Story by: Amanda Daniell
Coordinator of Young People's Ministry & Camping Ministry
Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church
As summer begins to come to a close, and we begin to look towards the fall, it is my pleasure as your Coordinator for Young People's Ministries and Camping Ministry to deliver this closing wrap-up of what our Mountain Sky camps have been up to this summer.
When this pandemic began early in 2020, our camps began to discuss what the summer might look like. Many of our camps made a plan, had to scrap that plan and make another plan. It was difficult to say the least. Our camp directors, and board members were faced with difficult decisions.
Our camps are extremely vital to the life of our conference, and to all the children, youth, and adults who attend. For many camps is the only safe place for our youth to be themselves, and for others, camp is the place they feel closest to God. Without camp, many feared the damage would be great, but at what cost would it be to our health and safety. Well, I'm proud to say we have some outstanding camp managers, and boards that embraced innovation and managed to have a successful camp season in spite of the circumstances.
Beaver Creek Christian Camp in South Fork Colorado, managed by Gene Haning, held camp this summer by hosting smaller groups of children and youth while adhering to the safety protocols set forth by the American Camping Association and the CDC. Their faithful group of counselors and nurses were able to host four camp cohorts over the summer, allowing for a total of 28 campers to safely participate and enjoy camp. Circle J United Methodist Camp in Ten Sleep, Wyoming chose not to host their traditional elementary and youth camps but did host a small group of youth missionaries from St. Andrew UMC, who completed many vital work projects at the camp.
Circle J is also looking forward to hosting a small group of NOMADS who will be arriving this month to complete some larger work projects at the camp. The Circle J Apple Festival is scheduled for September 26, 2020. The board is closely monitoring local Covid cases, and looking at how they can still safely host the Apple Festival. Grand Mesa Christian Camp near Mesa, CO canceled all of their traditional summer camps, but did host a Facebook live event that allowed for youth and counselors to share memories of camp, and spark interest for 2021. Luccock Park Camp near Livingston, MT is managed by the talented Karen Grosz.
Luccock also did not host a traditional summer camp but did host a variety of volunteers who committed time to complete some much-needed improvement projects at camp. Luccock also hosted several "Open Air Church" services on their lawn, that were well attended by several of the local United Methodist Churches in the area. Finally, Luccock hosted a "Zero Hero Fun Run" to raise money for camp work projects. This was a virtual event that involved earning points for completing fun tasks at home such as eating a sundae.
Pinecliff United Methodist Camp in Coalville, UT hosted several day camps for elementary and youth. This allowed them to experience camp safety. Check out their Facebook page for more pictures, it looked like so much fun! Buckhorn Camp in Bellevue, CO managed by Director Austin Hubbard, did not host traditional camps, but did host a total of 33 families for the summer, and are currently hosting a group of NOMADS, who are busy working on some camp improvement projects. Austin kept the camp running this summer, all while welcoming a new baby boy, Scout.
Last, but certainly not least is Flathead Lake United Methodist Camp, managed by Rev. Steve Hermes. Flathead planned to safety host camp while adhering to the protocols set forth by the American Camping Association and the CDC. However, due to a rise in COVID cases they ended up canceling several of their camps. They did host a number of families for the summer, and were able to host their Rising Leaders camp early in the summer. The Rising Leaders led by Cathryn Straub, is designed to equip youth campers to be leaders, and train them to be future camp counselors. You can continue to support our camps during the offseason by giving financially. We still have Mountain Sky Camp t-shirts, that is free with a donation of $20 or more to the camp of your choice.
To donate and get a shirt please follow this link: https://mtnsky-reg.brtapp.com/Campdonations?
For so many camps is a place where faith is formed, and the community is found. Please consider supporting our conference camps.