As churches consider what it will look like to offer in-person programs for children and youth, you may want to gain insight from the experiences of others. While most of our camp and conference programs were cancelled due to COVID-19, some sites are currently offering face-to-face programing this summer. Here are just some of the insights shared by our camps and conference centers:
- Reconsider your program’s budget
When you originally planned your program, you did not have the added costs of PPE, hand sanitizer, etc. If your event involves food, you need to recalculate your costs in lieu of the higher prices at the grocery store.
- Talk with churches who offer programs before you
Whenever we hold an event for the first time, we learn so much from the experience. Are there other churches in your area that will be offering programs before you? If so, contact someone from that church and ask them what they learned.
- Participant check-in and pick-up can be tricky
Consider contactless procedures that allows parents to drop off and pick up their children in a quick and easy way. Make sure that you demonstrate your new safety procedures during every part of the process.
- Social distancing is easier when everyone is standing still
It is not too hard to keep program participants at a proper distance. It just gets complicated when people need to move (like bathroom breaks or when entering/leaving a room). Think strategically about how people will move within your spaces and make sure your leaders understand the procedures.
- Don’t forget the advantages of the virtual piece
Instead of trying to get parents and children together in a big room, consider using a Zoom meeting for your event’s closing program. There may be other ways that you can use live or recorded content to involve the participant’s whole family in your program.
Perhaps there are items on this list that will be helpful to you. Blessings on you and your church as you minister to children and youth in new ways.
Joel Winchip is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association. The association recently partnered with the Presbyterian Mission Agency and Worship Time to create the Virtual Camp Portal which currently serves camps from nine different denominations.
The featured photo in the banner is Camp Rimrock, a PCCCA member, who is doing virtual camp this year in South Dakota. Photo in this post is a Camp T-shirt from John Knox Center, the PCCCA member site in Ten Mile, TN