Christikon and Covid-19

Like you, we’re keeping close tabs on the Coronavirus (a.k.a. Covid-19). Following are updates for summer guests, group leaders, donors, and friends of Christikon. If you’re wondering where Christikon is in the process, read on, and as always feel free to contact us with any questions.

Update June 11, 2021

Fr: Pastor Mark

To: Campers/Guests registered for Christikon in 2021

Re: Camp Preparation & Travel

We’re thankful for the progress made in the Covid fight, that we know much more about how it spreads than we did last season, and that all staff received vaccine before arriving for the summer. While we aren’t fully back to “normal” conditions, vaccines are widely available for anyone 12 and up in most, if not all, areas of the country. We continue to strongly encourage everyone who can to get the shot before coming to camp.

In consultation with our camp physician and county health director, this is the latest update regarding Covid 19:

Guest/Group Preparation and Travel:

  • Quarantine unnecessary if all group members fully vaccinated
  • For those not vaccinated, we ask them to limit outside contact in the 10 days prior to leaving for Christikon
  • We suggest groups limit contact while in route (i.e. rest stops over convenience stores, ordering food to overnight lodging rather than eating out, etc.). Again for groups fully vaccinated, they can travel more freely

While at Christikon, some protocols remain:

  • hand washing/sanitizing stations in place before each meal
  • cabin bunks remain further apart and all cabins equipped with ventilation fans
  • most activities and programming done outdoors
  • all will mask when singing at worship
  • we’ll continue limited our practice of joining hands during meal and worship prayer

Update April 26, 2021

Fr: Pastor Mark

To: Christikon Guests registered for 2021

Re: Covid Protocol Update

A few things to note as we continue planning for summer:

Staff

  • All camp staff will be vaccinated before arriving for the season
  • Like last summer, they have committed to remaining onsite during the whole summer, including breaks

Around camp

  • We will be masked while indoors
  • There will be extra spacing around tables during meals and other indoor programming
  • Cabins are arranged for extra space as well, and each has ventilation fan
  • We’ll plan as much programming outside as possible, and have the benefit of 66 acres to use and enjoy
  • Our already robust health care/cleaning procedures and protocols remain in place, and in addition handwashing and sanitizing will be a normal (and frequent) part of the day

On the trail

  • Backpack groups will stay together while packing out/cleaning up at the main campsite
  • Handwashing and sanitizing will be key parts of the week
  • We’ll employ masks when not able to be apart

Guest Preparation & Travel

As mentioned in previous updates, we’ll ask you to

  • Limit contact as best you can in the week before leaving for Christikon
  • During that week before camp, wear masks when leaving your house, while at work, etc. Avoid large groups and situations where transmission risk is higher
  • Take and log your temperature once daily the week before you leave
  • While traveling, limit time groups spend in restaurants, gas stations, etc. Use rest areas when possible, pack snacks and sandwiches to eat while on the road
  • We have many Billings congregations that are happy to host groups on the way, and will provide clean space and room to order food that night

Vaccines

If it’s possible for your group to get vaccinated before your trip, we strongly encourage you to do. We know some will be too young to qualify, or live in areas where it is hard to get an appointment, so we won’t and can’t require guests to be vaccinated in order to attend camp. That said, we are encouraged by the continued expansion of opportunities to get the shot, and hope many can take advantage of that before the summer.

As always, please call with any questions. We are very excited for the season, and can’t wait to welcome you to Christikon!

Update March 1, 2021

Fr: Pastor Mark

To: Campers/Guests registered for Christikon in 2021

Re: Camp Preparation & Travel

While there’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we’ll likely still have some

COVID-19 protocols in place this season. As we prepare to welcome you to camp this summer, we need your help to minimize the risk of infection by following the recommendations below prior to and while attending camp. If you have any illness symptoms before departing for camp, please do not board the bus or travel up to camp until they clear and you have spoken with me.

We understand it may be hard to get vaccinated before your trip to camp, and that currently vaccines are not available for youth 17 and under, so that is not a requirement for attending Christikon this summer. That said, we do hope to have all camp staff vaccinated before they arrive for the season.

For the week prior to arriving at camp:

Please take and record your temperature daily, and bring that log with you to camp. Minimize your exposure to others by staying close to home as much as possible, and wearing a facemask when you do go out.

While at camp and/or riding the bus:

Wear a facemask, and bring another with you. We have some at camp as well.

If you can, please bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer.

Summer staff have followed the same process before they arrived, and commit to spending the entire summer up at camp and not heading to town during breaks. The CDC includes outdoor ministry staff in the essential worker category, and as mentioned above we hope all staff will have access to both vaccine doses prior to our arrival for the season.

Our Park County Health Department and camp physician believe that having both staff and guests follow these protocols will greatly minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and will help all campers to arrive at camp healthy and ready to go. We understand they involve some sacrifice on your part, and may affect other summer plans or activities.

