For the first time in fifty-six years, Camp Omega has suspended traditional summer camp, but not without the promise of safe, fun, alternative options for families. “This was not an easy decision. We believe that summer camp is more important than ever, but after months of consulting with the staff, Board of Directors, other outdoor ministry professionals, the CDC, health department and the governor’s reopen MN plan, it became clear that suspending typical activities is the right thing to do for the safety of our communities and families,” says Bob LaCroix, executive director of Camp Omega.

But fortunately, the Camp Omega staff and leadership have been and continue to work hard to create alternative ways for families to enjoy camp. Plans are currently underway to open on June 7, 2020, to allow families to stay in a cabin, outpost village (treehouses or teepees), RV, or tent. Families can then participate in traditional camp activities like campfires, canoeing, archery, crafts, games, and so much more.

Program offerings include: Camping & Cabin Rentals, Family Camps & Retreats, Parent-Child Camps, Volunteer Opportunities, and Congregational Day Camp Resources

Why is Camp Omega opening to family and outside group camps but not traditional youth camps?

Camp Omega, located on the shores of Horseshoe Lake, presents a traditional, nostalgic summer camp setting. “Camp Omega welcomes campers from across the region, the nation, and the world,” says LaCroix. “This summer, campers were set to come from all over the country, but each state has different coronavirus restrictions, timelines, and reopening schedules. The CDC and other healthcare guidelines for youth camps recommend programs for ‘locals’ only.”

LaCroix continues, “The very nature of summer camp is closeness—the opposite of social distancing. Camp at Camp Omega is close friendships, face-to-face conversations, high fives, fist bumps, hugs, singing, bunk beds, s’mores around the campfire, games on the ball field . . . basically a lot of physical contact. This season of COVID-19 complicates all of that, beyond how we feel we can reasonably keep kids and their families back home healthy and safe. Camp has so very many moving parts. How do we disinfect life jackets between each use, and canoe paddles, and disc golf, and bows and the dozens of arrows that get launched into the trees? Not to mention bathroom sinks and doorknobs and s’more sticks.”

We’ve designed a family camp program in which the participants will have the opportunity to safely participate in the typical camp activities without having to share lodging or bathroom space with others outside their own family. The “family” essentially becomes the camper group. This allows for the children and youth that would miss out on youth camp experience to still participate and maintain the very nature of Camp in that closeness. Camp Omega is fortunate to be able to craft alternative plans, because many camps around the region and country are closing altogether. The ministry still strives to safely make camp a possibility for as many “campers” as possible, of every age and ability.

For information on how to book a retreat or camp for your family or group, for how to get a refund for youth camps, or for news about this summer’s activities at Camp Omega, visit the Camp Omega website at www.CampOmega.org.