmail


Breakout session with accomplished artist Steve Hovel


Breakout session with Victor Villareal: Self-Defense


Breakout session with teacher Tiffany Meulemans: Team Building


Breakout-out session with Milwaukee School Business Manager, Amir Gulzar: How to Manage Your Money


Break-out session with Youth Director, Zack Payne: Standing Though the Heavens Fall


Recreation and free time activities