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April 06, 2020
COVID-19 Resource Update April 6, 2020

I continue to pray for you all as we experience the unknown together. Thankfully there is one thing we know - our God is good ALL THE TIME! In the midst of the crazy He is steadfast and true.

Updates from our camps - what are camps doing?

Here are some more ideas from camps about what they are doing during this time. If you have more suggestions, drop me a line so I can include it in future updates.

  • A couple of camps are allowing their community to order groceries through the camp's supplier and the camp is delivering the groceries. A couple of camps are preparing meals and offering those for sale (including camp cinnamon buns!) See Camp Evergreen, AB for their Evergreen-To-Go idea and Youth Farm Bible Camp, SK for their Food Market idea.
  • Some camps have contacted the health authorities in their province to indicate their readiness and willingness to help on the front lines of COVID-19 providing beds, childcare for health workers or preparing meals.
  • Camps are holding virtual camps. Check out Camp Chestermere, AB for their iCampC idea.
  • Camps are doing online campfires and online devotionals for kids.
  • Camps are purchasing and planning to sell camp merchandise regardless. They will sell online if needed.
  • One camp suggested making camp puzzles to sell as a fundraiser.
  • Camp Suggestions for engaging campers:
    • Have a t-shirt design contest. Winning t-shirt will be printed and offered for sale.
    • Mail or email connection each week with items for a camp mystery. To be solved after a number of weeks.
    • Supply video content with ideas of what to do at home
    • Do whatever it takes to be a resource NOW – be part of the solution to boredom
    • Online bible lessons
    • House scavenger hunts (include find and play a musical instrument, Camp Seggie says this was the best part of the hunt)
    • Playing Zoom games – see this resource
    • Check out the websites, Facebook and Instagram sites of other camps. Get ideas that you can use at your camp.

In regards to staffing and finances

  • Many camps are temporarily laying off workers. Please ensure that you are following your Provincial Employment laws for the correct way to lay off an employee.
  • Camps are offering tax receipts rather than refunds for cancelled events. (For how to fill out a tax receipt in this event see the link below)
  • Some re-certifications are being extended. Check if this applies to your expiring certifications.

Rresources available to Camps, Conference Centres and other Non-Profits

  • Updating your policy and procedures so that they include what to do should camp resume this summer? There are three sample policy and procedure manuals available in the CCI/Canada Resource Library. Feel free to download them and tailor them to your camp. Thank you to Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp, AB and Camp Arnes, MB for sharing these.
  • Paul Bailey from the FCC has made a spreadsheet available to camps to help determine the 75% subsidy and to aid in financial decisions around payroll. (This is also available in the CCI/Canada Resource Library)
  • Camps are invited to join a slack group to discuss ideas (Slack is an instant messaging platform that can make collaborative sharing at a distance easier
  • CCI/Worldwide is offering a prayer app. Check it out to pray for others or to receive prayer.
  • The American Camp Association is offering access to 2 free videos per day - an excellent resource relating to camp practices. You will have to sign up with the ACA to receive this offer.
  • Practical support for the Canadian Church by Graf-Martin Communications 
  • Financial relief, response plan by Church Fuel
  • Details on the CARES Act (financial grants and loans for payroll) by Church Fuel
  • Tools and Resources to help you work remotely by Google for Non-Profits 

Links to help you in your planning

Thank you to all of you who are so wiling to share your ideas! 

April 01, 2020
CCI/Canada - Advocacy

Call to advocate

I am encouraging all of you to write your MP or MLA using this suggested template letter. Copy and paste, make it personal, and send this letter two ways:

  1. As an email to your MP or MLA. This arrives quickly and gets into their hands immediately.
  2. Send by mail. Print it on your letterhead and have an original signature (letters to MP's do not require stamps, letters to MLA's do). I am being told that hard copy letters often have more impact.

CCI/Canada is sending a letter to our Prime Minister to advocate on behalf of all our Camps and Conference Centres. This letter expands on the template suggested for use by our members.

 

March 24, 2020
Coronavirus Update March 24, 2020

Praying this finds you in good health - physically, mentally and spiritually! 

Updates from our camps - what are camps doing?

Here are some more ideas from camps about what they are doing during this time. If you have more suggestion, drop me a line so I can include it in future updates.

  • Camps have communicated to their summer campers that camp is running for the time being and a more definite decision will be made as more information is known (camps are giving dates at the end of May or beginning of June for reassessment decisions)
  • A couple of camps are allowing their community to order groceries through the camp's supplier and the camp is delivering the groceries
  • A couple of camps are preparing meals and offering those for sale (including camp cinnamon buns!)
  • Some camps are readying their facility (deep clean) so that they can be ready to offer their site in case more beds are needed by health care
  • Camps are posting online challenges to already engage their campers. Ideas include  
    • Lego challenge - post a picture of a lego creation of their favorite camp activity. Winning photo gets a box of lego delivered to their house.
    • Instagram photo challenge - post your summer memories
    • Recipe challenge - camp shares a favorite recipe and campers share their experience cooking and eating the "goods"
  • Camps are looking at other ways they can use their facilities if the bans are lifted - church groups, adult retreats, etc
  • Camps are talking about having a deeper staff training, LIT or leadership development programs during the Spring (if bans are reduced or lifted)

