Campground Construction

Posted by Will Cooper

Nov 17, 2016 10:43:13 AM

 Those of you who have been to the Life Enrichment Center over the past few months may have noticed the caution tape and large trenches on your left as you drove in and wondered “What is going on?”


Don’t worry, it wasn’t a major accident or small scale disaster. Those giant holes were a part of our continued effort to make improvements around the site.

Back when the campground was installed at the Life Enrichment Center, most RVs and trailers were smaller then they are today. As rigs got bigger,_MG_9459.jpeg 
so did their power needs and our 1970s campground was no longer able to provide many our guests and Workampers with the full amount of power their RVs needed. So, two years ago, with the help of donations from many of our Workampers, we began the process of upgrading some of our pull-through sites from 30 amp to 50 amp. And now, this year, we have continued that effort. Once the city signs off on all the work that has been done, we will have an entire row of sties that can provide 50 amp power to our guests.

           IMG_2201.jpg                  One of the new 50 amp pedestals 


In addition to upgrading the power in parts of the campground, work was also done to make some of our more secluded sites useable to more guests. IMG_2196.jpgOur staff spent many days clearing out these campsites behind the pavilion. At the same time, they ran sewer lines to some of those sites and upgraded the eletric to 50 amp so that trailers and smaller RVs, in addition to tent campers, can now enjoy these sites that are a little more out of the way and off the main road of the LEC.

And in the last big bit of news of Life Enrichment Center Campground upgrades, work will start shortly to begin the process of enclosing the Ivan Marx Pavilion in the campground. We received a sizeable donation from the LEC Workampers that will allow us to begin work on the pavilion at the end of this month!

IMG_2171.jpgIvan Marx Pavilion

Capture.jpg2015 LEC Workampers

As the years have passed and the needs of our guests have changed, we have realized that our screened pavilion, just like our lower amperage sites, no longer serves our guests in all the ways we’d like for it to. The pavilion serves many functions throughout the year: In IMG_2174.jpgsummer and fall months, it is used by our guests and campers as a meeting space, a dining area and more. In the winter months, it serves as a central hub for our Workampers, who use the space for morning devotions, social gatherings, movie nights, pot lucks, the occasional pickleball game and as a general daily hangout space. And in the spring time, the Florida Conference Women’s Retreats even use it as a workout space. It is our hope that this upgrade will allow us to serve all of these groups better and potentially find some new ways to meet our guest’s needs too.

The plan for enclosure is to begin by replacing the old screened windows with real windows and building in the walls to provide better insulation. This will let us to then condition the space, allowing for a more comfortable gathering place in both the summer and winter months.



Throughout all of these upgrades, it is our hope that we will be able to preserve the rich character and history that exists within the Ivan Marx Pavilion. The plan is for the beautiful wooden beams and ceiling to stay, giving the space both a slight rustic feel and a glimpse into its past. We want to honor what the space was, while still being able to modern parts of it so as to better serve our guests today.



If you are interested in being apart of our efforts to upgrade our spaces so that we can continue to enrich lives in this natural setting, you can donate by clicking here.


Topics: retreat in Florida, workamping, upgrades

Why Plan a Retreat for your Church or Group......

Posted by Jess Schload

Jun 14, 2015 9:17:36 AM

Planning a retreat is a tough job. You need to decide to do it, choose a leader, plan marketing to get folks hope_and_rogerto come, set a budget, and price for the retreat, pick a site, take registrations, plan a schedule and more. As one who works at a retreat center, I am always amazed at the folks who take this task on, usually with no training, and pull it off very well.

But, why? Why do you want to even go through all this work? Most retreat leaders I talk to plan retreats for two basic reasons.

  1. They had wonderful experiences at a retreat and want to share that with others.
  2. They want to make a difference in people’s lives. They want to help their church grow in faith.

It is a lot of work to plan a retreat, but it is worth the effort. Think of a time when you saw a change in a person’s life at a camp or retreat. Or a time when you sat in a worship service with a group of folks you just spent a wonderful couple of days with, and knew you were a stronger person, that you would be different when you went home. Remember that time when someone told you how tired they were, burned out on life, work, or God, and a time away in a beautiful space turned them around.

