Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center receives $10,000 grant

Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center receives $10,000 grant

The Tri-County Health Care Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 Moen Brothers Endowment grant to Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center in Henning. This is one of the largest sums to be given through this endowment, according to Ryan Damlo, Foundation executive director.

Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center provides a Christian camping experience for all ages. For the past eight years, it has offered equine-assisted learning through Christ Serve Ranch, which benefits youth with physical or cognitive impairments. However, the camp lacks facilities that would allow these services to be provided outside of the summer months. To address the problem, the camp is developing an indoor arena that will allow it to provide equine-assisted learning, as well as equine-assisted therapy no matter the weather or time of year. The camp plans to use the grant funds to cover costs of the planning and development phase of building this facility.

“In terms of the equine-assisted learning, the horses have an innate connection with people, and we’ve seen through articles and programs in other parts of the country where this has been such a big help for children and youth with disabilities and autism,” said Ken Erlandson, camp executive director. “We feel we’ve been blessed with a program that can go beyond our camping ministry. This grant is helping us in that part of our mission.”

Marvin Swyter, director of maintenance, who has led the horse program for last 15 years, echoed Erlandson’s sentiments: “We’re looking at using horses for many other things. Horses are understanding, and people relate to them, especially those individuals who are physically or mentally challenged, and the horses just pick up on that.”

The Moen Brothers Endowment was established in 2012 to specifically benefit area youth with physical or cognitive impairments, whether through equipment or education programs. Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center’s vision for equine-assisted learning aligns with that mission.

The Tri-County Health Care Foundation accepts applications for the Moen Brothers Endowment on an ongoing basis throughout the calendar year. The applications are reviewed regularly by the Tri-County Health Care Foundation Board. For more information about the grant, visit or call 218-632-8148. For more information about Lutheran Island Camp and Retreat Center, visit

The Tri-County Health Care Foundation is a private charity established in 1994 by the hospital to attract and administer charitable funds for the benefit of the communities and surrounding areas served by Tri-County Health Care. Tax deductible gifts support education, technology, patient care and equipment. Financial donations stay local and have a direct and lasting impact on your family, friends and neighbors.

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