So, this summer I have returned to my ministry roots, and am again working at a United Methodist Camp. In 1994 I began at Potosi Pines Camp outside Las Vegas as Site Director. It was a ministry I was only slightly familiar with but felt a strong call to do. Over the years at Potosi, and in Alabama, and in Oregon and in Michigan and now in North Carolina, I have been privileged to watch how God has changed hearts and transformed lives through the experience of Camp.
This summer is hard. The Camps in the Desert Southwest Conference have suspended their summer schedules through the month of June. Decisions on the remainder of the summer programs will be made soon, after much prayerful consideration. Our camps could sit empty, without the joy and noise and energy of a normal season.
Sister camps across the country are having to make the same difficult choices.
The decisions are not easy, and impact ministry on many different levels. The safety and health of our staff and campers is always the first consideration. Then there are the lost opportunities to share the love of Christ and Christian hospitality to another class of campers. Missing out on the adventures and fellowship as well as the worship and learning is leaving a large hole in the lives of many children and adults this year. Our amazing camp staff serving Potosi Pines and Mingus Mountain are hard at work devising possible on-site programs or virtual alternative programs to offer.
Then there is the financial impact of losing a complete season of revenue. The summer fees represent a significant part of the annual budgets for income. We are blessed in the Desert Southwest with good stewardship, but none of our camps is prepared for this significant loss.
Why am I writing this? Because I am grateful that camp folks are being incredibly creative and doing everything they can to provide meaningful experiences for our children. I am grateful that parents are willing to be supportive and engaged to provide support. And I am grateful that God loves camp ministry and has our best interests at heart. There is no way this year is anything but hard, but each day I see the blessings of people offering gifts of time, creativity, and funds to ensure the future of our amazing camps and programs.
And I am telling you this so that you can be a part of the joy of supporting camp. If you or your children have ever benefited from Mingus Mountain or Potosi Pines, I encourage you to go to their websites and offer your support. And if you have wonderful memories of a camp experience somewhere else, I encourage you to go online to the website for that camp and support them. They would love to hear you are thinking about them, and hear how they helped form you into a caring and sharing person.
Now that we are encouraged to go outside, you may want to call and plan a visit to one of our camps. Thousands of children, youth and adults have been transformed at these sacred sites, and I encourage you to let them transform you.