Camp Good News is a busy place.

Activities almost too numerous to list keep children busy. Equally as important is the evangelical purpose of the camp.

“It’s a safe, welcoming place where children can learn about Jesus and all He has done for us,” said camp board member Mark Cobble.

Thousands of children have gone to the camp since it opened in the summer of 1957 on a 27-acre site at the end of Liberty Lane.

The camp is one of Washington’s gems, albeit one that doesn’t come quickly to mind when someone is asked about the city’s landmarks.

“We’re like a familiar, long-time business. Sometimes you forget about it until you see it,” Cobble said.

Cobble said Washington Mayor Gary Manier gave an inspirational speech to camp staff and volunteers before this year’s summer season.

There were 419 campers this summer including 62 Legacy campers who have a parent in prison. Some $20,000 in scholarships helped children attend the camp and 95 “decisions for Christ” took place.

New activities included aerial archery, a hammock village, wilderness survival week and new animals in the nature center including pet skunk Stinkerbell.

There also were old favorites like Zorb knocker ball, archery dodge ball, crate stacking, zip line, slingshots and a creek walk.

Camp Good News is more than a summer camp. It also has fall and winter activities.

Among the new fall and winter offerings this year are a “Raising a Modern Day Knight” for fathers and sons, a week of camp crammed into one weekend, archery club, discovery day, survival weekend, cabin fever and a Timothy retreat for teens interested in full-time ministry.

On the wish list for next year if enough donations come in, Cobble said, are a giant swing over the camp’s 100-foot ravine, Connect 4 Basketball, Skim Pad (Slip & Slide with a bungee cord) and new carpeting in the chapel.

Camp Good News is a ministry of the not-for-profit Child Evangelism Fellowship of Illinois. The camp opened in 1956 and its first full summer of operation was in 1957.

CEF is a worldwide organization that was launched in Chicago in 1937 and now has a presence in 192 countries.

Brian Cordes is the facilities director for Camp Good News and Chris Kallal is the camp director.

Next year’s camp theme is “Happy Camper: There is Joy in Knowing Jesus.”

The camp can be rented for activities. For information, go to iheartcamp.org.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.