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Camps and Retreat Centers 2024

Camp Cross' new canon invites participatory leadership

Labor of Love campers share a meal as they come to open up the camp for the summer season. Photo courtesy of the camp


Alex Flannagan, the new canon for camp, youth and family ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, started two months ago and spent his first weeks at Camp Cross for the May 17 to 19 Labor of Love and May 24 to 26 Youth Labor of Love camps.

As he worked with the volunteers to de-winter, clean and spruce up the camp for the summer season, he heard their stories of Camp Cross on the western shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

With registration numbers on trend with recent years, he is focusing on the June training of 12 staff members who will be there all summer.

"I enjoy empowering people in participatory leadership," he said, likening top-down leadership to a spider and participatory leadership to a starfish. "If a spider's head is cut off, it dies. If a starfish loses a leg, it grows another."

For summer 2024, Camp Cross' eight weeks of camps include two family camps. They will work with 20 volunteer counselors who will help with one or two sessions.

"Speak Lord, for We Are Listening" is the theme for the camps and the diocese this year.

Campers will enjoy hiking, boating, swimming, singing and campfires while building relationships with new and old friends and learning values of relationships, prayer, discipleship and service.

Previously, Alex worked 10 summers at Camp Huston with the Diocese of Olympia. He came there through the Camp America international exchange as a counselor and guitar player.

Alex, who grew up Methodist near Manchester, England, had studied politics and sociology for a year at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, when he met two young men with Camp America. After a summer at Camp Huston, he returned to study international hospitality and management at the University of Central Lancashire, graduating in 2013.

He returned summers to Camp Huston for 10 years and moved in 2018 to work as youth ministry coordinator with the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.

During COVID, he worked as a camping consultant, advising Camp Blue Spruce, an overnight camp for children with food allergies; assisting Episcopal churches in youth ministry; leading two-mile Holy Hikes in Western Washington, and working with monthly Anti-Racism Collective Circles of Color on Zoom.

Alex said Camp Cross offers a two-night mini-camp session for young campers early in the summer.

July and August include one-week Intermediate Camp, Arts Camp, Outdoor Adventure Camp, Mid-High Camp and Senior High Camp, plus a Labor Day Family Camp and an Adult Weekend in September.

For information, call 624-3151 or visit

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June 2024