June 4 2020
SB2W Family Camp 2020
Good morning SB2W Families. Before I share any updates with you, I want to take a moment to extend a Thank You from all of the Fulltime staff. We are so grateful for you and blessed by the ways you’ve extended grace and love to us in the past two weeks. We have received emails and hand-written notes of encouragement. You have given financially through tuition refunds or special gifts. Many of you shared that you are praying with us and for us. For all of the ways you have cared for and loved us … Thank You!
Please let us know how we can continue to pray for you by sending any requests to our office to be added to our prayer list. We’d also love to hear from you if you haven’t let us know what we should do with the deposits and tuition In your accounts. You should’ve received an email that gives you three options for those monies – full refund, partial or full gift to SB2W or transfer balance to summer 2021. Feel free to reach out to the office with any questions you may have.
While we still mourn the loss of the summer sessions we were looking forward to sharing with you, we have been working hard on some initiatives that we hope will continue to connect us together and provide a means for you to be connected to our Lord and each other.
First, in addition to the Monday Morning Live broadcasts that we will continue through the summer, keep an eye out for some good ole fashioned snail mail, an opportunity for Bible study material, and a more robust social media and online presence from us. We will be sending you some materials, releasing videos and striving to engage from a distance our SB2W campers and families that aren’t able to be here at camp during the summer months.
I don’t know if you caught that phrase in my last comment, but I said, “our SB2W campers and families that aren’t able to be here at camp”. I say that because I’m excited to share that our Board voted this week to move forward with a Family Camp alternative at both Lake Gloria and the Que. Be on the lookout for an email this coming Monday, June 8 with a link to the Family Camp page on our website. That page will go live that day with details about the 3-day sessions, registration information and lots of information about mitigation of the COVID-19 virus. Much of our time over the past couple of weeks has been spent working through ACA, CDC and state Department of Health guidance to design a plan that meets all the best practices we’ve been given.
Let me share a few details that will hopefully give you a realistic idea of what the camp will look like, but also peak your interest for this memorable experience. It will look similar to a typical Family Weekend, but it will obviously include some physical distancing requirements that will make it more of an individual family experience. We will have activities, modified competitions, wilderness experiences, Bible studies and evening programs for families to enjoy. There will be 10 sessions running from July 7 to August 9 and we will have limited space, 10-12 families each session at each camp, so be looking at your calendars prior to Monday’s email and opening of registration.
I finished my last message by saying, “We can’t wait to be together with you again at SB2W.” I wasn’t sure then how quickly that might be, but I’m excited to see some of you later this summer! Thanks again!
May 21 2020
Important Update Regarding The Summer Of 2020
Hello Summer’s Best Two Weeks families. This is Kent Biery, executive director of Summer’s Best Two Weeks, reaching out to you again with an important update about camp this summer.
Many of you who have experienced closing ceremonies at camp are familiar with us sharing the passage of scripture from Matthew 22 where Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.”
As I shared in our last update, the SB2W Board of Directors and full-time staff have spent hours praying, brainstorming, studying guidance from health and camp organizations, as well as state and federal government guidelines. All those efforts have been focused on how we might move forward this summer with ministry in a way that faithfully recognizes God is first and loves others second. SB2W has ultimately been our Lord’s endeavor for 54 years and we have been privileged to join him in his kingdom work. The G3 revolution (Glory Goes to God) is an SB2W core principle and way of life that requires we do what is right and good in the eyes of God and our earthly authorities.
The vertical piece of the cross represents our relationship with the Lord and reminds us that God First needs to be the foundation. The horizontal piece of the cross represents our relationship with others and it is literally supported by the vertical piece. That cross beam seems to hang there effortlessly, but we know that serving others, sacrificing for others and standing up for others can sometimes be the hardest thing for us.
In recent weeks, we’ve all sacrificed much in the midst of this pandemic to serve those most susceptible to this virus by limiting it’s spread.
You have in turn served your communities by helping to reduce the impact on health care systems caring for those in greatest need. I’ve spoken with many people and know first-hand the toll that this disruption of life has caused.
