Klingberg moved here from Michigan with his wife, Karen, and three daughters, ages 10 to 15, to take the Camp Joy El post. He has worked in religious camp ministry programs off and on since 1988 when he took a job at Camp Sparta, a newly formed church camp in Sebring, Fla.
Klingberg grew up in Chicago, a baseball's throw from Wrigley Field. He spent two years at the University of Illinois taking criminal justice courses and worked summers as a staff counselor at Pine Trail, a religious camp in Michigan. He and his wife met there.
They married before he finished college and he took a manager's job with a private detective agency for four years before heading to Florida Bible College, where he and his wife earned degrees. She later became a registered nurse and he earned a master's degree from a seminary in Michigan.
He worked at a Christian camp in California for two years then moved back to Pine Trail for the next seven years. He resigned late last year not knowing where he would end up.
"I just knew it was time to go," he said. He felt as if he was being "directed by the Lord to come to Camp Joy El," he said.
Camp Joy El opened its doors in the summer of 1974 on three contiguous tracts donated by three land owners, said Lois Ann Glassner, 42, regional coordinator at the camp.
It was built in phases and grew over time. Today, it boasts of the main building which houses the kitchen and dining hall, a chapel and offices, 12 cabins, a first-aid cabin, a gym and outdoor pool, a 17-room lodge and conference center, a pavilion, a canteen, a maintenance building and two staff houses. The Klingbergs live in one of the staff houses.
The camp has 10 full-time employees and seven who work part time.
It runs three basic programs - the year-round camp, a leadership training program for area high school students and the biggest program called released time, in which students in grades three through 12 leave public school for an hour a week for religious instruction. Students are bussed or walk to churches or other facilities for classes.
The program involves about 2,600 students in 80 schools in nine counties, Glassner said. It operates with about 850 volunteer teachers.