Dear Camp Families,
After much study, prayer, and conversation, the diocesan leadership team, in consultation with camp and Shrine Mont partners, has made the difficult decision to suspend Shrine Mont Camps’ normal camp operations for the 2020 season. Over the past two months, we have followed the trajectory of COVID-19 and have deeply studied all available recommendations and guidelines from camping professionals as well as from local and national authorities. Unfortunately, as time passed it has become more and more difficult to imagine a safe, healthy, and authentic season at Shrine Mont Camps.
There were many factors that went into this decision, some of which are outlined our website for those who want to learn more. The health and safety restrictions that would be necessary would require that we significantly change or eliminate many of our traditions and much of our programming; preventing us from building safe, loving, and inclusive faith communities. We worked to envision what was possible and responsible but were unable to build a program that held consistent with our mission and values and also mitigated significant risk to participants, staff, and communities.
Our mission – share faith, grow relationships, spread love – remains the same, but the way we live into it this season must take a different form. So, while our traditional programs cannot occur, we aren’t planning to “sit out” this season. Soon, we will share information about what our camps staff will offer to those at home this summer. No, it will not be “online camp,” but Shrine Mont Camps will use creative and loving energy to form community, invite people to explore creation with care, and to grow in their faith.
For those of you who are already registered for summer 2020, Shrine Mont Camps is committed to refunding all balances and deposits paid. However, if you are able to, we ask you to consider converting some portion of what you have paid into a donation. This will support our efforts to create offerings that invite community and faith formation in the absence of our traditional camp season. Please fill out this form to indicate to us your preference. We also strongly encourage you to consider a donation to Shrine Mont; the impact on their financial security is yet another difficult aspect of this decision.
We realize that learning that camp cannot happen as hoped may be very difficult for your camper to accept. To help families, we have posted some suggestions on how to talk about this with your family, as well as other mental and emotional health resources on our website. We will also share information on upcoming opportunities and resources to pray together and share our feelings there and on social media.
I know that this is not the news you might have hoped to hear, and I am so sorry that we won’t be together at camp this summer. The trust and support you have offered during this time of discernment has been remarkable. Truly loving requires making difficult decisions, and personally, this has been a heartbreaking one. I never could have imagined we would see a summer like this. But know that this is a pause, not an ending, and Shrine Mont Camps will be waiting for us when we return. We believe in a God who is bigger than this moment, who holds us in love, and who offers peace that passes all understanding. This summer we will be attentive to the Holy Spirit, and we hope to offer something that, while it could never replace camp, will reflect our values and beliefs. I look forward to sharing some of our ideas with you in the near future.