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October 19, 2005

"The CSD Journey" - Camp Lakodia - A Year-Round Deaf-Friendly Retreat

From: CSD Community - Oct 19, 2005

The CSD Journey
This series of articles highlights Communication Service for the Deaf's expansion from a one-person operation to the largest deaf-run organization in the world, employing over 3,200 employees in 42 offices.

Camp Lakodia – A Year-Round Deaf-Friendly Retreat
After several years hosting conferences and summer youth programs at various sites across the country, CSD recognized the need for a permanent "home" to bring people together. This facility needed to be deaf-friendly and multipurpose to meet the needs of different activities, programs and events. Frank Turk -- best known for his long-time work on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing youth -- was also exploring new opportunities for expanded CSD youth programming. CSD saw the purchase of property as a major commitment to support and strengthen deaf and hard of hearing youth. The dream was realized on July 2, 2002 with the purchase of a 15-acre campground known as Camp Lakodia. The property is located on the south shore of Lake Herman near rural Madison, S.D.

With its extensive facilities, Camp Lakodia has been in great demand, hosting numerous events, including the National Literacy and Leadership Camp for deaf and hard of hearing youth (NLLC), the 2005 South Dakota Association for the Deaf (SDAD) Conference, the 2005 Intertribal Deaf Council Spiritual Gathering, numerous senior citizen gatherings, Kids of Deaf Adults (KODA) Camp and many others. To accommodate the growing number of guests, CSD purchased adjacent property, expanding to its current 38 acres. The camp also underwent a series of major renovations to modernize and make the facility compatible with the needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals. All camp employees know sign language.

At present, Camp Lakodia boasts six cabins with capacities of 6-12 people; three bunkhouses that can sleep up to 36; and the large Turk Lodge, which accommodates up to 20 guests with a full kitchen and 3.5 bathrooms. The multipurpose Lakodia Hall is equipped with audio/visual equipment to accommodate meetings, conferences, retreats and workshops. The camp's dining hall seats up to 200, is wired for high speed Internet and also serves as a recreation center.

The camp is also available for private use, including reunions, relaxing vacations with family and friends, or romantic weekend getaways. With its panoramic views of Lake Herman and an oversized gazebo, Camp Lakodia has become popular as a wedding and reception site. And Lakodia Outfitters provides a unique opportunity to hunt pheasants on prime habitat, led by seasoned local guides. Keeping in line with CSD's mission, Camp Lakodia places a priority on serving the deaf and hard of hearing community, but hearing individuals and organizations are also welcome to use the camp facilities.

Camp Lakodia is open and fully staffed year-round. To make reservations or find out more about its amenities and upcoming events, go to

Long-time partners and community leaders will join C.E.O. Benjamin J. Soukup — along with CSD officers, employees and friends of CSD — at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota on Friday, Oct. 28 to commemorate CSD's 30th anniversary. A new book, "Seeing A Need," will be launched during the banquet. Event information is available at

Watch For Upcoming Article: "Who Has The Fastest Connection?".