Sky Lake News Archive

Important Announcement Regarding UNY Summer Camp 2020

Important Announcement Regarding UNY Summer Camp 2020

The current context of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a very challenging decision for the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries (UNY CRM) lead team. After consultation with the Upper New York Committee on Camp & Retreat Ministries and after several meetings with experts in the medical and camping fields, the UNY CRM lead team has decided to suspend all UNY-hosted summer programs at each of the CRM sites: Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm.

While this is disappointing news for campers, parents, volunteers, and staff (including the lead team), safety is our top priority.

The UNY CRM staff is trained to keep campers safe during normal circumstances, but the challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented and many, including, but not limited to:

●  The need for heightened cleaning requirements
●  Providing PPE to campers and staff, including masks
●  Social distancing requirements, including strict occupancy limits
●  There would be difficulty in getting trained medical staff
●  Summer staff would likely need to remain onsite for the whole season
●  At this time, the health department recommends that those who are high risk not attend camp during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would go against UNY CRM’s inclusivity commitment.

The camping experience is one of the most powerful ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, so this decision was not made lightly. Trust that all UNY CRM sites will put forth their utmost effort to keep connected to their camping communities in the coming months. More information on what each site will be doing to stay connected will come soon.

Those who have already registered and made a payment toward a program will be contacted by their individual site by the end of next week to discuss their options going forward. The three options are:

●  Receive a full refund
●  Transfer the payment to credit for 2021
●  Generously donate part or all your registration/deposit to the site of your choice, helping to sustain UNY CRM through the summer.

While you cannot be at the camp sites physically, know that the UNY CRM lead team is here for you spiritually and emotionally at this time and very much look forward to when they can see you again.

If you have any questions about this news, please contact Betsy Schuessler, Executive Assistant for the UNY CRM team at Betsy@campsandretreats.org.

This announcement was written by Shannon Hodson of Upper New York Annual Conference Communications and first appeared at https://www.unyumc.org/news/article/important-announcement-regarding-uny-summer-camp-2020 after families of registered 2020 participants and all 2019 participants received the following letter by email directly:

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
- Psalm 100:5

Dear Camp and Retreat Families,

We write to you today in the midst of one of the most challenging time our camping community has faced. Upper New York Camp and Retreat ministries has transformed the lives of campers, participants, guests, staff, and volunteers for over 75 years. Each generation of a camp and retreat community sees a blend of change, tradition, challenge, and celebration. Even now, God’s steadfast love extends to us as we adapt to the situation of our world.

After much prayer and careful consideration, the Camp and Retreat Ministries Staff with support from the Committee have made the challenging decision to suspend our summer programs at all UNY sites—Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm for the 2020 season. This includes traditional summer camp, Express Mini programs, and Special Needs Programs.

This decision is difficult and unprecedented.  We truly believe that camp provides a unique opportunity for people to experience the transforming love of God in the context of Christian community, and it saddens us greatly to lose that opportunity this summer.  Fundamental to our camp and retreat communities, however, is a devoted commitment to the safety of all who set foot on our sites.  A safe environment allows for social, emotional, and spiritual growth as campers choose to take on challenges.

As we have considered guidelines from the American Camp Association, the CDC, and the New York State Department of Health that begin to lay out what social distancing, PPE, sanitization, and quarantine protocols would need to be in place in order for summer programs to run. We have come to understand that these measures would force new challenges on campers and staff and would not allow for the kind of nurturing environment on which our programs rely. Members of our communities who have a higher health risk would not be able to enter our environment at all. 

Even with these new protocols in place, health and safety is not something we can confidently provide this summer in the context of the pandemic.  While our staff are trained and have the experience to keep our community safe during normal camp activities, we are not all are trained medical professionals.  Even with our best efforts, the risk to our communities is too great.  The decision to suspend summer programs was made to protect not only our campers and staff, but every guest, volunteer, parent, sibling, and grandparent who is connected to our larger community.

Those who have already registered and made a payment toward a program will be contacted by their individual site by the end of next week to discuss their options going forward. The three options are:
◻  Receive a full refund,
◻  Transfer the payment to credit for 2021,
◻  Generously donate part or all your registration/deposit to the site of your choice, helping to sustain us through this summer.

While UNY summer program will not be running this year, this won’t be the last you’ll hear from us!  All our sites are diligently working on plans for the summer, taking into consideration new updates on low-risk outdoor recreation opportunities from New York State, regional re-opening guidelines, and the ways in which our facilities and staff can continue to serve our communities. Updates from each site will continue to be shared both by email and on social media.