In some ways, the thing you need most at this time is to be here at camp … to gather with friends, to compete Romans vs Galatians, to fellowship in the rec-deck, to let loose in the barn for surprise night, to sit around a campfire, to explore God’s creation on a trip or stand arm in arm singing songs in the dining hall. We want that more than anything in the world for you! And yet …
When we think of all that we love about camp … all that makes it BEST, it is hard to imagine an experience that remotely resembles camp as you know it without putting our campers, staff and community at risk. One of our Board members shared last night that “We have a responsibility for every single kid that steps foot up there” and others added “and a commitment to love their families and communities.”
In light of that commitment to put God first and others second, the SB2W Board has made the most difficult decision to cancel all of our camp terms for the summer of 2020.
I know our last communication indicated we would make a decision 3 weeks before each term, but it has only become clearer that there really isn’t a way forward for normal camp operations this summer without disregarding the guidance we’ve been given.
I know this is gut-wrenching. It’s incredibly hard for us to share with you. We know you will mourn this loss along with all of the other losses you’ve experienced the past several weeks. We mourn with you. We mourn the loss of reminding one another that all of life is worship. We mourn the loss of hearing cheers ring out on the competition field, the loss of sharing vulnerably in Bible Studies and the absence of “Good morning, God” echoing off the hill across the lake. We mourn the loss of friendships renewed and life-long friends made. I’m personally re-learning some things about how to process this kind of disappointment and loss. It’s hard when certain things are out of your control.
I was reading an article this morning about this “winter” we are experiencing that stated, “No leader will get through this time without making time for all the stages of grief identified years ago by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross — denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance.”
I’ve bounced between those stages this week and I’m sure I’ll continue to (along with many of you) experience all those stages, over and over, in the coming days and weeks.
What’s amazing is that the Lord also saw fit for me to be read this morning, May 20th, The story of Lazarus in the One Year Bible. John 11:1-53 is more importantly, the story of Jesus’ heart for Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha (as well as you and me). Even though the tragedy of Lazarus’ death is questioned by everyone except Jesus, he clearly states that it was necessary for God’s glory to be on display. I was struck by the grief of Lazarus’ sisters and I could empathize with them in their loss … maybe more so this morning than at other times I’ve read that passage. That’s probably why I was more profoundly comforted along with the sisters as Jesus entered in their mourning and wept with them. In a very real way, He enters into our loss of camp as well. I pray those are not just emptied words, but a hopeful and helpful reminder that “God is nigh!”
Please know that the SB2W Board is in a review period to determine whether any form of modified camp can happen this summer under American Camping Association and CDC best practices. We will communicate any of those potential opportunities as they become clear.
You will be receiving a personal email in the next few days that addresses refunds of deposits and tuitions, as well as opportunities to partner with us in this challenging season.
I want to close by saying we are so grateful for your prayers and support during these bewildering and difficult times. I would ask you to continue to pray for the full-time staff as they mourn the loss of the summer with you. They have been preparing the whole year to make the summer of 2020 the best it could be. Also, please pray for our summer staff, with whom we will be sharing this devastating news as well. They had committed their summer to serve here at camp and love the Lord by caring for campers.
As I’ve shared before, I know that God is not surprised by all that is happening … He is sovereign … Jesus is Lord … He is working in it for our good as hard as that may seem for us (for me) to understand. We love you, we’re praying for you and we can’t wait to be together again at SB2W.
May 8 2020
Another Update from SB2W Regarding COVID-19
Hello Summer’s Best Two Weeks families! We continue to pray for you during this time of uncertainty. I know it’s been a while since we last sent an update, so I wanted to reach out to you today with our current plans and timeline.
The Summer’s Best Two Weeks board met last night and decided, after much discussion, that we would make a decision about each term on a rolling schedule. At this time, our specific plan will be to make a determination three weeks in advance of each term’s start date. Those of you who are Summer One campers will quickly realize that means we would make an announcement on May 21 (in 2 weeks) about whether we will be able to facilitate camp as we know it here at Lake Gloria and the Que. A decision for first term would follow at the end of the month or the beginning of June, and so on, unless at some point it becomes very clear that we can or cannot move forward with sessions as we have in years past.
