This evening, Premier Kenney addressed the province, and gave a thorough Coronavirus update. It was an informative address, filled with ranges of numbers, as we have come to expect. After sharing the probable model, and the elevated model, I sincerely wish that Premier Kenney had said, “turning our attention now to the pressing topic of summer camps…” but alas, he did not. And so, feeling perhaps a little bit adrift, Crow waits another week in relative uncertainty.
There is good news in the report from the Premier: the policy of social distancing seems to be working. That is a huge reason for optimism.
The downside, from a camp perspective at least, is that the more successful the practice of social distancing (and the lower the total infections, hospitalizations and deaths) the longer it will be before we reach the peak in Alberta, and the longer the slope as infections decline. I noticed also, in the Premier’s talk, (at 4:31 in the above video) he marked the span of the model as “from the beginning of the outbreak to the end of this summer.” I don’t know what weight to give this kind of meager evidence, but I noticed it, and so I am passing it on, to you. If the outbreak modelling continues until the end of the summer, it does imply that there will be at least some disruption to ordinary life right through summer. That - obviously - would be… weighty & meaningful... news for those in the Summer Camp Game (and we at Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp definitely are in the Summer Camp Game).
When I initially wrote that sentence, I had written “negative” in place of “weighty & meaningful”. I changed it because the implications are unfamiliar, and uncomfortable, but not necessarily negative. Any alteration to the summers we love at Crow feels negative. But also, it is a change we would not have wished for ourselves, and so we lose some autonomy and our freedom to choose: we are required to change.
But all of this also gives us a chance to experiment, to try some things that wouldn’t otherwise. It seems like slender comfort, perhaps, but if camp is dramatically altered, we have the chance to be a part of something new, and “new” is one of Jesus’ favourite words.
He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Please don’t read any of this as an alteration of the plan: we’re still looking forward on a three week time horizon; we’re still anticipating running a strong camp season. But as much as we are not changing course, we’re also not going to be caught flat-footed - we are not going to start planning for a summer of change three weeks before it happens. We are going to start planning that summer immediately - now. That will be the focus of next week’s CoronaVirus update.
Most camps are aligned with Crow: anticipating and hoping for a full summer of camp programs, but attuned to possible changes ahead. With that said, there are some notable exceptions - Alberta Camp programs that will not run this year - including the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton Summer Camps, and University of Alberta Botanic Garden Summer Camps & Programs. Of course, these programs have their own reasons for making this call, and our read is different at Crow. But their considerations surely touched on information that we have been looking at too - including this article in the National Post, which outlines a “best case scenario” where “current measures continue until at least July.” The article goes on to say that it isn’t clear, exactly, which measures will continue until July, but if the measures referenced include social distancing, that will certainly have an impact on camp.
“We just do not know,” I have said from the beginning. And also, “we’ll know more next week.” It’s probably better to stick just with “We just don’t know” for now. So instead of promises (as much to myself as to any reader) that we will know more next week, I will instead focus on principles that I do feel confident of: as we make decisions about the future at Crow, we will prioritize “people” before “program”; and we will put “community” before “individuals.” And we will rely on a faithful God, who has always gone before us, and who has promised never to leave us, or forsake us.