*PHOTO: This pileated woodpecker seemed so eager to go on retreat that he nearly destroyed the window frame at the Collins Retreat Center. If you're also excited for camp and retreat ministry to resume, read on! (photo by Todd Bartlett)
The long-awaited Oregon state guidelines for overnight camps for school-aged children were released last Friday. If you want to read them, here is a link. There are some differences between the state’s recommendations and the guidebook from the American Camp Association. In addition to these two resources, we continue to work with the team of folks in the United Methodist Church who are providing pandemic-related guidance for ministry in the Greater Northwest Area.
Two areas of concern that rise to the top when we are talking about Camp and Retreat Ministries in this time of COVID are lodging and dining, since both sleeping and eating are done without masks.
One of the basic guides for our operation falls under the category of Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI). These NPI guidelines include recommendations such as:
So, we will reduce the number of people in a space, provide circulation of air (open windows), limit time at dining tables (when eating has to be indoors), keep small groups distanced from other small groups, and engage campers to learn and participate in these protocols to support their health and the health of those in their group.
When you combine these NPI elements, you lower the risk of transmission of this disease. And that is exactly the approach that we are taking in our preparations for operating. Yes, our sites and our programs will look and feel different from our previously typical way of operating AND we will be able to have campers experience the wonder of being in God’s creation, the joy of belonging to a community, and the thrill of being touched by the Spirit, all of which still add up to life-changing experiences.
Thank you for your support through these challenging times. If you have a particular concern about Camp and Retreat Ministries in this phase of COVID, I would be happy to discuss it with you.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
Thanks to "S'mores," the weekly newsletter of the national United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Association, for these tips.
One of the best parts of going on retreat or off to camp is the opportunity to listen to the sounds of nature--including the beautiful symphony of birds. The link below enables you to do that even without leaving your home (although we hope you'll come back to nature soon!).
This fun site helps to identify the unique tunes of many common North American birds. See if you can learn to recognize a couple of new ones this season! Check it out
Other ways to learn:
*PHOTO: A hummingbird in its nest is almost hidden in a cedar tree at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).
It's pretty easy: you believe in the mission of camp and retreat ministry, or you probably wouldn't be reading this. You know that kids and adults alike experience renewal, spiritual growth, depeened faith, increased confidence, and just plain fun at camps and retreats. And you want that to continue, right? So go ahead--click that green button and support what you believe in. (and we thank you!)