Dear Menno Haven Families & Friends,
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91: 1-2 (NIV)
As the Menno Haven Ministry Team we have been meeting every morning the past 4 weeks to reflect and pray over Psalm 91 ….praying for the Menno Haven ministry and for you. We pray that you have been able to dwell in God’s shelter and rest in His shadow in the midst of the pestilence of COVID-19 (how timely and appropriate is that word in verse 3?!?). We continue to remind ourselves that God is good, ALL the time…All the time, God is good.
Here we are writing another update to our Menno Haven Programs. More changes are in the wind. While we wish we could just proceed like we had planned, we are needing to alter our upcoming May programs after hearing Governor Pritzker’s continuation of the Stay-At-Home Order through the end of the month. This means canceling Work Day on May 9th as well as Rally Day on May 25th. It is so disappointing to not be able to gather together as a Menno Haven family to celebrate the beginning of the summer camp season!
COVID-19 is affecting more than May. The last month we have taken a myriad of webinars, conversed at great length with others in the larger Christian and Mennonite camping communities, talked with our local Health Department, and read CDC’s recommendations for gatherings of children – all looking at the question: “How can we run Menno Haven youth summer camp in light of COVID-19?”
Menno Haven Summer Camp is about gathering youth from all over Illinois and surrounding areas, being together as one group – playing, learning, and growing together in friendship and faith. Camp is sharing life in proximity – in a cabin, around a table, at a campfire. It’s having Bible Studies as Cabin Walnut or Cabin Oak with new friends from around the state and playing Ozzie’s Nature Game as one big group during All Camp Activity. It’s high-fiving your cabin mate after they jumped off the diving board for the first time, it’s sharing a smile (not covered by a mask) with someone who just taught you how to make your first s’more, it’s hugging your counselor tight when it’s time to go because you just Don’t. Want. To. Leave.
After much prayer and discernment with our year round Ministry Team and the Board of Directors, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot responsibly provide the quality camp experience that Menno Haven has offered the last 61 summers. Therefore we will not be running our scheduled 2020 Menno Haven programed summer camps. While we know in many ways we all need camp more now than ever, we need to continue to care and protect you – our campers, families and larger community as a whole. We share your sadness and grief about this. Believe us – we love camp as much as you do – that’s why we work here! While we will miss our campers terribly, we are already looking forward to summer 2021!
In looking over the rest of our summer calendar:
- Summer Staff Homecoming is canceled at this time. (Postponed – more information to follow.)
- GrandCamp is still on – August 2-6, 2020
While our typical summer youth camps will not run, we have some ideas percolating that we will keep you informed of … possibly offer some smaller family group gatherings, come as a small group to have Home In The Woods, send camp TO you, or hold some shorter youth camps later in the summer/fall when that becomes possible. We also have some ideas of doing a virtual 5k/2k or a come on your own 5k/2k this May to continue to raise money for our Summer Camper Scholarship Fund. If you have interest in any of these ideas or if you have any ideas of what you would like to see, send them to Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if you would like to give any input on how Menno Haven can serve you this summer in familiar and new ways, fill out this survey. If you are someone who signs campers up for camp, your input would be especially useful. We would love to hear your thoughts!!
As always, as we will keep you informed in the coming months. Stay up-to-date on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and mennohaven.com as we will post changes or planned activities through these venues.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
Psalms 91: 14-15 (MSG)
Remember to hold on to God during this time. We are holding tight to the promises of verse 15 and looking forward to the time when we can gather again, as friends from all over, celebrating the continuation of Menno Haven’s ministry and have that party that God is promising!
Doc Johnson, Executive Director
Work Day has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 9th, 2020 due to the extension of the “stay-at-home” order in Illinois through April 30th.