Regional Summer Camps for Faith Communities
N-Sid-Sen adapts to ever changing guidelines
With the ever-changing guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Camping Association (ACA) and states of Idaho and Washington, letters sent to campers' families will report ongoing "tweaks" in COVID protocols for campers coming to N-Sid-Sen Camp and Conference Center summer camps on the east shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
In a recent phone conversation with other camp directors in the region, Mark Boyd, managing director of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) camp, said that they discussed the CDC's latest guidance on masks.
"It's hard keeping up with the changes in protocols," he said.
"We still need to do what we need to do to take care of our constituents. Counselors will be vaccinated, but we won't know if all the youth will be vaccinated before they come," he said.
Even though counselors are vaccinated they need to model mask wearing and other behavior, because there will be no way to know if campers are vaccinated.
Mark, who was relieved when he completed his two vaccinations in April, said the camp requires that people coming to partner camps be vaccinated and follow protocols. Traditionally, Lady of the Lake holds several dance camps. We require campers to go with two of three rules—masking, distancing and being outside.
Meals will be served outside.
Because of concern about weather early in the season, Mark said, the Pacific Northwest UCC Conference decided to hold youth and family camps later in the summer when the weather is better.
The UCC camps will be smaller, aiming at 50, which is 50 percent of normal capacity, so if the weather is not good, they can eat inside on staggered schedules. Usually dance camps draw 150, so they will be at one-third of the capacity, but many partner groups opted not to have events this summer, Mark said.
Camp sessions will also look different. They are four days, Thursday through Monday, not a week, so there is time between guests for buildings to air out and staff to deep clean.
Summer staff come in June. There are usually six, but will be eight this summer because of need for more cleaning.
"We will have higher expense with lower income, but it's exciting that we are having camp," said Mark.
Three youth camps are junior high, senior high and the class of 2020, who missed their senior year at camp. Two of three family camps are already full.
In June, there are several four-day opportunities for "Families at Camp," the model for use of the facilities that began last summer. Family groups "in a bubble together" came to stay in one of the cabins or lodges. Most brought their own food and did their own cooking. This year there are also "Family Escapes" with meals.
Mark expects the six churches that usually do retreats together three weekends in September will come, based on anticipation that the pandemic will be declining. In the fall, he also expects a dance camp and other church retreats.
"Many are hoping, dreaming and planning that we will all be able to gather again in the fall," he said.
"It has been surreal and is incredibly encouraging that we will have camp again, opportunities for people to gather onsite and step away from the world. Last year, it was too quiet for too long," Mark said.
For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit n-sid-sen.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2021