We know this is disappointing news and we share in your disappointment. This summer will look like no summer any of our sites has ever seen before, and the loss of summer program for this year has already begun to cause our hearts to grieve.  But God’s steadfast love and faithfulness extends to our communities just as it has to all generations before us, and just as it will to the generations of happy campers for years to come.  We draw now on God’s strength as we make the choice to keep our communities as safe as possible, and we pray every day for the health and wellbeing of every member of our wide network of Upper New York families.  We are so grateful for the love and support we receive from you and will do all we can to love and support you in whatever ways we can during this time.  We can’t wait to see you all again: safe, happy, and healthy.


In Christ,

The Camp & Retreat Ministries Staff and Committee

Posted on May 13th by Matthew Williams

#GivingTuesdayNow

#GivingTuesdayNow

We are grateful for all those who have joined us for #GivingTuesday over the past few years. In just a few short days— on Tuesday, May 5th—we invite you to join us for a very special #GivingTuesdayNow. This is a new global day of giving and unity to help support beloved organizations experiencing unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

If you are in a position to do so, we would be grateful for your financial gifts to the Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministry General Fund. This particular fund helps support the day-to-day ministry of all five our camp and retreat centers (Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm) and will be used where needed most this year.

If you are a regular giver and are able to do so, please consider giving an additional gift as part of #GivingTuesdayNow.

We also understand that finances are tight for many right now. Fortunately, your voice can be a powerful show of support too! Please consider supporting us by sharing this opportunity with others; posting a photo of your favorite retreat or camp moment; or sharing a written reflection on how camp and retreat ministries have impacted your life! If you share a post on Facebook, be sure to tag @campsandretreats.

BE A #GivingTuesdayNow DONOR!

Posted on May 1st by Matthew Williams

Peace Be Still: An Update on Summer Preparations in Upper New York

Peace Be Still: An Update on Summer Preparations in Upper New York

Like many of you, we are finding social distancing to be rather challenging. We are camp and retreat people after all and bringing people together is core to what we do. As we continue to pray for you and all those impacted by COVID-19, we remain hopeful and excited for our 2020 Summer Camp Season.

Last week we announced an update to our cancellation policy to allow for cancellations up to two (2) calendar days before the start of a given session for health and safety reasons related to COVID-19. Full refunds will be issued in this case, however, our standard cancellation policy for other reasons remains in effect.

Today we are extending our early-bird discount deadlines. Registrations received by May 1st will automatically receive a $25 discount, while registrations received by June 1st will automatically receive a $10 discount.

Our refer-a-friend and sibling discounts remain the same.

We are also working diligently to secure additional funding for camperships to ensure that our programming remains accessible to all. Please do not hesitate to apply for a campership.

May the joy and hope of the summer camp experience continue to sustain you during these uncertain times.

In Christ’s Service,
The Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries Leadership Team

Posted on March 25th by David Wood

March 18th Update from UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

March 18th Update from UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

Update on 3/31/2020: Our sites will continue to remain closed to retreat guests until Wednesday, April 30th.

The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, is often attributed as having said, “Proceed with much prayer and your way will be made plain.”

After prayerful consideration, Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries will close our sites to retreat guests effective immediately until Monday, April 13th. As we continue to monitor the current situation closely, this date could be extended. However, we believe by implementing these precautions at this time, our actions will contribute to flattening the curve and allow us to continue serving the guests we love.

We continue to work diligently to prepare for this upcoming summer season. In order to best support our camper families and to help them make summer plans, we have amended our refund policy and health and safety procedures to the following:

⚬ A full refund for cancellations for health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 will be granted until two calendar days before the start of the session. Our standard cancellation policy for other reasons remains in effect.

⚬ A member of the site staff will contact the parent/caregiver of the camper to complete a verbal pre-camp health screening at least 48 hours prior to arrival. This will be in addition to the screening already a part of our check-in procedures

At this time, we continue to accept registrations and applications for the summer season as well as guest-group bookings for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. We also continue to accept applications for open positions on our summer/seasonal staff teams.

While our sites are closed to retreat guests, our year-round staff teams will be working remotely or practicing safe social distancing as we deep clean our facilities and work on those “rainy day” projects that will enhance your next visit!

We continue to pray for our local and global communities as we forge ahead through uncharted waters. We also pray for your continued good health and look forward to serving you when we are all safely able to be together again!

The Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries Leadership

Posted on March 18th by Matthew Williams

UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak

UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak

Dear Valued Guests, Campers, Participants & Families,

We strive to provide a time and place in which all who attend our camp and retreat centers in Upper New York, can get away from the hectic pace of the world and just be… with God, with Creation, and with one another. One of the things we do to ensure that this sort of experience can safely continue is to keep an eye on what’s going on in our region, our country, and our world.

