Image Credit: Eve Rusk

Roes Retire After 30 Years of Camp Ministry

Douglas and Darla Roe retired effective Dec. 31, 2022 after 30 years of managing and leading Camp Ida-Haven. Their 30 years included working with campers; hiring and mentoring high school and college-age staff; and hosting church groups, women’s groups, outdoor schools, quilting groups, music groups and family reunions.

When they first began in December 1992, the camp was very different. It didn't have the updated cabin circle, RV park with full hookups, basketball court, treehouse, gazebo or hotel-style ADA-compliant rooms. There wasn’t adequate storage for the amount of equipment a camp needs to run effectively. The waterfront was eroding and the bathrooms in the main lodge were in serious need of updating.

Fast-forward to today, the camp now has nine cabins for campers — one also serves as a cookhouse for groups outside the summer camp season. Frosty’s garage, a large space that houses boats and equipment, is large enough to hold 100 campers and staff when the weather isn’t conducive to outdoor activities. Above the garage are two apartments and six full-service hotel rooms with ADA-compliant features.

A bathhouse was built close to the old cabins that now serve as summer staff lodging. Each room has a shower, toilet and sink. The building also holds laundry facilities for staff.

The waterfront has been reclaimed with retaining walls and docks. A building with storage for waterfront equipment also has a lookout area on top for lifeguards.

The physical changes have been huge. Larger, however, is the influence Douglas and Darla have had on 499 staff members and thousands of campers. Above all, Douglas and Darla loved the kids. Over the years, 45 couples from staff members have been married. Former campers and staff now send their children to camp as campers and as staff.

Many former campers have become staff. The six weeks of summer camp are booked within seconds of the online registration being opened. Even during the pandemic, camp was open and everyone stayed healthy through the extra added measures. Camp Ida-Haven is truly the place where the fun never ends!

Darla provided superb management and delicious meals. Douglas kept the facilities running smoothly. Their apartment sat below the fireplace area in the cafeteria. They had 30 years of people walking over their heads, 30 years of being awakened in the night to take care of a problem like re-lighting a pellet stove or dealing with bears, and 30 years of serving.

Daniel Jenks, former summer staff member and current operations manager, said, “Douglas and Darla know how to train and mentor staff in ways that empower us. They teach and stand back to support but not micromanage.”

Idaho Conference and the camp operating board planned an intimate retirement celebration held at Cloverdale Church. While there could have been hundreds, even thousands, of people who wanted to wish the Roes well, Douglas and Darla didn’t want a huge celebration. It’s not their style.

Benji Mellish, former staff member, prepared a video that featured pictures from 30 years of camp, photos of letters to Douglas and Darla from campers and staff, and staff group pictures from each year. Rob Lang, North Pacific Union youth and young adult director, presented a plaque commemorating their 30 years of service. A large framed photo of the Roes was available for guests to sign and leave well-wishes.

They still live in the area and are always ready to assist Bethany and Bruce Pratt, the new couple leading Camp Ida-Haven. They are enjoying a quieter life and still have an interest in the ministry of the camp. Idaho Conference wants to congratulate Douglas and Darla on their retirement. Thank you for the impacted countless lives you have impacted for Jesus over the past 30 years.

Featured in: May/June 2023


Eve Rusk

Idaho Conference communication director