Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
The impact of Covid-19 has been profound, even here at Crow. Starting way back on 16 March, we cancelled everything - all of the training programs; all of the rentals - and we began to contemplate the possibility that camp wouldn’t happen at all this summer.
In the midst of all of that uncertainty, we made a big choice. Based on the advice of medical professionals who care about Crow, and with guidance from Alberta Health Services, we decided to go ahead with the COLTS program. The program was much different this year than it has been in years past: we’re more limited in what we can do, and with forest closures and fire bans, we have also been limited as to WHERE we can do it.
COLTS is a big, tough program at the best of times, but Covid-19 adds all of these new wrinkles: service providers can’t come, to teach First Aid for instance, the way they normally would. We had a long period of physical distance, which makes something as routine as a van ride tricky. And the list goes on!
And one more big challenge: Daniel is away on parental leave. We’d been planning for Stephanie to fill-in as interim Director of Outdoor Programs for months… but with Covid-19 making everything uncertain, what already was going to be a “growth” summer suddenly looked close to impossible. I am glad to report that Stephanie has definitely risen to that challenge.
Today, the COLTS Major Outtrip ended, and all of those COLTS are back, safe and sound, at camp (and with some astonishing stories to boot). Praise God!
The success of the COLTS program over the past five weeks is essential to our future success for two reasons:
- Given our success and deliberate experience running programs incorporating physical distance and other requirements, we are feeling very confident that we can safely serve the community this summer;
- We will have a core staff (fully-trained, experienced, and committed outdoor leaders) on-site for the duration of the summer (until September 2020).
This means that, although camp is officially “cancelled”, it is truthfully more of a “programming change.” If you have been tracking our blog, you already know that we aren’t planning to host ‘campers’ (that is, unaccompanied minor children) on-site at the camp in the summer of 2020. But camp is still going to meet its mission of “evangelism and discipleship in a camp setting.” Our plan is to move the bulk of our programming offsite, and into the backcountry, where it is easier to maintain a physical distance of 2m at all times. Group sizes will be capped at 15, so we want to run very lean, from a staffing perspective, in order to leave the maximum amount of space for program participants. In order to maintain safety and order with these lower staff sizes, we are proposing that the summer should be largely targeting families, and senior program campers (14+ years old). All of this means that we are going to be dependent - even more than usual - on our COLTS staff. I do believe that God will use them mightily, even in this unsettled, and uncertain summer.
Last week, James ‘Danger’ suggested that we introduce the COLTS - help with faces and names. It’s a great idea. We couldn’t do it last week, because the COLTS took their names and faces with them into the woods for their Major Outtrip. But now that all names, and (as far as I know) all faces are back on-site, we can do just that. Watch this space for introductions to the 2020 COLTS over the next week.
Lastly, we are currently doing a little bit of demographic target marketing: specifically, a survey to capture what potential services people are most interested in. You can click through that survey here, or contact David Graham after 10 June to get a look at the results.
With love in Christ,