Regional Summer Camps for Faith Communities
'Woven As One' theme fitting as campers return
John Palarine, who is director of Camp Cross and youth formation in the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, has been preparing for the 2021 camp season of eight weeks of youth and family sessions with no limits to campers, but expecting fewer to come.
In 2020, when there were no campers, 20 staff worked on the facilities, and offered virtual camp experiences and online worship services for the diocese.
Staff and contractors painted, rebuilt a deck and did other repairs at the camp on the western shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
"COVID protocols will be followed again this year to assure campers have a healthy, safe time. We look forward to having campers this year," said John, who consulted with the American Camp Association on guidelines that are posted on the camp website.
John listed six protocols: social distancing, wearing masks inside, sanitizing, washing hands, having smaller groups and limiting the coming and going from camp.
"Vaccines will make a huge difference. Staff will be vaccinated, and we ask everyone eligible to be vaccinated. We are not saying those not vaccinated cannot come, but they will have different protocols," he said.
Protocols begin at home with people keeping camp wellbeing in mind for activities 14 days before coming—avoiding large gatherings, washing hands, masking and monitoring temperatures.
Campers will come by car, not on a bus. At check-in, they will answer questions and have their temperatures taken.
Staff includes a camp nurse who is a senior in nursing school, and a physician and nurse practitioner as advisors.
"Woven As One," the theme for the capital campaign for Camp Cross and diocesan formation, is the camp theme. A resource team with a pastor and two lay leaders will lead the week's program.
"The theme is appropriate given we have been apart and are coming back together," John said. "It is about how God weaves us together as people.
"We will do most regular activities, complying with the CDC," he said. "We will be outside much of the time, swimming, canoeing, hiking and building friendships."
Working beginning June 1, 2021, with John, who came to the diocese in 2018, is Sara Gunther, who will succeed him as canon for youth ministry and executive director of Camp Cross when he retires the end of October. She has been program director at St. Dorothy's Rest Camp in the Episcopal Diocese of California.
"Our camp and youth programming model is for youth to lead to raise their gifts in ministry and leadership," John said. "We have collaborative leadership, with all having a voice and sharing in decisions. The director is no more important than a fourth grade camper. All are equally important.
"Our focus is to be witnesses to Jesus and live our faith. Our vision is for the diocese to be a compelling, creative witness to Jesus Christ in the Inland Northwest," said John, who spent his year with family in Florida, working remotely using Zoom,
John said there will be a new session this year, a teen Wilderness Quest Camp June 20 to 25. Also there will be a Women's Weekend June 25 to 27, exploring relationships between generations and led by three generations of women in Bishop Gretchen Rehberg's family, women with different perspectives on life and the way of love.
For information, call 624-3191 or visit campcross.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2021