For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
– Psalm 100:5
Hello from the director of Casowasco! As we continue to navigate and learn during the COVID-19 situation, we want you to know that we are focusing on safe operations and planning to continue our ministry in the healthiest ways possible. Our director is working diligently to host guest groups in a safe manor and to continue the planning on opening our summer camp programs when it is safe and permitted to do so. Summer is coming, and we know questions about summer camp are on many people’s minds, including all of us at Casowasco. Here is what we currently know:
Will summer programs happen at UNY camp and retreat centers this year?
We hope so! We know that our communities are looking forward to coming back to our sites after the year we’ve all had, and we’re committed to making sure any programs we run prioritize the safety, health, and wellbeing of all who set foot on our sites. There are certain kinds of programs we know we can safely run this year, including many retreats, family programs, and day programs, which our sites are already rolling out. The remaining question is that of overnight, residential programs for children and youth, including traditional summer camp, Express Mini programs, and Special Needs Programs. Our decision on these programs will depend on guidance from our state and local Department of Health, the American Camp Association, and the Upper New York Annual Conference, as well as each site’s ability to confidently meet the necessary guidelines and safety standards, both logistically and financially. Our sites must be able to afford the cost of any changes we make for safety without making our prices unaffordable for families. Currently, while the state of NY has indicated that camps may plan to open for summer camp this year, but they have not yet released requirements for safe operation.
How will I know when a decision has been made or when registration opens?
The Camp & Retreat Ministries team and each of our sites will be making sure we keep our communities informed on the latest developments with summer camp! More than ever, we are committed to maintaining open and honest communication with our campers, guests, churches, and parents. The CRM leadership team meets weekly to plan and share information, and will share updates on our websites, email lists, and social media when we have them.
If I attend a summer program this year, what’s going to be different?
We know that the ways we need to keep our communities safe as we come out of the pandemic will change some things about the way we run things this year, and that’s okay. The directors at each site will give each family and user group the opportunity to read and understand our new COVID – 19 guidelines a procedures. In addition to our guidelines, each site will be requiring all our campers and guests to sign a covenant, agreeing to follow the guidelines that will keep our environment safe and welcoming. What won’t be different this year? The countless opportunities to learn, grow, and smile, the beauty of God’s creation, and the transformative power of God’s love.
What if things change?
Luckily, if there’s one thing we’ve gotten better at over the past year, it’s adapting our plans and operating from a place of grace. The directors and staff at each site understand that we need to be flexible and understanding to our camper’s and guest group’s needs, so we are working with a relaxed refund policy to serve our campers, families, and guests so we can help and relieve the stress of uncertainty. Here is the modified plan for returns:
Each site and each director desires to work with each camper, user group, and retreat group with compassion and grace. The director at Casowasco will also review each camper’s and retreat group’s cancelation to determine the best course of action on an individual basis.
All of us at Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm are here to support the camping and retreat ministry in the safest way possible, so if you have any concerns or questions please contact your site on ways that we can help.
Happy Camping from the Camp and Retreat Centers Lead Team of the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church!
Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center
David Weber, Jr.