Idaho Servant Adventures
Simple and significant service, life-changing relationships, and awesome outdoor adventure.
Join the adventure with your youth group in North Idaho this summer!
Idaho Servant Adventures is a week-long, high-energy, action-packed service-leadership camp that bring hundreds of students from youth groups across America together for four or five days to repair and transform homes, lives, and communities.
Over the past decade thousands of teens and adults from church youth groups around the nation have traveled to north Idaho for a summer Idaho Servant Adventure. They’ve volunteered tens of thousands of hours of service to the under-served people, organizations, communities, and needs of the region as the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus—and have seen their own faith and lives strengthened and transformed, as well!
Our ISA program:
- Engages high school and middle school teens in simple, significant outreach and servant-leadership in Jesus’ name!
- Challenges youth and adults with awesome outdoor adventure, from everyday community-building fun to end-of-the-week adrenaline!
- Offers dynamic programming, life-long relationships, significant service, and caring staff
- Is an affordable, personal, faith-building service week for your group!
Lutherhaven’s proven teen work camp programming brings dozens of teens from across the nation together each week for service, outreach, and outdoor adventure. Teens perform simple, significant service for folks experiencing disadvantages “right down the block,” instilling in young people an awareness of needs that exist in their own back yards. Youth gain leadership skills that enable them to be agents of positive change. Participants take home life-long, life-changing, Christ-centered relationships with other servant leaders from around the country and with the people they’ve served—relationships with people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
Hear, see, do, and live God’s Word. That’s the payoff: life-long change, living the love of Jesus with all we meet as together we grow in Christian faith, love and service!
Idaho Servant Adventures (ISA) is part of Lutherhaven Ministries in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Lutherhaven Ministries is a 75 year-old Christian camp and retreat ministry, founded in 1946 by Lutheran congregations in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
Idaho Servant Adventures was started in 2007 to engage youth groups in meaningful servant leadership opportunities with others from around the nation. Idaho Servant Adventures offers exceptional, affordable, Christ-centered service and adventure opportunities for junior and senior high-aged youth.
By the Numbers
- 2023 marks our 16th summer
- 6,750 teens and over 108,000 hours of service and counting
Listen to Learn More about ISA
We believe in connecting young people to the nuts and bolts mission of the church: reaching others for Jesus through relationships, service, and outreach! Idaho Servant Adventures creates environments for teens to grow in faith and love by serving others.
We believe nothing kindles Christian growth more than putting faith into action.
The four, five, and six-day programs include simple, significant community service opportunities; meaningful programming, devotions and Bible studies; intentional leadership development; professional staff and caring adult mentors; and fun outdoor adventure.
We’re About Youth
For 75 years Lutherhaven Ministries has worked with thousands and thousands of kids, youth, and families from around the Pacific Northwest, across the nation, and around the world.
Idaho Servant Adventures is unique because we not only engage teens in service and outreach, but we add leadership training and exciting outdoor adventure options as well (white water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, day hiking). It’s a triple-play combination!
Let’s face it, a week-long trip in a van, bus, or plane with a bunch of teens can be pricey! We provide life-changing servant events with exciting, high adventure components that are affordable. A five-night program costs just over $300 per person, including lodging, programming, a cool t-shirt, and 14 fabulous meals. Add-on adventures cost anywhere from absolutely nothing to $75 or so.
We’re Easy To Get To
Idaho Servant Adventures is easily accessible via US Interstate 90 or by Amtrak or plane through Spokane, Washington.
Each week a brand new community of teens and adult is formed at an Idaho Servant Adventure. We’re committed to community: creating a close-knit, safe place for teens to be teens, adults to be significant mentors, relationships to grow and flourish, and God’s people to be blessed. Our programs are limited to about 100 participants a week. We want every person on an Idaho Servant Adventure to be known and to know others.
We’re Dedicated To Developing Servant-Leaders
It’s been called one of the best and most unique things we do! Our proven program:
- Engages teens with an understanding of local and regional community issues.
- Empowers teens with confidence and skills that allow them to be agents of positive change!
- Encourages teens to serve as living examples of the hands, feet, voice, and heart of Jesus to the world!
We’re Committed To Communities
For 25 years we’ve performed community outreach through local north Idaho ministry partners. Our heart is to walk alongside our friends in ministry, helping support God’s work by supporting their work… work they do day in and day out in their own communities.
Idaho Servant Adventures is committed to nurturing Christian faith, equipping servant leaders, and strengthening communities, all in the beauty of God’s creation! We believe when youth engage in significant servant-leadership opportunities with others, they are more likely to demonstrate positive Christian growth on personal, relational, and spiritual levels.