As you know all too well, this is no ordinary time. We take these steps in addition to following all other reopening guidelines (local, state, American Camping Association, etc.) as we prepare for the season. Our hope is that by all doing these things we can feel confident everyone is healthy and ready for camp.

Update July 14, 2020

Fr: Pastor Mark

Re: Christikon COVID Midsummer Update

Midway through the camp season, we keep in regular contact with both our Park County Health Department and our camp physician. Both note an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases statewide, but continue to feel our remote location coupled with our multi-layered risk reduction plan means we can safely hold our remaining sessions this summer.

These health protocols are in effect:

  • Staff are onsite throughout the summer
  • Guests asked to shelter-in-place and take/log temps
  • All guests and staff have temps taken daily while at camp
  • Facemasks are worn whenever we’re indoors, and as much programming as possible is held outside
  • Hand washing and sanitizing before each meal and gathering
  • Continuous cleaning and disinfecting of all common surfaces in kitchen, lodge, bathrooms
  • Cabin sleeping arrangements that provide 6 feet of separation

We’ve lost count of how many campers, parents, youth leaders and staff who’ve made a point to express their appreciate for the option to be at camp this summer. We continue to take one day at a time, and are prepared to adapt as necessary if conditions change.

We’re happy to address specific questions, or talk more about any of the above. Email Mark at director@christikon.org anytime.

Update June 16, 2020

To: Campers/Guests registered for Christikon in 2020

Fr: Pastor Mark

Re: Camp Preparation & Travel

COVID-19 changed much in our lives and world. As we prepare to welcome you to camp this summer, we need your help to minimize the risk of infection by following the recommendations below prior to and while attending camp. If you have any illness symptoms before departing for camp, please do not board the bus or travel up to camp until they clear and you have spoken with me.

For 2 weeks prior to arriving at camp:

Please take and record your temperature daily, and bring that log with you to camp. Minimize your exposure to others by staying at home as much as possible and avoiding large group activities (more than 10), and wearing a facemask when you do go out.

While at camp and/or riding the bus:

Wear a facemask, and bring another with you.  We do have a good supply up here, but not enough for all guests all summer.

If you can, please bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer.

Summer staff have followed the same process before they arrived, and commit to spending the entire summer up at camp and not heading to town during breaks.

Our Park County Health Department and camp physician believe that having both staff and guests follow these protocols will greatly minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and will help all campers to arrive at camp healthy and ready to go. We understand they involve some sacrifice on your part, and may affect other summer plans or activities.

As you know all too well, this is no ordinary time. We take these steps in addition to following all other reopening guidelines (local, state, American Camping Association, etc.) as we prepare for the season. Our hope is that by all doing these things we can feel confident everyone is healthy and ready for camp.

Update May 18, 2020

To: Christikon Group Leaders and Guests

Fr: Pastor Mark

Re: Guest and Staff Health

In our preparation for summer we’ve added extra steps to minimizing the risk of COVID transmission. To help insure you/your group can reduce your own risks to safely gather, travel to Christikon, and fully participate in the week, we are asking you to do the following:

  • Protect yourselves and your whole group by limiting contact to others outside their family for the two weeks prior to your arrival at camp. Follow “shelter-in-place” protocols: stay close to home, wear a mask in public, and avoid unnecessary exposure
  • During those two weeks, take temperature twice daily and chart it.
  • On your departure day, collect temp logs from each group member, thereby insuring all have limited contact, are not running a fever, and are healthy and ready for the trip
  • Plan your travel to camp.
    • limit stops by bringing food and snacks along rather than going into convenience stores or restaurants
    • choose rest stops over gas stations when possible
    • use a towel or disposable glove when gassing up vehicle
    • have group members don masks during stops to minimize infection risk
    • stay with partner congregations in Billings or Bozeman. They have offered to partner with us in providing “clean rooms” for your group, where you can sleep, order food in, and thereby minimize outside contact before heading to camp the following day

Summer staff will follow the same process before they arrive, and commit to spending the entire summer up at camp and not heading to town during breaks.

Our Park County Health Department and camp physician believe that having both staff and guests follow these protocols will greatly minimize the risk of C-19 transmission, will help your group feel comfortable traveling together, and arrive at camp healthy and ready to go. We understand they involve some sacrifice on your part, and may affect other summer plans or activities.

As you know all too well, this is no ordinary time. We take these steps in addition to following all other reopening guidelines (local, state, American Camping Association, etc.) as we prepare for the season. Our hope is that by all doing these things we can feel confident everyone is healthy and ready for camp.

You’ll hear more from me before your trip, and I’m always happy to have further conversation as needed. Please call with questions, or if you are hosting a group Zoom meeting and would like me to call in for a bit, I’m happy to do that as well.

