Summer Camp Update

 

Dear Friends of Briarwood,

 

During the past several weeks, the Board and staff of Briarwood Leadership Center, along with Bishop Gronberg and other leaders in the NT-NL Synod, have been discerning the path forward toward reopening Briarwood and welcoming guests back on site. Along with you and a multitude of other ministries, we are closely following public health data and guidance. 

 

Along with seeking to be faithful stewards of Briarwood facilities and funds, the health and safety of every person in our Briarwood community is our top priority. This is true of our staff members and our guests, whether those guests are campers, short-term space renters, or retreat participants. 

 

In keeping with this ongoing discernment, we have decided to:

 

-       cancel all weeks of overnight Summer Camp

-       cancel all congregational Day Camps

-       postpone the start of BASE Camp (onsite day camp) until at least July 6

 

We will be closely monitoring the public health situation in order to determine the feasibility of late June and July programming possibilities. While we aren’t able to provide a full summer of programming, we will be able to utilize our counselors and the energy they bring. Read on for more details.

 

Camper Families

If you are currently registered for one of our cancelled summer programs, you will receive an email to guide your next steps. We know that every family is different, and every situation is different. You will have the chance to transfer payments to a future event or receive a refund. If you can, we invite you to invest in the future of Briarwood by donating all or part of your registration payments. In the next two weeks, a Briarwood representative will contact you to walk you through this process.

 

Congregational Leaders

If you are a congregational leader hosting a Day Camp or overseeing a Group hold in one of our cancelled summer programs, a Briarwood representative will contact you directly. Your congregation may choose to transfer payments to a future event, receive a refund, or donate all or part of your payments.

 

Changing Realities

This pandemic has dramatically changed our lives on both individual and societal levels. Briarwood has been challenged in many ways that affect its understanding of its mission and vision. Our mission of creating and sustaining community has shifted from drawing people together in a particular space to experimenting with new ways of bringing people together across space. Every challenge brings new possibilities, and this pandemic, as terrible as it is, has been no exception. Your tremendous participation in the online Briarwood Gala—the first of its kind!—is a testament to those possibilities.

 

Over the next few weeks, you will see more and more of how Briarwood Leadership Center is leaning into these new ministry opportunities. We will be delving deeper into questions of leadership in these particularly challenging times. As our vocation expands—both as Christian leaders and as faith-based institutions—we hope to learn lessons that will carry us into the future.

 

Part of Briarwood’s leadership is our commitment to the young adult leaders we have hired as summer staff. Our country is facing a profound crisis of unemployment. This crisis could have lasting effects for young adults. Briarwood has made a commitment to this group of young adults, an investment that will provide immediate and lasting benefit. 

 

This summer, our counselors will stand ready to participate in BASE Camp operations. Additionally, they will create online opportunities for young people who would have joined us onsite to have social interaction with one another and with counselors … over a meal, around a campfire, in devotions and worship. We will expand established efforts like Avery’s “Walk through the Bible” videos on our Facebook page. 

 

Moreover, the counselors will engage in leadership development training and conversation, producing meaningful content for campers and community members and of benefit to the broader church. Camp is an excellent place for developing leadership capacities with children, youth, and young adults alike. Again, our Gala videos tell an amazing story!

 

Into the Future

Briarwood has a strong legacy of creating and sustaining community. This pandemic doesn’t change that. We deeply appreciate your ongoing support in the midst of these trying times. Briarwood wouldn’t be Briarwood without you as part of the family.

 

Blessings,

 

Robert Smith

Director, Briarwood Leadership Center