The Dakota Conference is blessed to have two camps for its constituents, Flag Mountain Camp located in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Northern Lights Camp in the Turtle Lake Mountains of North Dakota on Lake Metigoshe-Washegum (meaning “clear lake surrounded by oaks”) near the Canadian border. The camping experience and history at each camp is unique and exciting.

In 1952, F. E. White, treasurer of the North Dakota Conference when the conferences were separate, made an executive decision and purchased 52 acres of lakefront property with his own money hoping to later receive an affirmative vote from the executive committee board. He had learned of the property’s availability 72 hours before it was to be sold to the state and added to park property already owned. The price was $3,500, equivalent to $31,887 today. Since the conference was paying to rent the Boy Scouts’ camp at the time, which was not available until the end of August, the committee saw the potential and voted to approve the purchase of the property. A fundraising drive was started with North Dakota juniors filling cards with dimes for the camp. By 1956, there were over 100 junior campers.

The original lodge, built by workers of the WPA (Works Progress Administration of the American New Deal), which was originally used for dancing and “refreshments,” became the cafeteria. Four barracks, also from the WPA Garrison Dam project, were brought in and converted to dormitories. These buildings served the camp for many years.

The cafeteria building, having served many years of campers, has been condemned and is being replaced. The new structure will sit on the footprint of the previous plant. Again, constituents have come together for the young people of the conference with their physical and financial support. On Labor Day weekend, academy students, conference staff and interested members came to honor and help remove the building’s contents and shingles in preparation for destruction. The common view was summed up by one individual who said, “It is a sad-happy day. So many memories, yet so much to look forward to.”