Update May 7, 2020

Summer Schedule Update

Hi, Friends. As we move through Montana’s phased reopening we’re starting to get a better sense of summer camp options. Knowing things can still change in the coming weeks, here’s what we know and are planning as of now:

June:

  • On the advice of the Park County Health Department and our camp physician, our June sessions are rescheduled for later in the summer. Both health experts say Phase I is going well thus far, and express “cautious optimism” that we’ll continue on a good path in the reopening process.
  • DD camp (originally June 15-18) is rescheduled for August 3-6
  • Confirmation and Sojourners camps (originally June 21-26) will be added to the July 11-17 Prospectors Jr High week. That camp is a day longer, but for Confirmation and Sojourners campers who can make the switch, we’ll honor the price quoted for the earlier session. There is also still the option for Confirmation Camp leaders to use their own curriculum during that week
  • All campers who registered for June sessions will be called individually, and we’ll post updates to our website, Facebook and Instagram pages as well.
  • Summer staff report June 7 (instead of May 29) and will quarantine for two weeks as per Phase I requirements. They will train in June and help open the campsite

At this point July and August schedules remain the same, though we’ll continue to monitor information/recommendations from health agencies, our camp physician, county, state and Forest Service guidelines, the American Camping Association, etc., and respond accordingly. We take guest and staff health very seriously.

It’s important as well to say that we continue to look towards the future with hope. In one form or another ministry will happen at Christikon this summer, and we anticipate what God has in store. Thanks for all your prayers and support. As always, please contact us with any questions.

Update April 22, 2020

Some Positive News to Share:

Because Montana has one of the lowest number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization, and due to stringent efforts to control the spread, Governor Steve Bullock just held a press conference during which he announced the start of phased reopening of the state that (is/has):

  • BASED ON UP-TO-DATE DATA AND PREPAREDNESS.
  • MITIGATES RISK OF RESURGENCE.
  • PROTECTS THE MOST VULNERABLE.
  • IMPLEMENTABLE ON STATEWIDE, TRIBAL, OR COUNTY-BY-COUNTY BASIS.
  • ABILITY TO ADJUST THE PHASES BASED ON WHAT IS HAPPENING LOCALLY AND/OR REGIONALLY.

(taken directly from MT C-19 website)

Beginning this weekend places of worship, organized youth activities, businesses, etc. can begin in limited capacity, still recognizing strict physical distancing requirements.

For businesses, employers and others, we’re asked to develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:

  • Social distancing and protective equipment.
  • Temperature checks and/or symptom screening.
  • Collaborate with public health on testing, isolating, and contact tracing.
  • Sanitation.
  • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas (all things Christikon has planned for).

Much to continue praying for, and still a ways to go, but encouraging nonetheless.

Sincerely,

Mark Donald
Executive Director

Update Palm Sunday April 5, 2020

Updates for summer guests, group leaders, donors, and friends of Christikon:

Guests/Group Leaders

At this point we’re still on our regular summer schedule, camp remains under roughly 3 feet of snow, and it’s still 3+ months before most of you arrive.
In preparation for the season, we’re:

  • Reviewing with our camp physician all health and cleaning procedures
  • Planning for additional handwashing/sanitizing stations for both in camp and on trail
  • Reviewing other camp programs and practices (for example, holding hands before meals, during prayer) and altering/adjusting as needed
  • Monitoring C-19 trajectory, recommendations from local, state and federal health agencies, American Camping Association, etc.
  • Praying (for pretty much everything and everyone)

I’ve spoken with or left messages for all of you in the last couple weeks. Many of you told me how much you’re looking forward to the trip and being together with your kids again rather than relying solely on online ministry. We’re still receiving registrations for summer, and I’m happy to speak with anyone about setting up payment plans or other ways we can help facilitate your trip.

Donors/friends of camp

Please read the information above so you’re aware of what we’re doing in preparation for the upcoming season. The economic realities of this pandemic affect us all, and Christikon is no exception. Coronavirus forced the cancelation of our Benefit Auction this month, our big fundraiser of the year and a $30,000+ loss in critical operations funding. If you are in the position where income remains steady and you’d like and are able to help, some options:

  • Gift a portion of your upcoming $1200 stimulus check
  • Support our camper scholarship fund ($700 fully funds a camper in need for the week–$450 covers registration fee)
  • Support a staff person ($5000 covers all expenses for the summer, $3450 covers salary, $500 covers one staff for a week)
  • Make a gift to cover general camp expenses, or choose a specific program (i.e. trails room gear, equipment for upcoming archery or disc golf program expansion)
  • Have an old Ferrari in the garage you no longer drive? We’ll take it, and just think how well it would handle bringing a load of food up the camp road! 😀

We give thanks for all the ways you support the work and mission of Christikon. Please do keep us in prayer as we prepare for the upcoming season. We pray for you and yours as well in this new “normal” we’re all living through.

We know news is mostly bleak right now, and will likely remain that way in the coming days and weeks. That said, we remain hopeful things will improve as we move through spring, give thanks for the incredible resiliency, creativity and bravery we witness, and for progress (no matter how small it seems) we see.

God bless you and yours this Holy Week and Easter, and on this day.

Sincerely,

Mark Donald
Executive Director