Deer Run Camps & Retreats has decided to cancel all 2020 day and overnight summer camps for kids and youth. At this time, July Family camps have not been canceled but will be modified since accommodations and outdoor activities will be limited to families.
The camp has faced numerous challenges including numerous summer camp staff contracting the COVID-19 virus during pre-camp training weeks. While most of the staff had mild symptoms and have recovered, their senior director of camps and recreation, Fred Reyes, is in ICU fighting for his life against the virus.
Due to the cancelation, Deer Run had to inform over 60 college students and young adults who were hired as summer staff that the plans they had for this summer have come to a halt. Additionally, other layoffs and reductions have been necessary for year-round staff.
The ministry and financial impact to Deer Run of canceling camps is huge. Says David Gibson, founder and CEO, “We are greatly saddened by the lost opportunity to offer an amazing summer camp experience to kids which allows them to get outside and experience nature, forge friendships, be encouraged, strengthen their confidence, grow in their faith, and create life-long memories.”
He goes on to say that the cancelation of summer camps causes an almost 60% operational revenue loss on top of already significant losses due to cancelations of retreat groups from churches, schools, and other organizations. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Deer Run will need to raise funds to help survive this challenging time. However, their team is creatively seeking new ways to operate and are excited about implementing a variety of opportunities for families and close friends to experience Deer Run. “We have a lot to offer families on this beautiful property and have numerous outdoor recreational activities plus a variety of accommodations. During these difficult times where so many are isolated, Deer Run provides a place where families can get away from the chaos of daily life and rest in the beauty of God’s creation.”
COVID-19 is the biggest crisis facing Christian camps in over a century. Not only has Deer Run had to make this decision to cancel summer camps, but many other camps across the nation have as well. Some camps have even had to close their doors permanently, many of which have been in operation for many years.
This would have been Deer Run’s fourteenth summer of programmed camps. Deer Run was established in 1998 and began originally with offering a place for church, ministry, and school retreats which they still provide for hundreds of groups annually.
Deer Run is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization located 10 miles from downtown Franklin. You can find out more about Deer Run at DeerRun.camp.