In regards to staffing and finances

  • Some camps are still running with full staff (most of these are smaller camps)
  • Many camps have laid off workers
  • Many camps are using government programs to assist in paying salaries (see links below)
  • Camps have asked their banks to suspend mortgage/loan payments
  • All camps are encouraged to keep a record of lost revenue as well as cost savings (decreased expenses) to paint a true picture of financial loss.
  • Camp are encouraged to keep dated screen shots of decisions being made by the authorities to indicate how the decisions directly affect the financial picture at the camp
  • Camps are thankful that the CRA has deferred payment of the GST remittance to August 31 (see links below)
  • Camps are relying on volunteers to help with projects where staff are laid off and where provincial restrictions allow
  • Camps are offering tax receipts rather than refunds for cancelled events. (For how to fill out a tax receipt in this event see the link below)

Links to help you in your planning

This is an interesting time for all of us. Be encouraged! We know a great God! We are innovative and creative people. We are used to coming up with contigency plans at the drop of a hat (or the drop of rain that brings us all indoors). Please share your ideas and your thoughts with me.

In the midst of hardship is when we read the well quoted verse "'I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'" Jeremiah 29:11-13

Let's join together to seek Him! Join with ministries across Canada to participate in a Global Day of Prayer and Fasting on Sunday, March 29 (https://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/COVIDPrayer) and remember to mark the Day of Prayer for Camp on your calendars - May 31, 2020.

March 20, 2020
Coronavirus Update March 20, 2020

What a week it has been! Last week CCI/Canada was ending our board meetings after planning for a wonderful summer and National Conference. This week we are facing group cancellations, uncertainty over summer camp, closures to businesses and layoffs to name a few. Camp directors and boards are making difficult decisions for their current operations and for the foreseeable future.

National Conference – Living Water 2020 – One Hour Special

In terms of the National Conference, Living Water 2020, we will not have our one hour special on April 7. That will be postponed. We will communicate with you at a later date about the conference itself. We are very aware of the financial constraints that camps are facing.

As safety is our top priority, I encourage you to continue to apply the recommendations of your federal and provincial governments as well as your public health officials. Changes are happening quickly and it is impossible to make any definitive recommendations about the summer season.

What are camps doing?

Although I cannot give you recommendations about what your camps should do, I can give you some ideas of what camps across Canada are considering. Perhaps some of these suggestions will also work for you.

  • Some camps are continuing to plan for a strong summer camp season including hiring staff and planning their summer programs
  • Some camps are talking about running day camps instead of overnight camps
  • Some camps are planning for a possible longer camp season if the restrictions are lifted earlier but children do not return to school
  • Some camps are discussing virtual camps or “camp in a box” delivered to the campers
  • Some camps are brainstorming other money making ideas such as preparing and delivering meals
  • Some camps have deferred making the decision to run or to cancel the summer programs to a future date
  • Some camps have cancelled their summer camp programs and have asked their summer camper families to consider leaving their registration fees as a donation for a donation receipt
  • Most Camps have cancelled bookings at their camp until at least mid-April
  • Camps offering a spring session have had groups cancel and have encouraged the groups to move their deposits to 2021
  • All camps are being more intentional about disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces including light switches, paper towel levers, handrails and other “often touched” surfaces

In regards to staffing and finances

  • Camps are checking on their insurance regarding business interruption insurance and whether that will cover the Coronavirus pandemic (Magnes Insurance is providing business interruption coverage for the virus). In the meantime, keep track of all expenses that are incurred and revenue loss due to the virus
  • Some camps are able to weather the situation for a few months
  • Some camps have begun to lay off their staff
  • Some camps are asking staff to take their holidays now
  • Some camps have asked their staff to take a pay reduction
  • Camps are being selective about which bills to pay – GST remittance, utilities, etc are being put on hold for the time being
  • Camps need to be prepared to refund prepaid camp fees but are asking parents to consider giving their registration as a donation for an income tax receipt (many organizations are matching donations at this time - take advantage of what Canada Helps, Benevity ATB cares and others are doing)

The Manitoba Camping Association reported that at 2:40 pm Wednesday March 18, Mike LeBlanc, Chief Public Health Inspector, Manager - Health Protection Unit said “It’s basically a wait and see. Rec camps are in the same boat as everyone else. It is too premature to cancel summer camps but time will tell.”

Is there anywhere to discuss options?

If you are looking for a place to discuss responses to the virus with other camp professionals in both faith-based and non faith-based camps, a small group of Camp Pros have been working on a COVID-19 megaDoc: https://zoic.ca/camps-covid-19. This is a space where resources for camps are being collected with ideas for communication and summer procedures.

 

As Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim 1:12), “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day”. We know that God is in control!

Let us pray together that at this time the hearts of both youth and adults become more receptive and they meditate more than usual on what life is all about, and that they would turn to Jesus, the source of life and hope. Let us pray that our churches and camp teams will find ways for taking the Good News to the people around them. Pray for our health, the health of camp teams and for the panic to subside. Pray for Divine guidance concerning plans for summer camps.

We are here to support our members. I am praying for you all! If you need specific prayer or need someone to talk to, give me a call, call your Member Care Provider, your Regional Team Leader, or another camp. WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER!