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Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Hey Youth Pastor,
As much as we have all tried to provide some stability for kids through the craziness of the current situation, Fuego has hit yet another roadblock. From the beginning, we have said we would not operate in opposition to the government’s guidelines and yesterday the Governor announced his decision to extend his restrictions for an additional 28 days, which eliminates the rest of our summer.
Obviously, we know thousands of students are disappointed, as well the hundreds of Fuego Staffers, but in the long run we know we must be respectful of the mandates that have been issued.
We tried several different routes as a back up, for instance we called several facilities in Texas, but they were either too small or they had also cancelled for the summer. Unfortunately, those decisions had been solidified by the facilities.
With that in mind, we are announcing Five-Hour-Fuego! Which will be a $15, one day event that you can bring students or they can attend by alone. We just want to offer something that does not add another task to your world, but still allows those students the chance to do something, if they are up for it.
You can read more about that below, if you are interested.
Keep in mind we will be observing social distancing protocols, so the seating is limited. Make sure to sign up early at:
Finally, as you know, we will honor everything we have said from the beginning. For any spots in which you have paid all deposits, we have the following options:
- Move Deposits to 2021 – We can move the entire deposit to 2021 or if you have paid both deposits ($100), we can give you a $75 credit for 2021 and send you all of the SWAG from 2020 to give out to your students. This way they will at least get something from this summer to lessen the blow of not being able to come to camp. They would get the Camp Shirt, the Camp Pin, the backpack, the water bottle, the jotter, etc. I think you will find the value far exceeds the $25 you are spending, and it will help Fuego a ton. We will just need you to send us the shirt sizes.
- We will refund your full payment. We will not be able to reserve your space until we have finished registering those who have chosen option 1 but if any space is available, we will definitely let you know and would certainly love to have you back.
Obviously, it helps us if you choose option 1, but we totally understand if that does not work at your church. We are grateful for you and your patience. I hope you know we have tried our very best host camp but the choice has been taken out of our hands.
Let us know your selection and we will begin to process your request.
FIVE HOUR FUEGO ANNOUNCEMENT
We know thousands of students are disappointed, as well the hundreds of Fuego Staffers, with the latest announcement by Governor John Bel Edwards that extends the restrictions on Fuego, but in the long run we know we must be respectful of the mandates that have been issued.
With that in mind, we are announcing a really fun event we call Five-Hour-Fuego!
On Saturday, July 11th you are invited to come by yourself, come as a group or bring your parents & siblings for a super fast version Fuego!
We will do super fast Camper Orientation (with a Fun Rules Video), a mini sunrise celebration, a worship time with Kenny Dean & Alive by Sunrise and then a mini Sundown celebration, along with plenty of time to see old friends and staffers!
If you want a quick meal (though not included in the price), the ABC staff will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for outdoor dining.
Not only that, but we have set up "camp fire" so you can show the family where that happens and give them an idea of what it's like, The Gym will be have our "Camp Fire" lighting, camp fire cards will be rolling and worship music is playing. It's like looking in on a special camp moment.
This will be a great time to show your parents where you go during the summer and what you love. Not only that, but tons of Fuego Staffers will be here, too! Introduce the family to these great college students, who will be super excited to see you and meet the folks.
Oh, and by the way…if you come, this will count toward your camp longevity, so you’ll get your Name Tag and any Fuego Flair you have earned!
The cost? $15
We will be observing social distancing protocols, so the seating is limited. Make sure to sign up early at:
Hope to see you soon AND in 2021!
-- Monday, June 22, 2020 3:25PM
The Governor of Louisiana just announced that he is extending Phase 2 for 28 more days.
At Fuego, we are trying to find out the specific of that extension. We are very aware that exceptions have been made in several industries, since the original announcement of Phase 2.
Obviously, without an exception we will be unable to host any of our remaining sessions, but before we make that call we want to make sure we have all information.
If that is the final word, we will certainly let you know within the next 24 hours…but I will say, we have a backup “’Quick’ Camp Fuego” plan that we will announce…maybe we will call it “backfire”…:)
Please give us the day to find out info and then check back here tomorrow.
--June 2, 2020
Dear Youth Pastor,
Well, yesterday was disappointing.
If you are not from Louisiana or missed the announcement, the Governor of Louisiana announced that Overnight Camps are prohibited from operating at least until his next announcement on June 21. Based on the categories that were opened or had their capacity increased, I really am surprised he prohibited sleepover camps.
For my family, it was a little more disappointing, as we dropped off our 14 & 16 year old for camp in Tyler, Texas, on Sunday, only to hear Monday that our home state has banned camp for at least 25 more days, but I also know there are considerations that the governor most take, of which I am unaware. Still disappointed and somewhat frustrated, but we do want to honor those who are placed in authority.
I will say, I did have the opportunity to speak to the Governor for a few minutes yesterday. I had high hopes of at least finding an avenue for us to host Sessions 5 and 6, but ultimately he remained unchanged from his original decision.
Just as an FYI, at Fuego, we have established numerous protocols and plans to lower the chance of spread as well as respond to anyone who might exhibit symptoms while at camp.
- Daily temperature readings of every person on campus
- Multiple sanitizing protocols and rigorous cleaning procedures for EVERY room on campus on a daily basis
- We have purchased Sanitizing Foggers that will allow for rooms to be completely sanitized in about 15 minutes.
- We have added 40 (Forty) hand-washing stations.
- Every cabin has a private bath, only used by those in that cabin.
- We will not be allowing visitors at camp (We are sad to do this, but it is necessary this summer).
- All sleeping cabins have separate ventilation systems. No student is sleeping in a "central air" room.
- At Acadian Baptist Center, the New Worship Auditorium seats 990. Even if every bed is filled (which they will not be), we would barley reach 50% of the room capacity.
- Rooms are assigned with consideration of home geography. For example, if you are from Central Texas, any other groups from Central Texas will be assigned to the cabins nearest you, if at all possible.
- A pre-screening health questionnaire that is answered in detail by every parent. It covers the entire household and their possible exposure to CoVid.
- Activity participants are tracked in detail for accurate contact tracing.
These are just a few of the protocols we have in place, which we feel are far more detailed than what can be done in some of the permitted businesses, but again, the final decision is not ours.
Technically, we could host camp as long as everyone stayed in local hotels, but we feel that is far less safe than having everyone staying at camp, with other people that have been pre-screened.
Long story longer, is we have no choice but to abide by the authorities of Louisiana and cancel Sessions 5 & 6.
The governor has invited me to speak into the Phase 3 decisions that will affect overnight camps. Hopefully, we will see significant changes that will allow us to finish the summer strong. Please be in prayer.
With that being said, we will honor everything we have said from the beginning. For any spots in which you have paid all deposits, we have the following options:
- Switch Weeks – If you would like for us to try and find you space in a later Session this summer, we will certainly try to do so. We hope the governor will allow us to Worship together after June 26, but to be perfectly honest, we certainly cannot be sure. If we can find space for you, we will move your deposit fully to that week. If you need to reduce space and move, we will work with you on that, as well.
- Move Deposits to 2021 – We can move the entire deposit to 2021 or if you have paid both deposits ($100), we can give you a $75 credit for 2021 and send you all of the SWAG from 2020 to give out to your students. This way they will at least get something from this summer to lessen the blow of not being able to come to camp. They would get the Camp Shirt, the Camp Pin, the backpack, the water bottle, the jotter, etc. I think you will find the value far exceeds the $25 you are spending and it will help Fuego a ton. We will just need you to send us the shirt sizes.
- We will refund your full deposit. We will not be able to reserve your space until we have finished registering those who have chosen option 1 or 2, but if any space is available, we will definitely let you know and would certainly love to have you back.
Obviously, it helps us if you choose option 1 or 2, but we totally understand if that does not work at your church. We are grateful for you and your patience. I hope you know we have tried our very best host camp but the choice for your week has been taken out of our hands.
Let us know your selection and we will begin to process your request.
--May 11, 2020
As you may know the Governor of Louisiana made the announcement yesterday that begins the process of lifting the state’s quarantine orders.
On Friday, May 15th the state will follow Texas in moving to the “25% capacity” rule, with the expectation of higher limits beginning on June 5. You can read a summary of Phase I here: theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/coronavirus/article_2df4bb9e-93c2-11ea-bbc2-ab0f3297b343.html
Of course, Summer Youth Camps are not limited in this (or previous orders), but certainly Fuego wants to continue our goal in doing what we can to provide a safe and healthy environment for all of our campers, while still sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. (this executive proclamation was later amended to prohibit overnight camps)
With respect to the Governor’s orders, the current statistical data, several precautionary steps, much advice and weeks of prayer we felt it necessary to cancel our Kid’s Camp (SPARK/June 3-6). We will need 2 more days to make a determination on Session 4 (Middle School Week/June 8-12), but we are excited to announce we will be hosting ALL other Sessions (beginning June 15).
Though certainly not exhaustive, here is a list of precautions we will be taking during the summer of 2020:
- Every church group leader will need to check the temperature of all students before they leave their church on the first day of camp. The full list will needed to be provided upon check in and signed by the group leader. No one with fever will be allowed to attend camp.
- We are asking each student ministry to bring at least one “No Touch” Thermometer for DAILY temperature reading (Each morning of camp). Something similar to Braun’s No Touch is about $50 at Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS (https://www.braunhealthcare.com/us_en/thermometers/forehead/no-touch-forehead), is acceptable.
- All bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
- The new worship center at Acadian Baptist Center seats a little over 900, yet the facility only sleeps about 400, which means we will be at or below 50% of capacity during our most vulnerable time, which is worship. This will allow a lot of “elbow room” during worship, sunrise celebration, sundown celebration and other activities in that space.
- The cafeteria is also larger than our camper capacity (not double), but we will stagger meal times to reduce the number of people in the room while dining.
- We will have additional portable hand washing stations throughout campus.
- Our staff will significantly intensify our Hand Sanitizing efforts coupled with hand sanitizing stations.
- We will be taking and recording temperatures of every staff member at least once per day.
- Unless we see significant changes in the statistical data, we will not be setting up the inflatable water slides. The pool is well chlorinated, so if it is permissible, we will leave it open.
- Archery Tag will not be available, as we feel the masks are not appropriate during this time.
- Anything we can move outside safely, will be moved.
- Our “High-Five” lines will not happen this summer…though we will still be greeting students with great enthusiasm!
- If someone develops fever while at camp, we will take the following steps:
- With the assistance of our Camp Nurse(s) the camper will be comforted and isolated in a room that does not have shared ventilation
- The camper and those who have been in close contact will wear a mask.
- The camper’s belongings will be retrieved, and the sleeping cabin will be sanitized.
- A parent will need to pick up the camper or the church will need to provide transportation home (In the past, when a student has needed to leave camp, often we ask the parents to meet one of the church group leaders “half-way”).
- The student will be transported to the hospital IF recommended by the Camp Nurse or by request of the parents (Fuego is about 15 minutes from a hospital in all locations). In other words, we will not send them to the hospital for a fever, as we do not want to overreact or overwhelm the system, but we will do so if necessary.
Again, this list is certainly not exhaustive, and the list will be updated as we gather more information.
