Every summer throughout the North American Division, Adventist Camps hosts summer camp evangelism at about 60 camps. With the impact of COVID-19, and the uncertainty of how life will be throughout North America this summer, our camp directors, camp boards, and conference administrators are making hard decisions regarding the safety of young people and the operation of their summer camps.
As of May 2020, 43 conferences have decided that they will not be able to operate their usual weeks of summer camp this year. An additional 18 camps are still holding out hope that they may be able to offer at least a few weeks of summer camp late in the summer.
There are currently nine camps exploring the possibility of some type of “virtual camp.” It is uncertain what this style of camp will be like, but we know it will be unique for each camp and camper that gets involved.
In addition, there are some camps that are taking this summer to do capital improvement projects as well as get needed maintenance work done. If you know camp directors, maintenance directors, and camp rangers, you know that they will be doing everything they can to be ready to host people of all ages as soon as they can safely open up camps again. This is because camp exists for the purpose of sharing Jesus with everyone who comes onto these sacred grounds and helping them hear the voice of God among their beautiful outdoor settings in nature.
Each summer throughout our 61 camps we hire about 2,800 of our academy and college students as summer camp staff. It is these students who actively share Jesus’ love with campers every day of the week. These student staff are the cabin counselors and have the high privilege of sharing their faith with our campers whenever they ask questions about life and love and God. It is with deep regret that most of our camps will not be able to hire our students as summer camp staff this summer because many camps will not be in operation.
For more information about the summer camp in your conference, please go to your local conference’s website to see what your camp is planning for this summer and beyond. Visit www.AdventistCamps.org to learn more about our camps.
— Tracy Wood is NAD Camp Ministries director; Jeff Wines is Adventist Association of Camp Professionals president.