Like many of you, we’ve been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past few months. As you likely already know, all of our centers operate under American Camp Association standards. In addition to setting the standards for the camping industry, the ACA also provides its members with some incredible resources—most recently on COVID-19. We are also fortunate to have a great working relationship with our County and New York State Departments of Health, which also continue to provide us with valuable resources. We are focused on staying informed and taking proper precautions during the current climate, while continuing to host our spring guest groups and prepare for our awesome upcoming summer season!

While we monitor the news, we are even more conscientious about continuing to do the things we always do, like disinfecting surfaces in between retreat groups, staying home if we’re not feeling well, and washing our hands a lot! We are adding sensible precautionary measures as well, including a daily sanitization of high traffic surfaces while guests are on site, increased guest and staff education around CDC recommendations for effective handwashing and safe sneezing/coughing, an increased availability of hand sanitizer/hand washing stations in our buildings, and heightened staff awareness to our personal and communal health. We are also currently reviewing our summer procedures, including check in, and will let you know if/when we make any updates to those.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation closely as it evolves and follow any and all applicable recommendations put out by the CDC, ACA, and New York State Department of Health. We commit to keeping all our guests, campers, participants and families informed throughout the coming weeks of any further steps taken in response to this concern. The continued health, safety, and well-being of all our guests is our top priority, and we look forward to serving you both through and beyond this current situation. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any concerns further, you are welcome to call or email us at any time, we’d be happy to talk with you!

Sincerely,
Upper New York Camp & Retreat Ministries Leadership

Posted on March 14th by David Wood

A Hand-Washing Playlist

A Hand-Washing Playlist

We strive to provide a time and place in which campers and guests can get away from the hectic pace of the world and just be… with God, with Creation, and with one another. One of the things we do to ensure that this sort of experience can safely continue is to keep an eye on what’s going on in our region, our country, and our world.

Like many of you, we’ve been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past few months. As you likely already know, Sky Lake is one of only 25% of summer camps in the United States which is voluntarily accredited by the American Camp Association. In addition to setting the standards for the camping industry (and helping us stay accountable to the standards that revolve around health, safety, and programming,) the ACA also provides its members with some incredible resources—most recently on COVID-19. With so much information out there, we are grateful for the ACA cutting through all the noise on our behalf so that we can focus on preparing for our awesome upcoming summer season! We are also fortunate to have a great working relationship with the Broome County Department of Health, which also continues to provide us with valuable resources.

While we monitor the news, we are even more conscientious about continuing to do the things we always do, like disinfecting surfaces in between retreat groups, staying home if we’re not feeling well, and washing our hands a lot! We are also currently reviewing our check-in procedures and will let you know if we make any updates to those.

It seems coming up with alternatives to singing “Happy Birthday” twice to encourage washing hands with soap for a minimum of twenty seconds has become a popular way to deal with the stress of everything. However, there seem to be no lists that include camp songs (which we believe is a travesty) so we’ve gone ahead and created a list of our own!

A Playlist to Wash Your Hands To

A Ram Sam Sam
If nothing else, you’ll be able to get at least twenty seconds of laughter while you wash your hands!

All That I Am
The chorus from one of our favorite Rend Collective songs is the perfect length to wash your hands to.

Do Lord
For our campers who are big Johnny Cash fans, here he is singing “Do Lord”...

Fruit of the Spirit
Again, twenty seconds of laughter may be all that you’re able to utter while washing your hands to this song.

Good Night
One verse of this beloved song is just a tad bit longer than twenty seconds, but… it’s the Goodnight Song, so it’s okay. (Also, we’ve added “create our own video of campers singing this song” to our must-do list for this summer!)

Jesus is the Rock
Might we recommend a slight change to the lyrics? What about “Jesus is the Rock and he rolls my germs away”!?

This Little Light of Mine
This Soweto Gospel Choir version is apt to keep your toes tapping while you thoroughly wash your hands!

We look forward to you remaining healthy so that we can spend some time with one another at camp this summer!

Update, Monday, 3/16—we sang a few of these songs during a pop-up campfire last night! Here you go:

Posted on March 10th by Matthew Williams

Summer Camp 2020 Registration Now Open

Summer Camp 2020 Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for our exciting slate of 2020 summer programs at Aldersgate, Casowasco, Sky Lake, and Skye Farm! Additionally, Asbury Retreat Center will continue to offer exciting retreat opportunities for children, youth, and adults throughout the summer season. Information on program opportunities at Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center will be available in the coming weeks.

