Virtual Camp

by Megan Anderson, Chaplain and Camp Director
Getting ready for virtual campIvan Thorpe loads “Camp-in-a-Box” for delivery

The last two weeks of July were packed full with arts and crafts, cooking workshops, small groups, chaplain time, singing by the campfire, dance parties, and so much more. When we had to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel in-person camping programs for the summer due to COVID-19, I could have never imagined such a transformational camp experience taking place in camper’s homes and on ZOOM video conferencing.
A phenomenal team of volunteer counselors came alongside me to vision and plan for what a summer camp online could look like. This team, along with the amazing leadership of Assistant Camp Director, Ivan Thorpe, met with me every week for over two months. Everyone came to our planning meetings with such creative ideas and energy that the brainstorming and planning turned out to be so much fun. It was a joy to see how such a robust program came together from the inspiring teamwork of these young adult leaders.
Typically BREAD Camp is divided by session according to age group. For Virtual BREAD Camp 2020, we decided to do a hybrid program. All age groups were invited to register for 2 weeks of camp from July 19th to July 31st. Campers had age-group-specific chaplain and small group time in the mornings, then all of the age groups came together to participate in afternoon workshops and night time activities. In addition to holding three live Zoom sessions Monday-Friday each week, every camper was sent a “Camp-in-a-Box.” The box included art projects, s’more kits, a daily devotional compiled by counselors, a battery-lit tea light for compline, and more!
Generations Camp also hosted an amazing week of family camp online during the last week of June. This week included an art workshop, compline services, a costume dance party, and chaplain time. It was such an amazing experience that it was quite hard to sign off of Zoom after the closing compline on Friday night.
In a season where so much that we hold dear has been postponed or cancelled, it was heartwarming to witness the ways in which the Ranch camp community came together this summer to create inclusive and loving community in an adaptive and inspiring way.
Camp is just one of the ways that the Ranch is striving to nurture community in this time when we cannot physically be together. The Chapel Community has been meeting every Sunday for chapel and coffee hour at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom since late March. We have also been enjoying some new mid-week gatherings during this time. Fall gatherings start up this week with Meditation Class on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., and The Art of Hosting: Conversations That Matter gatherings on Sundays at 10:45 a.m. Everyone from the wider Ranch community is always welcome to attend any of these gatherings. Please send me an email to join the Chapel mailing list that contains Zoom links to these gatherings.
Circling back to this summer, virtual camp would not have been possible without all of the incredible volunteer leaders that offered their time and talents so generously. Please join me in thanking them!

Thanks to:
Assistant Camp Director: Ivan Thorpe
BREAD Camp Counselors:
Sawyer Castleberry-Backman
Kimble Helms
Maddy MacGregor
John Robinson
Francesca Rubinson
Camilla Sigmund
Lydia Villa