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Summer Camps of Faith Communities - by Anna Crigger

Camps follow more lenient COVID precautions

Campfires are a time for singing and community building.

By Anna Crigger

This year is Camp Sanders' 87th year of operation in southern Benewah County, Idaho.

It draws visitors from Montana, Washington, Idaho and Oregon to the family and youth camps, retreats and annual events it hosts.

Groups can rent the facility any time year-round to host their own camps, seminars and retreats, or they can participate in annual camps or retreats that are sponsored by Camp Sanders.

If needed, "we provide a full meal package, meals and lodging, while groups provide their own programming," said Daniel Willms, executive director since 2016. "We are happy to accommodate them and make Camp Sanders enjoyable for all."

Daniel said the beauty of nature surrounding Camp Sanders with Indian Creek and Little Gem Lake nurture the communities who gather.

This summer, there is a family camp from June 30 to July 3 and a kid's camp in late August for children from first to sixth grade.

After being closed in 2020 because of COVID, Camp Sanders opened again in 2021 and followed COVID precautions closely according to the Center for Disease Control and the health district's guidelines.

This year, COVID precautions and restrictions have become more lenient at Camp Sanders.

"We go by the health district, so there aren't really precautions since they've been revised," said Daniel, who is pastor of the Sanders Community Church at the campground.

Basic precautions are still encouraged, such as washing hands, disinfecting surfaces and covering coughs and sneezes to keep the community safe.

"We are in a rural, underpopulated area," Daniel said. "Annual events are important to the local community and encourage community involvement."

Those events include a senior retreat in September, a men's retreat in March, a women's retreat in April and the Sanders Community Apple Fest in October, sponsored by Sanders Community Church at the campground.

This one-day event brings the community together by pressing cider, incorporating live music, food, vendors and more."

The camp is busiest from May to October. There is no off season, but December and January are less busy due to cold weather and some unheated buildings.

This year, Daniel and staff look forward to remodeling the RV park by updating and adding utilities and gravel parking. They hope to have renovations partially completed by June, he said.

The renovations will make Camp Sanders more accessible for families, youth, seniors and other groups that use the facility.

For information, call 208-892-4842, email or visit

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2022