We are also excited to announce some changes to our available discounts for 2020!**

summer camp discounts

Early Bird Discount:
-Register by March 1st and get $50 off!
-Register by April 1st and get $25 off!
-Register by May 1st and get $10 off!

Refer-a-Friend Discount:
-Refer 1 new camper and receive a YETI water bottle!
-Refer 2 new campers and receive a free gift AND $50 off!
-Refer 3 new campers and receive a free gift AND $100 off!

Sibling Discount:
-Each sibling who attends camp receives $40 off, this is applicable across all Upper New York Conference camps.

**Please note that, NEW THIS YEAR, discounts are already built into ALL ALDERSGATE programs, so no additional discounts/incentives will apply.

Also new for 2020 is a decentralization of our registration process for summer programs. Each site will be handling their own registrations, which means all registration forms, paperwork, and payments should be sent to the local site. Contact information for each site and the link to register is listed below:

Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
REGISTER HERE!
3343 St Rt 38
Moravia, NY 13118
315-364-8756 (phone)
315-364-7636 (fax)
registrar@aldersgateny.org

Asbury Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
REGISTER HERE!
PO Box 218
Silver Lake, NY 14549
585-237-5262 (phone)
585-237-6863 (fax)
info@asburyuny.org

Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
REGISTER HERE!
158 Casowasco Drive
Moravia, NY 13118
315-364-8756 (phone)
315-364-7636 (fax)
info@casowasco.org

Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
REGISTER HERE!
501 William Law Road
Windsor, NY 13865
607-467-2750 (phone)
607-467-4612 (fax)
info@skylakecenter.org

Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center:
To look at the full list of programs and to register:
REGISTER HERE!
1884 East Schroon River Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885
518-494-7170 (phone)
800-627-0052 (fax)
info@skyefarmcamp.org

Posted on January 15th by David Wood

Sky Lake Desktop Wallpaper Calendars 2019

Sky Lake Desktop Wallpaper Calendars 2019

We’ve created a monthly series of desktop wallpaper calendars for 2019. Each month you’ll have a variety of sizes from which to choose. We update this page monthly, so you’ll want to check back often.

Clicking any of the image size links below will open the wallpaper in a new browser tab. From there, you can save the image to your computer or set it as your desktop background.

April 2019

May 2019 Calendar

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April 2019

April 2019 Calendar

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March 2019

March 2019 Calendar

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February 2019

February2019 Calendar

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January 2019

January 2019 Calendar

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Posted on May 1st by Matthew Williams

Sustainable Forest of Giving

Sustainable Forest of Giving

Celebrating Sky Lake’s 72 Years of Ministry by Sustaining its Future

BE A CO-FOUNDER OF THE SUSTAINABLE FOREST OF GIVING!

In 1947, twelve pastors and laypersons pooled their personal financial savings to purchase the Sky Lake property. On April 10th of that same year, this daring act of faith was rewarded when the former Wyoming Conference voted to officially establish Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center.  At its dedication in 2003, Founders’ Lodge was named to honor the legacy of this group of committed individuals.

You are now invited to become a co-founder of sorts yourself. To celebrate Sky Lake’s 72nd birthday we are establishing the Sustainable Forest of Giving—a group of Sky Lake supporters who commit to contributing monthly, quarterly, or annually to the Sky Lake Annual Fund. While you may choose to give at any level, all those who set up a recurring contribution to the Sky Lake Annual Fund, by April 30, 2019, at the Hemlock level or higher will be officially recognized as a co-founder of the Sustainable Forest of Giving.

It takes financial resources beyond camp and retreat fees and conference financial support to provide the life-transforming ministry that many of us have experienced at Sky Lake at some point over the past 72 years. Your contribution to the Sky Lake Annual Fund helps defray the costs associated with operating our ministry: electricity, propane, hospitality supplies, program equipment, tractor fuel, and more. In other words, the parts of the ministry that are not apt to be the most photogenic, but without which our ministry could not thrive.

How to Become a Co-Founder

In the table below, we’ve provided several different recommended levels at which Sustainable Forest of Giving contributors may feel called to give. Each level is named for a tree which can be found here at Sky Lake along with its prevalence in our physical forest. Other than the minimum requirement for being considered a co-founder of the Sustainable Forest of Giving (the Hemlock level), we invite you to give at the highest level your means allow.


Sky Lake Sustainable Forest of Giving Levels 2019

When it comes to setting up your recurring contribution, the quickest and easiest method is to visit the online donation portal which we share with our sibling sites of Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries.

BE A CO-FOUNDER OF THE SUSTAINABLE FOREST OF GIVING!