We call it the “6 C’s”
- Christ: The cornerstone of everything we say, do, and are
- Competence: Social, mental, physical life skills
- Confidence: In who you are in relationship with God, others, and yourself
- Character: Who you say you are matches up with who you really are, what you value, & what’s fundamentally right
- Connection: Working together with parents, peers, siblings, teachers, coaches, youth directors, community organizations, and other significant adults
- Caring: A sense of compassion, service, and social justice
The Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota backs this up with extensive research. They’ve identified 40 building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
Our experience shows that participating in Idaho Servant Adventures opens the door for youth to intersect the Search Institute’s 40 Assets at twenty or more junctures:
- Other adult relationships: Teen receives support from non-parent adults.
- Caring neighborhood: Teen experiences caring “neighbors.”
- Community values youth: Teen perceives that adults in the community value youth.
- Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community.
- Service to others: Teen serves in the community.
- Safety: Young person feels safe.
Boundaries and Expectations
- Adult role models: Adults model positive, responsible behavior.
- Positive peer influence: Peers model responsible behavior.
Constructive Use of Time
- Teen is involved in community youth organizations.
- Teen is involved in church activities.
- Caring: Teen places high value on helping other people.
- Equality and social justice: Teen places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
- Integrity: Teen acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
- Responsibility: Teen accepts and takes personal responsibility.
- Planning and decision making: Teen knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
- Interpersonal competence: Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
- Cultural competence: Young person has comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
- Peaceful conflict resolution: Young person seeks to resolve conflict non-violently.
- Self-esteem: Teen has a high self-esteem.
- Sense of purpose: Teen says “my life has a purpose.”
Idaho Servant Adventures partners with non-profits, agencies, and Christian organizations in the “Silver Valley” of north Idaho, serving under-served kids, youth, adults, families, and communities in one of the least advantaged counties in the nation.
Children, the elderly or home-bound, the un- or under-employed, and the disabled are frequent recipients of service.
Youth and adult participants are divided into small teams that either stay on site or travel to one of several small north Idaho communities. Teams may do painting and renovation projects, facilitate a Day Camp program, help build a house, work with the elderly at a resident care facility, or partner with other organizations working to meet community needs.
In the typical Servant Adventure week, participants work four days on a service team of 5 or 6 teens and one adult. Every team member is given one of six important leadership roles, based on individual skills and interests. Service teams head out each morning with a sack lunch for daily projects, returning to camp mid-afternoon for leadership debriefs, recreational and relaxation options, and fantastic evening programming.
Some work projects involve construction, repair and remodeling projects at our camps; other projects involve work on neighboring US Forest Service land.
See our project options below to learn more.
We offer multiple choices! We take great care in matching participants’ skills and interests with weekly service options.
Team activities can include:
- Home repair
- Kids’ programs
- Elderly assistance
- Work alongside friends with special needs
- National Forest trail work
- Community service
Idaho Servant Adventures at Shoshone Mountain Retreat
Shoshone Mountain Retreat, located in the beautiful Bitterroot mountains of North Idaho at the juncture of two rivers, is the primary location for Idaho Servant Adventures’ community outreach efforts. Located in one of the poorest and most underserved counties in the nation, projects based at here include home repair and care, yard work, painting, wood splitting (15 percent of county homes heat only with wood,) and day camps for area children. Come experience a life-changing week in the mountains of North Idaho!
Idaho Servant Adventures at Camp Lutherhaven
Camp Lutherhaven, on destination Lake Coeur d’Alene, is the home of Idaho Servant Adventures’ Champ Camp for youth and adults with disabilities. Champ Camp gives people with special needs the unique opportunity to enjoy all the fun of a week of summer camp. Idaho Servant Adventures’ participants “buddy up” one- or two-on-one with Champ Campers to give each camper an incredible week in God’s creation!
Your Champ Camp servant week starts at 11:30 Sunday morning for training and group building. Time is scheduled each day to hang out with your youth group. Champ Camp days are very full, and your life will be, too, as you spend significant time with your new and very special camp friends!
A Snapshot of Who We Serve
Idaho Servant Adventures has a heart for living out the Kingdom of God as the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus in north Idaho’s Silver Valley.
The needs of the people and communities across rural Shoshone County run as deep as the once rich veins of silver decreasingly mined there.
In Shoshone County—a chunk of land larger than the state of Delaware — there are just over 12,000 people. Unemployment is high, and the local car dealer provides most of the county’s jobs. Idaho wages are among the worst in the nation. State lawmakers spend the second lowest in the country on students. The county has one of the highest suicide rates in a state and one of the worst in the country. Diseases you hardly hear of anymore—like whooping cough and STDs—are on the rise. “Poor” here means single-wides and wood stoves.