Retreats are what the word implies. They are a time to get away. To remove yourself from the everyday toClick this box to  begin planning your  next retreat or conference be with a group of other like minded people and center on a special topic or theme. To think of nothing but your life with God, or your spouse, or the group you are with. Retreats have many purposes, from training, to spiritual growth, to rest and renewal. However, no matter the purpose, the time apart is valuable and needed by many. In today’s “connected” world, we all need to disconnect once and a while if we are going to be whole.

Why plan a retreat? Because you can make a difference in your and other people’s lives. You can help people grow. You can help your organization or church be stronger. You can have fun with the group who attends. When a military leader yells “retreat!”, the troops leave the heat of the battle for safety. When you offer a retreat, you offer a time to get away from the heat of life. That is why planning a retreat is time well spent. Let us at LEC know if we can help. Check other blogs in this series for ideas. Look for books and websites on retreat planning. Begin today to make a difference. You will not regret it.

Rev. Jess Schload, Director,

Check out our website at

Get fore information at





Topics: Spiritual Growth, Retreat and Conference Planning, retreat in Florida, retreat, retreat alone, planning women's retreat

To Volunteer at the Life Enrichment Retreat Center

Posted by Jess Schload

May 22, 2015 12:46:00 PM

There are many ways to give your time to a vital ministry that helps change people's lives. We are happy to work in any of the following ways with you (or your group). Want to give some time? Consider:

1. If you are here with a group retreat and would like to offer your help during some free time, just check at the front desk. Or better yet, let us know before you arrive. We always have small projects on the grounds, in the office, or many other possibilities. Just ask!

2.Come for a day: We need folks willing to give a day, or a day a month, week, etc. Call or email (352-787-0313 or to see how you can be a part of helping this ministry grow.

3. Bring a group from a church. We recently had a great group of folks from North Carolina. Another group2015-04-15_16.08.31 has come twice from Iowa. Sometimes a local church gets a group together to come for a day, or to help do a project. Think about a group coming from your chruch.

4. Drop in: Do you have an RV and like to serve. Consider dropping in to give a few days to several weeks of service. We are happy to provide a full hook-up site for your time. Just give us a call or write, and we will set it up (352-787-0313 or

5. Workamper: We have a wonderful group of folks who come for a winter season (3 months or more) to serve in our ministry. We ask 24 hours of service a week for a full hook-up site in our RV campground. Sorry, we do not have any other housing options. Interested in this opportunity. Let us know and we will get you an application. 

Our volunteers help with programs, dining, maintenance, grounds, hospitality and more. 

We recently talked with Jan and Phyllis Wilson, who have been workamping here for several years. Read on to learn about their experience.


Jan and Phyllis Wilson have volunteering in their hearts. Since retirement they have served at no less than 6 volunteer positions including Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International and local opportunities (Ft. Dodge, IA). A few years back, they discovered the Life Enrichment Center online (praise God for Google) and decided to check with us about volunteer options. Since coming to LEC it is clear this has been a wonderful match for LEC and for the Wilsons. They are quick to tell others that “LEC is an awesome place to have an opportunity to serve. It is a wonderful Christian atmosphere, where each day starts with devotions. The other volunteers are very special people and we are privileged to have them as friends”.

Picture1Jan points out that the location is a special place. “I sometimes go out with my camera on a Sunday and that helps me be more observant”. He sees God in a hawk or a wonderful tree that fell years ago, but still survived. Phyllis adds that the blessing of volunteering here goes two ways. They are a blessing to LEC, and the place and people are a blessing to them. Jan and Phyllis have been responsible for much of the improvements to the grounds, including the  front entrance, flowers by the front office, and cleaning up of the labyrinth. All of us at LEC are so grateful for Phyllis and Jan and all our workampers.




Topics: Retreat and Conference Planning, retreat in Florida, United Methodist Church, volunteer, work Camping, workamping, volunteer retreat center, RV volunteer programs