Share in a rewarding and positive experience at Camp Iakwe; a weekend culture camp designed for families with adopted Marshallese children of all ages. Our program provides a culturally rich experience through Marshallese-focused education, activities, and entertainment. Each year a new theme is established on which the curriculum and program is built. Our unique event includes Marshallese leaders joining us to teach and help lead the weekend.

core values

Camp Iakwe was founded on three guiding principles: to Learn, Celebrate, and Connect.

camp mission

To foster heritage confidence and pride in our children
by providing education of Marshallese culture, customs, and traditions.

To provide key tools to families to support and incorporate
Marshallese culture into their daily lives.

To establish a philanthropic event during camp that
provides aid directly to the people of RMI.

Contact us

To receive Camp Iakwe updates, please join our mailing list by completing this Interest Form.

If you have any general questions or need additional information,
please email: [email protected]


about us

Camp Iakwe was launched in 2015 by parents of adopted children born in the Marshall Islands.
The founders work closely with experts and leaders in the Marshallese community both in the RMI and US to develop a culturally rich program. Prior to launching, extensive research was conducted including attending culturally-focused events, volunteering at culture camps, interviewing attendees of established camps, and meeting with leaders of successful camps. We continue to leverage these relationships to grow and evolve our successful program.

planning board

After spending several weeks in the Marshall Islands finalizing the adoptions of our children,
we all fell in love with the country and culture. We are passionate about incorporating that culture into our daily lives and continuing to learn about the important history of RMI. Our professional backgrounds include: marketing, education, business strategy, logistics, medical, and non-profit volunteer & board-of-director experience. This diverse business expertise provides a mix of viewpoints and approaches to develop and execute a successful culture camp organization.

Kate Gjerstad Howd  |  Claire Warren  |  Angie Salo  |  Kari Brych

View Short Bios Here

advisory board

We consult regularly with key influencers in the Marshallese community.
Helping to ensure our program is authentic and culturally appropriate, our advisors
provide input and advice to properly develop our camp curriculum and activities.

our past camps

Each year, our weekend begins with an opening ceremony Friday evening, which includes a celebration of singing, traditional Marshallese dance performances, and the official welcome to families. We are honored to be joined by key leaders within the Marshallese communities, including Senators, Community Education Leaders, Youth Pastoral Leaders and adult adoptees.

 Throughout the weekend, families participate in breakout sessions to gain a deeper understanding of Marshallese history and culture. The weekend also includes informal time to play and connect as families. To close out culture camp, families participate in a philanthropic event to support children living in Majuro.



(Your Voice)


Ippen Dron!

(Celebrate Together!)


Jooj Ej
Juon Wot

(We are all connected)


Bar Jeplaak
Nan Majuro

(A return trip to Majuro)

mark your calendars

Next Culture Camp: Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14, 2019

Registration Opens: January 3, 2019
Registration Closes: March 31, 2019

Culture Camp 2019

Camp Iakwe 2019 details coming soon.


Hosted at Saint John’s University, a beautiful campus located in Collegeville, Minnesota just over an hour north of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area. A campus setting allows us to be cost efficient with affordable lodging and offers us many spaces to host all of our activities in one location. SJU grounds provide an up-north camp feel and include many indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate our camp agenda, miles of hiking trails, gathering spaces for all of our families, and a private lake with swimming beach. Camp Iakwe housing will be in SJU Apartment-style dorms. Each unfurnished unit includes a kitchen area, living/sitting area,
full bathroom, and separate bedrooms.

Saint John's University, 2850 Abbey Road, Collegeville, MN 56321
For a campus map and more, click HERE.

See Campus Photos Here


A full agenda is provided to registered families prior to camp weekend.
For travel planning purposes the key itinerary is as follows:

Friday July 12th
Check-in Time:

Saturday July 13th
Adult/Child Breakout Sessions, Activities & Evening Celebration

Sunday July 14th

Jimjera Project and Closing Ceremony: 9:00am-12:00pm

After the Camp Iakwe official program ends, feel free to continue to enjoy SJU campus grounds, beach,
and facilities throughout the afternoon in order to accommodate your individual return travel times.

Registration for Camp Iakwe 2019 opens January 3, 2019.

registration rates

All-inclusive fee includes: Two nights lodging, all meals, bed linens and bath towels, facilities space rentals, curriculum, educators, activities, supplies and entertainment.

In support of one of Camp Iakwe’s key missions, our organization will conduct a philanthropic event each year during culture camp that provides aide directly to the people of the Marshall Islands. In order to successfully grow these philanthropic efforts, we have established a partner program called The Jimjera Project. Jimjera translates to "friendship" in Marshallese and was chosen to communicate our view of Camp Iakwe’s relationship with the Marshallese community.

Each year, camp families help stuff backpacks with school supplies that are sent to children in RMI. Everyone at camp writes a note or draws a picture that is added to the backpacks as a way to send our jimjera and iakwe.


You will be able to select a school supply to purchase. All purchases will be shipped directly to Camp Iakwe for families to assemble at camp this summer. The backpacks filled with school supplies will then get delivered to children in the Marshall Islands for back to school.

Copyright 2017 - Camp Iakwe Culture Camp. All Rights Reserved.



past camps

camp iakwe 2019


jimjera project