Over the last several weeks, we have worked diligently to determine the best and safest course of action for the 2020 summer season. As mentioned in our last email, we have been discussing
Camp options with medical professionals and doctors, a pandemic expert, local authorities in Newberry, Michigan, and Willow Creek leadership.
It is with great sadness that we have come to the decision to cancel all 2020 Dads Camp sessions. With the unique and remote nature of Camp, we believe this decision is the safest decision for you and your family, our staff, and the local communities around Camp.
For many of you, especially after weeks at home, Dads Camp has been something to look forward to—this decision is understandably disappointing. Camp Paradise has been a significant place for many people over the years, and we grieve what will be missed this summer. We’re with you in the disappointment and sadness; we feel the loss.
All registered campers can be fully refunded for their registration cost. If you were registered and haven’t done so already, please complete this form to get the refund process started. Once we hear from you, we will submit a refund request and you will be refunded back to the card you used. Due to the volume of transactions being refunded, you can expect to see your refund come through sometime in May. Please be patient with us as we work through that process. If you are interested in donating a portion of your Dads Camp payment to support Camp so that we can continue to do ministry this year and into the future, please let us know in your form response.
While Camp will be closed to campers for the first time in our nearly 44-year history, ministry will not stop. As we have said before, we firmly believe God is moving through this situation. He is bigger than COVID-19; fully present in the storm. We are continuing to monitor the circumstance and take the appropriate best steps for our scheduled fall Work Weeks and volunteering opportunities. Additionally, in the coming weeks we’ll be launching new opportunities to experience pieces of Camp at home—stay tuned!
The Camp Paradise Team
This was my child’s last chance to come to Camp. Will I be able to take him/her next year?
Yes! We are going to extend the age to 13 for next year. While we can’t guarantee that everyone will receive a spot, we are encouraging you to submit a request through our usual registration process next year. Please note that this will be for the 2021 Camp season only.
Can you just keep my registration fee and reserve my spot for next summer?
No, unfortunately we do not have the capability to hold the funds and can’t guarantee anyone a spot for next year. We want to keep the process as fair as possible, and some families are not able to plan that far ahead or pay for their spots at this time.
Can you just keep my registration fee as a donation?
Yes! If you’re interested and able to donate to Camp in this unique time, please note that in your refund process form here, and we can reallocate the funds so that your donation will also be tax deductible. Alternatively, you can also buy a brick on our website here.
If I donate, what specifically will it be going toward?
Because summer revenues mostly cover summer expenses at Camp Paradise, we will maintain a largely balanced budget as a result of cancelling Camp. However, there are several fixed expenses that are also covered by session revenue. If you feel led to donate some or all of your camp fees, it will help us cover the costs of hosting extended work weeks to tackle additional projects. Your donation will also ensure that, despite this summer’s setback, Camp will continue to be a blessing to families for years to come.
When will I find out the dates for next summer, and when can I register?
The dates for next summer will be posted on our website here.
Registration will likely happen as usual next March, but it’s always a good idea to sign up for our E-News here to receive reminder emails so that you don’t miss it!
What will you guys be doing this summer?
Our team is trying to steward this time in the wisest way possible so that Camp can continue to be set up for ministry in the future! Our goal is to be able to go up to Camp eventually and tackle some maintenance projects that have been on the list for a while, and also to stay on track with planned work week projects such as finishing the Muskie showerhouse and building the new summer staff cabins. We are also hoping to get the summer staff team that we hired up for a few days to give them a taste of Camp!
Can I come to Camp to volunteer?
Yes! During this pandemic, we will be conducting our volunteer Work Weeks in smaller groups, stretched out over a longer period of time. We will be limiting group sizes to Michigan’s recommendations. We ask that anyone who is high-risk or who is immunosuppressed to consider not attending this year. We will be adhering to state mandates and recommendations for keeping everyone safe. Please note that Work Weeks are an adult environment that involves long work hours. Volunteers can be as young as 16-years-old with a parent or guardian present. At this point, due to the circumstance, Work Week dates and projects are pending. For more information, please contact Curtis Vanden Bos [email protected] or Tim Vanden Bos at [email protected].
Will you guys be offering any other resources?
Just because you won’t be driving 450 miles north, doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of Camp Paradise this summer. Our team is creating some new and relevant content that will be available and we’ll also be offering an at-home Camp experience that we think you’ll love! Stay up to date about these opportunities and more by signing up for our E-News here.
Can you give me some more information about how you came to this decision?
While state and federal guidelines seem to be changing every week, it doesn’t seem like this virus is going away any time soon. Due to our location, we have to watch and follow guidelines from Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Our team brainstormed at length about what a modified schedule could look like, if it would be possible to practice social distancing at Camp, or how it would feel to try to cancel part of the summer, but not all of it… and we came to the conclusion that it doesn’t feel wise or safe. Camp Paradise is different from many other Camps in that we can’t be ready to open whenever we get the all clear - it takes our team several weeks to open up, get the facilities ready for the season, and train our summer staff. We also have limited access to healthcare facilities, and it is more complicated to send people home if a staff member or Camper gets sick. After much prayer and many conversations, we feel this is the right decision. If you have other specific questions, please reach out to any one of us.