Regional Summer Camps for Faith Communities
Camp Spalding expects another record year
Camp Spalding, the camp and retreat center of the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest on Davis Lake near Newport, will open fully, and director Andy Sonneland reports a record pace in registrations similar to 2019, when there were a record of 1,707 campers.
"Some camps will sell out," he said. "People are anxious to come back to camp. We can accommodate 180 people a week."
Last year the camp operated at a limited capacity with five weeks of youth camps and two weeks of staff camps. This year Camp Spalding will offer nine weeks because Spokane and Mead School districts run to June 22.
"Christian camping is unequivocally well suited for children to get away from their routines and unplug. In a week that is a blast, they also hear, consider and respond to Jesus' call to follow," he said.
Andy said that in his 31 years, seeing campers respond never gets old. What fun looks like has changed, but the formulas are similar.
"In the 1970s, it was a dock and aluminum canoes," he said. "Now we offer more recreation opportunities for campers to have fun in the midst of creation."
The wrinkle this year as last is that Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines will be in place, but Andy expects guidelines may loosen as more 12-year-olds and up are vaccinated.
"We encourage parents to have their children and youth vaccinated. Elementary children won't yet be vaccinated, but seventh graders up will be," he said.
Camp Spalding has a new first-aid building to address health and safety issues.
"We will do what the state requires," he said. "The CDC has been overly cautious about summer camps. Data shows that COVID transmission is rare outside. The CDC website acknowledges that the threat of serious health issues for children is greater from the flu than for COVID. We hope that whatever protocols are required are based on science, and with warm weather and vaccinations, cases will decline."
Recently 150 members of the Washington State Camp Coalition met on Zoom and then two met with the Governor's office to address protocols and plans.
"We are CDC compliant in terms of pre-assigning bunks head to foot and assuring cross ventilation in cabins with windows open all night," Andy said. "Meals will follow CDC guidelines, which I hope by June 26 will loosen. Tables are six feet apart, and campers will eat with cabin groups.
Andy advises campers to check the website, because it's also possible "we may have to revert to last year."
Program offerings will be "normal" with campers swimming and participating in a variety of activities. There is a new archery pavilion. Staff sanitized equipment last year and will this year if it's mandated, but the CDC has said that COVID is not picked up from surfaces, he noted.
There are two middle-high camps, two high-school camps, a family camp in August and two two-day fourth grade camps and two week-long fifth and sixth grade camps. Staffing them are 42 college-age leaders, most from Whitworth University.
For information, call 447-4388, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit campspalding.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2021