Published September 16, 2009, 07:01 AM

Changing times for camp

From the main lodge deck you can see a fire pit to the right with five logs to sit on, a dock in the center with a small gravel boat landing and a group of four cabins to the left. All are in front of the blue waters of Spiritwood Lake.

By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun

SPIRITWOOD LAKE, N.D. — From the main lodge deck you can see a fire pit to the right with five logs to sit on, a dock in the center with a small gravel boat landing and a group of four cabins to the left. All are in front of the blue waters of Spiritwood Lake.

This is Camp Rokiwan. Open from June to August, it is the only joint Rotary and Kiwanis program in the U.S., said Marv Tokach, Rotary member and a Camp Rokiwan Board member for more than 50 years.

Fewer people visited the camp this summer compared to previous years, he said. In years past the camp had more than 2,200 visitors. This year it had about 1,800, Tokach said.

The camp, which opened in 1924, was originally a camp for children of Stutsman County. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, The Anne Carlsen Center and the North Dakota State Hospital were among those who used to frequent the camp but it’s been years since their last visits, Tokach said.

As years passed the camp was opened to different groups and the public from around the area, Tokach said. Nowadays people use the camp mainly on the weekends for family reunions, birthday parties and church outings, he said.

Camp Rokiwan is available for anyone to rent out, whether it’s for a cabin to sleep in, a place to pitch a tent, or use of the camp’s main lodge which has a fireplace, kitchen, refrigerator and freezer, Tokach said.

“It’s a place where families can get together, relax and congregate in peace,” he said.

Every July there is also a children summer camp that is filled 90 percent of the time, Tokach said.

For about $50 children can attend Camp Rokiwan where they are fed and take part in activities for a week, he said. No one is turned away due to cost.

The Jamestown Rotary and Kiwanis clubs work each May on maintaining the camp, Tokach said.

Si Liechty, a Kiwanis member and Camp Rokiwan Board member for at least 20 years, said at least 20 people gather at the site twice a year to do any work that is necessary.

“There has been a lot of upgrades. There has been many thousands of dollars spent in the past 20 years,” Liechty said.

Members of the clubs wash the windows, clean the buildings, apply fresh paint and do various other jobs on the 5-acre campground, Tokach said.

“It’s constant upkeep but we try to keep up with it,” he said.

The clubs also receive donations from United Way and the Nierling Foundation to keep up the camp, he said.

The camp has a long history dating back to the ’20s and has acquired about 11 acres of land since it opened, he said.

Private residences make up part of the north side of the camp’s grounds, but nine buildings open to campers rest down to the south located by the shores of the lake.

“For people who don’t live on the water … that has to be an exciting place to be for a weekend or two weeks,” Liechty said.

Prices for the camp are $2.50 per person per day, $25 for a cabin rental and $85 to rent the main lodge for a day.

Tokach said people have made reservations for certain dates more than two years from now.

To make a reservation contact Mark Olson at the YMCA at 253-4101.

“(Camp Rokiwan) is there for the average person to use,” Tokach said.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455

or by e-mail at brodgers@jamestownsun.com

Tags: