Summer Camp Updates

July 7, 2020 Update

Registration for Summer 2020 Daycamps will be opening soon! (Likely on Thursday, July 9th).  We are working out a few final details to make sure that we can deliver an excellent experience for our campers that is safe, relational, and fun. 

One difference from our other communications around camp this summer is that we are looking at NOT having a family camping experience over the August long weekend.  Looking at how family camp operates, we do not believe that we would be able to run a safe, relational, and fun experience for families while following the COVID guidelines.  If this is something that you were really looking forward to, please email steve@gulllakecentre.ca to let Steve know.  We are very open to feedback about this, but currently feel that it is not the right program to pursue. 


June 3, 2020 Update

I am excited to finally give some details on what we expect the summer program to look like.  Lately I have been putting out videos giving updates on the camp and I have made one for this too, but this has a lot of details so we also have it in written bullet points as well.  In this season of COVID, everything is subject to change, but this is the current plan.

Day Camps

  • We are looking at running day camps for 9 days from August 4-14.  
  • Day camps must be held in cohorts of up to 10 people (including leaders).  Each cohort must have its own bathroom, space, and stay very separate from other cohorts. 
  • We can comfortably run 6 cohorts at a time thanks to the new meeting spaces in our new cabins.  Each cohort will have its own indoor space, bathroom, outdoor space, beach space (with porta-potty), staff member, LTD, and 6 campers. 
  • Campers can sign up for individual days.  If they want, they can sign up for a full week, but the camps are designed to be stand alone days.  This allows us to serve more campers, and gives a better option for parents that are driving a distance.  Campers can choose their day or days to be at camp and can coordinate with their camp friends to attend at the same time and be in the same cohort. 
  • Each day will have campers aged 7-14 with ages split into cohorts. 
  • We are looking at doing special Teen Days with a cohort and special activities for campers 15-18. 
  • If we are not able to run LTD week with overnight camping, then we will extend day camps up to Aug. 28th
  • Not confirmed yet, but we expect each day to run from 10am to 4pm.  Campers must bring their own lunch, snacks, and water bottles.  Expected cost is $30 per camper per day. 
  • You can check out https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-day-camps.pdf to see the specific day camp guidelines for Alberta.  We pride ourselves for being able to follow provincial and national best-practices at all times and will make sure that we adhere to these guidelines. 

Family “Camp”

  • Looking to open up our 22 cabins for use during August Long Weekend (July 31 – August 3). 
  • The goal is to offer a space for families to get out to Gull Lake for a weekend, but it will look very different from our usual family camp experience as we follow the COVID guidelines. 
  • Very little programming, no “adopt-a-family”, no equipment usage. 
  • A craft type activity each day, a game type activity each day, and some version of chapel depending on what the regulations look like at that time.  
  • Breakfast, lunch, and supper served by our caterers (HT Catering) following all COVID guidelines. 
  • Cost is whatever our food cost is from the caterer plus $100 per family. 
  • NOTE: this isn’t anything like our usual family camps.  Basically, you are getting a cabin space from the camp, having your meals provided, and we will offer a couple of simple activities.  There will not be any shared equipment such as canoes, climbing wall, or the gym available. 

LTD

  • Saving the last 2 weeks of August in case we are allowed to have students stay over night for a week by then.  (If we cannot then those two weeks will be open for day camps).
  • Online program through the summer lead by summer staff.  This is optional, relatively low-key, and meant to be a connection and encouragement point. 
  • If we cannot run overnight camp this summer then we will look at doing “LTD week” another time during the year possibly over Christmas break, spring break, or a series of weekends. 
  • The LTD curriculum is very good, but what makes LTD great is the immersive experience and the relationships.  Instead of doing the curriculum online we would rather wait until we can have an immersive experience – even if that looks very different from how we normally do it.
  • We are looking at running optional day retreats during the last week of July to test our day camp practices and to give students an opportunity to be together – even if it is still 6 feet apart.  We anticipate that no hugging will be a challenge but the rules will be communicated ahead of time.  These retreats are completely optional because we know that not all students will be able to make it to the camp for a single day.   

Summer Staff

  • We received 22 Canada Summer Jobs Grants! 
  • Looking to hire:
    • 10 staff to plan and run day camps
    • 4-5 staff for maintenance to help with landscaping and Road to 100 projects
    • 3 staff for the LTD program (will also help with day camps)
    • 4-5 staff to work on “legacy” projects – projects that make the camp better for the future.  For example, a binder with 200 skit ideas for cabin leaders, a new drama curriculum, a devotional resource for cabin leaders, etc. 

Full Time Staff

We have been able to keep the full-time staff employed thanks to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.  I am deeply grateful for the staff for being willing to take a pay cut because we are not able to afford topping up during this time and am also deeply grateful for this program so that we can stay functional this summer. 

Financial Update

  • We are keeping our head above water but need help to run camp this summer (see the Don’t Come Video)
  • We have an insurance bill for $30,000 due soon. 
    • Normally our insurance is $50,000 but we have cut everything we can this year to reduce costs.
  • We have about $10,000 per month in bills and general expenses. 
  • We are essentially getting all staff for free this summer with all full-time staff being paid through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program and all summer staff through the Canada Summer Jobs grants. 
  • We need $50,000 in donations to run camp this summer ($30k for insurance, $30k for 3 months of expenses, $10k has already been donated!). 
  • We have $600,000 still to raise for our Road to 100 campaign ($1.9M already raised!).  We need this money before we can finish projects such as sidewalks, playground, staff accommodations, and toboggan hill.  More details will be coming out about that soon. 
  • Looking at September and beyond is completely unknown.  It is unpredictable to know when we will be able to host overnight groups again.  We will keep you updated as we know more. 

Thank you for caring and staying attentive. Please hold us in your prayers as we prepare for this summer. 


Previous Updates:

May 5, 2020


April 27, 2020


April 8, 2020