SENIORS CAN WALK! In the midst of all of this, we also are adding a few things. As you know many seniors are not getting to walk for graduation, so on the final day of each week, Fuego is giving that opportunity. We are really going all out, we will play “Pomp & Circumstance” (the graduation song) we will announce their name, any accomplishments they have achieved in High School, they can wear their cap, gown or both and then we will give them a fun Graduate Pin. In addition, as it will happen on Friday morning during our closing ceremonies, the seniors can invite family to attend Fuego at Acadian Baptist Center. We will welcome them to join the graduate’s 400 newest friends as we celebrate their accomplishment! We know some graduations are being rescheduled, so if they have walked or are going to walk, we would still love for them to walk our stage, too. We really want this to be fun and super special.
Finally, as many of you have followed national news, it is important to understand that Louisiana is significantly subdivided social, economically and culturally by sections of the state. In my opinion they are all great areas, but significantly different. We have
- SE Louisiana (New Orleans-ish)
- SW Louisiana (Lake Charles/Texas Border)
- Central Louisiana (Alexandria)
- NE Louisiana (Monroe)
- NW Louisiana (Shreveport).
The COVID experience in Southeast Louisiana has been VERY different than the rest of the state. As we do camp in the North West and South Central parts of the state, here are a couple of statistical items we’ve compiled, based on info from May 11, 2020:
- In Louisiana the three most active Parishes (what we call Counties) are Jefferson, Orleans and East Baton Rouge (All in the Southeast). Those three parishes account for 49.8% of ALL cases reported in the state. Acadian Baptist Center is in Acadian Parish, which accounted for ½ of 1% (0.478%) of all cases in Louisiana. In other words the occurrence in our camp area was/is very low. The national news focused on Louisiana mainly based on the issues experienced in in the Southeast.
- Currently, Louisiana has a total of 9,191 active cases, which means that 2/10ths of 1% (0.1976%) of the Louisiana Population is experiencing an active case.
We are not being cavalier in our decisions and certainly are taking measures to provide as much safety as possible, but we also believe that our opportunity to reach kids this summer might be unlike ANY we have ever experienced and possibly will ever experience. Most students are ready to see other people and are willing to forgo a week of a summer job or a desire to sit home for yet another week, which might bring them to camp. We are excited for the opportunity and are praying for God to change eternities.
Please be in prayer with us. See you this summer!!
--- May 4, 2020 - CAMP SPARK (NOT FUEGO)
Hey Camp SPARK LEADERS,
As we all know, COVID-19 has created a difficult situation for the entire country. It has certainly created a new set of challenges for many ministries, including Camp Spark.
Though we are still about a month away from camp and MANY things can change between now and June 3, we do feel it is best to cancel Camp Spark for 2020. The Governor of Louisiana should be making new announcements within the next 7-14 days, but based on what he said last, it seems as though we would not be able to host camp and abide by Government guidelines.
Though I realize some camps are only refunding 50% of deposits for cancelled camps, Spark is offering 100%. Here are the options we have, at your request:
- We can send 100% of your deposit back, mailing to the address we have on file.
- You can elect to leave your deposit on your account for Summer of 2021. This is certainly helpful for Spark and could be helpful for you in keeping the deposit on your Church’s 2020 budget while saving your space for 2021.
- If you do elect to leave your deposit on file for 2021, it will lock in your 2020 rate, for 2021. In other words, if we have to increase the cost your price will not change.
I know many of you are also sending students to Camp Fuego. We feel very confident that all Fuego weeks can proceed as planned, though Middle School Week may need to be adjusted. We will make that final announcement concerning all of Camp Fuego next week.
Lastly, this will be a tough year for Spark. As we only have the summer to do camp, coupled with the fact that our only annual fundraiser was cancelled due to COVID, we could really use your help. If you know someone that is passionate about reaching these kids or if your Church would consider us adding Fuego/Spark as a mission partner, a $25 a month contribution helps enormously. Enormously.
If you know of someone who might can help, we have made it super easy. They can use their credit/debit card at www.campfuego.com/give , set up an automatic payment from their bank, or simply send a check to:
305 Market Street
Shreveport, LA 71101
We are so sad to cancel SPARK for this summer, but we certainly look forward to seeing you in 2021!