In the 1980’s, Shoshone County, located in the narrow Idaho Panhandle on the Montana border, 60 miles from Canada, was one of the state’s richest regions, thanks to the precious metals extracted from the mines—some over a mile and a half deep—dotting the county’s famous “Silver Valley.” During the 1970s, nearly half of our nation’s silver production came from there.
Today Shoshone County is Idaho’s second poorest, a victim of over a century of “boom and bust” economics.
Like most people living in rural areas, Silver Valley residents clearly value their county as a great place to live and raise kids, mentioning the “strong sense of trust and community, low crime, affordable cost of living, proximity to the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene metro area, and easy access to a variety of high quality outdoor recreation activities and areas” (Silver Valley Community Review Report, September, 2011.)
Yet behind those values lie stark realities*:
- 19% of Shoshone County’s people live beneath the poverty level.
- Another 21% are ALICE households—Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Educated–earning more than the poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county.
- Those two numbers combined mean that nearly 40% of Shoshone County’s population struggle to afford basic needs.
- A quarter of the children live in poverty.
- The unemployment rate is 6.3%, compared to 3.2% in Idaho and 4.4% nationwide.
- The average family income is $37,500, $12,000 less than Idaho’s and $19,000 less than the national average family income.
- The biggest employer in the county is a car dealer, followed by two seasonal ski areas, the 25-bed hospital, two reviving mines, and Walmart.
- Just 17% of young children in the county are enrolled in preschool, half the Idaho rate and 30% fewer than the US average.
- 6% of adults have a degree beyond high school, compared with 27% in Idaho.
- Mortality rates for cancer, heart disease and stroke are twice as high as the Idaho average.
- The county has one of the highest percentages of obese adults in the state (31% compared to 25% statewide).
- Over half of all the county’s school children receive free or subsidized school lunches.
- 19% of households are food insecure.
- 22% of kids aren’t guaranteed a meal when school is out.
- Nearly a quarter of the population is disabled (compared to 9% statewide.)
- 23% are elderly (up against 16% overall in Idaho.)
- The suicide rate is more than twice that of the state of Idaho.
- Shoshone County has more than twice the Idaho fatality rates for unintentional injuries, motor vehicle accidents, drug overdoses, and firearms deaths.
- 56% of all driving deaths are alcohol-related, compared to 32% statewide.
- Significantly, 75% of the people in Shoshone County are self-declared “Nones” when it comes to church affiliation, compared to 23% nationally.
- Since 2010, 12% of county residents moved away.
Despite the valley’s liabilities common to much of rural America, a 2011 report emphasized the widespread belief among residents that the Silver Valley is a good place for families. “Residents are generally friendly and there is a sense of trust between people,” the report states. “When needed, help and support in times of crisis” are provided “to both individuals and community projects.”
Significantly, the report headlined there are abundant opportunities in the Silver Valley to make a difference. “The communities of the Silver Valley are still small enough that a few dedicated people or organizations working together can make a measurable positive difference. Secondly, many residents of the valley have the desire and capacity to roll up their sleeves and get involved” (Silver Valley Community Review, Idaho Rural Partnership, September 2011.)
Idaho Servant Adventures takes advantage of the county’s assets—the people’s friendliness, trust, support in times of need, and desire and capacity to get involved and make a “measurable positive difference”—to expand existing programs and initiate new ones to inspire and empower God’s people to serve the under-served, positively impact the people and communities of Shoshone County, and reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action.
In the past 15 years of Idaho Servant Adventures, close to 7,000 participants from all around our nation have volunteered more than 108,000 hours serving the under-served of Idaho’s Silver Valley. Teens scrape and paint houses; dig fence posts; plant trees and flowers; clean basements, back yards and garages; split firewood; visit shut-ins and senior adults; run community Day Camps; partner with special needs campers through weeks of summer camp; rebuild front porches, back steps and handicap ramps; re-roof blue-tarped roofs; even put accessible additions on homes. Lives are impacted on both sides of the “porch.”
Idaho Servant Adventures “connects the dots” between people, congregations, and organizations locally, regionally, and nationally, catalyzing them to use their God-given gifts, abilities, and resources to demonstrate Jesus’ love to the under-served through service and outreach opportunities.
*Most recent sources, 1/2020
- Panhandle Health: Healthy People in Healthy Communities—Community Health Assessment, 2018
- UNITED WAY ALICE REPORT, 2016, for Pacific Northwest—Idaho
- US News, How Healthy is Shoshone County?
- Data USA: Shoshone County Idaho, 2017
- US Census Bureau, Quick Facts, Idaho and Shoshone County
We are preparing for our 3rd trip with them this summer! What I really enjoy about ISA is the balance between service and fellowship. They also place strong emphasis on student leadership. ISA has a reputation for working like clockwork. They are well organized and operate with a clear purpose. I would highly recommend them!