May 2020 Update
Greetings, friends and supporters of Calvin Crest!
As I write this update from home, I am thinking of so many of you for whom this has been such a difficult seven weeks just as it has been for Calvin Crest. We regret the hardships this time has brings for us all, and at the same time, we are realizing the mixed bag of blessings it also brings as it teaches us to rely on God more than our strength. We are with you in spirit.
We want to update you briefly on what is happening since you last heard our appeal for help and partnership. While we did not receive the Paycheck Protection Loan during the first round of funding, we did receive it during the second round. After seven weeks of furlough, much of our staff will be able to return to work on Monday for the next eight weeks. This rare chunk of time without guests will enable us to focus on much needed projects around camp, enabling us to get camp prepared for the day we are able to re-open. What’s better is that the PPP loan is forgivable – becoming like a grant - when used for payroll expenses, mortgage, and utilities. We are grateful!
We have been even more overwhelmed by the incredible response to our recent appeal for donations. In the last month, nearly $110,000 has been given (not including donated deposits and registrations!) to help Calvin Crest weather this crisis, and donations are still arriving daily. Your letters and notes that have accompanied these donations have brought tears and encouragement as well as the powerful reminder that God has been using this ministry for over 65 years, and you do not want It to see it end now. You have been a blessing.
While we were disappointed at having to cancel our sold-out women’s retreat, we were amazed that more than 50% of the women donated their deposits or registrations, and another 10% transferred them to the new Advent Retreat of Silence to be held in December. Other camps from around the country have report approximately 10% of registrations converted to donations; we believe our high rate speaks to level of commitment to and care for Calvin Crest on the part of our constituents. We are seeing equally high numbers related to summer camp registrations. Despite cash flow being short, we are doing everything we can to refund people in a timely manner.
As we prepare for months of closure, we have worked to cut every expense possible in order to conserve cash, lowering our monthly burn rate to approximately $30,000 a month. In addition to the above-mentioned one-time donations received, we currently receive approximately $10,000 in recurring monthly donations. (If you would like to become a recurring monthly donor, you can do so online at https://www.calvincrest.com/about-us/support-our-ministry/ or by sending in monthly checks.) We receive $100,000 a year from a donor trust. Generous donors have granted permission to un-restrict more than $50,000 in designated gifts in case they are needed during this time. We are actively working on arriving at a cash settlement from our insurance company for the 2017 fire at Outpost. With continued donor support, we are projecting these sources of revenue will position us to sustain the camp for the next 10-12 months should we not be able to open. Our Board is deeply committed to doing everything possible to avoid more debt. Board President, Bill Ekhardt, has worked closely with me and Board Treasurer, Ginny Harrison, to ensure we are creating a sustainable path during closure and a runway to re-opening.
In the midst of this pandemic, we were also informed that our property and liability insurance was not being renewed due to fire risk. Again, God faithfully provided alternate insurance even though all implications indicated it would be impossible to find coverage. We were in awe by His provision.
Our staff is also working on creative and innovative ways to connect with our campers this summer through online forums, videos, and participatory activities. We want every camper to know that even though they cannot come to camp, they are not forgotten! While we know we can’t replicate the magic of being at camp through online mediums, and we don’t have the resources of much larger camps to produce high quality content, we are seeking to stay true to what has always set Calvin Crest apart – our relational ministry. We want to connect in meaningful ways with our campers and help them draw closer to Christ during this strange season.
We are intentionally seeking to remain open and nimble as the Covid-19 situation evolves and as restrictions begin to slowly lift in the state of California. While we believe that large gatherings are still far off into the future, we want you to know that we will consider every possibility of how we might still be able to open up in creative ways to small groups or families who love Calvin Crest and might be able to enjoy these sacred grounds while still honoring safety and social distancing.
I have heard from some donors who are hesitant to give generously for fear that Calvin Crest will be closing, and their donation will be wasted, so to speak. I completely understand this concern. What I want to communicate today is that we are doing everything in our power to ensure Calvin Crest does survive this crisis, and the more time that passes, the more hope and faith I have that God is going to see us through it. I am personally still giving monthly with confidence to this ministry. When the board asked me several weeks ago if Cam and I felt like we needed to leave Calvin Crest, I reminded them that we have known, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that God brought us to Calvin Crest. Unless or until He directs us elsewhere, we are committed to partnering with God by leading this ministry forward. And while I had doubts during the early days of the pandemic, God has replaced those doubts with a deep sense of peace and trust in His goodness and excitement for the future. If you have been holding off from partnering with Calvin Crest, know that we believe the future is bright, and I invite you to trust God with me like never before.
Perhaps one of the hidden gifts of this situation is that by stripping everything away for a time, God is offering an opportunity to reimagine and re-envision the future of Calvin Crest. I have been actively connecting with leaders in our community as well as camp leaders from across the country through the CCCA and the PCCCA. I have been reading innovative entrepreneurs and networking with high caliber leaders. This is a time to re-evaluate everything, keep what it intrinsic to the DNA of Calvin Crest and our mission, and refocus our efforts upon reopening.
Thank you again for your generous investment in Calvin Crest, your faithful prayers, and your encouraging notes. It means more than you know. We will continue to pray for you throughout this season. As a matter of fact, we have opened up a new email, firstname.lastname@example.org, for your to share your prayer needs with our staff and board so that we can be supporting you in prayer as well. You are our family, and we all need each other.
Believing the best is yet to come,