Over the last month and a half, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and considering the impact it may have on our summer camp programs at RVR. Please watch the 4-minute video above to hear our Executive Director explain the decision on how we will proceed this summer. You can also read the official statement below.
Dear RVR Family,
Over the last month and a half, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and how it may impact summer camps at RVR. We have come to a decision on how we will proceed this summer, but before informing you of our decision, I wanted to reflect on camp and what makes it special for so many of us.
Camp is friendship. It’s nature. Beautiful surroundings. Games. S’mores. Dance parties, pool parties, friendship bracelets and tie-dyed t-shirts. It’s paintball, horses, zip lines and climbing towers. It’s hiking, swimming, and walking tacos. It’s singing arm-in-arm at the top of our lungs with no inhibitions. It’s silly skits and cool counselors; milkshakes and snowballs by the creek. It’s playing gaga and dodgeball. It’s the smells of fresh air, bug spray, sunscreen, and campfires. It’s where we can spread our wings and gain independence—while making memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a safe place to learn about Jesus, ask questions, challenge our fears, and grow deeper in our faith. It’s a place where lives are changed.
It’s where we all want to be. Where our kids need to be, now more than ever, after months of social separation. And yet....
We find ourselves here, after weeks of prayer, research and consultations, with no good answer for how we could provide this life-changing summer camp experience without putting our campers, staff and community at risk. And ultimately, it’s the safety of our camp family that must be our top priority. Because of this, we’ve arrived at the heart-wrenching decision to cancel our regular summer day camp and overnight camp programs for 2020.
We know this is incredibly hard to hear. It’s incredibly hard for me to write. We know your campers will be so disappointed—and that this is heaped on top of all of the other disappointments they’re facing.
We know how valuable camp is, and we desperately wanted to deliver for your families. Please know that we did not come to this decision lightly. Over the past few weeks, we've spent countless hours consulting with state and county health officials, the American Camping Association, the Christian Camp and Conference Association, and other camps around the country. We’ve tried to envision scenarios in which we could preserve the way we’ve always done camp, but we are deeply concerned that the communal nature of the traditional camp environment could actually contribute to the spread of the virus. In addition, it has become very clear to us that under the federal and state guidelines (which are expected to include social distancing requirements, limited group sizes, significant quarantine measures, and personal protective equipment), our ability to provide a safe and meaningful camp experience is simply not possible.
I’m sure you have questions about what happens next, and we’re here to help. If you've already registered for one of our summer programs you can find more information about your options by clicking the button below and filling out the form.
We want you to know that we’re still committed to ministering to your children this summer. We have a creative team here at RVR that is developing some alternative programming—perhaps different ways that your camper (and maybe even the whole family) can still come and enjoy a safe, unique camp experience at RVR on a smaller scale. And if you’re not able to be here in person, we’ll have some virtual connections available as well. Anything we offer will be compliant with the most current federal and state health requirements. We’ll post the details when they’re finalized—look for more information about these innovative summer options at the end of May.
In the meantime, please pray for our campers, who will now miss out on a life-changing week of camp. Also, pray for our summer staff, who had planned to devote their summer serving your children. Finally, pray for our full-time staff, who have literally been preparing the entire year for camp this summer.
We are hopeful for the future. We are, in fact, living for it. We serve a big God, and trust that this is all somehow a part of His perfect plan. Lord willing, next summer, the life-changing summer camp ministry that we’ve delivered for 68 years will once again fill this valley with the joyful sounds of children. We are all in this together, and we will all get through this together. We will miss you dearly, we’re praying for you, and we can’t wait to be together again at RVR.
~Jon Bisset | Executive Director