As you well know, that has been a very trying year for Camp and Retreat Ministries. Through it all, you and other members of the community have engaged with this newsletter, sustained this ministry with your gifts and your prayers, and many of you have volunteered at our sites in preparation for opening this summer.
And a lot is happening right now as we get ready for campers and guests to show up in person to our sites in the coming weeks and months, to encounter God in these sacred places of Christian hospitality and learning. We are getting spaces cleaned and ready that have rested for more than a year. There is the hiring and training of staff, with new guidelines related to COVID. There is cleanup of the outdoor settings.
But along with all the work, there is great excitement and anticipation in the air as we draw nearer to the time when all our sites will be hosting campers and guests. And there is also a nervousness about all that is yet to be done and all those things that we will experience for the first time: new drop-off and pick-up processes, keeping distance, a change in the procedure for serving food, and the list goes on and on. On a personal note, I am very excited to get to visit all our sites this summer to see our campers, volunteers, and staff engaged in the work of caring for others as God has called us to do.
I saw this excitement in the gathering of our staff leadership team this week. There was a clear change in the demeanor of each staff person as we gathered again via Zoom to check-in with others, to share with one another how it is that we are meeting the requirements at each site, and to comfort one another as we navigate through what seem to be constantly changing guidelines.
In the midst of that excitement, I have deep gratitude for the way that the directors and staff have held together as a supportive community for one another and our mission; and for the ways that so many of you have continued to support this ministry during this challenging time.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
*PHOTO: Staff Training at Magruder in 2019 (Todd Bartlett).
The Early Bird rate for Children and Youth camps has been extended! Register by June 20th and save $25 per session. Some sessions are filling quickly, so head to our website to register soon. All it takes to hold your camper’s spot is a $50 deposit. Join us as we celebrate God, nature, friends, food, crafts and all things CAMP!
~Holly Dolan, Camp & Retreat Registrar
*PHOTO: Clean-Up Volunteers at Wallowa Lake (Peggy Lovegren).
It feels SO good to be getting back to the basics of how we do camp! Of course, there will be different safety precautions and procedures in place due to Covid, but the fundamentals will all be present: deepening relationships with God and one another in the midst of the breathtaking diversity of creation--and doing it in person!! S'mores and games, new friends and new Bible insights, swimming and hiking, experiencing new challenges with the support of counselors and cabin-mates: all of these are essential to what makes camp so transformative. Add to that the rich tapestry of adult retreats we offer and host, and you get a hint as to why we're so excited to get back to the basics!
As Todd indicates above, we can't do it without you. Your financial donations make a huge difference--thank you!