Greetings from your Dakotas and Minnesota Area United Methodist camps.
Summer 2020 has arrived, and it just doesn’t feel the same when we know we won’t see your smiling faces! We are sad, we miss you, and we know you miss camp too! With all that’s happening in our world today, it seems like there has never been a more important time than right now for children to be at camp. While we know the decision to suspend summer programming at our six camps was the right choice during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s simply not summer without you. We can’t wait to see you when it is safe to gather once again.
- Camp Connections: Even though we can’t physically be together at camp this summer, you can still stay connected virtually to some of your favorite parts of camp! Beginning Monday, June 8, make sure to follow your Dakotas and Minnesota camping Facebook pages for a daily “Camp Connection" to connect with some of your favorite places and activities at camp. Join us as we hike beautiful trails, feed the camp goats, visit the gold mine, go kayaking, swing in the hammocks, make s’mores, zoom down the zip line, sing your favorite songs around the campfire, worship, and SO MUCH more! We will share a new “Camp Connection” every day for five weeks. Make sure to check it out!
- Plan for re-opening camps: Our staff continue to work closely with local, state, and industry leaders to determine when and how to safely reopen our sites. We’ve developed, and are implementing, re-opening protocols and procedures that meet safety guidelines set by each state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We know you, like us, are ready to get back to camp. Please be assured we are moving to reopen as swiftly as we’re able while also exercising an abundance of caution. The safety of guests and staff is worth the time it takes to do it right. We are starting slow with small family groups only, but we hope and pray for a time when we will be able to host larger group retreats. Since our area camps work with three different state governments, each with a unique pathway to navigate the pandemic, we ask that you please contact the camp director at the site where you’d like to schedule an event for information on what is possible at this time.
- Financial update: Each of your six camps’ operating budgets are funded nearly exclusively through user fees. With the suspension of summer camps and the inability to host retreats and gatherings, the financial impact on our camp and retreat ministry is significant. While staff have been doing their best to reduce fixed costs, including reduction of staff and salaries, delaying projects, and keeping many facilities offline, our sites are struggling financially. No one knows how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our ministry, but we anticipate disruption of service into 2021. We’ve been blessed with some wonderful gifts from our United Methodist conferences, individuals, and local churches. Thank you!!! If you are feeling led to support your camps at this time, we enthusiastically welcome your assistance. Watch for additional opportunities to help keep our campfires glowing and to ensure your camps remain strong and growing.
Be well, stay safe, and God bless you!
Your United Methodist Dakotas and Minnesota camp staff