There are really two main factors for us to consider. First, restrictions in the Pennsylvania and surrounding areas would need to be lifted to allow us to operate and for families to be able to come. Although we have been in communication with our state senator and representative to advocate for camp and seek their advice, this consideration is somewhat out of our hands. The second consideration is this: we need to weigh the great benefit of camp against the risks of having campers gather here and return to hundreds of communities. This second consideration is more difficult because it involves fulfilling the I’m Third motto, – God First, Others Second, I’m Third, which is our calling as followers of Jesus. We are seeking the Lord daily, putting him first. Loving God means seeking him, surrendering to Him and standing for him.
In many ways putting others second, including all of you and those you know and love, has proved to be more difficult to know how to do in this season. Loving others is in essence serving others and sacrificing for them. The Board recognizes that loving people best has involved running Summer’s Best Two Weeks for the last 50 years. We have some hope that this will still be our way forward. We are wrestling with the reality that loving people best may look different this year. One of my favorite functional definitions of love is … “fighting for the highest possible good in the life of another.” We hold out hope and “fight” for making camp happen because it is certainly a known “Good”, but the Board is wrestling with whether we believe it is the highest good in light of this pandemic. We are still understanding the true effects of this virus and the implications. Uncertainty is a challenging place from which to make decisions. We hope the next couple of weeks or more will bring more clarity and less uncertainty.
I firmly believe that every detail of this pandemic and the impact it is having on our lives comes as no surprise to our God. He is not caught off guard. And He does not waste adversity and suffering. He works for our good and He will use these coming weeks and months to bring to completion the work that he has begun in us. Thank you for your continued prayers for us. We love you and pray the Lord draws you and delivers you by his grace.
April 10 2020
Another Update from SB2W Regarding COVID-19
April 1 2020
REMINDER: 2020 Camper Tuition is Due April 1st 2020 – Click Here to Make Payment
Update Regarding Non-Pennsylvania Resident Families
We recognize that states where SB2W camp families reside have been (and will likely continue to be) operating autonomously. Because of this, we understand that our families will be making decisions about sending campers based on different parameters. If we’re able to operate camp this summer but your state has tighter restrictions than Pennsylvania, we want to assure you that — should you cancel your camper’s registration — we will refund your tuition minus the deposit. We recognize that such a scenario would cause families to prayerfully consider the wisdom of sending campers — even if those restrictions were lifted at the last minute. We will do everything in our power to provide the safest experience possible for campers.
March 31 2020
Dear Camp Families,
The SB2W staff has continued to monitor the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and, as we’ve stated previously, we desire to make decisions moving forward with wisdom and grace. Even since our last video update and letter, there have been mandates from authorities that potentially impact our earliest session, Summer One. Schools in Pennsylvania and elsewhere recently moved from specific return dates to suspending possible returns indefinitely. Additionally, Virginia has instituted a stay at home order through June 10, which is the day before Summer One is scheduled to start. Virginia’s Governor stated that it is possible he could lift those restrictions earlier, but only time will tell. We seem to have an abundance of time on our hands these days, but time is also a precious commodity.
Some of you have shared that you need more time to pray about and consider plans for this summer. In light of these developments the last couple of days, we want to give you more time to wait on the Lord and let the uncertainties of these days be replaced with more clarity of what the weeks ahead truly hold. We are holding out hope that we will facilitate all of our 2020 Terms, but please take the next few weeks or so to let us know plans for your campers, if needed. If you are in a position to remit any amount of your balance, we certainly would be grateful to know that you are planning to be with us. Either way, we will hold spots for all registered campers and wait upon the Lord with you. As a reminder, you will receive a full refund if we are required to cancel your term due to PA Health Department regulations or another authority’s mandate.
As always, we covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment as we continue to pray for you and your families during this unprecedented time. Please don’t hesitate to let us know via email or text how we can be praying for you and your family specifically.
SB2W Executive Director
March 26 2020
An Update from SB2W Regarding COVID-19
The SB2W staff has been praying and preparing for the 2020 summer season! With that said, we continue to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation alongside CDC, PA Dept of Health, and the Christian Camp and Conference Association, all of whom have been very helpful in providing information and guidance.
