Dear Camp Family,

Twelve months ago, we shut down our retreat ministry, not realizing that what we thought would be a short-term suspension of operations would last nearly an entire year. Everyday since, we’ve been closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to camp and retreat ministry. As part of our extended camp family, we wanted to share an update with you on how things stand at present. 

Based on careful analysis of factors both within and beyond our control, we’re more confident than ever in our ability to operate camp safely this summer.

The factors beyond our control that have improved significantly over the past year include: 
  • vastly increased knowledge of Covid-19 in general and effective mitigation tactics in particular; 
  • extensive best practices designed by industry leaders specifically for camp settings based on analysis of successful and unsuccessful attempts of schools, camps, and similar organizations to reopen safely; 
  • and, more recently, the ever-increasing vaccine availability throughout our state and country.

Of course, the pandemic remains an evolving challenge. While disease spread in Georgia is currently lower than prior peak levels, case and positivity rates have fluctuated over time. In order to ensure we're fully prepared to operate safely in a variety of scenarios, our plan assumes that fluctuation will continue. As such, the primary factor within our control – our Covid-19 Mitigation Plan – remains intentionally stringent. While we hope external conditions will continue to improve to the point that we’ll be able to relax some of our mitigation efforts, you should know that if today were Sunday, May 30th, this is the plan we would enact. You should also know that we have begun a significantly adapted reopening of our retreat ministry, utilizing many of the strategies and policies we will employ during summer camp.

Between having reopened to host retreat groups - including North Georgia Conference children and youth retreats - and upcoming events of our own such as an adapted First-Time Camper Open House and summer staff training events, we’re excited to be re-engaging our in-person ministry this winter and spring while continuing preparations for Summer 2021. As always, we are deeply grateful for your support of this family of ministries, and we look forward to offering safe and faith-forming fun for campers this summer!

Sincerely,

C. Russell Davis
Executive Director
Glisson registration update and upcoming Open House
Over 1,900 campers have saved their spots for Glisson 2021! As a reminder, our Covid-19 Mitigation Plan calls for reduced overall capacity. Village is 89% full and Sparrowwood is 98%, making it a great summer to try out our program that spends the most time in the great outdoors: Outpost. Spread the word that now is the time to make plans for the kids in your life to have some safe and faith-forming fun in Summer 2021! It's also the time to register for our annual Open House event designed to help first-time campers know what to expect prior to arriving for summer camp. We can't wait to welcome some first-time future campers to Glisson on Sunday, April 18th! Find out more details including time slots and safety precautions here: First-Time Camper Open House
Grow Day Camps registration underway for 15 locations with 9 more TBA
We're excited to share that registration is underway for 15 Grow Day Camps locations! We'll be announcing up to 9 more locations as details are finalized this spring, with a goal of having a site in each district of the North Georgia Conference. On behalf of our partner churches, we're grateful for your patience as we work together to provide safe and faith-forming experiences for families this summer!
Securing, reopening, and sustaining camp and retreat ministries
Thanks to nearly 1,000 friends of camp banding together to secure the future of camp, we're in position to reopen safely this summer despite challenging conditions. We continue to be deeply grateful for all who supported last year’s Stand in the Gap campaign. 

As we reopen to offer faith-forming experiences, would you help establish a new giving normal to help sustain these ministries moving forward? 
 
As excited as we are about reopening for Summer 2021 and beyond, we also recognize that lingering effects of the pandemic and emerging future realities will challenge our efforts:
  • the 2020 “gap” consumed two years of planned capital investment in Glisson’s facilities; 
  • mitigating Covid spread this summer required reducing camper capacities and our ability to generate 2021 income; 
  • various factors point to a further reduction in Conference apportionment support in coming years for which responsible stewardship requires we prepare. 
In anticipation, we’ve adopted an ambitious 2021 Annual Fund goal of $410,000 - a little more than half of what was given through Stand in the Gap last year, and a little less than what we received annually pre-pandemic.
 
Though challenging, we’re confident this context presents the opportunity to strengthen and deepen our ability to create Christian community, form faith, and launch leaders. With a gift or pledge to the Annual Fund, you'll become a vital partner in taking the next steps toward that future.
Help Wanted: Youth and young adults ready to grow as leaders and make a difference
When you share a summer camp leadership opportunity with someone, you're saying:
  • "I see you as a leader"
  • "I want you to keep growing"
  • "You can make a difference"
It's a transformational experience at a pivotal time in life. Apply today to help bring faith to life this summer!
Help Wanted: Working-condition utility vehicles to be put to missional use
The best way to get around Glisson's 367 acres has always been by foot – unless of course you're carrying a few campsite's worth of firewood and water coolers. In that particular case, a small utility vehicle is priceless! Prior to Summer 2021, we'll be acquiring replacement gas-powered UTV and golf carts. If you have one that is in running condition that you no longer need, please contact our Director of Facilities, Blake Corbin at blake@ngcrm.org or 706-864-6181.
WE KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN
OUR PASSION IS FORMING FAITH IN THE PROCESS