Warner Camp Summer Update
Thank you for your patience and understanding as the Warner Camp Staff and Board of Directors have diligently worked and prayed to determine the safest way for summer camp to happen this summer. So far, 2020 has been filled with many uncertainties and our goal is to provide Life Changing Experiences in the safest way possible in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the evening of May 14, the Board of Directors met and made the somber decision to cancel or postpone our June youth camps and retreat programs. This was not a decision made lightly and our hearts break that we are not able to run camp as planned. However, we are hopeful to resume camps and retreats at the start of July. We are constantly monitoring the state of the pandemic and evaluating ways we can run camp in a safe environment. We will continue to assess data and recommendations from the State, the Allegan County Health Department, and the Christian Camping Conference Association. The board plans to meet in the middle of June to reassess the current state of the pandemic and will make decisions for July accordingly.
We are so thankful for your generous support and understanding during these difficult times. Warner Camp thrives because of the endless support we receive from people who love this place like we do. Please continue to pray for our staff and our board of directors as we continue to make these difficult, but important decisions. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. You can also contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions for myself or the board. Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy month of June.
Dave Burkard MD
Chairman of the Board of Directors
COVID-19 continues to have an impact on every life, and Warner Camp is no exception. The first major changes came March 23 in the form of Executive Order 2020-21: Stay Home, Stay Safe. Since then there has been multiple Executive Orders extending Stay Home, Stay Safe. On May 7 Executive Order 2020-77 was issued lifting some restrictions – such as manufacturing locations opening May 11 – but did not include “easing of restrictions” for Camps, Campgrounds or RV Parks. Until we have further guidance, and the lessening of restrictions, Warner Camp will continue to operate under guidelines listed in the April 30 update.
RV PARK … Our current policy remains as previously stated: The RV Park is closed to overnight camping. Families who have “Seasonal Sites” but do not have another residence in Michigan, are allowed to stay overnight in the RV Park. For families with a “Seasonal Site”, and their trailer is already onsite, their site location is available for day use only – for spring cleaning and summer preparations. Water to the RV Park will be “turned on” prior to the May 15 – 17 weekend. For those who do come to Warner Camp please honor social distancing guidelines as set forth by the State of Michigan. The following common spaces will remain closed: all facilities (including bath house and RV restroom), the picnic pavilion and playgrounds. Because the bath house will be closed, standard sanitation services (ie: honey wagon) will provided.
SUMMER PROGRAMS … Current plans are to run our normally scheduled 2020 Summer Camp Programs – which includes our four weeks of Youth Camp and the annual Camp Meeting. To best prepare for the upcoming Summer, we have taken part in multiple zoom calls and webinars, many panel discussions, and read numerous articles. We are also working with the American Camp Association, Allegan County Health Department, Christian Camp & Conference Association, Association of Camp Nurse, and other Christian Camps to gather whatever information we can for providing a safe environment. Since the end of March, we’ve been working on different “Summer Scenarios.” With June fast approaching, and Summer Staff planning to arrive June 4, a decision will be made in the near future regarding the best scenario to implement.
WISDOM FROM ABOVE … The Warner Camp leadership wants to exercise Godly wisdom (Proverbs 2:2 – 6) in each step taken with regards to our Summer Camp Programs. Please pray for the Board of Directors and Staff as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, and plan and pray towards creating a “Safe Place” for “Life Changing Experiences” to take place.
In response to Executive Order 2020-59, and conversations with the local health department, the RV Park will remain closed to overnight camping through May 15. Exceptions can be made for “Seasonal Sites” for families who have no other residence in Michigan. For families who do have another residence in Michigan, the campsite is considered a “seasonal recreational site”, rather than a second residence.
Anyone who has a “Seasonal Site” at Warner Camp, and their trailer is already onsite, their trailer and site is available for day use only – for spring cleaning and summer preparations. For those who do come to Warner Camp, the same guidelines remain in place as the original Executive Order – such as no guests other than immediate family members and honoring appropriate social distancing. The following common spaces will remain closed: all facilities (including bath house and RV restroom), the picnic pavilion and playgrounds. These guidelines will remain in effect through May 15, or until they are lifted or modified. Once they are lifted, we plan to turn water on and open facilities. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to navigate these unchartered waters. Isaiah 43:18,19
Dear Friends of Warner Camp … It goes without saying, the coronavirus is having a significant impact on our daily routines. It is difficult to turn on the radio, or television or “surf the net” without seeing the latest report on COVID 19. Between the writing of this letter and the reading of it just a few days later, most likely there will be numerous updates and additional information for us to digest and incorporate into our daily lives. We definitely are navigating some uncharted waters these days.
