2020 Encounter Update/CANCELLATION

This is Sarah Miles, Director of the Encounter. It’s hard to believe summer is already here…and strange to reflect on how differently our world looks in these few short months.  Our entire camp staff family is sending hugs and prayers to you and your kiddos…I know many of you have experienced unique hardships and heartache through the daily barrage of news.  It makes my heart incredibly tender…but it’s also filled with hope and joy.  It’s in the midst of these uncomfortable seasons, that we can look back and see God’s hand and involvement in our lives the most clearly.  We truly learn how to listen and rely on Him in new ways and at new levels.  I see our families, cities, States, Countries…even global initiatives re-creating themselves…re-inventing normal.  Fresh ideas to build, grow, and serve are evolving through this season…and I see God’s creativity and heart radiating out of so much of it.  We are an extension of His Goodness and His priorities…which will always circle around His kids…us.  What a privilege to be able to represent His Kingdom priorities everywhere we go…and carry His peace and joy into every situation.

We've had to re-evaluate the best way to run The Encounter (formerly SEP Rockies) this year.  We can sense how hungry our teenage friends are for camp this year (we are too) and we have been desperate to figure out how to give them something normal and safe in the midst of so much change and lost expectations for the school year/summer plans.  But after paying close attention to the Governor’s resident camp guidelines, we’ve come to the conclusion that even with the best social distancing and cleaning practices…there is no guarantee that we can prevent the risk for possible infection in a summer camp setting. The State health department views an "outbreak" as 2 or more cases of Covid-19.  So if anyone at camp were to show symptoms (essentially shortness of breath, headaches, etc…which are symptoms we ALL have at a camp with an elevation over 9000ft 😊)…we’d have to quarantine/send to town for testing while also quarantining anyone else who was "exposed".  For any of our out of -State camper/staff…this would also require them to quarantine in Colorado for 2 weeks after camp before flying/driving home…even if they test negative.  We’re finding that so many people are asymptomatic…so it’s really difficult to guarantee a completely Covid-free environment.  Not to mention…masks at camp…no groups of more than 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.  We’ve been working hard to re-create what camp is to fit within these guidelines…but after chatting with our staff this weekend…over half of them are unable to come to camp based on the effect of the restrictions on their specific situations (being unable to quarantine due to commitments to the military, pending childbirth, and many more factors).…so it breaks my heart to say that this has brought us to the conclusion that the best course of action is to cancel the Encounter 2020.  Insert tears ☹. 

I really believed we wouldn’t have to send this email…please know we did everything we could to make camp happen…and also that we are working hard to pivot and create opportunities for connections and Encounters for our campers and staff…stay tuned for more info!

As far as logistics are concerned…any tuition payments that have already been made are 100% refundable.  We do have a couple of options for you to consider.

  1. You can transfer your dollars to next summer’s program and reserve your campers spot at Encounter 2021, now.  Sign up here.

  2. You can transfer your dollars to the Winter Encounter 2021…we’re planning an epic New Year’s Eve party for our campers and staff.  Check out the highlights from last year! Registration is open for Dec 31st – Jan 2 here!

  3. You can request that we send a full refund for any dollars received.

Please email our amazing volunteers at: info@theencounter.co with your decision or any questions.

And also…please hug your camper (or yourself 😊) for us…tell them we love them and that as much as we’ll miss seeing them this year, we’ll put our hearts and energy into creating the best Winter and Summer programs for 2021.

We’re grateful for your continual trust.  Sharing God’s love with your kids is one of the greatest privileges we know.