--- April 21, 2020
I hope you are all doing well.
The last few days have presented some encouraging news, as Texas has reopened State Parks (limited) and is planning to open more businesses this Friday (https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/reopening-of-texas-starts-monday-morning/2354534/). Florida has reopened some beaches and even New York has opened some recreational facilities.
Clearly, a lot more has to happen, but things being relaxed ANYWHERE is encouraging for everyone. The fact that it is happening early is even better.
At Fuego, we still do not want to make any decisions too early, but we are certainly getting to a time in which a call will have to be made, so here are the current thoughts:
- We are aware that some great camps have already cancelled their June Schedule. Due to the fact that those who have cancelled host 1,000+ people per week or meet on college campuses, are two variables that Fuego does not have. If we were still doing camp on a college campus with 1,000 campers, we certainly would have cancelled as well. Truthfully, the college might have made that call for us, no matter what we thought, as their primary goal has to be their Fall Semester. Certainly understandable. Thankfully, that is not our situation. We host a little over 400 each week and we are on camp facilities that have gone unused during the pandemic. Those factors work in our favor.
- No later than Monday, May 4th we will make the call on our Children’s camp (Spark) and then no later than May 11th we will make the call on Session 4 of Fuego. This will give everyone about a month’s notice. It is possible that we could have enough information to make those calls earlier, but are planning to make our decisions week by week and not by “month.” I have often heard it said that, “The best decisions are made with the most recent information”, which is exactly our plan.
- We want to provide a safe, healthy, fun and spiritually deep environment for kids and I still believe this summer may be your greatest opportunity to reach them. In the 23 years of Fuego we have never had an opportunity like we do today. All of our kids (especially the teenagers) need a reset. Getting them out of the house and on the road could be that perfect break and camp would be a great place for them to go. I am praying we do not have to miss this chance.
Again, we will definitely abide by the government mandates, so as that information is updated, we will make decisions.
If you would like to discuss it or have thoughts, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For now, we’re praying for you, your students and for the end of this pandemic.
---April 6, 2020---
Over the past few days I have fielded two calls about camp and the status of camp, so I just wanted to update everyone on where things are today. Of course, everything changes daily, but right now we are still full steam ahead on camp for all sessions.
Here is the thought process:
The current quarantine restrictions are due to expire on April 30th. I have no idea if they will be extended or relaxed, so we are just taking them on their current word assuming it will happen on that day (or close to that day). If it changes, we will change, too.
IF THE RESTRICTIONS DO relax on April 30th, we still have a little over 5 weeks before our first Session of Fuego and 11 weeks before the last. I believe if the government allows groups of our size to gather, we will have several factors working in our favor:
- Teenagers will be desperately looking for any reason and any place to be around other students. They will more than likely, be willing to choose camp over a week at a part time job, or travel ball practice or just another week of staying home. That means, youth ministries will have an opportunity to connect with a ton of students that normally would have been harder to reach. This literally could be the moment and the situation God will use to change their eternity. The opportunity could be huge.
- The age group we reach are the people who seem to be most resistant to the virus. That is good on many levels, but if the government does begin to phase out social distancing for certain people based on their resistance and/or immunity, teenagers will likely be among the first.
- Due to our mission to keep cost low, if the nation is still facing financial difficulties, Fuego should be priced in a way to keep that family financial strain low, while still allowing them to give their kids something to which they can look forward. Looking forward to things is something we all need right now.
IF THE RESTRICTIONS DO NOT relax on April 30th, we will continue to monitor the national and global situation and make the necessary adjustments when needed. That is a decision we will make one session at a time. We will certainly keep you all well informed.
- Please be assured Fuego will NOT be disrespectful to those God has placed in authority over our nation and we want to do all we can to keep people safe. If they will not allow us to physically meet, we will make alternate plans.
