A Letter to Our Retreat Groups

A Promise! I solemnly swear that I will never again complain when my turn comes around to host a retreat at Lakeshore. NEVER! We miss you. NOT KIDDING! It has been lonely on the hill and the loss of fellowship with our guest groups has been heartfelt.

While I fully understand the precarious situation the COVID 19 pandemic puts us all in and the importance of safety, Lakeshore remains open to you and all our guest groups as we look to the Fall retreat season. Certainty for any planning is hard to hold with any confidence. So, on behalf of Lakeshore, I want to make a couple of offers to those of you considering a retreat/meeting in the uncertain future. They are as follows:

– If you schedule a retreat or meeting with us between now and May 31, 2021, we will NOT require a deposit to hold your place on the calendar. We want you to know that there is no risk to you if you get on our schedule and have to later cancel due to this pandemic.
– If you need to cancel a scheduled retreat, even up to the last days, there will be no late cancellation penalty. We will understand completely.

I was proud of our staff when we were able to successfully operate 5 weeks of our 2020 Summer camp schedule. We followed well thought out protocols and adapted them to circumstances that arose and CDC guidelines as needed. When we needed to end camp a week early to ensure the safety of our campers, we were able to do so with confidence and transparency.

Of course, in the experience of camp, we learned a few things that we think might be helpful to you as you plan for your retreats and the vital ministry that happens at them. I am attaching some of those lessons and hope they will be helpful to you.

Recommended Protocols

Cabin groups of no more than 6 to 8 persons plus counselors if needed. Groups would be encouraged to stay together consistently, eat at an assigned dining hall table, and remain socially distanced from other small, cabin groups when meeting or worshiping in larger groups. For activities outside, you may choose to combine two cabin groups into alternate activity groups. The Leadership Team for the retreat are wise to operate as it’s own small group and wear masks when interacting with retreat participants.
We chose not to wear masks when in our cabin groups this summer. Anytime a person leaves their cabin or activity group, it would be wise to wear their mask. Some other specific times for mask-wearing would be when going to the public restroom, in line for service in the cafeteria before being seated, and when singing during sessions or worship. Lakeshore staff/personnel will wear masks when interacting with your group.
Each guest group should establish pre-arrival expectations regarding their participants health. (Has the participant had fever over 100 in the past 72 hours, have they been in contact with anyone testing positive in the last 10 days, etc.) If they do not meet your established expectations, ask them to sit this retreat out. (Of course, Be gentle and let them know you will miss them.)
In the case of children/youth, the cabin leader(s) is asked to check each person’s temperature each morning and evening. Adults can check their temps as regularly as they like at any one of two or three stations available to the group. (Non-touch forehead thermometers are provided) Anyone having a fever of 100 or more, should be isolated until temperature can be rechecked. Your host can help locate space for separating someone from the group for safety considerations.
Along with washing hands with soap and water in the bathrooms, hand sanitizing stations will be set up in your gathering areas for regular use. In addition, your retreat host will regularly use disinfectant wipes to go over often touched hard surfaces. (E.g. – Handrails, sinks and faucets, coffee service area)

We really do miss you and hope to see and/or hear from you soon.

Life, Love, and the God of Grace,
The Rev. Gary D. Lawson, Sr.
Executive Director