Updated: May 8
When we picked this summer’s theme, we had no idea what was in store for our communities, our nation, and our world. This summer will truly be One for the Ages, as it will be the first time in 40 years that we won’t have overnight summer camp at Carol Joy Holling or Sullivan Hills Camps.
The Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to suspend on-site summer camp programming at Carol Joy Holling and Sullivan Hills until we can operate safely.
We know more businesses are beginning to open up here in Nebraska. However, the guidance from medical professionals, educators, and industry experts is that children and youth are still learning physical distancing. It’s a skill we will all need to hone before we all return to camp—where high fives abound, and tearful hugs at closing program solidify a promise of life-long friendships.
Parents trust us with what is most valuable to them in the entire world—their children—and we do not take that lightly. At camp, we work to build a community that is both mentally and physically safe through experiences that are the opposite of social distancing.
We were prepared for camp to look different this summer, but there is a point at which camp could lose its many benefits. As we considered individual health, community health, government regulations, and general risk, it became clear—no matter what guidelines may change in the coming months, this global pandemic has made it impossible to safely bring together campers from across the Midwest.
Making this announcement does not mean we’re giving up. We recognize that campers need a chance to disconnect from devices and reconnect with one another, with nature, and with their faith—now more than ever. Our amazing staff has already begin working on plans to keep the Carol Joy Holling Camp community connected until we can safely gather together again.
We are heartbroken to not be able to welcome campers this summer, and we recognize our campers may be as well. Click here to download a resource to help talk with children and youth about losing this summer’s camp experience.
The financial implications of cancelling camp are very serious. Parents will be able to redirect their account balance into a donation, refund, or payment towards summer camp 2021.
Our theme verse for the summer from Psalm 100 says, “For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.’ God has been, and continues to be faithful to all generations—and that includes us today. God is working right now in and through this pandemic. Let us have hope, lean into our faith, and hold tight to God’s loving promise of resurrection.