May 21 Update
Today, we are enacting the first part of our cancellation plans for the summer. We sincerely hope it is the last time we do this for the summer. It is with great sadness that Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca is cancelling resident camp sessions that begin in June. This has been an incredibly difficult decision, and we’ve held off on making the call as long as possible as we’ve awaited guidance that either hasn’t come or has been unfavorable to our operations. This cancellation includes the camp sessions of June 17-19, June 21-26, and June 28-July 3. A decision on June day camps that begin in June (June 21-26 and June 29 – July 3) will be announced by May 29th.
Late on May 19 the CDC published Considerations for Youth and Summer Camps. Though we have been attempting to develop a program with many of these considerations implemented, a new notable consideration being pushed is the limiting of attendance to local geography and, in this case, the greatest geographical distance is within the county of the camp. Additionally, we have no direction to date (5/20) from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Johnson County Department of Public Health (JCPH) aside from our kitchen and dining operations, though we’ve heard it will be addressed sometime soon. Even if we were to receive a go-ahead from our local health departments in the coming days or weeks about doing summer camp, there just isn’t enough time to implement the necessary measures that we feel meet an acceptable standard.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the current impact of social distancing measures does not allow for a quality camp experience at this point. Our current alternative plan that has been developed from guidelines from the American Camp Association (ACA) calls for cabin-group-only activities, no-all-camp games and activities, and many of our favorite activities eliminated, if not changed or reduced in some way. It just wouldn’t feel like camp. The implementation and training for new policies pertaining to the pandemic in order to run a safe camp simply can’t be developed in time for our June camps, as they were only just received on May 18. There’s a lot to apply, and it isn’t as simple as adding a few more handwashing stations and wearing facemasks.
Our hope at this point is to see the situation improve enough so that we can conduct our program beginning with all camps on July 5. There have been many positive trends regarding reopening, and we hope that allows for us to open up in such a way where we can offer a safe program that the unprecedented standards of the time but also meet a quality experience where our campers can enjoy God’s creation and have fun, real fun. We are serious about aiming for a July 5 start! We are still hiring our summer staff as planned so that they can be fully trained in all of the additional measures that need to be implemented.
If you have been affected by this cancellation, you have a few options. First, you can reschedule to a session that begins after July 5, so click here for that. Second, we are offering full refunds if you cannot attend camp. Last, please consider donating your deposit and/or existing camp fees to Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca. Our mission has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our Q2 retreat income has been wiped out and we are now seeing the cancelling of gatherings and family reunions into Q3. It’s very likely that Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca could see revenue losses of over $150,000 due to the pandemic, so your support is key in making sure we can survive in this difficult time. You can find those options by clicking here.
We mourn the loss of summer camp for those registered. We do not take it lightly, and we recognize the impact to our campers, their families, and Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca. We’re pleased to announce that all of our Bible study content, campfire skits, WOW (passion drama), and other camp content will be posted online and sent to our campers at no cost for you to enjoy. Though it is certainly not camp itself, it’s a small olive branch of some of our most beloved and important traditions, so stay tuned for those.
For now, that’s all. Though we’re hopeful about our prospects for beginning camp in July, we may also have other updates as we consider alternative programming. If you’re interested in a camp outing for your immediate family, please contact us! We’d love to help you enjoy the outdoors, even if it’s just for a day or two!
May the Peace of the Lord be with you, my friends…