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Pick Up the Key

Some might say that Bea Youngdahl’s first visit to Lutherock was a holy accident. Bea and her husband Duane had recently moved from Colorado to Greensboro, North Carolina. Visiting Christ Lutheran Church in Greensboro for the first time on a Sunday morning, they heard that worship the following week would be at Lutherock. “We didn’t know what Lutherock was,” Bea says, “but the next Sunday we decided we’d go to Lutherock, and we fell in love.”

In those days, Lutherock was a small retreat property that a handful of congregations would visit several times a year for congregational fellowship in the mountains. Walking in the woods with others from Christ Lutheran during her first visit, Bea knew she had found a home. “It felt so good to be in those mountains,” she remembers.

That first trip Bea made to Lutherock began a partnership that has lasted for more than 50 years. A year or two later, she was recruited to be on the Lutherock board, where she served for many years. Bea and her family made lots of trips to Lutherock. On many of those trips, Bea had the special responsibility of stopping in Hickory, North Carolina, to pick up the key so she could unlock the gate leading into camp for everyone else. “When my car was crossing over the creek into camp, I’d stop and open the door,” she recalls. “Then I’d dip my hand in the creek and feel the cold water. Then I knew I was in a special place.”

Bea and Duane (who died in 2021) sent their children to Lutherock for a week of camp every summer they could. When their grandchildren were old enough, they gave them a week at camp as a gift every Christmas. All these years later, Bea is still looking for reasons to go to Lutherock and keep her family connected there. She is hoping to have a family reunion at camp in 2024.

Financially supporting Lutherock and giving the gift of camp to others has been an important part of Bea’s faith journey. “We’ve given a lot because of our love of the camp and this life-changing ministry,” Bea says. “It’s such a beautiful site and a wonderful place to get away and be refreshed and renewed.”