Storm #1: Summer Camp programs normally bring in 65% of our TOTAL income for the year. Because of COVID-19 we were unable to run these programs.
Lakeview’s primary ministry is our summer camp program. This program was budgeted to bring in close to $700,000 of income this year.
This income is the lifeblood that sustains our ministry throughout the entire year. We make use of it year-round to:
- Maintain, upkeep, and provide utilities for the 45+ buildings on camp property.
- Retain our incredible team of full-time staff as they work hard throughout the year planning, running programs, hosting guest groups, recruiting, promoting, cleaning, visiting schools and churches, working on projects, and more.
- Serve as a constant resource and support to our churches, families, and young people.
- Create new activities and programs to better meet the needs of our campers.
When summer programs were cancelled, we asked camper families to consider donating part or all of their registration deposit back to camp. Many of our camper families were generous in donating, and we thank God for that, but all told these donations only equaled $117,480-less than 18% of our normal summer income.
In addition, we were able to run limited programming during the summer: family rentals on the Village side and a one-month Day Camp program on the Camp Lakeview side. We were incredibly grateful to be able to get some families and kids out to camp this summer, but the income generated from these programs was only a drop in the bucket compared to our normal summer programs.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of this vital, ministry-sustaining income was wiped out.
Storm #2: With the pandemic continuing, no amount of reduced spending or creative programming is able to make up this shortfall.
Since March, we have drastically reduced our spending and expenses, taking such steps as:
- Freezing all current spending, with the exception of what is absolutely necessary to allow camp to continue operating and guests to be served. (i.e. Repair bills, food for camp guests, gas for camp vehicles, etc.)
- Freezing all current projects, with the exception of ongoing projects in the “A Place for You” capital campaign that had already received designated funds.
- Shutting down buildings whenever possible to lower utility expenses.
- Full-time staff going on furlough/taking salary reductions to reduce staff expenses.
- Putting off hiring THREE year-round staff positions that are currently vacant, with our remaining full-time staff taking on the extra burden of covering these positions.
We have also done everything possible to be creative and responsive in serving through this pandemic, including:
- Creating an online “Lakeview TV” program to encourage and enrich families and children.
- Creating a family “Rent-a-Village” program to allow families to stay and play at camp throughout the year.
- Creating a children’s Day Camp program that ran through the month of July.
- Working with dozens of guest groups and servant events to allow their planned retreats to still happen.
- Making extensive modifications to our August family retreats and fall Women’s retreat to allow them to happen.
- Planning for Summer 2021 to be able to offer residential camp programs even if current restrictions are still in place.
Despite these actions, our ability to generate income is severely limited due to the pandemic, and we continue to have expenses that need to be covered if we want to keep the lights on and continue serving.
Storm #3: Without additional support, we may be forced to take steps that impact camp’s long-term future stability.
We remain committed to doing everything possible to keep camp going through this current crisis, and avoiding actions that would reduce or cripple our ability to serve in the future. With the likelihood of the pandemic continuing well into 2021, however, without additional support we face the prospect of taking steps that would hamper the future success of this ministry simply to survive in the present.
Such possible steps include:
- Taking on significant debt. This would allow us to make it through in the short-term, but would hamper our ability to serve and grow for years in the future.
- Reducing our full-time staff team. Staff salaries make up 32% of our annual budget, but without our staff, there is no camp. With reduced staff, the ability of Lakeview to serve and minister would also be greatly reduced.
- Selling camp property. Property is one of our significant assets, but selling any property off would mean losing the ability to use and build on that land forever.
We firmly believe that with continued action and strong support from our camp family, we can avoid such steps.