Chanco Chatter
News from our diocesan camp and retreat center,
October 2020
From the Woods -
A message from our Executive Director
Greetings my friends,

The Presidential election takes place on November 3rd, and no matter where your political views fall, your vote is important! It is not too early - the first day in Virginia to send in your absentee ballot was September 19th. We’ve gathered some helpful information to help you navigate your voting options in Virginia. 

The first step is to make sure you are registered to vote! (If you are 17 and will be 18 by November 3rd, you are allowed to register).
Once registered, you have different voting options. Your first option is to vote at the polls by showing up at your voting station with your ID, mask, and hand sanitizer. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time (hours) to vote. Your second option is to vote as an absentee. Your third option is to send in a mail-in ballot. For either absentee voting or a mail-in voting, you must apply for a ballot. To learn more about voting in Virginia, visit: Happy voting everyone!
Flag created by a 2019 camper
In the Chanco spirit,

Gareth Kalfas, Executive Director
Columbus Day message from our bishop
Chanco and the offices of the Diocese of Southern Virginia are closed today, Monday, October 12. Officially the day, known as “Columbus Day,” commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus on American soil in 1492. The arrival of Columbus paved the way for Europeans to inhabit, explore, and ultimately take possession of the land. However, there were already indigenous people inhabiting this land; therefore, we use this day to remember and honor those people as well. The names of the tribes of indigenous people who inhabited the grounds on which the Diocese of Southern Virginia rests include the following:

Cherokee, Chickahominy, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nahyssand, Nansemond, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Powhatan, Saponi, Shawnee, Tutelo, Rappahannock, Mattaponi and Melungeons

The relationship of these native people with the land was such that they did not comprehend the notion of “ownership” in the same way as did their European visitors. The natives understood the land as something that was given into their care, but not their possession. As such, they did not recognize when their ability to care for it had been taken from them.

Today, as we commemorate Columbus Day, let us remember not only the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, but also the people who lived here and watched him and others like him arrive on their homelands . Because of their great love and care for creation, a good way to commemorate the day would be to get outside and enjoy the day in Creation. Garden, take a hike, walk along the beach, breathe fresh air…and utter profound thanks to God for His gift of Creation to us and our chance to care for it. We do not necessarily own the land upon which we walk. We are stewards of it, and it is given into our diligent care.

-The Rt. Rev. Susan Haynes, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
Happy Indigenous People's Day
Happy Indigenous People Day! To honor our ties with our Native American neighbors, we are going to do a series of educational posts to share knowledge on these tribes who are still here. Currently, Virginia has 11 state-recognized tribes:

Chickahominy tribe Eastern Division*:
Upper Mattaponi*:
Monacan Nation*:
Cheroenhaka (Nottoway):

The tribes marked with an * are federally recognized. To learn more about the tribes of Virginia check out the link below, and keep an eye out this week on our Facebook page for more posts on this topic from us!                                                
Announcing Camp Chanco 2021 dates
The woods were much too quiet this past summer. We will of course be following the CDC guidelines and our bishop's recommendations for summer camp 2021, but we want you to know we are optimistically planning for Camp Chanco 2021 and want our camp families to be able to plan too! We understand that this pandemic has been fiscally challenging for so many and therefore we are not increasing our rates for Camp Chanco 2021. Click here for a flyer with our 2021 dates and rates for your information and to share with a friend! We very much look forward to our magical woods filled with the sound of camper laughter again in June 2021!
Join us for a gathering
of friends and family
Looking for a fall getaway with your friends and family? We have the answer for you! Join us at Chanco for Friendsgiving November 20-22! Enjoy a a time of fellowship and gratitude during the most gorgeous time of year at Chanco.

This event will include activities such as traditional Thanksgiving fare, hayrides, pumpkin carving, tomahawk throwing, acrchery, football on the big screen, candy apples, friends/family trivia games, campfires, worship and more!

The event runs from dinner on Friday through lunch on Sunday for a discounted price of only $175 for adults, $100 for children sharing a room with a guardian, and children four and under are free! Accommodations are in our retreat lodges at the bluff and pricing includes all meals and activities. Click here for a flyer with more information. Visit to register today!
Women's Advent Retreat
The Diocese of Southern Virginia would like to formally invite all our lovely ladies to the Women’s Advent Retreat on December 4-5. Programming led by Bishop Susan Haynes will focus on preparing for the coming of Christ, remembering the reincarnation, and how we care for ourselves as we do so. Pricing for this event is $95 for a shared room (recommended only for those sharing a household), $135 for a single room, $40 to come for the day on Saturday, and $40 to live stream the event. Programming begins at 6 pm on Friday December 4th, bring your own beverage for a socially distant social hour Friday night. We look forward to spending this weekend with you! Click here for the schedule of events. Look for registration coming soon to
Help Chanco win
a free printing grant
Conquest Graphics offers up to $5,000 in free printing services to the non-profit with the most votes. Help Chanco win by clicking here, choosing “Chanco on the James” and submitting your vote today! It takes just two minutes of your time. Now more than ever, this grant will help Chanco significantly! Voting closes December 31, 2020. We thank you in advance for your support.
Clergy Retreat
A time for rest, reflection & rejuvenation
Thank you to everyone who attended our Clergy Retreat last week, in-person and virtually! We enjoyed some much needed (socially distanced) socialization, spiritual nourishment through meditations provided by Bishop Haynes, and delicious food from our kitchen. The Rev. Keith Emerson of St. Paul's Church, Suffolk shares, "We clergy have had a wonderful retreat here with our bishop over the last couple of days. The new facilities are so nice and so comfortable and they allow us to just be here and relax. The food, of course, is always delicious. The staff is so helpful and attentive. I hope that you - as a family, as a parish, as a vestry, whoever - need a place to go and to get away, this is a place you ought to take a look at. They’ll take good care of you here.”

Thank you to everyone who attended and served this event helping to create a space apart for our clergy to enjoy spiritual reflection and fellowship together!
Food for the Soul Retreat
Our second annual Food for the Soul retreat was a wild success! Participants enjoyed a mindful eating workshop, learning about and tasting Virginia wines and sparkling waters from around the world, a cooking demonstration by Chef Rafael, a delectable shrimp boil dinner, a Seder Dinner experience, and roasting marshmallows over a bonfire. Perhaps best of all, our guests enjoyed fellowship together in God's great outdoors. Thank you to all who planned, served and participated in this fantastic event!
Make a Difference
Join the Chanco Board of Directors today
Chanco's Board of Directors is comprised of a fantastic group of talented and energetic individuals who oversee Chanco's budget, property, fundraising and programs. This group generally meets monthly in committees or as a full board.  Chanco’s board is a “working board” in that we ask for a commitment to share Chanco’s programs with your parish, support our mission with a donation, and volunteer your talents to further our efforts, including “work weekends” as well as regular board meetings. Service is a three-year term and begins with the board retreat in January of 2021. Click here for a board member application which also contains more detailed information about board service.

Questions? Contact Board Nomination Chair the Very Rev. Susan Grimm at or 888-724-2626. Completed board applications should be submitted by November 1, 2020 to the attention of Susan Grimm at Thank you for your consideration of this important service!
Don't forget - you can register with confidence! If any reservation needs to be cancelled by Chanco leadership or by you because of the COVID-19 virus any registration payments, including the full, non-refundable/non-transferrable deposit will be refunded, credited toward a future program, or may be donated to Chanco as a gift in support of our mission, based on the individual’s preference.Click here for COVID-19 resources from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.