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Quilts for campers: Shetek Lutheran Ministries plans its 22nd annual fundraising event

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SLAYTON -- If they quilt it, people will come.

That's the basic premise for the annual Quilt Auction and Show at Shetek Lutheran Ministries. Although the event has been going for 22 years, area residents don't seem to tire of viewing and purchasing handmade quilted items. It's the camp's biggest annual fundraiser and is still going strong.

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"It's just unbelievable," said Kathy Peterson, development director at Shetek and primary organizer of the auction. "The quilts come from individuals who have somehow (connected) with the camp, from our churches that are members of Shetek Lutheran Ministries and from different quilt groups also.

"They are gorgeous," she added. "Quilt-measuring day is really a fun day, when we get to really examine and see the quilts. The time the ladies put into these quilts is unbelievable. We're very happy to get all these quilts, and the time and the TLC that goes into them is unbelievable. We are very appreciative of them."

A nonprofit organization, Shetek Lutheran Ministries is owned and operated by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations in southwest Minnesota and southeast South Dakota. The camp provides many programmed retreats for youths, adults, senior adults, women's groups, men's groups and families throughout the year.

The mission statement for Shetek Lutheran Ministries is: As a year-round resource, Shetek provides opportunities for Christ-centered renewal and learning experiences for people of all ages. Each person is encouraged to grow in Christian faith by studying the scripture, worshipping and relating with campers and staff in a natural setting. Shetek seeks to enable people to return to their communities renewed and refreshed.

Proceeds from the quilt auction weekend are used specifically to support the summer camp ministry, to ensure that no child is turned away from camp due to finances; provide faith-building experiences for youths and families; and keep camp more affordable for everyone.

"The main goal is to raise money for Shetek Lutheran Ministries, build camperships, help with improvements and make sure we have a great place for kids to come and adults, too," Peterson elaborated.

Although quilts are the main focus of the fundraiser, a variety of other handcrafted items will also be sold on the auction.

"I believe we have 188 items -- quilts, table runners, wall hangings, everything that's quilted," Peterson detailed. "This year, we will also have themed baskets. It's the first year we've tried them with our silent auction. I think there are 28 right now, and we were going to be happy with 10. They have been donated by churches and individuals. ... There are also some of those --I don't know if you'd call them quilt racks -- the bars that hang on the wall to display quilts, and a baptismal hope chest that's very beautiful. We also have a wooden baby cradle that somebody made and donated. It's really cool."

And then there are the quilts, in a wide array of sizes, colors and styles.

"We have so many beautiful quilts this year," said Peterson, who was reluctant to single out any of the donations as outstanding over another. "Each quilt is so unique in itself, and everybody does such a great job."

Of course, the auction draws many returning quilt enthusiasts each year, but Peterson and the rest of the camp staff hope to entice new patrons in order to perpetuate the event.

"People come to see what it's all about if they haven't been to it before," explained Peterson. "It's a fun day, and we have the pork sandwich dinner, from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., that's a fun thing, too. People who have not had the opportunity to see the camp, it's a great time for them to come out. It's such a gorgeous place to be -- serene, calming, fun to be by the lake. The counselors do a great job and work all week to prepare for this, too."

The 22nd annual Quilt Show and Auction will begin with quilt viewing, demonstrations and displays from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Shetek Lutheran Ministries, located at 14 Keeley Island Drive on Lake Shetek. The quilt viewing will continue from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, with live music beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the barbecue pork lunch from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The auction gets under way at 11:30 a.m. A Kids Carnival is slated for 1 p.m., with pie and fellowship at 1:15 p.m. For more information, go to www.shetek.org; or phone (507) 763-3567.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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