- During this time, many of our churches have found ways to gather digitally and if Fuego has no other choice, we will do something similar. This would not be ideal, nor what I would choose, but I do not want us to miss an opportunity to share the Gospel with the students. We literally only have 7 opportunities with a student once they enter middle school. We cannot waste one and we have no intention of doing so. We can still send shirts/giveaways/pins/name tags/lanyards/backpacks/etc. We can host services online and coordinate DGs to meet through Zoom. A lot of great things can still happen if we do end up having to cancel any week. If we did go virtual and you decided to participate, there would be a cost, but it wouldn’t be much. Again, this not the preferred choice, but it is certainly an option if the situation requires.
- We are also looking into the possibility of adding a week at the end of the summer as another back up plan. I’m not positive if this will work, but we want to cover every possible base.
- Finally, (Students will care more about this than anyone else), but as you know we give away longevity pins as we track the number of summers a student is at Fuego. We also give a really nice gift to Seniors who have been at camp all 7 years (Usually an iPad or something similar). If we meet in person or digitally and you participate, this summer will definitely count toward your “camp years.” You’ll get your longevity pin and we will honor those who have made it all 7 years.
I hope all of this makes sense and I hope you are doing well! Thank you for being patient as we all navigate new water.
See you this summer!
---March 16, 2020---
I am sure you have all been in meetings to discuss COVID-19 and the steps that we have all needed to take in an effort to follow the CDC guidelines, protect your congregation and still share the Good News of Jesus.
You are also probably well versed on all of the information that we have continued to see updated almost every hour. It is a remarkable time with rapid changes.
Of course, you may also be thinking about camp and how it may or may not impact it and all of your summer plans.
I want to take a moment to tell you what we are doing and how we are planning.
We are watching two major world locations:
- As you know, this is the location of the original outbreak. On December 31, 2019 the Chinese Government announced the treatment of dozens of cases of unknown viruses. ( https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html), As things ramped up, Wuhan opened 16 "temporary hospitals." On Saturday, it was announced they closed the last of those hospitals, due to a lack of need. (https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-medical-workers-remove-masks-after-last-temporary-hospital-closes-2020-3) & ( https://nypost.com/2020/03/11/china-shuts-all-16-temporary-coronavirus-hospitals-in-wuhan/)
- Realizing that Wuhan was the epicenter of the outbreak and the fact that they did not have the opportunity to initiate the social distancing policies that are now being observed in the US, it is reasonable to think the virus' life cycle and impact will be far less in the US. (Update: Unfortunately, Wuhan may not have been providing accurate data, by not including cases that were asymptomatic, making their information unreliable) It is has not been eradicated in Wuhan, but it is on a serious decline after 76 days. On January 31, COVID-19 was declared an emergency in the US. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html)
- With the CDC indicating that the US is about 14 days behind Italy in relation to the virus, we are constantly monitoring the changes occurring there, hoping to glean indicators of the progression.
- As are you, we are closely monitoring the CDC and their guidelines. Currently, they are limiting gatherings to 50 or less for the next 8 weeks, which would end on May 11, leaving us with almost a month to make any changes that might be needed. Of course, it is always possible they will end that restriction early.
- Though we are all praying for a much sooner disappearance of COVID-19, even under the Wuhan "unprotected" scenario, the 76th day would be April 16th, which is also encouraging news.
Finally, I want you to know what is going on with your deposits. Though we have to spend the majority of those deposits, leading into camp in order to keep costs low, we have made adjustments in an effort to only spend from our reserves. It is tight, but we are following that guideline to protect all of our ministries. What does this mean to you? We have set aside enough to cover all deposits. If the situation was to arise, in which we were to have no choice but to cancel some/all camps, we can get all deposits back to you.
Our schedule has not changed. We are planning for camp and planning to see hundreds of kids come to know Jesus this summer.
We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions based on the latest information.
We are grateful for you! Please let me know if you need anything from us and join us as we continue to pray for the end of COVID-19.
Director, Camp Fuego
A 305 Market Street Shreveport, LA 71101