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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: 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!