A Difficult Update From Camp Chestermere
Hello from Camp Chestermere,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this update from Camp Chestermere. This email will cover the impacts COVID19 has had on Camp Chestermere, including staff layoffs and our not proceeding with contracts for the Seasonal Leadership Team. The end of this post has ways you can help.
I would like to first apologize that it has taken a little while for us to put this update together. As I am sure many of you can appreciate, the pace at which our world has changed in the past 5 weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Initial Impacts of COVID19
The COVID19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on individuals, families, businesses, organizations, ministries and charities across the world and Camp Chestermere is no different. The effects of COVID19 were first felt at Camp Chestermere on Thursday March 12, 2020 when we made the decision to cancel our School Year Camp. This was especially sad for two reasons. First of all, the camp had been planned by the Junior High Missions Team from Heritage Christian Academy and so those students were not able to see all of their hard work come to fruition. Secondly, it was the first School Year Camp that we had completely sold out in quite some time.
Since then, as I said at the start, the pace at which things have changed has been nothing short of breathtaking. Our doors have been closed since March 12 meaning that we have had no guest bookings and no programming since that time.
Temporary Layoffs of Year Round Staff
I am sad to announce that Camp Chestermere has had to temporarily layoff most of the members of its Year Round Team including CLTD / Guest Services Coordinator Erik Davis (Baloo), Kitchen Lead Michelle Dean (Hockey Mom), Site Coordinator Vic Niekraszewicz (Papa Smurf), Office Administrator Natasha Karcz (Shut Eye) and Assistant Director Collin Daws (Deuce). This is a heart breaking situation for all involved. These staff continue to live on site and we hope to bring them all back as soon as possible. However, with very little income coming in and the uncertainty of Summer 2020, Camp Chestermere simply was not able to keep everyone on the payroll.
While this news is heartbreaking, I want to take a moment to acknowledge some of the work that these staff members have been doing, even though they've been laid off. Papa Smurf and his wife continue to come in every day and work on odd jobs around the camp. For example, he has been renovating the gym and she has refinished our podium and coffee table. Deuce and Shut Eye continue to run iCampC and Hockey Mom has been working on creative ways to bring in income. We've also continued on our #PostsofHope with our live devotions on instagram at 4pm. It has been incredible to watch these individuals continue to serve the camp even after being laid off.
Bookkeeper Heather Allen (Bookie) has been a rock star during this time.I cannot even begin to account for the amount of work she has done behind the scenes and I am so thankful for her faithfulness to the camp.
Seasonal Leadership Team and Seasonal Staff
Further, we have informed all o