In February of 2010, Dan Grabel and Andy Brown realized their dreams of camp ownership. For months the two searched the country for camp properties before signing the lease on a site 90 minutes outside of St. Louis, which for 50 years was the site of Lake Benton Baptist Camp. The camp is adjacent to Rend Lake and borders Wayne Fitzgerell State Park. Grabel and Brown renamed the property Camp Manitowa — which means the Great Spirit — and put more than $1 million into renovations right away.
- adding a high school grade baseball field
- adding NBA-sized basketball courts
- building the ten yurts (five girls and five boys)
- commercial kitchen upgrades
- remodeling the cabins
- enhancing the dining and rec halls
Since opening our gates in August 2010 Camp Manitowa has hosted thousands of campers, adults, and families.
In Januray, 2017 they took ownership of a second camp in southern Illinois when they took over the vacant Girl Scout Camp – Camp Cedar Point – in Makanda, Illinois. They have been renovating it since, immediately cleaning, painting and updating the kitchen in this 257 acre property that after being used for about 60 years, sat vacant for four.
Camp Manitowa-Rend Lake – total capacity 180-200
- 10 round yurt cabins in two separate villages. Each yurt accommodates 16 and
- 8 heated/air conditioned dorm rooms that accommodate 4 each.
- Bathrooms in buildings
- two dining halls
- front office meeting space
- wig wam rec hall with stage
- Beachfront access to 40 acre Lake Hamilton
Camp Manitowa-Cedar Point – total capacity 340+
- Bunkhouse with 7 private rooms, kitchen, two bathrooms, dining room, living room, deck. Heat & a/c. Accommodates 25
- 2 large lodges that accommodate 24 students and 2-4 staff in separate room. Includes common area with fireplace, heat & a/c, bathrooms, showers
- 2 small lodges that accommodate 8-10. Includes heat & a/c, one bathroom and shower
- 8 very cool rustic villages with screened in hogan cabins (4 per cabin), platform tents (4 per tent), campfire circle and pavilion with fireplace in each village
- Large dining hall
- Large gazebo
- Beachfront access to 1200 acre Little Grassy Lake