As concerns about this pandemic affect all of our lives, we desire to respond with wisdom and grace. While we pay close attention and adhere to the advice of the authorities in this matter, we ultimately believe God is sovereign and we look to and trust Him for protection and provision.
As of now, we still plan to move forward with all of our 2020 Terms, while also preparing to act in accordance with the recommendations from our local healthcare professionals and the CDC.
To this end, we have instituted temporary policies to help you in registering/remaining registered for camp, without the worry of financial loss:
- If authorities deem it is safe for SB2W to operate but you elect to cancel your child’s registration, our normal cancellation policy will be applied. (See here: https://sb2w.org/registration-faqs/ )
- If we are required to cancel your term based on state or national mandate, you will be
entitled to a full refund.
Here is our plan, based on research and attention to healthcare recommendations, to care for campers while they are here during their term:
- We will be instituting an even more robust cleaning and disinfecting schedule to maintain a safe environment at both Lake Gloria and the Que.
- There will be a high priority on personal hygiene habits. The nurses and doctors who volunteer each term in our med clinics will be monitoring and promoting the health of all campers and staff.
- If your child exhibits symptoms requiring them to be removed from normal participation in camp, you will be notified promptly and we will discuss with you options of care consistent with Department of Health recommendations and your parental preferences.
Lastly, I’d like to say we are so grateful for the ways that many of you have expressed your concern for us as a ministry. We covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment even as we pray for all of you daily. Please don’t hesitate to let us know via email or a text how we can be praying for you and your family specifically. I hope that even in these unprecedented circumstances your family is experiencing joy and peace, and I hope to have you join us on our daily Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube broadcast tomorrow morning at 10 AM.
SB2W Executive Director
March 11 2020
Dear SB2W Camp Families,
Greetings from SB2W! We are looking forward to the coming summer season and are excited to experience it with you. Staff hiring is being finalized and Spring projects are under way. As we look ahead, we felt like it would be helpful to send out an update on what we’re doing and what we plan to do as a camp community relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
First, I want to share with you that we are keeping a close eye on information disseminated by the CDC and the State of PA Department of Health. As you may be aware, we are a member of the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) which is a 900-member organization. Those camps and conference centers facilitate programs for over 5.5 million people each year, so the CCCA has a large responsibility resourcing camps like SB2W with information relevant to our ministry. They recently forwarded a statement from the Association of Camp Nursing (campnurse.org). Here is the link for that helpful summary:
We will continue to “stay tuned” to the latest updates as governmental agencies and other health organizations release data about scope of spread and recommendations. Current information indicates that young people (like campers age 8-18) are a low risk for serious illness. We currently don’t anticipate COVID-19 will have a significant impact on the operation of camp this summer, but we will continue to monitor developments closely.
Second, we are preparing for the possibility that the virus is still active by the summer and we are making plans accordingly. We recognize there are some unknowns with this situation at present and we take your camper’s health and well-being seriously. We already have a great deal of structure to our daily routines that encourage cleanliness – washing hands, regularly using hand sanitizer, cleaning cabins daily, sanitizing bathrooms and aggressively cleaning cabins in between terms. We will also double our efforts to teach proper personal hygiene. When we experienced the widespread H1N1 outbreak in 2009, we also implemented other measures that served to mitigate the impact on camp and campers’ experiences. As we did with H1N1, we are prepared to utilize the screening of every camper on opening day to ensure they are not presenting symptoms.
As always, the medical staff in camp’s health clinic will continue to provide excellent care for all campers while they are here enjoying their term.
We aren’t surprised that some of you have been curious about our policies and procedures with regard to COVID-19, especially with the tuition balance deadline of April 1st just around the corner. We plan to maintain our stated tuition/refund policy and timeline at this point. If anything changes in the weeks ahead, we will send updates. We are confident that our awareness and preparedness efforts will enable us to provide a great experience for your children throughout the summer. Thanks for your support and continued prayers. We are looking forward to seeing you this summer! We anticipate it will be one of our best summers ever.
Summer’s Best Two Weeks
111 Lake Gloria Road
Boswell, PA 15531
Office (814) 629-9744
Fax (814) 629-9057