2020 Camp Lake Stephens Summer Camp Update

We have been praying for you and our incredible Camp Lake Stephens community. As we saw Covid-19 unfold, we immediately began making plans (okay, we’ve made a lot of plans) on how we can continue to serve our campers and guests. We have been closed for retreats and guests since March 7 th .

We are emailing you before we make the news fully public on April 28th to make sure we are taking care of our immediate camp family. We fully recognize the loss that we are all feeling and like you are frustrated and grieving for all of the experiences that we had hoped for during this health crisis.

Our staff and board have looked at how effectively we can offer our programming given the Phase II guidelines provided by the Federal "Open America Again" released by the federal government. We are not confident that we will be cleared into Phase III until mid July at the earliest. Safety for our campers, safety for our staff, and safety for our families is our primary concern. We are challenged that even "IF" we did camp, the experiences would be significantly restricted and not provide the CLS experience that we all hope for.

The limits placed on us during Phase II would significantly restrict our activities and camper numbers to make the experience pretty flat. We would not be able to play games on the athletic field, Gaga ball, four-square, team building, high ropes, devotions and worship, having our meals together in the dining hall, and more. This reality is breaking our hearts. We know how much camp means to each and every one of you. We grieve with you as we work through the pandemic.

With this framework the following difficult decisions have been made.
  1. Following local health care professionals, the federal “Guidelines Opening Up America Again”, CDC, Mississippi Department of Health, and ACA guidelines, we are cancelling summer 2020 as scheduled. We are planning a series of fall retreats and other online gatherings and will get that information to you as we can.
  2. We are moving Camp Rainbow to a September weekend to protect our most vulnerable population. More details on how and what we are going to need for staffing will be coming out in the near future.
  3. As we continue through this season of change, we hope to offer unique family or shorter camper experiences at CLS in the later part of the summer. Be sure to watch our website and Facebook for these events.
  4. If you have paid on your camper’s account, we offer three options for you.
  • Donate your deposit and/or full payment to Camp Lake Stephens. The reality is we have spent most of the funds to cover costs that we had planned this spring to prepare for camp, inspections, equipment purchases and staffing. This was exacerbated this spring with our lost retreat revenue of over $26,000. 
  • Transfer the funds to the 2021 camp season or fall retreat. We will be honoring the 2020 prices for next year for those that transfer to next summer.
  • Request a refund. Please know we will do our best to refund as soon as possible, however funds are extremely tight right now. We will be working with Active to refund back to the credit card or will be mailing you a check. We are working with the conference, churches and donors to help us replenish these funds.
This is what information that we have for your camper:

Camper(s) names:

Current deposit/payment:
We are all in this together and are truly grieving over the loss of our campers and staff's experiences. We will be hosting several virtual and hopefully in-person camper events over the next few weeks/months as well as hosting our incredible fall retreats.

If you need to reach us, please email us at the following email:
               Rich Swartwood – Executive Director – Rich@camplakestephens.com
               Jeff Wilson – Assistant Director – Jeff@camplakestephens.com
               Sally McLellan – Office Manager – Sally@camplakestephens.com

Again, we are praying for each of you during this time, and hoping we can all connect in the near future in person!

From the CLS campfire,

Rich Swartwood