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Boys Town Okoboji

In Our Home and Yours, Summer Vacation Fun Begins with Family

August 6, 2019     By Father Steven E. Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

Boys Town Model, Family, Father Flanagan, Family Home Program

Summer may be winding down, but many families are still preparing to head out on their first vacation or planning a last-minute getaway before school starts.

At Boys Town, we think spending leisure time together as a family is really important. That's why hitting the road for a week of sun and fun is one of the biggest and most exciting highlights of the summer for the boys and girls in our care at the Village of Boys Town, Nebraska.

Every year, our kids and their Family-Teachers® – the married couples who meet the daily needs of our youth – travel to our Boys Town camp at Lake Okoboji in Iowa. It's an opportunity for our youngsters to relax and experience a true family-style vacation – a first for most of them. 

A vacation at Lake Okoboji is a big part of the teaching and relationship-building we do at Boys Town. A typical day at camp includes:

  • A quick prayer before a hearty breakfast with kid favorites like pancakes, eggs, sausage and French toast.
  • Water activities like swimming, boating, kayaking, skiing, tubing, canoeing and volleyball on the beachfront.
  • Fishing off a pontoon boat or the dock. (When a catch is legal size, the youth clean it, put the fish on ice and save the week's catch for a family fish fry when they get back to Boys Town).
  • Fun, confidence-building activities like learning how to maneuver a kayak over the water for the first time.
  • Cookouts, games and time around the campfire where the kids and Family-Teachers can roast marshmallows, hot dogs and grow closer through conversation.

At Lake Okoboji, many of our kids are having these new experiences for the first time. It's a great way for them to conquer their fears and gain self-confidence. For example, some youngsters arrive at camp afraid of the water. By the time they leave, they don't want to get out of the lake!

At the end of the day, our kids kneel by their bedsides in their cabins for evening prayers. They pray for their parents, and they pray for themselves and the strength to keep on going on their journey of healing. They pray for each other and the new Boys Town family they've grown to love. And they give thanks for the opportunity to enjoy a day filled with fun and the love of others.

Father Flanagan was always searching for ways to brighten the lives of the kids in his care. He worked hard to help them have a real childhood, full of fun and laughter. We try to do the same for all the kids we care for today.   

Whether you've already enjoyed your summer road trip or are still planning one, I hope you and your family are having a great summer. I also hope that your vacation is a learning experience for your kids, both in what they see and how your family gets along and takes care of each other while traveling.

Time to hit the road!

For tips on how to make your family vacation more fun and less stressful, check out our vacation guides.

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