Last week, I had a briefing with state officials, then with the American Camping Association. We will get final guidelines by the end of March for short-term overnight camps. But the guidelines we do have caused us great concern. For example:
1. No singing.
2. Camps will be broken into pods or groups of 8 campers.
3. Pods cannot socialize or participate in activities with other pods (so your camp is with just those 8 other campers for the week).
4. Can only sleep 3-4 people in a cabin.
These are just a few of the guidelines that made opening overnight camping seem very difficult to pull off.
After much prayer, discussion, and thought we feel that we should suspend overnight camping for one more summer. We are heartbroken about this, but we feel it is the right decision. We are instead concentrating on expansion our day camp program.
Mechuwana's Day Camp program has been available for youth ages 5-10 for more than 25 years. We limit the enrollment to 30 campers per week. This summer, in addition to our regular day camp sessions, we are going to offer small specialty day camps of 6-8 campers for older youth. These programs will go on in a different part of camp than our regular day camp program. For example, we will have a Creative Arts Camp for 8 campers at the same time as our regular weekly day camp session, just located in a different area of camp.
Later this month, we will send an email (if you aren't on our list yet, please sign up today at the bottom of our home page) and post on our website a link to the day camp brochure, which includes registration and camp information, as well as options for attending if traveling a distance and other ways to be involved.
It is our hope that this fall we will be able to host a full range of programs, including youth rallies, family programs, a Golden Oldies retreat, and more.
As we learn more about fall gathering guidelines, we will begin planning and sharing information about these events. We hope we will all "come back again someday" soon and enjoy all that Mechuwana has to offer.
In the meantime, we hope you are well and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support of our ministry.
—Norm Thombs, Executive Director