Navigating the Fog!
During the mid-1970s I served in the United States Navy where I participated in training at Great Lakes, Illinois; Cape May, New Jersey; and Newport, Rhode Island. One key area of training was navigation. Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vessel from one place to another. There are many factors that influence your course in reaching your destination safely. It wasn’t until my time in Newport, Rhode Island, that I experienced FOG. Thick fog was not uncommon in Narragansett Bay and visibility was, at times, only inches. The horns would blow, and the bells would sound, and then everything STOPPED. Navigation on land and sea was nearly impossible, and the base on which I was stationed was ordered to lock down.
Our adversary was not the lock down, but the fog; and as we applied our training and experience in navigation, we were able to, with patience, reach our destination safely.
Navigating through this past year of Covid-19 reminds me a lot of my time navigating in the fog at Narragansett Bay.
At Countryside Camp and Conference Centre, God’s wisdom, guidance, and provision have sustained His ministry. In May 2020, the Province of Ontario closed all residential summer programs, including ours. Our rental ministry was also forced to close, but thankfully, nearly all of our rental ministry groups have rolled over their events to 2021.
During this time of disruptive innovation, we developed new ways to use the internet to communicate our mission, purpose, and current position to our stakeholders, guests, campers, and friends. Power-n-Praise sessions happened online and our 43rd Annual Fun Fair became a week-long event online instead of just a one-day event in September. In our eyes and in Google Analytics, both proved to be very successful.
In September, we developed a Covid-19 reopening plan for rental ministry with reduced building capacities, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, and social distancing. Upon implementing the new Covid-19 reopening plan, two day groups (45 and 90) took advantage of the opportunity, and both were successful. When the province moved our region into the orange zone, then red zone, daily group opportunities were again suspended, but our plan had been tested without incident.
As we continue to experience the pandemic of Covid-19, we remain vigilant and prepared, awaiting the next opportunity to apply our reopening plan not only to rental ministry groups, but also to individuals looking to experience “The Best Summer Ever at Camp Shalom-2021”, our residential summer program.
We still provide the largest residential summer camp program facility in Ontario to individuals with special needs, hosting over 210 guests in nineteen Special Needs, Spec Trek, Spec Arts, and Spec Sports program sessions over eight weeks of the summer. Add to that the more than 240 students participating in the twelve Adventure, Munchkin, Quest, and Discipleship programs, and we will serve over 420 residential guests and campers. We are also launching a new day camp program for the 2021 season. The reduced capacity of residential campers and guests reflects the implementation of the Covid-19 reopening plan.
As we prepare to reopen, we need your help in three important ways:
- Be PRAYING for God’s ministry here at Camp Shalom! Pray for the staff to have resilience and strength, soundness of mind, and clarity in their call. Pray that God will continue to show His favour and abundance so that we have more and greater opportunities to serve others here at camp this month and every month throughout 2021. Pray for Camp Shalom and the positive impact that the seasonal staff will have on the lives of children, youth, and guests with special needs that need to know the love of Jesus Christ.
- Be PRESENT here at Camp Shalom! This coming month as we prepare to reopen, we are hosting a Spring Work Day event. Yes, this will be an event! If you are able, we need help cleaning up outdoors from the winter and the inside of our buildings as they have been unused for an entire year. Save the date: MAY 1st, 2021! Watch your inboxes for more notifications!
- Be PROVIDING financially for this reopening season at Camp Shalom! I have appreciated your support of our ministry through this last year and hope that it will continue into the 2021 season. A number of you have chosen to support us monthly, and that has helped tremendously during the lean months of this pandemic.
Thank you in advance for your help in these three needed areas!