A Season for New Community at Lutherhaven Ministries
On May 13, 2020 the Board of Directors and senior management staff of Lutherhaven Ministries made the extraordinarily difficult decision to suspend until 2021 all of our traditional children’s and youth camps at all of our locations — Camp Lutherhaven, Shoshone Mountain Retreat, Shoshone Creek Ranch, Lutherhaven Community Day Camps, and Idaho Servant Adventures. This breaks our hearts, as we know it does yours.
We did not choose this easily, or alone. Lutherhaven is blessed with a team of health and camp experts from around the nation; many gave voice to this decision. We came to this decision because we care. We care about the well-being of kids and families.
We know one thing: nothing is better for kids than camp.
Camp is relationships, running around, re-creation, restoration—outdoors, together, with Jesus. And because we care for kids, love kids, we believe it’s in the long term best interest of everyone that we set traditional youth camp aside for a season, look forward to Summer Camp/2021, and come up with creative new programs for this season for new community at Lutherhaven Ministries.
The very nature of camp is closeness—the opposite of social distancing. Camp at Lutherhaven is close friendships, face to face conversations, high fives, fist bumps, hugs, singing, s’mores around the campfire, bunkbeds, tag on the ball field… physical contact.
This season of Covid-19 complicates all of that, beyond how we feel we can reasonably keep kids and their families back home healthy and safe. Camp has so very many moving parts. How do we disinfect life jackets between each use, and canoe paddles, and golf putters, and bows and the dozens of arrows that get launched into the trees. Even horses need to be disinfected between riders. Not to mention bathroom sinks and doorknobs and s’more sticks.
We all share an incredible connection to the places of Lutherhaven Ministries: Camp Lutherhaven, Shoshone Mountain Retreat, and our not even a year old McPherson Meadows.
God has blessed our places with magnificent beauty; with terrific recreational spaces; with a community of tremendous staff, volunteers, supporters, and camp families; with Jesus.
We know not being able to come to those places is hard. And that means caring doesn’t end at canceling summer camp. Lutherhaven’s professional program leadership is being creative about ways we can continue to care for kids and families this summer and into the future. They are developing plans to open camp beginning in July for fun, safe, programmed day and overnight camping opportunities for families and for groups of all ages from regional churches.
I’ve been hanging out a lot these days in the book of Hebrews in the Bible. You maybe know how chapter eleven begins: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” And then chapter twelve starts out, “since we’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders… and run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the starting line and the finish line of our faith.”
This is certainly not the race either I nor you would have plotted out for camp this summer. But we know in this season for new community at Lutherhaven Ministries, it’s the race marked out for us by God, a race that we run together—with campers, staff, parents, pastors, grandparents.
And we’re equally confident that–sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see, and fixing our eyes on Jesus–our finish line is secure!
We can’t wait to see you at camp!
Your servant in Jesus,