Once on the donation page:

+ Click the “Designation” field; select “Sky Lake Annual Fund” (please note that contributions to the Sky Lake Campership Fund and/or any other fund are gratefully accepted, however only recurring contributions to the Sky Lake Annual Fund, at or above $19.47 per month, are counted toward you becoming a co-founder of the Sustainable Forest of Giving)

+Click on the amount you wish to give monthly, quarterly, or annually (please note that in order for your contribution to count toward becoming a co-founder of the Sustainable Forest of Giving, your monthly, quarterly, or annual contribution must match or exceed the designated amount of your desired level on the table on the front of this document. If you plan to give quarterly or annually at an amount other than what is listed on the site, you will need to select “Other” and manually input that amount.

+Check the “Make this a recurring gift” box under “Choose how often to give”

+The default frequency is monthly, if you wish to give quarterly or annually select the box next to “Give” and a drop-down menu will appear (please note that all gifts are processed by UNYCRM on the 8th day of the month)

+Select which payment method you desire to use for your recurring contribution—both credit cards and direct debit are accepted

+If you are giving this gift on behalf of an organization (e.g. First Church or UMWomen) check the designated box

+We may publicly thank you for your contribution, if you desire to not be publicly acknowledged, please check the “I would like this gift to remain anonymous” box (you’ll still receive a thank you and an invite to join the Sky Lake Donor Newsletter email list.)

+If you have the means to give above and beyond the suggested levels, please contact Matt Williams, Director of Sky Lake, to discuss additional opportunities for giving.

Thank You! Now Let’s Stay in Touch

We thank you in advance for your generosity and promise to remain good stewards of your resources.

We would also like to invite you to join our email list to receive all the latest news from Sky Lake. There are several newsletters from which to chose—including one to provide donors with updates!

Have an off-line friend you’d like to invite to also become a co-founder with you? Download a printable flyer.

We’ve also received requests for a bulletin-size version of the flyer. Please feel free to download and share.

BE A CO-FOUNDER OF THE SUSTAINABLE FOREST OF GIVING!

 

Posted on April 5th by Matthew Williams

Spring 2019 Edition of Xenia is Available

Spring 2019 Edition of Xenia is Available



The Spring 2019 edition of our newsletter, Xenia News, is now available online. Click here to read about what’s been going in the life of Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries.

Posted on April 2nd by Matthew Williams

Committee on & Director of CRM Publish Letter In Response to Special Session of General Conference

Committee on & Director of CRM Publish Letter In Response to Special Session of General Conference

Click here to view a full screen version for easier reading


CRMletter

Posted on March 18th by Mike Huber

Special Needs Summer Programs

Special Needs Summer Programs

Since 1968, Sky Lake has offered camping opportunities for persons with mild-to-moderate developmental and physical disabilities. We believe our natural surroundings at Sky Lake to be the handiwork of God and do our best to make the great outdoors accessible to all our special needs campers, at a pace that allows them to fully appreciate it—after all, time at camp is vacation for many of our campers!

Through all that we do we strive to provide our friends with special needs with a time and place in which they can experience a supportive, loving, and safe Christian community that honors, respects and promotes each individual’s personhood. Each session is overseen by volunteer coordinators who have ample experience with our special needs camps and bring expertise as pastors, educators, and social workers. Campers are supervised by college-age and older adults who are passionate about making sure campers have a great time. The medical and health needs of our special needs campers are overseen by registered nurses that reside onsite.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable Sky Lake experience we use an application process for our special needs camps. Here is how the application process works:

+  Complete the Special Needs Camp Application form (available for download below)
+  Return the completed application to the Sky Lake Office promptly. Deadline is the 9th of each month, and will continue each month that space is available. Please do not send any form of payment with the initial application.
+  Decision letters and health forms will be mailed on or before the 20th of each month, beginning in February.
+  A $75 non-refundable deposit will be required of those who are offered a space in one of our special needs camps, which will be due by the last day of the month. Remainder of the balance is due prior to attendance at camp.

Please note the following:

+  Special registration forms are used for our special needs programs, which are available for download at www.skylakecenter.org or by contacting the Sky Lake Office directly.
+  Check-in times for special needs sessions vary. Please consult confirmation material for assigned check-in times for your particular session.
+  Pick-up for Special Needs, Helping Hands, Amigos, and Friends Camps will be at 1:00pm on Friday in Founders’ Lodge.
+  Pick-up for Buddies Camp will be at 4:00pm on Friday in Founders’ Lodge.

Download the 2019 Sky Lake Special Needs Application

Posted on January 9th by Matthew Williams