Warner Camp is no exception. During these challenging times, our desire is to continue to provide a safe place for “Life Changing Experiences” to happen. To do so both carefully and compassionately, we have spent a lot of time reading the Bible and in prayer. That has been both refreshing and encouraging. And to better understand the coronavirus and its impact on the ministry at Warner Camp, we have read multiple COVID 19 reports, watched many video feeds, visited numerous coronavirus sites, and reached out to health professionals.
With Warner Camp being a place of spiritual growth, relational healing, rest and restoration for so many people, it would be easy for us during these challenging times to simply “open the doors” and let anyone who wishes to come to visit us. That is what Warner Camp is for – providing a place and a space for families and individuals to enjoy and retreat together. However, we have to face the current situation with godly wisdom in order to walk the fine line of loving action, as well as honoring and adhering to governmental regulations.
As the Warner Camp Board of Directors and Staff, we felt it was important to let you know our plans for the immediate future, the coming months of spring, and the Summer Camp Program.
March 13 – 15 we hosted a small group of men from SW Michigan. It was wonderful to see 25 men worshipping, spending time in prayer, and meditating together on God’s word. Depending on what happens with the coronavirus and accompanying restrictions, they could have been our last retreat group between now and the end of April. Along with Spring Workday (April 25), we do have a couple smaller groups later this spring. Unless we get guidance or instructions otherwise, Lord willing we plan to host them at Warner Camp.
We are still planning to move forward with the Summer Camp Program at Warner Camp! That includes our regular four weeks of camp for grades 3 rd through 12 th and our annual Camp Meeting, July 17 – 24. We also have several retreat groups planned during the months of June, July, and August.
In making preparations for the summer, it has been such a blessing to see more than 30 people apply to work at Warner Camp. If these individuals whom we have interviewed are any indication of the type of summer we will have – they are enthusiastic, and they have a desire to share the love of Christ! – we are very excited and look with anticipation at what God is going to do at Warner Camp.
With this current situation however, we are mindful of how the dynamics can change very quickly. As June 8 approaches, the day our summer guests begin to arrive, the Warner Camp Board of Directors and Staff are praying for wisdom and guidance. We are in the process of discussing several scenarios for what the summer could look like and are creating plans for each of the various scenarios. Therefore, if the coronavirus continues to spread resulting in further restrictions, we will have plans and the necessary procedures ready to implement.
Our hope is in a sovereign God who will provide for all that we need. Our prayer is to continue using the people, the place, and the programs of Warner Camp for many to encounter God and for “Life Changing Experiences” to happen! Please join us in prayer as we seek God’s guidance on the best way to provide a safe place for all who visit Warner Camp – both now, and into the future.
During this season of Lent, it is good to remind ourselves that Jesus’s death on the cross paid a debt that we could never pay. That one act of love was, and is, an amazing gift. But not only did His sacrificial death make it possible for us to have eternal life, Christ’s death gave us access to our Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere … “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Yes, we may be navigating uncharted waters and have no idea what the shoreline will look like once we land on the other side. But Jesus is “in the boat” with us. And although He did not promise freedom from the storms of life, He promises freedom from ‘fear of’ the storms. May we find comfort knowing He is with us and has both the power and the love to say to us … “Peace, be still.”
The safety and health of our campers, our staff and volunteers has always been one of the highest priorities at Warner Camp. We have a long history of planning for and managing communicable diseases. With the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States, Warner Camp is in the process of reviewing and establishing updated health-related plans and procedures, while providing communication with our camp families and staff members.
We want to remind our camp parents, guardians, volunteers and staff that because camp happens in a closed community, camps have always taken great care to develop and maintain medical practices to address a variety of communicable diseases, both common and rare. (As a Michigan Camp, we are licensed by the State of Michigan/Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who oversees our health practices and procedures)
While COVID-19 currently poses no immediate threat for Warner Camp, we currently have communicable disease plans in place that will be revised in cooperation with the public health department to maintain effective protocols for the identification and appropriate treatment of any illnesses that may occur at camp, including COVID-19. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.